It was back in the boat for a four hour ride down the river to the Hummingbird Lodge, where they have Festive Coquettes feeding on the many flowers on the property. We left most of our stuff at the Amazonia Lodge, since we would be returning there after one night. Our chef Cesar supervised loading the food supplies and we were off.
LOADING THE BOAT FOR THE TRIP TO THE HUMMINGBIRD LODGE
The ride on the river was not rough at all, but even though we were in the Amazon it was rather chilly on the water. I'm glad I had on my down vest. We kept the wind off of us with some waterproof ponchos that were supplied by Jesús, our boat captain. Apparently Jesús has been navigating these waters for many years, so we were safe in his care.
The Hummingbird Lodge is a family-owned property located on the mouth of the Manu River close to Boca Manu Village. We pulled up to the property and the first thing I noticed were the giant blue Verbena bushes which were planted everywhere. Hummingbirds love these flowers, but since each flower only has a tiny bit of nectar, the hummingbirds are in constant motion when they feed. I knew photographing my target hummer was going to be a challenge.
We were only to be here for the afternoon and the next morning, so we began looking for the Festive Coquette right away. There were bright orange bees here so big that I kept mistaking their movement among the Verbena flowers to be that of hummingbirds. I couldn't resist getting a picture of one of them.
William cut me a snack of fresh papaya right off of one of the trees. Delicious!
The male Festive Coquette is a striking bird. He has a bright green mask and gorget and a ruff of long green feathers with white tips. His mask reminds me of the "Green Hornet" superhero! The female is rather plain and both have a wide white stripe across their lower back. I was able to photograph both the male and female and even a female with her fledgling.
Next morning it was back in the boat for the long ride back to the Amazonia Lodge. It was sunny on the river when we left, but we soon hit weather so severe that Jesús felt it unsafe to continue and he pulled over to the bank to wait out the storm. As I sat under a sheet of heavy blue plastic trying to keep dry, I couldn't get the theme to "Gilligan's Island" out of my mind.
At the Amazonia Lodge I took a few more photos of the resident hummingbirds. Of course, the hermits were still hiding. Then the next morning (Day 16) we left for the long drive back to Cusco. There had been a lot of rain and the road crews were out fixing areas of the road that were washed away. There were times I wasn't sure we were going to be able to get back! But this is common in Peru during the rainy season and the road crews keep the roads passable. Also Victor is an excellent driver!
We made it to Cusco and stayed at the Hotel Garcilaso (the former home of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega). We had our last dinner together at the wonderful restaurant "El Mesón de Don Tomás" for some authentic local cuisine and it was off to Lima and Los Angeles the next day. I'm already counting the days until our next adventure together. Steve, William and I are planning on going together to Colombia in November!