Ibera Wetlands and Its Wildlife

I was excited to get up early the next morning and begin exploring the area. For some reason I thought the place where we were staying was very close to the wetlands and that every day we would go out in a boat to see the wildlife. I guess I didn’t really understand that the reserve where we would stay was about an hour and a half a way from the wetlands and that they would provide excursions for us every day. As I was saying, I got up early and went to breakfast about 8:30. No one was there so I had the room to myself. Breakfast was the same every day with some added pastries, cereal, fruit, coffee and tea. You could also choose eggs, bacon, pancakes from the menu. The people who waited on us in the dining room were very accommodating. I returned to the room expecting to see Barb up and ready to go but she was still in her pajamas fooling with her iPhone. I told her we had to meet at 9:30 but she didn’t seem to hurry. When I left at 9:20, she still wasn’t ready. There were other people in the group so I didn’t feel like I could ask them to wait. The excursion was guided by a young guy who spoke English and had a very lively personality. We both enjoyed photography and discovered he was actually in Venice when I was there last year in May. We got together that evening to share photos and he was very much impressed with my work. He didn’t have his computer with him so we decided to get together again the next night.

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Our good-looking guide!
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We saw this deer in the distance.
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Cayman Crocodile

We actually just drove within the bounds of the reserve to a few different lagoons where animals and birds usually congregated. The first animals we saw were two barn owls just sitting by these holes in the ground. The guide said that they share their home with chinchillas. We saw a fox and several marsh deer and of course, lots of different kinds of birds. We saw huge armies of leaf cutter ants and their nests. I took a video of the ants going to their nest carrying leaves much larger than they were. There was one big hill with radiating lines going out from the hill and ants were scrambling back and forth within these lines.

Although I had a 300mm lens, it was still difficult to get close-ups of the birds. I have been editing and saw that in some instances I had taken about 10 photos of a bird so tiny – you could hardly see it. As you will see later, I did have a good opportunity to get some close-ups.

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Tropical Parula

We got out and walked around – it was wet and you had to hop from hill to hill so your shoes didn’t get soaked. There were capybaras everywhere in small groups and by themselves. The guide was very good and knew a lot about the birds and animals we saw. I got to meet the couple that came along. I remembered them from dinner the night before as the man was speaking English and was a big talker. I found out he was an American retired from the state department who lived in Montevideo, Uruguay and his girl friend was Argentinean from Buenos Aires. She had a camera and was really enjoying herself. He was constantly making remarks to her which weren’t always polite. He was nice enough to me but I didn’t like the way he talked to his friend. His name was John and hers was Marcella. Marcella was very nice and we hit it off right away.

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Red Crested Cardinal

We arrived back in time for lunch. Barbara met me there. She said she walked to the school on the property and enjoyed learning about the education of the children who lived there. Evidently, they had two teachers and one was from California. They lived on the grounds. They taught the children of the owners and some of the workers as well as other children in the area. So I was glad she had an interesting morning.

The weather was very cold and our clothes left a lot to be desired as far as warmth goes. The owners wife was my size and offered to give us some extra clothes. She had a few things for Barb as well. The evenings were especially cold so we were glad of the warm clothes.

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Beautiful sunset behind our cabana

That evening we were suppose to meet for a night excursion. We dressed warmly and met the other couple and the guide and got into the 4-wheel. The guide had a big light that he flashed into the bushes. The first animals we came upon were chinchillas. They were hysterical running here and there and escaping into their holes. They are nocturnal animals and share their home with the barn owls we saw earlier. The chinchillas were the only animals we saw. We went further down the road but didn’t see anything else so we turned around and that is when the 4-wheel gave out. Luckily, another group was heading our way and they were able to tow us back to the lodge. So that was the end of the night excursion. Later before dinner, I went back to the cabana by myself to get something. I had my flashlight with me. I passed a group of capybaras sleeping close to the path. I went up toward the door and looked over and saw a golden armadillo digging on the other side. Too bad, I didn’t have my camera! I went into the room and the armadillo didn’t pay any attention to me. He was still there when I came out. When we went back after dinner, we actually saw it again but it ran away as soon as we came up on it. We decided we would look for it the next night.

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