In Amazon Basin, most of the birding we did was with from trails in the forest or from boat and we we seeing birds that favored the riverside, ground, or understory. To see the birds that made a living in the forest canopy, we could spend a lot of time straining our necks and peering into the forest tangle to look at a far off bird butt, or we could climb the observation towers that put us up above the trees.
There are two 50 meter (165 feet) observation towers at Cristalino that allows you to see all the layers of the forest with many stopping points on the way up to the top.
Sunrise from the top of Tower One.
On the morning of July 5th we climbed the steep steps of Tower One, 165 feet to the very top platform which was high above the top of the forest canopy. We timed our climb to be in place before sunrise, not just for the stunning views but also to take advantage of optimal of bird activity in the canopy.
All eyes on deck as we pick through the large amount of birds working their way around Tower One.
The idea was to be at the top of the tower to observe the avian activity while the sun was still low on the horizon and then move to the lower platform as the the morning heated up moving the bird activity below the canopy. This morning proved to be our most prolific in our short time in the Southern Amazon Basin. At times the bird activity was nonstop and we seemed to be surrounded by avian movement with lifers coming quick and fast!
We got good looks at a paradise jacamar from Tower One.
A southern Amazon speciality, the black-girdled barbet. This sketch is of the male.
The paradise tanager is a truly stunning tanager amongst many stunning tropical tanagers to be found in the Amazon. At Tower One we finally got great looks at this canopy dweller.