Clay licks

We had booked the 4 days / 3-night tour, including the Canopy tower, canoe trips around the lagoon, piranha-sport fishing, hikes in primary forest, plus the clay lick that occurs as well in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, but the Ecuadorian Amazon has the most accessible access.

Early wake-up

It was the day to visit the clay lick in the Yasuni National Park, starting with an early breakfast at 5:30 am. Once on board the paddle canoe, our guides Victor & Enoc started rowing for us through the lake with the companion of hundreds of Mealy-Amazon Parrots plus Chesnut-fronted Macaw in search of their first meal on the flooded forests of Sani lodge.

Before boarding the motor canoe in the Napo River, the main tributary of the Amazon, we had watched mixed groups of Squirrel and capuchin monkeys besides hundreds of weaver birds coming from the islands to the terra firme forests of Sani. 

How do they get there?

During the 20 minute-boat ride, it was very noticeable to see how flocks of parrots flew in the upper canopy of the forest, orienting themselves only by their eyesight, recognizing the topography with the guidance of the instinct that plays a fundamental role for land on the right spot.

Action on the lick

Just in time!   Victor pointed out the hundreds of parrots & macaws who hang on an 80-degree landslide-eating clay. These winged creatures belong to a different genus, including Mealy, Blue-Headed, and Yellow-Crowned Parrots, accompanied by a small group of Dusky-headed parakeets that share clay breakfast in a symbiotic relationship hard to understand.

Our guide gave us a master class in Natural History as he mentioned that these species come from such remote places over 30 kilometers away to eat clay whose content allows them to incorporate into their diet critical nutrients such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium as well as detoxify due to the ingestion of non-ripe fruits.

All the group spent about 30 minutes enjoying this unique show when suddenly a high-pitched strangling sound was heard for a few seconds before we noticed that a boa constrictor had caught a Mealy-Amazon parrot, which caused all the birds to delight us with a view of thousands of birds flying out at once.

Without saying a single word, we stayed watching how the boa digested the parrot, remaining still, totally camouflaged, resembling the branch of the tree while our guide told us that the birds would not come back in a couple of days but would do so later despite the latent danger.

The journey continued exploring the megadiverse Yasuní National Park for a three-hour hike immersed among ancient trees, medicinal plants, and jaguar tracks chasing peccaries that had bathed in pools of water, pure nature everywhere. Groups of Woolly Monkeys, Scarlet Macaws, and Saki monkeys accompanied us on this hike that demanded a little effort, but it was all worth it. 

We boarded the motorized canoe to go downstream, heading to Sani Warmi, passing by again the clay lick but this time with a different feeling, not only by one a lifetime birding experience but amazed by the boa attack and the intrinsic relationship between prey-predator.

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Sani Lodge
In our trips, you have the opportunity to explore untouched forests, understand the intrinsic relationships among plants and animals, search for stunning flora and fauna and learn from ancient cultures: the true treasures of the Amazon Rainforest. When you stay with us, you become part of our extended community where we share and teach you about our environment and culture. At Sani Lodge, you are not only choosing an amazing adventure, but also the opportunity to immerse yourself in our Amazon Kichwa lifestyle. Come and join us, support our indigenous community and the Rainforest conservation that you will love to call it home.


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