Wildlife, I sometimes find, comes in spurts. You can spend hours holding your binoculars and not seeing a single sparrow, then your thoughts wander or you scratch your head and suddenly one animal after another begins to appear. This was the case on the Burro Burro River, a couple of kilometers from Surama Ecolodge, on the edge of the Rupununi Savannah and bordering the Iwokrama Rainforest, where I was staying. Ron Allicock of Surama, one of the country’s top birders, had spotted a Black Headed Parrot maybe an hour before, but then the forest went silent. Traveling by canoe, we saw little along the river. Then, when it seemed as if all animals had gone to sleep, a black caiman splashed into the water a few feet in front of the canoe. Soon we spotted a Howler monkey in a treetop. Then others. Seconds later Ron excitedly spotted a heron hiding on the riverbank. It was a male Agami, sometimes called a Chestnut Bellied Heron. It’s one of the top 3 birds in Guyana. Considered the most beautiful of all the herons, the Agami has a chestnut neck and stomach, with a white line down the center of the foreneck, and the wings are green. Pale blue feathers adorn the head, sides of the neck, and lower back. The legs, bill, and bare facial patch are a dull yellow. While quite stunning, the Agami is rather reclusive and tends to hide in the shade and under vegetation or stalking their prey rather slowly in shallow water. The canoe stops and so does he. He sits on a branch quite still. Seconds later he flies off up the Burro Burro, never to be seen again. The entire flurry of life only lasted a few minutes. And then, nothing.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.