Sunday, 21 December 2014

Inland Suriname: seeing wildlife

We are taking our time in Suriname. It's because we decided to wait and have Christmas here with our friend, and then it was mentioned that Suriname is one of the best places in the world to see in the New Year, so we've decided to stay for that too. (Being that diesel is our major expense, this also helps our finances). 

But still, I can't just sit around waiting, so we have to do a bit of exploring. Last week we went inland to Brownsberg Nature Reserve. We were warned not to go up if the road was wet, but lucky for us there were a few dry days and the road was fine: Dirt from Brownsweg, potholed for the first part, then steep after that. 

We spent 2 nights there. After arriving mid afternoon we just hung about hoping to see some wildlife in the camp area, but we had no such luck. The next morning we set off on a walk. But, we didn't find the intended trail and instead found another and ended up doing the Ireneval hike. It's to a waterfall I'd read about, and we both found the waterfall rather underwhelming, especially after a rather steep hike. 

We didn't see any wildlife on the hike (okay, some lizards and butterflies) and when we got back to camp we were told that monkeys had come into the tree right beside our motorhome while we weren't there!

That afternoon I went for a short stroll. In all reality I was trying to eavesdrop on a tour guides information to his English speaking tourists. So, I was delighted when at one point I caught up to them and he turned to me and said 'have you seen the monkeys?' (I hadn't) 'they're red howler monkeys'. Cool! They (the monkeys) were lazing in the tree so I headed back to get H and the camera. 

H and I followed up the monkey spotting with a short walk to the highest point. On this we saw more howler monkeys, this time moving through the trees and one with a baby on its back. 

I also saw a snake (a common lancehead) curled up in the leaf matter and I foolishly pointed it out to others who were watching the monkeys. Foolish because next thing I knew the snake had been clubbed and was dead. I was shocked and rather annoyed by this and I let the man responsible know. At least when I later mentioned it to someone who worked there he said 'but the snake was in its place and not hurting anyone'. Yes they can kill people as they are venomous, but I think the best snakes are those left alone.

Back at the campsite we later sat relaxing beside Blac. I looked up and discovered colourful little toucans (Guianan Toucanet) were eating berries in the tree right in front of us! 

That night we slept to the sound of the howler monkeys,  they sound like big monsters in the forest. 

So, after having seen monkeys, a snake, and toucans we thought our visit to Suriname's Brownsberg was very good. And we also enjoyed the lack of mosquitoes and cooler air. 

Ref Howler Monkey

Common Lancehead snake,  unfortunately freshly dead. 

This spectacular 'flower' is some kind of fruit. We found it on the forest floor, there were many where they had fallen from a tree.  The 'petals' are like hard wood, but the centre was soft. 
A Guianan Toucanet, with a berry in its beak. 

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