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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The place is nearly impenetrable with the amount of thorns, let alone the dense swarms of mosquitoes. After we had forced our way through this bush border, which the people call the alagadico (flooded place), joyful, we saw the Sao Francisco River, running in majestic calm before us. The river here measures almost half an hour in width, squeezed into the opposite bank by a savannah-lined marshland.

Right by the bank, we entered the Capao farm and unloaded our large baggage, so we had the means to pass to the other side. We found ourselves transported here to an entirely different country. Instead of the dry, leafless woods of the Catingas or the scorched fields of the high wilderness, we were surrounded by virgin forests, which bordered large, dense ponds. When, in the afternoon, we contemplated one of these lagoons, what a strange spectacle presented itself to our eyes!

Sao Francisco river, Lagoa de Aves (Bird Lagoon)


Hundreds of spoonbill water birds (Platalea ajaja, L.) lined up along the shore and walked slowly in the water looking for food with their gnarled beaks. In deeper water, there are some serious jaburus and tuirius (Ciconia mycteria, Temm., Tantalus loculator, L.) chasing the fish with their long beaks.

On an islet, nestled in the middle of the lagoon, dense flocks of mallards, paturis, large ducks, and broilers (Anas brasiliensis, Anas viduata, Anas moschata, L., and Gallinula galeata, Lichtenst.), and countless puffins flew fast in a circle, about the fringes of the forest, actively hunting insects. Here, in the wildest riot, shrill shrieks, chirps of the most diverse genera of birds, we observed the rare panorama in which the birds, with their innate independence, played their part in the spectacle of nature. We felt disturbed that this throbbing scenario of life would ever be disrupted with deadly gunshots. We saw there over 10,000 gathered animals, each of which was occupied, according to his natural instinct, in the care of his own subsistence. We seemed to have a vision of a renewed picture of the creation of the world, and this marvelous spectacle would have made us even more pleasantly impressed if it had not occurred to us that war, eternal war, was the solution and mysterious condition of all animal existence. The innumerable species of swamp and river waterfowl here chugged carelessly among each other, each chasing their own kind of insects, frogs and fish, each being sought after by its own kind of enemy. The great waders; Although they consider themselves royalty in this domain of water, they are pursued by the great eagles and jaguars; the ducks and spoonbills by the otters, pelicans, vultures and wild cats. All these winged creatures, however, are attacked in their own aquatic domain by alligators, boa constrictors and the terrible voracious piranha.

Vol 2, p 94