NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
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Manu National Park; Manu River clay lick
Madre de Dios, Peru
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Latitude and Longitude -11.8414, -71.4247 Map

Age and Sex
; People;


Habitat: Rainforest, River, Bank. Equipment Notes: Stereo=2: 1=L, 2=R; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH50 Hypercardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic through Sonosax Preamp into Sony TCD7. NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS Show: Peru Log of DAT #: 6 Date: 1999 ng = not good ok = okay g = good vg = very good NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions Show: Peru Log of DAT 6 Absolute Time: ID#1 0:00:00 - 0:02:05 Setting the scene with Charlie Munn, Leo and JN 0:02:05 - 0:03:00 CM: I¿m Charlie Munn and I work for the Wildlife Conservation Society and I¿m a Senior Conservation Zoologist. We are here in the Peruvian Amazon, sitting on a big floating blind, in front of a clay bank where a bunch of parrots are going to come down and eat clay to help them with their digestion. JN: Eat clay? CM: They¿re going to eat clay. For clean living. Eat dirt for clean living. JN: How many parrots are we talking about? CM: You¿re talking about a thousand parrots in the first show, which is the blue headed parrots and the mealy parrots, and then anywhere from 80 to 150, and sometimes over 200 red and green mckaws, which some people call green wing mckaws. 0:03:00 - 0:04:26 JN: This place looks like a big thatched house built on a raft with a bunch of plastic chairs, all of them full, maybe 15, 20 people all tourists I guess except for us and except for the people who pull this thing back and forth. Now where is the clay lick now, its - CM: Well there¿s a clay bank in front of us about 45, 50 yards ahead of us and that claybank goes for about 600 yards downstream. Claybank is only about 20 feet high or maybe 18 feet high, and we have about 300 or 400 yards of rope. The birds tend to eat clay about a hundred yards down from where we are at the moment. So we just hang out here near our anchor spot waiting for the birds to choose a favorite spot to eat and then we silently go down with the current until we¿re right across from them, and then we use a rudder on the back to silently use the current to push us closer and farther away. JN: So the guys in the back of the boat just start pulling on the rope at some point. CM: I guess the back is probably where we are, which is closer to the JN: Oh, the guys in the front CM: This actually is a catamaran, two large cargo canoes.with a platform built on top, gives stability and you can put lots of people on it. 0:04:26 - 0:06:03 CM: It¿s a modification of a tiny floating line that I use for mckaw research about 10 years ago. JN: I gather that the phenomenon we¿re about to witness is one of the great ecological biological interactions that a person can see in the world. CM: Well, I think so but I¿m biased. But, it¿s a lot of color, it¿s a lot of noise. It¿s one of the great spectacles in the bird world, that¿s for sure, and it¿s become a kind of a must-see in the western Amazon at least. JN: Can you see it anywhere else but here? CM: this currently is the easiest place to get close to a major clay-lick is what we¿re calling it, which is to say, they don¿t actually lick the clay, they bite off a chunk and then eat it. But it¿s the best place at the moment to get close to a bunch of colorfull parrots all squabbling for a perch on the clay bank so they can get their daily dose of clay. There are a few other spots in southern Peru, in the Amazon of the Peru, an area about the size of New York State, where you can see it, but this is the best of a handfull of places you can currently see it. There are perhaps 20 or 30 high quality what I call them high quality mckaw and parrot clay licks that I know of in the Peruvian Amazon, and the Peruvian Amazon seems to have more of them then the rest of the Amazon. The Brazilian Amazon as far as we know doesn¿t have any clay licks of this size, but it may just be from lack of exploration. 0:06:03 - 0:08:15 JN: Why is this... (Notes truncated)

Background Species

dusky titi - Callicebus moloch

Technical Information

Sennheiser MKH 30; Sennheiser MKH 50

Archival Information

28 Oct 2009 by Ben Brotman
28 Oct 2009 by Ben Brotman
28 Oct 2009 by Ben Brotman