Chile 2017

Unfortunately, at this moment Venezuela is still suffering a serious economic crisis which makes it dangerous to travel around. The official travel advice is negative. I was travelling there in 2015 and although we noticed some tension it was still possible. It is a shame because for nature lovers this is a place to have high on the list.

Los Llanos the hidden Gem of South America is a large flat region which becomes shallowly flooded during the wet season and then progressively drain and dry out during the dry season. There are a great number of different (water) birds present at Los Llanos, but undoubtedly the signature bird of Los Llanos is the Scarlet Ibis. The Scarlet Ibis inhabit the Orinoco River Delta for part of the year but migrate to Los Llanos as the dry season progresses. Although the birds of Los Llanos are a major attraction the animals provide a real additional interest and should not be overlooked. The bizarre Giant Anteater with its huge brush-like tail, the many Spectacled Caiman and the Green Anaconda, a truly massive snake growing to more than 8.8 m in length and 227 kg of weight, are all worthy of attention and interest. In the rivers, it is also possible to see the Pink River Dolphins, although they barely break the surface of the water to breathe which makes photography nearly impossible and the handsome Giant River Otter with its inquisitive nature.

A visit to Los Llanos should be combined with trips to other parts of the beautiful country of Venezuela. The cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes contain myriad Hummingbirds, Quetzals and Trogons, while the Paramo, above 4000 m altitude, is a fantastic landscape, which, at the right season, is covered with flowers. The mountain rivers flowing down from the high Andes provide the ideal habitat for the elusive Torrent Duck with its unbelievable ability to navigate the turbulent waters. Venezuela also has a lek for the strange Cock-of-the-Rock where twice a day without fail 15-20 male birds display in an amazing and noisy performance. The arduous trek to the lek is well worth the effort. As a high point to any trip a visit to see the Harpy Eagle at a nest site is a must. Venezuela is probably the most dependable location in South America to see this massive raptor which feeds on monkeys, sloths and armadillos.

To complete the spectrum of habitats a stay in the Orinoco River Delta provides an opportunity to see true rainforest viewed with ease from a boat on the main rivers or tributaries.

Below a selection of photographs taken during this trip. Hovering over the image you will see a toolbar at the bottom where you can start a slideshow if you wish to do so.

If you want to see more photographs have a look on the following pages

Chile 2017