| Travel Photography Amazon Basin
Striated Heron in the Amazon
Pablo, who grew up in the city of Coca and spent his youth exploring these forests, has a way of seeing in the jungle that is astounding. He knows that something is alive and that it is about sixty or seventy feet away. It’s a bird. And, as we know, if a bird lives in the understory, it’s almost certainly going to be dark brown or slate. Every color in the rainforest has meaning; an animal adapts because that color is advantageous. If you are a bird who is adapted to fill some forest floor niche, you are very likely going to be dingy.
In the rainforest, visual and auditory clues are subtle. You have to take them all in to make sense of it all. You can't call something out right away. You have to let it sink in.
Pablo spends a few minutes looking into what, to me, is just a mess of green. His ability to find a small brown bird so far away, to establish it through just a few visual clues to genus and then species, is undeniably fascinating.
We are all equipped to have the same skills as Pablo. We evolved to make sense of our environment like that. This foraging strategy is how our brains and our wicked senses adapted. When we spend too many hours in the duck blind, we forget that there is more to hunting and foraging, fishing and collecting than sticking a gun into a swamp and shooting. The joy of it is in the use of our human senses. It’s not a coincidence that in countries like ours, where we isolate ourselves further from nature, we learn as we get older that the only things that fulfill us are to fish, hunt, garden, walk or observe; to be an active participant in the world we evolved to live in.