Where were we? Oh yes. Colonial spiders. As if one spider weren't enough, in Guyana they have colonial spiders, or communal spiders. Let's just say unimaginable bunches of spiders, all living together in one enormous web. This is a single web. Once again, a British bird magazine editor for scale and human interest.
And here's a close up of what's going on in the giant web. A whole lotta spiders, all doing spidery things. Together. Lucky for arachnophobes, most North American spiders come one or two to a web. Although I saw live oaks positively draped in spider webs in Anzalduas Park in So. Texas once. It looked like Christo had had a nightmare there.
I have no idea what these little beasts are up to, why there are several hundred thousand of them all spinning merrily away. I imagine that they share whatever falls into the web. That may be going on here, with the cluster of spiders, or maybe they are having a meeting or maybe it's a bar scene or a stoning. I just do not know. But I enjoyed wondering.
Here's our guide Asaph at another enormous web. Yikes. It was the size of my Explorer. This is one good reason not to walk in the forest at night. There are others. I don't know. Maybe if a person fell into a web this big the tiny spiders wouldn't all converge and cluster all over him and make short work of him. Or maybe they would. I wasn't about to try it, as curious as I was.
The trees at the foot of Turtle Mountain were spectacular, muscular and huge. Looking down into the forest, I felt I could see almost anything walk, fly or crawl by.I saw a Kevin Loughlin stopping to rest along the way.
And some other creatures, too. Here's a colorful little frog, perhaps a poison dart frog?
At last, we reached the top. The view was even better than promised. So much forest, so much life, so much potential. It was breathtaking to think of what might live under and in this unbroken canopy.
The cliff was severe. And there was no guardrail.
In the distance, the Issequibo glimmered.
It was all downhill from there. We never wanted to leave, just sitting there looking out over the rainforest, dreaming about what might fly by. What a place for a Big Sit. Black and white hawk-eagle, capuchinbird, jabiru...oh my.
But climb down we did, and near the trailhead we found the coolest possible wasp nest. Shaped like a butternut squash and covered with steel-blue and orange wasps it was.
Weedon wanted to see it more closely, get a nice picture of this amazing paper nest. I'll confess: so did I. But I used the 300 mm. telephoto. They were gorgeous things, blue and bronze, stripey and alert, with bewitching magenta wings. Luke warned in a low voice, "Don't go any closer, that's close enough." Everything was fine until Mike tripped on a palm frond, and a phalanx of winged warriors stormed out and stung the blue-eyed crap out of poor Weeds. Ow! I was out of there like a scalded ape.
There was a consolation prize, though---probably the most elegant potoo on the planet, the long-tailed potoo. I knew it only from a very strange Louis Fuertes painting, which turns out, seeing the live bird, to be right on.
Here, it's doing its potoo best to be a dead snag.
Eureka! its eye is open!
A beautiful potoo, with its eye open, that doesn't look like a bag of rags. Major bonus. This is the Fred Astaire of potoos. What a dandy capper for a wonderful day.