I was determined to see a sloth before leaving Guyana. There had been several people that reported seeing one on Baganara Island. So I got up this morning at 5:30AM, grabbed the binoculars and my camera and headed out in the dinghy. Tom stayed behind in bed “Happy slothing.” he said sleepily.
I took the dinghy north to the cut between Baganara island and the small, uninhabited island just to the northwest. The tide was against me so I kept the outboard in lowest speed possible, moving slowly forward. This gave me a chance to really look on both sides as I went. I saw dozens of green parrots and at least a dozen toucans – old news by now! When I reached the end of the cut, I turned around, shut the outboard off and floated back up river.
Half way I grabbed a branch sticking out into the river and tied the dinghy off to it and shut down the outboard. I settled in to just watch and listen. Soon all the birds forgot I was there and went about their morning rituals, eating in this tree and that, grooming, and chatting in all manner of bird chatter. It was quite noisy. I was able to observe one green parrot couple, they were so cute sitting high in a tree, close together, they took turns grooming one and other and then loudly chattering away as other bird couples flew by “Morning Harold and Maud.” “Good morning to you Bob and Gerdie. How are you two?” “We’re good, although Maud’s beak is a tad tender from a bad tree nut but nothing serious.” “Awe, right. Anyway, good to see you both.” Or some like that I imagine.
Alas, no sloth. I didn’t hear or see howler monkeys either. Previously, we had heard and seen a howler monkey in this area. After 30-45 mins, I finally untied my line and started drifting up river with the tide, back towards the boat. I used a dinghy paddle occasionally to keep myself in the middle of the cut. I had nearly exited the cut when I turned and looked back downstream and there he was! Mr Sloth! He was high up in a tree. I couldn’t believe it. However I was quickly being swept away from him. I started to paddle like mad to get back towards him to get a better look. In all my mad paddling, I was rather loud and Mr Sloth took notice of me. He decided to climb up higher and hide in the leaves. NO! I grabbed my camera and took one shot, knowing that it would probably be out of focus or at the very least nothing more than a blob in a tree. I kept paddling back towards him until I could grab onto a branch and tie off. I settled down with the binoculars to watch. I couldn’t really see him other that some brown in the leaves. Darn! I waited. Perhaps he would forget I am here and come back down a bit. No luck. I paddled up closer but got no better view. Finally, I made careful note of the location of his tree, turned on the noisy outboard and headed back to get Tom.
“I found the sloth. Do you want to come see?” Tom said sure and hopped in the dingy. When we got back to Mr Sloth he was still high up in the tree. “Are you sure there is a sloth up there?” Tom asked. Just wait. We maneuvered around this way and that and finally found a spot or two where we could see most of Mr Sloth. A breeze kicked up, blowing the top of the tree around pretty good. I hoped this would bring Mr Sloth down a few branches but he stayed aloft. We could clearly make out his arms and hands with the long claws gripping the tree branch. At one point we could see his head moving around a bit. It was kewl and so worth the early morning effort.
Finally, we left Mr Sloth alone and headed back to the boat for morning coffee and breakfast filled with sloth talk.
Special note – I call him Mr Sloth because to say “it” or just “sloth” seems….inappropriate somehow for such an unusual and elusive creature (at least to us). However, I do not know if it was a male or female. If you, sloth are in fact a female, I do apologize for calling you Mr Sloth. I meant no disrespect.