Kerry Underwood


with 4 comments

The name gives it away. It rains and it is a forest. Forests are hardly interesting, wet ones are even less attractive.

I am at the end of a lengthy trip to Central America, which has lots of rain forests. During a long, wet early-morning walk the average bag is some leaf-cutter ants and the apparent distant call of an unspecified bird. I say “apparent” because guides now have apps containing all the local bird calls. That exciting – by rain forest standards – exchange of calls between birds is in fact usually an exchange between the mobile phones of guides. You never actually SEE anything.

Well we did see a black-bellied wren – sort of. Wrens are the most secretive of birds and when a wren’s defining feature is its dark front you do not actually see much.

Try explaining to El Guido the concept of the dawn chorus – hundreds of birds singing every morning in any British garden and you are met with a vacant stare and a quick mobile phone blast of some local endemic, but invisible, speciality.

Then there is the canopy walk, the sole attraction of which is that you are above, and therefore OUT OF, the rain forest.

Cloud forests are arguably even worse. True, it is not constantly raining; rather it is drizzling. Unsurprisingly cloud forests are in cloud, so visibility is almost nil. Given that there is nothing to see anyway, that is not a disadvantage. The problem is that cloud forests are high up, so they are cold as well as wet and uninteresting.

I am sure that rain and cloud forests are important and we need them. Just like dentists. Visits to the dentist are cheaper, more interesting and generally more enjoyable.

Must go- time for that exciting variation on a forest walk: the Night Walk – who knows – might see a pair of owl’s eyes……


Written by kerryunderwood

January 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. How refreshing to have a shared view on rain forests. At breakfast this morning (in Kent), I looked out at my garden and saw two magpies, a jackdaw, a robin, an awry of sparrows, x2 blue tits and a wren (not black fronted and clearly visible). This is mid winter and so not a spectacular time of year for birds and it occurred over a 8-10 minute period from the comfort of a centrally heated kitchen.

    John Newcomb

    January 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    • John

      Absolutely! Obviously it was a light-hearted piece, but few people really like rain forests; I think everyone feels that the ought to, because of their importance and the threat to them. Bit like peat bogs, which are about as interesting.



      January 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm

  2. I think there might have been a parrot or two nailed on to one of the trees by the gift shop at the end of the trail. Tbh a lot of it looked like Epping Forest. However the Mayan ruins were def not the remains of a polystyrene film set. Enjoyed your company but had assumed I was funnier than you. Wrong

    Judith holder

    January 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm

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