15th October 1833

St Fe. to B: Ayres
We got under weigh; passed Punta Gorda, where there is colony of tame Indians from the province of Missiones. We sailed rapidly down the current; before sunset from a silly fear of bad weather brought to in a narrow arm or "Riacho". I took the boat & rowed some distance up the creek; it was very narrow, winding & deep; on each side there was a wall 30 or 40 feet high formed by the trees entwined with creepers, this gave to the canal a singularly gloomy appearance. I here saw a very extraordinary bird, the scissor-beak. The lower mandible is as flat & elastic as an ivory paper-cutter, it is an inch & a half longer than the upper. With its mouth wide open, & the lower mandible immersed some depth in the water, it flies rapidly up & down the stream. Thus ploughing the surface, it occasionally seizes a small fish.

The evenings are quite tropical; the thermometer 79° -- an abundance of fire flies, & the mosquitoes very troublesome. I exposed my hand for five minutes, it was black with them: I do not think there could have been less than 50, all busy with sucking. At night, I slept on deck, the greater coolness allowing the head & face to be covered up with comfort.

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