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Machu Picchu and Quillabamba birding

 
 INTRODUCTION:

A recent study from the upper Urubamba Valley got several interesting findings. By combining Machu Picchu with the newly built road to San Francisco over the Vilcamba range we hope this short tour will give incentive for setting up a much fuller program in Urubamba drainage.

The tour covers Machu Picchu, Quillabamba, the road to Ayacucho to the pass, the areas above Cirialo, and on the way back to Ollantaytambo birds at Abra Malaga.



 DEPARTURES:
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 GALLERY OF BIRDS ON THE TOUR:
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 THE TOUR:

Day 1. Abra Malaga

In the early evening we take a train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo 

Day 2  Machu Picchu
We shall visit the citadel of Machu Picchu, and also search for the endemic Inca Wren and Green-and-White Hummingbird. After the visit we shall continue to bird the area below the ruins, which is rich in birds with many good species  such as Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Mitred Parakeet, Barred Parakeet, Andean Guan, Cock-of-the Rock, Ocellated Piculet, White-eared Solitaire, Highland Motmot, Variable Antshrike, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, White-crowned, Sierran and Highland Elaenias, Saffron-crowned, Flame-faced, Rust-and-Yellow and Beryl-spangeled Tanagers, Mottled-cheeked and Sclater´s Tyrannulet and many more.

In the late afternoon we shall look for Lyre-tailed Nightjar. Night in Aguas Calientes.

Day 3. We continue birding the rail track below Puente Ruinas bridge. Additional species we seek today are Masked Fruiteater, Black-streaked Puffbird, the local race of Pale-legged Warbler which may correspond to a seperate speceis, Gould's Inca, Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail and others.
We walk and bird the rail track to Hidro Electrica untill midday (around 6km light down hill) and via Santa Teresa continue to bird our way to Quillabamba.  Night in Quillabamba.
 

Day 4. Quillabamba-Cirialo-Kiteni-Ayacucho road.

We shall make a very early start towards Cirialo. Here there is rain shadow and dry vegetation. Recent explorations around here have revealed many dry forest birds that are difficult to see elsewhere in Peru are relatively commong here such as Small-billed Tinamou, Ocellated Crake, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Rusty-backed Antwren, Plain-crested Elaenia, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Green-backed Becard and Purplish Jay, Other more common birds include Yellow-headed Caracara, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, Fiery-capped Manakin, Black-faced Tanager, Red-crested Finch and Dull-coloured Grassquit.

Higher up, the dry scrub makes away for coffee and Inga trees as shaddow where it is not uncommon to find Yungas Antwren, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Streaked Flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis, Blue-crowned Trogon, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker and Bar-breasted Piculet  in season Cerulean Warbler and Western Wood-Pewee. Soon we find ourselves beyond 1800m and lush cloud forest.  Here is a completely different set of birds with Creamy-bellied Antwren, Unadorned and Flavescent Flycatchers, Masked Fruiteater and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager.
In the afternoon we shall return towards Cirialo looking out for Scissor-tailed Nightjar, White-tailed Hawk and Yungas Tyrannulet.

We spend the night in a basic hotel in Kiteni

Day 5. Kiteni-Ayacucho road

A completely new birding area, where noone yeat has birded. This is the newly built road that cross the Cordillera Vilcabamba to Ayacucho. It covers altitudes between 650-2400m

Exactly what we will find we don't really know, but studies in neighboring areas have produced the follwing: Black Tinamou, Peruvian Piedtail, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Yungas Manakin, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Blue headed Macaw, Vilcabamba Brush-Finch, Scimitar-winged Piha, Yungas Antwren and many more.

If we find bamboo patches we can expect Yellow-billed Nunbird, Cabani's Spineatail, Peruvian Recurvebill, Crested Foliagegleaner, Ornate Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Peruvian Warbling Antbird and Large-headed Flatbill.

The following bamboo species could well also occur, especially at lower altitudes Rufous-breasted Piculet, Bamboo Antshrike, Striated Antbird, Manu Antbird, White-lined Antshrike, Yellow Tyrannulet. White-faced Todyu-Tyrant, Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant, Dusky-tailed Flatbil, etc.

The big prize, but for which one would have to cross the Pongo, would be Selva Cacique.  You never know.  Night in Cirialo

Day 6. Additional day on the road to Ayacucho - and return to Quillabamba

Day 7. Quillabamba-Abra Malaga- Ollantaytambo. Additional search for the Abra Malaga species that still may be missing. 

We drive back toward Cusco in the late afternoon. 

 


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