Day 4 Lake Huacarpay near Cuzco- nice marsh- best birds Bearded
Mountaineer and Rusty-fronted Canastero.
Day 5 Abra Malaga Polylepis forest- excellent birding here
around 14000´. Royal Cinclodes, Tit-like Dacnis, and Giant Conebill held
out until the very end, but we had the White-browned Tit-spinetail, Ash-breasted
Tit-tyrant, and White-browed Conebill easily enough. Other nice birds included
Blue Mantled Thornbill, Tawny Tit-spinetail. Birds on the way up or down included:
Red-crested Cotinga, Unstreaked Tit-tyrant, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Chestnut-breasted
Mountain-finch, and my first Tinamou (Andean) plus a bunch of really great hummingbirds-
Great Sapphirewing, Shinning Sunbeam, White-tufted Sunbeam,and Black Metaltail.
Day 6-7 Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu- besides the spectacular
ruins which exceeded my expectations. Some really excellent birding here- the
spectacular White-eared Solitaire (was a big favorite but I´m soft on
solitaires). Masked Fruiteater, Inca Wren, and Plushcap. At the Hotel Pueblo,
9 species of hummer (including the endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird and the
nice Booted Racket-tail) and some great Tangara tanagers. Torrent Duck on the
river as promised.
Day 8-11 Upper Manu Road to San Pedro (Cock of the Rock Lodge).
Absolutely my favorite part of the trip- the forests were full of birds, with
new stuff everytime you went out, and comfortable temperatures. Saw the Andean
Cock-of-the-Rock and two species of Quetzal (Crested and Golden-headed) plus
more Tanagers (including the unreal Paradise and Orange-eared) and hummers.
Other great finds: Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Rufescent Screech-owl, Lyre-tailed
Nightjar, Lanceolated Monklet (perhaps ½ mile down from San Pedro; not
one but two sitting quietly right next to the road), Amazonian Umbrellabird
(female at the bottom of an old landslide down from San Pedro), and Yellow-rumped
Antwren (a pair of birds foraging in a huge mixed species flock up the road
from the Cock-of-the-Rock lek at San Pedro- Ashley was pretty excited about
these and I wasn´t aware of the rarity of the sighting until after I got
back home). A walk up to Pilluata one afternoon produced Yungas Pygmy-owl, Swallow-tailed
Nightjar, Red-and-white Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, White-collared Jay, Parodi´s
Hemispingus (range extension for this endemic- appeared to be two different
family groups- one group 3-4 birds was just below Pilluata – second switchback-
observed by Walter, Dale and I and another group of about 5-6 about 8 switchbacks
below observed by Alan Lee and I- the first group was with a large feeding flock
that included Superciliaried and Black-capped (I think this is the modifier)
Hemisphingus, and Citrine Warbler- easily told from the warbler by it’s
black crown stripes and heavier bill and from the Black-crowned H. by the bright
yellow supercilium that broadened behind the eye- vocalizations were similar
to other Hemisphigus in the area- second group seemed to be by itself), Golden-scarfed
Tanager, and Cuzco Bush-Finch among others. Dale Herter got his 4000 bird on
day 8- Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant.
Day 11-14 San Pedro to Amazonia Lodge- Down from the montane
rainforest to about 700 meters (varzea and terra firme). All kinds of stuff-
Rusty-belted Tapaculo, loads of tinamous (most only heard, but distinctive nonetheless),
and an early sampling of the antbird diversity. 8 species of hummingbird at
the flowers here, including Rufous-crested Coquette and Amethyst Woodstar. Other
good birds- American Finfoot, Hoatzin, Military Macaw, Common Potoo (heard Great)
Scarlet-hooded Barbet (only Alan Lee and I had this bird), Fine-barred Piculet,
Black-tailed Trogon, Thrush-like Antpitta, and Bare-necked Fruitcrow (including
9 in one tree by the lodge).
Day 14-18 Amazonia Lodge down the Rio Madre de Dios to Panticolla-
lower down in terra firme forests. Loads of antbirds (including a whole group
of black-and white species all different in structure and foraging strategies-
fascinating) and foliage-gleaners- seemed a different species was traveling
with every mixed flock we ran across. Some highlights- Orange-breasted Falcon,
Blue-headed Macaw, Blue-and-gold Macaw, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Great Jacamar,
Amazonian Antpitta, White-cheeked Tody-tyrant, Spangled Cotinga (a beautiful
male in a fruiting tree), Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Screaming Piha, Dwarf Tyrant
Manakin, Amazonian and Casqued Oropendulas. In the same fruiting tree as the
Spangled Cotinga, Dale Herter and someone else had a Black-faced Cotinga, which
is also out of range.
Day 18-21 Back up the Manu Rd, with nights in Pillcopata, San
Pedro, and Cuzco. A surprise in a flock of swifts- a White-chested well out
of range, but seen very well- medium large swift similar in size and shape as
a Black Swift with a white triangular chest patch (Dale and I are planning on
fully documenting the Parodi’s Hemisphingus and this swift, but life has
been crazy for me since I’ve been back and I haven’t had a chance
to transcribe my notes). The forests at and above San Pedro yielded the final
treasures of the trip- Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan (last new bird of the trip-
not a bad way to end it all), Wire-crested Thorntail, Chestnut-crested Cotinga
(probably my favorite bird of the trip).