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Trip Reports
October 2003 (Alan Knue)
February 14, 2004
Alan Knue
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).

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