Friday , 30 October 2020

Latest Posts
Home » Animals » Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2

Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2

Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2

Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It offers bird lovers plenty of glimpses of some of the world’s rarest birds and animals. Besides bird watching holidays in Peru, it is also well known for bird photography and eco-tourism trips to Peru, South America, and Worldwide. Northern Peru has made considerable strides in terms of accommodation in recent years – we stay in some very lovely lodges, many with superb feeders, and no camping is necessary. It’s a definite visit for all bird watchers, at least once in their lifetime. To help everyone we are trying to share our journey about our entire Peru birdwatching trip.

Honestly, as I prepared for my trip, I couldn’t help but wonder, but now I’m back, and we already made articles about birdwatching in Peru, animals to watch in Peru and even the best places to stay while birdwatching.

Thank you for giving us so much love for the first part of the Peru birdwatching part 1. We travelled towards Lima, Lachay Hills, Wetlands of Ventanilla, Milloc, and Santa Eulalia Canyon. Read the first one if you didn’t already. Click Here. As promised we are back with the next one.

 

A6 – Day 6

Lomas de Lachay and Humedales de Ventanilla

Today was not a good day. Our destiny was the famous Satipo road, where more cloud forest birds and many endemics were to hope for. On our way, we made a short stopover at a highland lake called Laguna de Pomacocha. Here we soon found some highland ducks, like Andean Ruddy and Crested Duck, Yellow-billed Teal and Andean Goose. In the wasteland around scuttled Grey-breasted Seedsnipes, Common and Dark-winged Miners. Then we tried to reach the Satipo road but soon were stopped by a trek of clearing vehicles, that came to clear a landslide. 10 minutes earlier we would have passed (however without knowing if we’d gotten back) and so we had to turn back and try to find something interesting around the lagoon. Most of what we saw was the same. Tom found a distant Greater Yellowlegs, some Andean Negritos showed well and Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrants were common. On the water swam also many Silvery Grebes, with one White-tufted Grebe hiding beneath them.

We then retreated towards Huancayo and hoped to find something in the city park. But apart from Chiguanco Thrushes and Eared Doves not much was there. The only birds of note were a flyover Turkey Vulture and a White-collared Swift

Bird of the day: Llama37 species seen; 7 new picture

 

A7 – Day 7 


Lago Junin

This day we drove to a very special place called Unchog. Here lives another super-endemic bird of Peru, the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager. It has only been from five sites in Peru and Unchog is by far the easiest one to find it. Still, we had to start way before sunrise. The street from Huanuco towards Unchog hardly deserves this name, as it is about the bumpiest road I’ve ever been on. Slow and steady we approached the mountain ridge and even before arriving had seen some nice birds from the driving car. Amongst them were some Slaty Brush-Finches and Florian got to see my number one main target: A Sword-billed Hummingbird. Unfortunately, this was the only sighting during our whole trip L.

As soon as we arrived we immediately encountered endemic Coppery Metaltails, singing Moustached Flowerpiercers and flaming Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers. Several Slaty Brush-Finches flew from bush to bush and our only Many-striped Canastero of the trip showed beautifully. After a quick breakfast, we walked the trail towards the cloud forest. On our way, we’d encounter Rufous-breasted and Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, some Great Sapphirewing shot along the sky, but the hoped-for Paramo Pipits were nowhere to be encountered. A far away orange-bellied Mountain-Tanager looked like a Lacrimose at first glance, but luckily Florian had a closer look. After some looking through his scope we agreed it had to be a Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager of the race igniventris, interestingly hanging out with two individuals of the much deeper red ignicrassa subspecies. The following part of the way was pretty steep and some people preferred to stay back. The others however soon stumbled upon the first small flock and pretty much every bird was new. Citrine Warblers, White-browed Conebills and Baron’s Spinetail. A Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager stayed high up the slope, an Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher in contrary showed very well, but was equally as challenging to identify (well at least for us, not for Alejandro), as this was pretty much the first tough Flycatcher of our trip. Other birds we’d hoped for like the beautiful Rufous-browed Hemispingus or the Rufous Antpitta, however, didn’t show up. We then arrived at a great lookout place to check the canopy of the adjacent cloud forest and almost immediately spotted the first Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, which sadly flew of just seconds after. But now we knew it was there and searched for a nice spot to sit down and watch the treetops. Therefore we made our way towards a promising rock. Micha and Demi, walking in the front, flushed a male Scissor-tailed Nightjar from the way, but unfortunately, it disappeared into the woods, so no one else got to see it. From the rock, we scanned the forest and very soon we had excellent views on both Red-crested and Bay-vented Cotingas, with Barred Fruiteaters calling nearby, but never show. After a while I encountered a mixed flock moving through a hole in the forest. Even though far away we could identify the odd Pardusco, the awesome Yellow-scarfed Tanager, interesting Pearled Treerunners and cute Blue-backed Conebills. Also a furnariid, that reminded of a

Figure A.8: The Unchog forest can only be reached by a single, extremely bumpy road. Not even Google Maps knows this street

Mockingbird showed a few times, but we were never able to get its ID nailed down. Finally, I noticed a movement and there it was again, the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager. However, it hid so extremely well, that nobody else could spot it, even though I had even put it right in the middle of our scope. It stayed there quite a while before after about 20 minutes Bernd independently also laid his eyes on it. And eventually, it came out showing its absolutely gorgeous colours before it flew towards our slope, where we had even better views before again it disappeared in the forest.

Trying to relocate the mixed flock, some had the luck of finding another stunner, the Golden-collared Tanager. Having had great views of our main target we walked back to the car stumbling upon several more mixed flocks. Even though it were mainly the same birds of before (Cotingas, Conebills, Parduscos, Mountain-Tanagers and Pearled Treerunners) our views were much better than before, with the birds sometimes just a little more than a meter away. When we left the cloud forest we soon came upon our next target. Its song is surprisingly similar to that of its Eurasian relatives. However it took a while before we finally got to see one of the Paramo Pipits, but this one showed more than extremely well! In the distance called a Trilling Tapaculo and a strange-looking Canastero turned out to actually be a Sedge Wren.

Back at the car, Nadine showed us a picture of two raptors that had passed overhead not long ago: An immature and an adult Black-and-chestnut Eagle! Yvonne and Tom had also seen them.

After a small lunch break, we headed down the other slope along the bumpy road by foot and had two targets especially in mind. We came across Black-tailed Trainbearers, Hooded Siskins and Plain-colored Seedeaters, but not our targets, so we all got back into the bus and drove further down the road. When we finally halted (Oh my poor back!) at a small remaining patch of the forest it didn’t take us more than a few seconds to find both birds: The rather drab (but beautiful), but endemic Brown-flanked Tanager and the spectacularly cute Black-crested Tit-Tyrant. Tufted Tit-Tyrants and more Baron’s Spinetails also emerged from their cover and showed beautifully.

On the drive back home a large raptor, almost certainly the young Black-and-chestnut Eagle soared over the valley, but apparently and unfortunately our calls weren’t heard by Raúl over the sounds of hitting bumps and potholes.

Bird of the day: Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager — 47 species seen, 3 heard; 28 new

 

A8 – Day 8

Unchog forest

This day we drove to a very special place called Unchog. Here lives another super-endemic bird of Peru, the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager. It has only been from five sites in Peru and Unchog is by far the easiest one to find it. Still, we had to start way before sunrise. The street from Huanuco towards Unchog hardly deserves this name, as it is about the bumpiest road I’ve ever been on. Slow and steady we approached the mountain ridge and even before arriving had seen some nice birds from the driving car. Amongst them were some Slaty Brush-Finches and Florian got to see my number one main target: A Sword-billed Hummingbird. Unfortunately, this was the only sighting during our whole trip L.

As soon as we arrived we immediately encountered endemic Coppery Metaltails, singing Moustached Flowerpiercers and flaming Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers. Several Slaty Brush-Finches flew from bush to bush and our only Many-striped Canastero of the trip showed beautifully. After a quick breakfast, we walked the trail towards the cloud forest. On our way, we’d encounter Rufous-breasted and Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, some Great Sapphirewing shot along the sky, but the hoped-for Paramo Pipits were nowhere to be encountered. A far away orange-bellied Mountain-Tanager looked like a Lacrimose at first glance, but luckily Florian had a closer look. After some looking through his scope we agreed it had to be a Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager of the race igniventris, interestingly hanging out with two individuals of the much deeper red ignicrassa subspecies. The following part of the way was pretty steep and some people preferred to stay back. The others however soon stumbled upon the first small flock and pretty much every bird was new. Citrine Warblers, White-browed Conebills and Baron’s Spinetail. A Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Tanager stayed high up the slope, an Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher in contrary showed very well, but was equally as challenging to identify (well at least for us, not for Alejandro), as this was pretty much the first tough Flycatcher of our trip. Other birds we’d hoped for like the beautiful Rufous-browed Hemispingus or the Rufous Antpitta, however, didn’t show up. We then arrived at a great lookout place to check the canopy of the adjacent cloudforest and almost immediately spotted the first Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, which sadly flew of just seconds after. But now we knew it was there and searched for a nice spot to sit down and watch the treetops. Therefore we made our way towards a promising rock. Micha and Demi, walking in the front, flushed a male Scissor-tailed Nightjar from the way, but unfortunately, it disappeared into the woods, so no one else got to see it. From the rock, we scanned the forest and very soon we had excellent views on both Red-crested and Bay-vented Cotingas, with Barred Fruiteaters calling nearby, but never show. After a while I encountered a mixed flock moving through a hole in the forest. Even though far away we could identify the odd Pardusco, the awesome Yellow-scarfed Tanager, interesting Pearled Treerunners and cute Blue-backed Conebills. Also a furnariid, that reminded of a

Trying to relocate the mixed flock, some had the luck of finding another stunner, the Golden-collared Tanager. Having had great views of our main target we walked back to the car stumbling upon several more mixed flocks. Even though it were mainly the same birds of before (Cotingas, Conebills, Parduscos, Mountain-Tanagers and Pearled Treerunners) our views were much better than before, with the birds sometimes just a little more than a meter away. When we left the cloud forest we soon came upon our next target. Its song is surprisingly similar to that of its Eurasian relatives. However it took a while before we finally got to see one of the Paramo Pipits, but this one showed more than extremely well! In the distance called a Trilling Tapaculo and a strange-looking Canastero turned out to actually be a Sedge Wren.

After a small lunch break, we headed down the other slope along the bumpy road by foot and had two targets especially in mind. We came across Black-tailed Trainbearers, Hooded Siskins and Plain-colored Seedeaters, but not our targets, so we all got back into the bus and drove further down the road. When we finally halted (Oh my poor back!) at a small remaining patch of the forest it didn’t take us more than a few seconds to find both birds: The rather drab (but beautiful), but endemic Brown-flanked Tanager and the spectacularly cute Black-crested Tit-Tyrant. Tufted Tit-Tyrants and more Baron’s Spinetails also emerged from their cover and showed beautifully.

On the drive back home a large raptor, almost certainly the young Black-and-chestnut Eagle soared over the valley, but apparently and unfortunately our calls weren’t heard by Raúl over the sounds of hitting bumps and potholes.

Bird of the day: Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager —47 species seen, 3 heard; 28 new

 

A9 – Day 9

Carpish Tunnel and Paty Trail

Our goal for today was an equally famous site as Unchog: The so-called Carpish Tunnel. The big advantage over the Unchog is that you can reach it by a public, mostly paved road. But today this was also our disadvantage. After several hours driving, we came to a sudden halt only five kilometres before the tunnel, where congestion was building up. Lots of street vendors tried to sell their “chifles” and other local snacks and upon asking one of them we found out, that there was road construction site ahead of us that would only be opened every three hours for the cars to pass. Damned. The next opening was scheduled for 10 AM and it was 8.30 AM. The only options we had were either going to Unchog again or waiting since all other good sites lay on the other side of the tunnel. So we waited. An extremely friendly local family let us into their extremely basic house, where we were allowed to have our breakfast. What an extremely nice gesture of them! Above the road hundreds of Chestnut-collared, with a few White-collared Swifts were chasing, in the bushes sat Cinereous Conebills and Band-tailed Seedeaters and some Golden-bellied Grosbeaks put in some colour. Just moments before the road was finally reopened an Aplomado Falcon appeared and showed well, even though the bright sun hindered a really great observation.

Only a few minutes later we finally arrived at Carpish and started walking along the road. Very soon we’d found our first flock, followed by several others. Spectacled Whitestarts were the most abundant birds, but Scarlet-bellied and Lacrimose Mountain-Tanagers put in spectacular appearances. With a bit of playback two Peruvian Wrens popped out of the bamboo, a Mountain Wren showed extraordinarily well. Yellow-scarfed Tanagers, Parduscos and Blue-backed Conebills (species we had all seen the previous day) showed perfectly. A Smoky Bush-Tyrant sallied from time to time from its branch to catch a bug. Amethyst-throated Sunangels, Mountain Velvetbreasts and Huánuco (Violet-throated) Starfrontlets all put in some appearances, but an Orange-breasted Falcon, perched high up on an electricity tower stole the show. While some moved back down and found Andean Guans, Rufous Spinetails and Unstreaked Tit-Tyrants others moved further up and chanced upon a White-eared Solitaire. After a while we all gathered around the car, ready to drive to the next site when a magnificent Swallow-tailed Kite appeared. Everybody was just so stunned that almost everybody forgot to take pictures.

I want to mention that the forest around Carpish is seriously threatened (even though protected by law), as huge parts of the region are being burned for plantations. We put out several smaller fires along the road, but of course, this helps only in short term L

Then we moved on to the next famous trail, the Paty Trail just a few minutes down the road. Apparently the starting section of it has been deforested to build an ugly, dusty soccer field on it. Eventhough half a dozen Andean Guans lingered in the remaining forest not much else was found here. So we went

further down the trail, eventually stumbling on just another mixed flock, however, it was difficult to observe in the dense vegetation. We could identify a Montane Foliage-gleaner, some Pearled Treerunners, the ever-present Spectacled Whitestart and a White-browed Hemispingus. Nearby singing Grey-breasted Wood-wrens were only seen shooting from one side of the path to the other. A Collared Inca showed well but was too fast for pictures. In the canopy climbed Rufous-chested Tanagers and Grey-headed Bush-Tanagers.

Even further down the trail did we not only find several Long-tailed Sylphs and heard a Trilling Tapaculo, but Alejandro knew a spot, where there were good chances for Bay Antpitta. And only moments after playing the playback it responded, scuttling closer at a fast pace. Eventually, it was so close we could hear the leaves rustling, but after 40 minutes had to give up on it and climbed back to the car, as we had to pass through the tunnel already at 4 PM

Bird of the day: Swallow-tailed Kite 51 species seen, 3 heard; 19 new

 

A10 – Day 10

Pucusana and Puerto Viejo

After taking a night bus from Huánuco to Lima and sleeping more or less well we were picked up by Alejandro and Raúl in the early morning. We drove straight out of Lima to a small town called Pucusana. Normally we should have been sitting in a speedboat, driving about 30 miles out to the sea, where we’d have tried to see as many pelagic birds as possible. But the captain cancelled the tour as he said he couldn’t handle the wind (about 3-4 bft, I’m still a little pissed), so we had to change plans. Around

Pucusana we hoped, we’d still have chances of finding some seabirds, even if not the birds that stay very far offshore. En route, we made a short stop to get breakfast. It was just a dusty place in the middle of the desert with maybe 3 potted plants, still, Micha somehow managed to find a Peruvian Sheartail. Also, a Shiny Cowbird and some House Sparrows sat on a fence here.

Soon after that, we arrived at the harbour of Pucusana and of course began birding immediately, even though the boat still had to be prepared. In the harbour sat dozens of Peruvian Pelicans, a flock of Turnstones flew from boat to boat and Snowy Egrets tried to fish from the railings. And of course, there was the most beautiful tern in this world, the handsome Inca Tern.

Soon we left the harbour with a small fisher boat and the skipper took us to some cliffs, where we immediately spotted Blackish Oystercatchers, Peruvian Boobies and a Surf Cinclodes. Some Red-legged Cormorants were diving in the water and then we got to see one of the most wanted birds of the whole group. First a bird swimming, then dozens on a faraway, unreachable cliff and then three more in the water: Humboldt Penguins! Jackpot!

We took a turn around the island of Pucusana, not only seeing lots of Peruvian Pelicans, Peruvian and Blue-footed Boobies but also groups of South American Sea Lions. When reentering the harbour we found a group of beautiful Guanay Cormorants, two juvenile Kelp Gulls and again loads of very approachable Inca Terns.

We then proceeded to the Humedales, an important marsh that is only protected due to Alejandro’s efforts. Normally it is a safe bet for Peruvian Thick-Knee, but we only found a single bird quite far away. There weren’t many birds the humedales itself, so we went to the nearby beach, where American and Blackish Oystercatcher fought each other, Peruvian Boobies were rocket diving and several gull species feasting on a dolphin carcass. Coastal Miners picked up some crumbs and in the distance, one could see hundreds of White-chinned Petrels gliding over the sea, with a few Pink-footed Shearwaters between them. Every now and then somebody watching through the scope got lucky and saw a Peruvian Diving-Petrel shooting through the waves. There was also a pod of Great Grebes swimming far offshore. At least this made up a little bit for the lost pelagic.

After a while, we drove to our third destination, the last few kilometres of the Rio Lurin, just south of Lima, before it reaches the sea. When we arrived there it was a bit disappointing. Supposedly Green Kingfishers can be found here, however, that seemed hard to believe, considering the whole river looked like a dumpster and smelled equal. But the birds didn’t seem to bother and soon we’d found our first Plumbeous Rail. In the shrubs adjacent to the river sat the black Groove-billed Anis and Shiny Cowbirds. Also, a pair of the really tiny Pacific Parrotlet, belonging to a feral population here, was found and several Vermilion Flycatchers gave this place a bit of colour. Within minutes we’d also found a Bran-colored Flycatcher, which here belongs to a subspecies that is very likely to be given species status in the near future. A Peruvian Pygmy-Owl flew over the river just to land in a tree just next to us. Two of Harris’s Hawks sat on a nearby mountain. And last but not least, well actually… there were some 20 Least Sandpipers in the riverbed. In between them, a single Semipalmated Sandpiper allowed for a great comparison. Also neat-looking and one of Bernds main highlights were several Spotted Sandpipers that flew up and down the river.

Our first part of the tour was now over and a very different second part awaited us now.

Bird of the day: Humboldt Penguin — 61 species seen; 25 new

 

I hope you enjoyed the first parts, hope to see you soon to check out the other parts. We’ll travel our path to The Manu Road, Lago Huarcapay, Paucartambo, Pantiacolla next. Do let me know if you have any questions. 

Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Lago Titicaca, Colca Canyon | Part 5
Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Pantiacolla Lodge, Amazonia Lodge, Cusco | Part 4

 

Peru Tour – Complete Birdwatching Trip Report – Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2 Reviewed by on . Peru Tour - Complete Birdwatching Trip Report - Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2 Peru is one of the most biodiverse Peru Tour - Complete Birdwatching Trip Report - Lomas de Lachay, Pucusana, Puerto Viejo and Humedales de Ventanilla | Part 2 Peru is one of the most biodiverse Rating: 0
scroll to top

This site is for sale. For more info, contact me on seoulunlimited@gmail.com