Monday, December 3, 2018

Peru Birding Trip Day 12 - July 19, 2018

If you want to catch up on previous posts about this trip, go to the following links:

Peru Trip Day 1            Peru Trip Day 6              Peru Trip Day 11
Peru Trip Day 2            Peru Trip Day 7              Peru Trip Day 12
Peru Trip Day 3            Peru Trip Day 8              Peru Trip Day 13
Peru Trip Day 4            Peru Trip Day 9              Peru Trip Day 14
Peru Trip Day 5            Peru Trip Day 10
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We had to leave our hotel quite early to get out of Lima in time to get to our first birding site by 7:00 a.m.. It was amazing how much traffic there was, and it was a couple hours before we were heading up into the dry Andean foothills east of Lima, into the Santa Eulalia valley and canyon, where we were going to spend the day. Our first stop was at about 3000 feet elevation, and the coastal fog was still a bit in evidence. Long-tailed Mockingbird is a fairly common "coastal" species in Peru, but it was difficult to see in the city, so today was the best look I'd had at one on the trip.
Long-tailed Mockingbird

















The name makes no sense to me, as their tails don't seem to be any longer than any other species of mockingbird.
Long-tailed Mockingbird
















Long-tailed Mockingbird

















Long-tailed Mockingbird

















Some other interesting birds that were here included brief looks at a Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, and a Peruvian endemic, Great Inca-Finch. Both eluded getting their photos taken, but the common Chiguanco Thrush did not elude me. The vague spotting on the breast of this one suggests it might be an immature.
Chiguanco Thrush

















A bit unexpected at this elevation, though it is a bird of arid habitats, was this Southern Beardless Tyrannulet.
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
















Southern Beardless Tyrannulet

















Initially, a small group of Blue-and-yellow Tanagers had me thinking they were a species of Inca-Finch, but with better views it became clear what they were. Of course, Inca-Finches and most of the seedeaters and grassquits, are now classified with the tanagers anyway.
Blue-and-yellow Tanager
















Blue-and-yellow Tanager
























We drove up a little higher, and got above the coastal fog into some nice, clear air, but the habitat remained dry with a lot of cactus, yuccas, and agaves on the hillsides.
Cacti and Agaves in Santa Eulalia Canyon

















One species of cactus that seemed to be quite common was rather ropey and prone, hanging down the sides of the cliffs they were growing on.
Cacti in Santa Eulalia Canyon

















One of the birds we saw in this area was a Peruvian endemic, Black-necked Woodpecker. Unfortunately, it wanted to hide behind the branches in a dense tree and did not give clear photos.
Black-necked Woodpecker
















Black-necked Woodpecker

















A few Bare-eyed Ground-Doves were seen in the rocky areas, including on some crumbling human habitations. These doves belong to a group of four species that, for quite a long time, were thought to lack vocalizations. They have since been recorded, but they do apparently only rarely vocalize. This was the second species of that group I've seen, and it was a life bird for me.
Bare-eyed Ground-Dove

















Some other elusive (for the camera) life birds that we found here included Streaked Tit-Spinetail, Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, and Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant. From here we drove through some really nice scenery with a lot of winding, cliff-hugging road with not too many chances to stop for birds.
Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon



















At one pullout, near a large dam, a group of Andean Swifts was an unexpected species. They were bathing, in flight, by flying through a small waterfall high up the mountainside. Luckily, they came over to the road and briefly flew overhead.
Andean Swift















Andean Swift


















We continued on, through more spectacular, arid scenery.
Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon

















Santa Eulalia Canyon



















We came to a relatively flat area, where there were some flowering trees and shrubs, as well as smaller flowering plants.
Aloe sp.























Flower sp.

















One flower that I could identify was the Andean Lupine, which is native to this area but has apparently been cultivated for more than 1500 years.
Andean Lupine (Lupinus mutabilis)
























And, on cue, there were hummingbirds...four species that were all lifers. Three species were flying around in a flowering tree, and the surrounding terrestrial flowers, and the first that I was able to identify was the long-billed Oasis Hummingbird.
Oasis Hummingbird, female

















Only females were seen.
Oasis Hummingbird, female

















Next up, and very difficult to get a good look at, was the Purple-collared Woodstar which seemed to be the most numerous hummingbird here, but unfortunately no adult males were seen. The one I was able to photograph was most likely an immature, and was very unusual in that its bill was almost entirely yellow. I cannot find any reference to this in field guides or elsewhere.
Purple-collared Woodstar, immature (?)

















The third species was the 200th hummingbird species that I've seen, the spectacular though small Peruvian Sheartail. The first one was a male sitting in a shrub down the hillside some distance away.
Peruvian Sheartail, male

















There were a few females around too.
Peruvian Sheartail, female

















This one might be an immature male.
Peruvian Sheartail, imm. male (?)

















Finally, another adult male came closer, but it was staying behind a fence in a local farmer's garden.
Peruvian Sheartail, male

















They seemed to be molting their body feathers quite heavily, so the purple on the throat was not too conspicuous.
Peruvian Sheartail, male
















Peruvian Sheartail, male

















The fourth species was a bit tougher, and a Peruvian endemic, the Bronze-tailed Comet. We checked a lot of patches of a yellow-flowered shrub or small tree that they were known to favor.
Tree sp. favored by Bronze-tailed Comet

















A Bronze-tailed Comet finally appeared, and I got a fairly good look, but unfortunately it flew off too quickly for me to get a photo. I couldn't help thinking that the farmer could make a few birder tourist dollars by putting up hummingbird feeders, and attracting these four species and perhaps a few more. A bit farther on, we came to an area along a stream where we had lunch. Some new birds we saw here included a lifer White-browed Chat-Tyrant.
White-browed Chat-Tyrant

















Another flycatcher, on the open rocks and staying on the ground, was this Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant.
Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant

















There are many species of Ground-Tyrant, and they all look very similar. The spot on the bill that gives this species its name is a tiny yellowish dot on the base of the lower bill, which I've never seen before on the ones in Ecuador, but this time I managed a photo where it can be seen...if you look very closely!
Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant

















A group of Peruvian endemic Rusty-bellied Brush-Finches was seen in a brushy area that was overgrowing a stone wall down the hillside.
Rusty-bellied Brush-Finches

















They are not particularly colorful, and their bellies and under tail are not really "rusty", but actually more "buffy".
Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch
















Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch

















We had been flushing small flocks of Mountain Parakeets along the road, but mostly in places where it was not safe to stop. Luckily a few of them came in and landed in vegetation in a nearby ravine where we were having lunch. Unfortunately, they were still somewhat distant.
Mountain Parakeet

















A couple of Giant Hummingbirds chased each other across the open sky, and I managed only a couple of record shots of one of them.
Giant Hummingbird

















Also in the nearby shrubbery was a small flock of Band-tailed Seedeaters.
Band-tailed Seedeater

















The small stream was obviously an attraction to all these birds, but as we walked up the road a bit farther, Alexandro pointed out another feature that was equally attractive. It was a colpa, or clay lick, similar to what the parrots and macaws come to in the Amazon.
Santa Eulalia Canyon clay lick

















But this one was smaller, only about 10 feet high, and it was being used by a lot of smaller species, so we stopped and watched for a while. We had been seeing small groups of Mourning Sierra-Finches farther down the canyon, but the best view of the day was when one came in to feed on the minerals in the clay.
Mourning Sierra-Finch

















A small group of Hooded Siskins soon came in too.
Hooded Siskin, male

















They gave us good views as they perched in the adjacent vegetation.
Hooded Siskin, female
















Hooded Siskin, male

















But the real prize at this location was the very rare and localized Peruvian endemic, Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch. An adult came in, attending an immature. This is apparently the only location where breeding has been confirmed in its entire range.
Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch, immature












































While we got brief, but good looks at the adult, I was only able to get photos of the immature. I have not been able to find any photos on-line of an immature of this species, so these could be a fairly rare photos.
Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch, immature
















Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch, immature

















We had gotten up to about 9000 feet in elevation, and had to turn back to get to our lodging for the night. On the way back, we stopped at a rushing river (torrent) to check for a couple of species that should be there. After scanning the river below us for a while, one of the species hopped up onto a rock, a White-capped Dipper.
White-capped Dipper

















It stayed only a minute or so before it flew off upstream.
White-capped Dipper

















Then we spotted the other species we were looking for, a pair of Torrent Ducks. First the male came into view...
Torrent Ducks

















...then the female joined him.
Torrent Ducks

















The female was moving around a lot more, so was more difficult to photograph. The male didn't sit still either, and kept jumping off the rocks into the rushing water, but was easier to spot against the rocks because of his contrasting black-and-white head and neck.
Torrent Duck, male
















Torrent Duck, male
















Torrent Duck, male
















Torrent Duck, male

















I think it is their very large feet, even for a duck, that allows them to swim so strongly in such rapidly moving water.
Torrent Duck, male

















We twisted and turned back down the canyon to a fairly large town where we got settled into our hotel and went out for dinner. I was expecting that we might stay overnight at 6000 feet elevation or higher, but this was only at about 2000 feet. I was hoping that today's short jaunt up to 9000 feet would help me get acclimated to be able to handle the 15,000+ foot elevations where we're heading tomorrow. Hopefully the Diamox I was taking would help too.

1 comment:

David Lancaster said...

very interesting and nice photos. I have enjoyed your blog
Dave