Friday, December 21, 2018

Peru Birding Trip Day 14 - July 21, 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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The last day of the trip was spent doing some "local" birding around Lima, visiting three different sites with great photo potential. First up, after driving about an hour south of the hotel, was Pantanos de Villa, a marshy area with a beach and adjacent brackish and fresh water marsh. The area is fairly large, with at least three access points. We went to an area with a beach and inland lagoon where we arrived just after sunrise. The Lima winter fog was in full force, making photography challenging.
Pantanos de Villa

















The lagoon had lots of waterfowl, with many Common Gallinules and lots of ducks, including the commonest White-cheeked Pintail.
White-cheeked Pintails

















There were also flocks of gulls, usually mixed, consisting of 5 or 6 species, as in the photos below.
Andean Gulls (40), Kelp Gulls (22), Belcher's Gulls (9),
and Common Gallinules (14)














Belcher's Gulls, Andean Gulls, and Kelp Gulls

















Scanning the flocks, it was fairly easy to pick out the species, but getting photos of isolated individuals or groups with only one species was more difficult. Andean Gulls were fairly numerous, as they were on the coast away from their high elevation breeding areas. Most of the adults were in non-breeding plumage.
Andean Gull - non-breeding adult
















Andean Gull - non-breeding adult
















Andean Gull - non-breeding adult

















There were a few adults in breeding plumage, with their blackish hoods.
Andean Gull - breeding adult
















Andean Gull - breeding adult
















Andean Gull - breeding adult

















There were very few juvenile Andean Gulls in this area. Perhaps they winter in other areas?
Andean Gull - juvenile

















The similar Gray-hooded Gull was a lot less numerous here than it was a couple days ago in the Ventanillas area, and here there were no adults, just immatures.
Gray-hooded Gull - juvenile
















Gray-hooded Gull - juvenile















Gray-hooded Gull - juvenile

















Gray-hooded Gull - juvenile
















Gray-hooded Gull - juvenile


















The juvenile (first cycle) Kelp Gulls would easily blend in with a flock of similarly aged Herring Gulls in Michigan, though in plumage details they actually resemble juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls a bit more.
Kelp Gull - juvenile (1st cycle)
















Kelp Gulls - juvenile (1at cycle), left, 3rd cycle at right

















The adult Kelp Gulls had very black "mantles", with thick yellow bills, and pink legs. Some had completely white heads, as they do when breeding, while a few had lightly streaked heads and dark-tipped bills as they do in winter.
Kelp Gulls - adults
















Kelp Gulls - nonbreeding adults
















Kelp Gull - breeding adult
















Kelp Gull - breeding adult

















A white spot on their outermost primaries is supposed to be a useful field mark, especially when they are out of range in the northern hemisphere, but it seemed that only the winter adults had them, while many breeding adults had all-black primaries.
Kelp Gull - nonbreeding adult
















Kelp Gull - nonbreeding adult
















Kelp Gull - breeding adult

















Kelp Gulls take four years to attain adult plumage, but most of the individuals here were either juveniles or adults. There were a few that were likely in their 3rd year (cycle), when they look mostly like adults but also have a black band on the tail making them similar to the Belcher's Gulls that were fairly numerous here too.
Kelp Gull - 3rd cycle

















We saw a few Belcher's Gulls a couple days ago at the Ventanillas Lagoons, but here we had better views. They are slightly smaller than Kelp Gulls, with very dark mantles and more colorful bills and yellow legs. Winter adults have black heads, while breeding adults have white heads, which is the opposite of all the "hooded" gull species.
Belcher's Gull - winter adult

















Most of them here were in winter plumage, or like those in the photos below, were in transitional plumage. Belcher's Gulls are winter breeders, and July is the middle of winter here at 7 degrees south latitude in the southern hemisphere. They have black tails in all plumages, which is more extensive than the black on immature Kelp Gulls.
Belcher's Gulls - adults transitioning to breeding plumage
















Belcher's Gull - adult transitioning to breeding plumage

















The "lifer" gull here was the Gray Gull, which was in small groups here and there. Gray Gulls breed well inland in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, probably the driest place on earth. Their breeding success can be quite variable from year to year, and at this site there were only adults, with most in non-breeding plumage.
Gray Gull - nonbreeding adult
















Gray Gull - nonbreeding adult
















Gray Gull - nonbreeding adult
















Gray Gull - nonbreeding adult

















Nonbreedng adult Gray Gulls have a suggestion of a dark hood, while breeding adults have a whitish face blending into the gray of the body.
Gray Gull - breeding adult
















Gray Gull - breeding adult

















The "rarest" gull here was a northern hemisphere species, the Franklin's Gull, which is abundant in coastal Peru during the northern winter, but at this time of year most of them have departed north for their breeding grounds in the northern Great Plains of North America. It was interesting that those that we saw were still mainly in breeding plumage, with partial dark hoods, but were heavily molting their flight feathers.
Franklin's Gull - winter adult

















On some of the sandbars in the large lagoon we flushed up flocks of hundreds of Black Skimmers.
Black Skimmers
















Black Skimmers
















Black Skimmers
















Black Skimmers
















Black Skimmers


















It was tricky getting close enough for a photo of a perched skimmer without flushing the whole flock.
Black Skimmer
















Black Skimmer
















Black Skimmer

















I have seen Black Skimmers many times, and have tried to get photos of them "skimming" as they feed in the unique style for which their bills are specially adapted. I was fairly successful this time.
Black Skimmer















Black Skimmer


















During some of their flush flights, as they were settling back down onto a different sand bar, some of the skimmers chased each other in what might be territorial disputes, but I'm not really sure. Maybe courtship? I managed a few photos of these chases that sometimes continued on up into the fog.
Black Skimmers
















Black Skimmers

















There were other species in the lagoon, including a good number of Neotropic Cormorants.
Neotropic Cormorant

















Another species that was a "lifer" here that I really wanted to see, and hopefully photograph, was the large and snake-necked Great Grebe. There were only a couple of them around, so I had good views in the scope, but they didn't come close enough for anything better than a couple of record shots.
Great Grebe
















Great Grebe

















There were northern hemisphere shorebirds on the beach and in the lagoons, including species like these Willets that overwinter here but a few stay during the northern summer. They were mostly in non-breeding plumage so they are apparently skipping a molt.
Willets

















But the Killdeer are not migrants, but a locally breeding subspecies that is found mainly along the Peruvian coast. I could not see any differences from those we have breeding in Michigan.
Killdeer

















Also resident, and a different subspecies from the ones we have in North America, was the American Oystercatcher which was present here in several small groups
American Oystercatcher
















American Oystercatcher
















American Oystercatcher

















The subspecies on the Pacific coast of South America has a slightly larger white patch on the upper side of the wing.
American Oystercatcher
















American Oystercatcher
















American Oystercatcher
















American Oystercatcher


















One target bird here was an odd shorebird that can be difficult to see because they are mainly nocturnal, and during the day hide in grasslands and rocky areas, remaining motionless when discovered, the Peruvian Thick-knee. As we were heading around the lagoon to an area of marsh vegetation, we searched an area where they were known to be. We saw lots of their footprints in the trail and dike where we were watching. Eventually, two were spotted about half way out in a barren field, and we got good looks.
Peruvian Thick-knees

















The Peruvian Thick-knee is found mainly in coastal arid parts of Peru, occurring in small areas of southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Chile.
Peruvian Thick-knee
















Peruvian Thick-knee
















Peruvian Thick-knee
















Peruvian Thick-knee
















Peruvian Thick-knee


















Despite being fairly large (as big as a gallinule), their cryptic plumage makes them difficult to spot.
Peruvian Thick-knee
















Peruvian Thick-knee

















With this shorebird prize under our belts, we then continued on to the marsh where I had another chance to see and photograph Wren-like Rushbird. They were common here, more common at the Ventanillas Lagoons, but as before I only managed to get a single photo. This one was better than the last, though still not the best.
Wren-like Rushbird

















The best bird at this location, at least for me, was the kinglet-sized Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, which might be the most colorful tyrant-flycatcher of all. They came in readily to Alexandro's tape, and I was able to get some good photos.
Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
















Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
















Many-colored Rush-Tyrant

















Hard to see was a small red spot on the crown, and even harder to see were the red feathers under the tail.
Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
















Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
















Many-colored Rush-Tyrant
















Many-colored Rush-Tyrant


















Our next destination, a bit more than an hour farther south along the Pacific coast, was the fishing village of Pucusana where Alexandro arranged a 1-hour boat trip around the nearby island which was inhabited by many waterbirds as well as humans.
Pucusana Island

















Pucusana Island


















As we motored out of the crowded harbor, there were lots of Peruvian Pelicans diving into the water, and begging for fish scraps on the many, many boats.
Peruvian Pelican
















Peruvian Pelican

















Inca Terns were perched on nearly every available space around the harbor, and flying overhead, some carrying fish, apparently to feed fledglings.
Inca Terns
















Inca Tern

















There were a few Peruvian Boobies diving into the harbor as well.
Peruvian Booby

















And as we motored the 100 yards or so across open water to the island, we encountered more Peruvian Boobies flying over.
Peruvian Booby
















Peruvian Booby

















We would encounter these species again, under better circumstances, but we only saw Guanay Cormorants in flight away from the island. They nest in huge numbers farther south, but here there were only a few.
Guanay Cormorant

















Belcher's Gulls nest on this island, and there were hundreds of them around, almost all of them adults in breeding plumage.
Belcher's Gull - breeding adult
















Belcher's Gull - breeding adult

















Breeding adults have bright yellow legs and bill, with the tip of the bill banded with black and red.
Belcher's Gull - breeding adult
















Belcher's Gull - breeding adult
















Belcher's Gull - breeding adult
















Belcher's Gull - breeding adult

















Many breeding adult Belcher's Gulls have a pale gray wash on their breasts and bellies.
Belcher's Gull - breeding adult















Belcher's Gull - breeding adult


















Peruvian Boobies were quite common on the island, although most of them were high up on the cliffs and difficult to get good photos.
Peruvian Boobies
















Peruvian Boobies

















There were a few that perched lower down and allowed for better photos, although the small boat we were in was bouncing quite a bit.
Peruvian Boobies
















Peruvian Boobies
















Peruvian Booby
















Peruvian Booby
















Peruvian Booby


















Much less common this far south, we managed to see a few Blue-footed Boobies on the cliffs as well. Superficially similar to the Peruvian Booby, Blue-footed have streaked heads and unspotted wings, the opposite of what Peruvian shows. And of course, they have blue feet.
Blue-footed Booby
















Blue-footed Booby
















Blue-footed Booby


















Peruvian Pelicans were everywhere. About 20% larger than Brown Pelicans, and formerly considered a subspecies, they also have more white on their backs and upper wings.
Peruvian Pelicans
















Peruvian Pelican
















Peruvian Pelican
















Peruvian Pelican
















Peruvian Pelican























Peruvian Pelican
























As we passed by some of the pelicans on the lower rocks, they hopped and flew closer to our boat, seeming to be looking for handouts!
Peruvian Pelican























Peruvian Pelican
















Peruvian Pelicans
















Peruvian Pelican


















The one in the photo above seemed like it was going to jump into the boat, but it ended up on the water nearby.
Peruvian Pelican

















The hundreds of Inca Terns were almost everywhere, and very photogenic. On our 1-hour boat ride around the island, I took 100 photos of this species alone!
Inca Terns
















Inca Tern
















Inca Tern

















The Inca Tern has probably the most interesting "moustache" in the bird world.
Inca Tern























Inca Tern
















Inca Tern

















Inca Tern
















Inca Tern
















Inca Tern
















Inca Tern

















Inca Tern

















Quite a few Inca Terns were seen flying around with fish hanging out of their mouths...
Inca Tern
















Inca Tern

















...but we only saw a couple of begging juveniles on the island. Perhaps the others were out at sea?
Inca Tern

















I was expecting to see a few Ruddy Turnstones on the island, as they are known to linger through the northern summer in coastal Peru, but I was surprised to see several large groups of them as we circled around the island. Most of them seemed to be in breeding plumage, which also surprised me.
Ruddy Turnstones
















Ruddy Turnstones
















Ruddy Turnstones
















Ruddy Turnstones

















Among one of these groups of turnstones was a Surfbird, which is somewhat rare along the Peruvian coast in the northern summer. I have never seen Surfbirds in anything but winter plumage, so this one in transitional to breeding plumage was different.
Surfbird
















Surfbird
















Surfbird

















There was much more to see on this island, and sorting through all the common birds shown above, we also saw less numerous things including a few Southern Sea Lions.
Southern Sea Lion
















Southern Sea Lion
















Southern Sea Lion

















Working the lower rocks were a few Blackish Oystercatchers. They are virtually identical to the Black Oystercatcher from the northern hemisphere, but their ranges don't come anywhere near each other. Blackish Oystercatchers have shorter tails and a chunkier bill, with the latter character somewhat evident to me in the field.
Blackish Oystercatcher, with Sally Lightfoot Crab
















Blackish Oystercatcher

















There are also a couple of Old World oystercatchers that are very similar, but those all have red eyes and red eyerings, while the New World species have yellow eyes and red eyerings.
Blackish Oystercatcher, with Sally Lightfoot Crab

















One species I really wanted to see on this boat trip was Humboldt Penguin, as I've only seen two other penguins...one in the Galapagos and one in Australia. The area where they were hanging out on the island was in a narrow inlet where the wave action was pretty severe, making photos very difficult. I only got two useable photos, one of a single penguin with his "posse" of Inca Terns, and another closer view that is cut off because of the bouncing.
Humboldt Penguin















Humboldt Penguin

























I was hoping to get good views of Red-legged Cormorant, as they are often considered to be the most beautiful cormorant in the world, and was surprised that there were more of them than I expected. Breeding adults have red faces, yellow bills, and of course red legs, while immatures are mostly gray and white.
Red-legged Cormoraant, immature
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult
























Red-legged Cormorant, adult
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult

















Most cormorants have green eyes that can be seen at close range. Red-legged Cormorants do have green eyes, but also have an eye ring that looks like a black and turquoise dashed line. You can see them in the photos below, especially if you click on them to enlarge the view.
Red-legged Cormorant, adult
















Red-legged Cormorant, adult

















The last new bird we saw here was the only songbird on the island, and the last Peruvian endemic of the trip, was a couple of Surf Cinclodes working the exposed barnacles and mussels right down at the water line.
Surf Cinclodes















Surf Cinclodes
















Surf Cinclodes

















Surf Cinclodes

















After we returned to shore, we had lunch at a local restaurant in town, then headed back north about 45 minutes to the Rio Lurin area which was near the Lima Polo Club (!), and we had to be let in past a closed gate to drive the road along a small, rocky stream. This was my last chance to get photos of some of the common coastal bird species, something that I often forget to do on these trips. Among the most numerous was the near-endemic West Peruvian Dove, which was formerly considered a disjunct subspecies of the North American White-winged Dove, but which has different vocalizations.
West Peruvian Dove
















West Peruvian Dove
















West Peruvian Dove
















West Peruvian Dove
















West Peruvian Dove
















West Peruvian Dove



















A much smaller dove, the Croaking Ground-Dove, is fairly common along the coast from northwestern Ecuador to northwestern Chile. It has a very odd vocalization, and you can listen to a recording of it here on Xeno-Canto. It looks a lot like many other Ground-Doves, but the black and white bar on its shoulder is a good mark, as is the pale eye and orange base on the bill.
Croaking Ground-Dove

















The "black" bar on the shoulder is actually maroon, which can be seen at close range, as in the photo below.
Croaking Ground-Dove

















The only hummingbird seen today was Amazilia Hummingbird, which I had seen before in Ecuador. I was only able to get a couple of record shots, but wanted to include them here to make sure that I have a hummingbird photo in every blog entry about this trip.
Amazilia Hummingbird
















Amazilia Hummingbird

















The Pacific Parrotlet is native to southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru, but a feral population has been established in the Lima area. It is a tiny, sparrow-sized parrot, and it was difficult to get close enough to get decent images.
Pacific Parrotlet
















Pacific Parrotlet

















Only females and immatures of the tiny Chestnut-throated Seeder were seen. But while female seedeaters can be extremely difficult to identify, female Chestnut-throateds are the only one with streaked backs.
Chestnut-throated Seedeaters
















Chestnut-throated Seedeaters

















The Collared Warbling-Finch is nearly endemic to coastal and western Peru, but is also found in southwestern Ecuador where I saw them before.
Collared Warbling-Finch
















Collared Warbling-Finch

















The Vermilion Flycatcher is a widespread tropical and subtropical species, and it is quite common in all but the highest elevation areas of Peru.
Vermilion Flycatcher, male
















Vermilion Flycatcher, female
















Vermilion Flycatcher, female

















Another widespread tropical flycatcher is the Bran-colored Flycatcher, which also occurs nearly throughout Peru except in the Andes. The subspecies that occurs on the coast, though, is very different and may eventually be considered a separate species (Rufescent Flycatcher). It does not have dark streaks on pale buff underparts like the other subspecies, but is is rich rufous-buff with no streaks. It is found from southwestern Ecuador, where I'd seen it before, to northwestern Chile, being found in dry coastal habitats.
Bran-colored (Rufescent) Flycatcher
















Bran-colored (Rufescent) Flycatcher
















Bran-colored (Rufescent) Flycatcher
















Bran-colored (Rufescent) Flycatcher

















Scrub Blackbirds were common all along the rocky stream here.
Scrub Blackbird
















Scrub Blackbird

















We flushed a larger bird at one point that turned out to be a rarity on the Peruvian coast, a Purple Gallinule. It was a good thing that I got photos of this immature to document its occurrence here.
Purple Gallinule, immature
















Purple Gallinule, immature

















The last "lifer" of the trip, and unexpectedly easy to see, was Plumbeous Rail. Three or four of them were foraging out in the open, on the rocks and among the shoreline vegetation, of the small stream next to the road we were walking along.
Plumbeous Rail

















They seemed oblivious to our presence, while we enjoyed their colorful yellow, turquoise, and red beaks.
Plumbeous Rail
















Plumbeous Rail

















One or two of them had less turquoise color on the base of their bills, and I suspect these were females.
Plumbeous Rail
















Plumbeous Rail
















Plumbeous Rail
















Plumbeous Rail
















Plumbeous Rail

















Plumbeous Rail

















Plumbeous Rail

















It was a nicer place than it looked like when we first pulled in, and a great way to end the trip. Thomas had an afternoon flight (mine was at 10 p.m.), so we had to leave earlier than I wanted to. It took almost 2 hours to get to the airport anyway, and we said our goodbye's and I found a place in the Lima airport to wait for my flight home.

Overall, I saw 456 species of birds on this trip, of which 114 were "lifers" and 24 were Peruvian endemics (just 80 to go!). I saw 54 hummingbird species, of which 17 were "lifers", which brought my list of hummingbirds seen to 204. It was a great trip!

The Hummingbird Photo Safari portion of the trip was booked through Manu Expeditions Birding and Wildlife Tours, who I highly recommend.

The last 3 1/2 days of the trip around Lima were booked through Kolibri Expeditions, who I also highly recommend.
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2 comments:

David Lancaster said...

great trip
Dave

Conry said...

Good trip and interesting species.

Regards!