Thursday, 29 October 2009
PERU 2009: The Manu Road from the top ........
The birding route along the Cusco - Shintuya road (The Old Manu Road) is undoubtedly one of the classics. I am privileged to have been able to watch all kinds of birds along this road on over thirty occasions now, mostly leading birding tours.
This year we started early as usual reaching the arid slopes near Huancarani before it became too hot, our main target bird being the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. Thanks to an impromptu stop for Andean Tinamou we ended up finding this attractive species early plus Rusty-fronted Canastero and a host of other interesting birds.
Heading towards Paucartambo Andean Ibis can be found on the arid "pampas". This scarce species can be found almost anywhere in this vast area and a modicum of good fortune is needed to encounter one but thanks to the sharp eyes of one of our group members (nice one Peter).
Climbing out of Paucartambo the habitat slowly becomes less arid until the Puna grasslands are reached and the road drops over the pass and into the cloud forests of the eastern slope of the Andes. In the more humid valleys the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail can be found and Giant Hummingbirds (a Starling-sized hummer) sally from perches catching insects. This year we found an Andean Tyrant here; a bird I've personally seen on only a handful of occasions.
Into the cloud forests next ........