[Tweeters] Off topic: Part II of our trip to Peru--Manu Mountains Road

byers345 at comcast.net byers345 at comcast.net
Thu Sep 5 21:29:05 PDT 2019


Hello Tweeters,

Last week I posted a link to part I of our birding adventure
in Peru. Thank you for all the positive feedback I got for that post!

This week I have finished putting together Part II, a tour titled the
Mountains of Manu. My husband Bill and I met our tour group for this tour
in Cusco, the former capital of the Incas and still an amazing city at
11,200 feet or so. From there we drove over a pass at about 13,000 feet
and then over Acjanaco Pass at 11, 500 and the border of Manu National Park
to the north. From there it was all down the Manu road, which skirts the
national park. There are practically no roads into any of Peru’s
significant national parks, including this one. These areas are left
roadless on purpose to discourage illegal logging and poaching.

The Manu road keeps going down to Pilcopata on the Piñipiño River and some
miles further, where tourists can take boat trips down the Rio Madre de Dios
into the park. We descended at a leisurely pace, birding as we went and
spending several nights at the Cock of the Rock Lodge, at about 4500 feet,
and then on to the biological station at Villa Carmen, near Pilcopata.
Villa Carmen hosts researchers and also takes care of birding tourists.

Birding along Manu road was a vertiginous experience. We went up and down
thousands of feet a day, accessing various habitat zones to find birds. The
mountains went more or less straight up on the inside of the road and
straight down on the other. The road itself was a single track dirt/gravel
road, undercut in places so we wondered if we would actually make it back
out before some extra-heavy truck caused the whole road to landslide away.
Parts were muddy, parts were dusty. But occasionally we would find a mixed
flock of passerines containing common and really uncommon birds. Birding at
Villa Carmen was much easier, walking on trails on their extensive property

Photography in these circumstances was generally challenging. We might see
a lovely bird, like the Yellow-throated Tanager, for a few seconds, and then
it would literally drop out of sight down a couple hundred feet and that was
it. On other occasions we would see a super bird, like the Golden-collared
Tanager, a high elevation bird, and it would stay in sight just long enough
for Bill to get a picture. At the other extreme, beautiful tanagers come
into feeders and make for easy photography. I should add that Bill is the
main photographer. In the album, the 400 mm shots are his and the 300 mm
mine.

We managed to get a few more photos of ant-type birds on this trip:
Dot-winged Antwren and Stripe-chested Antwren were cooperative.

If I have piqued your interest, you can look at these birds and some of the
scenery where we birded in the Flickr album link here:



https://www.flickr.com/photos/29258421@N07/albums/72157710284088522



Happy birding, Charlotte Byers, Edmonds

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