PERU: Andes to Amazon ~ Day 1 & 2

Peru is truly a diverse country. The largest city, Lima, lies at sea level along the coast. On day one we landed here and transferred to our hotel around 11pm. A flight delay brought a few others later. Early in the morning of day two we flew to the second largest city, Cusco, which lies in the mountains at about 11,000 feet!

Dry desert scrub with a few lakes at 10,000 feet offer some excellent birds such as Andean (Ruddy) Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail and Puna Ibis. Our main stop here was Huacarpay Lake and surrounding areas. Chiguanco Thrush (pictured at the top) is one of the common passerines in this habitat.

Andean Duck (male and female)
White-tufted Grebe (foreground) with Common Moorhen.

Waterfowl are the first and easiest birds seen in this area, and definitely the easiest to photograph! Many passerines are more often heard than seen. The reeds along the water’s edge are full of chips and buzzes from Many-colored Rush Tyrant and Wren-like Rushbird. Both of which we did eventually see, but never photographed.

Plumbeous Rails (above) were rather plentiful and probably one of the easiest of all rails to see — or maybe we were just lucky to see at least five of these fun creatures.

Along the waters edge we found Spot Billed and Rufous-naped Ground Tyrants (above) along with many, many… did I say many? Many Rufous-collared Sparrows. Barn Swallows and White-collared Swifts we fairly common and a couple of Brown-bellied Swallows were seen as well.

White-collared Swift

Farther from the lake and wetlands we found White-browed Chat-Tyrant and Andean Negrito, Blue-and-yellow Tanager and Bearded Mountaineer. A search for singing Thornbirds offered frustrating glimpses, but no great looks. We did accidentally flush a nice Andean Tinamou, however!

A pair of Aplomado Falcons were one of the day’s highlights, offering great looks in beautiful light. At day’s end we returned to Cusco for the night… looking forward to day 3 of our adventure!

photos © Kevin Loughlin

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