I’m just back from a couple weeks’ scouting in Peru, a fantastic country for birding – megadiverse and full of friendly people.
Just a long day’s drive from Lima, Peru is the Satipo River valley. Paved highway will take you all the way to the small city of Satipo, and from there it’s a birdy route up the east slope of the Andes to the little village of Calabaza. You could do it all in a day, but there’s no way you could not stop for birds! Even in the patchy lower stretches I came across Emerald Toucanet, a high elevation Plain-crowned Spinetail, Golden-bellied Warblers, and Versicolored Barbets. Then while driving farther up, I had surprising encounter of 6 Andean Motmots in just a few miles.
This is where I stayed for 3 nights in the very basic lodging they have put together. This photo looking up the canyon shows almost half the town of Calabaza. The woman is Felicita, who runs a little store and cooks meals for visitors (shooing the hens out of the building all day) . During these three days it was just me and 5 road workers at her table.
The species of Brachyotum (family Melastomataceae) here is surprisingly blond rather than the deep purple I’ve seen everywhere else, but it’s still a favorite for the many species of hummingbirds found here, such as Shining Sunbeam and Olivaceous Thornbill.
I look forward to my next visit to this area, whether guiding a private tour, or when they have a lodge constructed for one of my regular tours.
Photo at top: Rufous Spinetail is often heard, but seldom seen so well in the cloud forests of the Andes.
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