Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peru, May 3, 2010, Day 2: The Paty Trail and the Carpish Tunnel

We left our hotel in Huanuco at about 5:00 AM, heading to the Paty Trail and Carpish Tunnel. This area is well known for a number of endemics. When we arrived it was lightly raining and was very dreary. The Paty trail begins at the back of a local school that sits below the road. The trail is a bit steep and that day it was rather muddy. I have some serious balance issues, so I was a bit nervous. Before starting down we looked through a mixed flock along the road.  Spectacled Redstarts flitted through the trees, along with Citrine and Russet-crowned Warblers. An Andean Guan was sitting on a branch high over the road. A pair of young piglets were running back and forth, providing a a little bit of the cuteness factor.

The rain had let up a bit, so we started down to the beginning of the trail. The path led steeply down from the school building to a futbol field. It then turned and went down hill into some beautiful forest. I told the group to go ahead, that I would catch up, needing some time to get my "trail legs". I got down to the field, only falling on my posterior once. Martin waited for me and we dropped down into the forest. I found a good spot, where birds were passing through and decided to stick there. I told Martin to go on, which he did. Sometimes I would rather just sit and let birds come to me. This was not a bad decision.

I quickly heard a Bay Antpitta calling. I had my iPod, and played the call, but the bird didn't come in any closer. Then I heard a Chestnut Antpitta nearby. Again I didn't see the bird, but I do count heard birds, especially ones like antpittas and tapaculos. A Trilling Tapaculo sang loudly. I also heard a Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan calling across the hills. I did see parrots flying over, Scaly-naped Amazons. I moved a bit further down the trail, catching up to Martin. Another Bay Antpitta was calling. I played the iPod and the bird came in, sounding like it was right under our feet. As usual, we never saw a feather. I don't know how antpittas do it. They seem to have the power of invisibility!

Martin and I decided to go back up the sports field, as its reputed to be very good for birds. When we cleared the rim of the hill we saw a large group of school children playing futbol, girls against boys. I never realized you could play in rubber boots. The kids were fascinated by us, a few coming over from time to time to just look at us. We worked our way around the field, trailing kids, and did manage to see a few birds. Both Rufous and Azara's Spinetails were around.  A couple of Pearled Treerunners moved up and down the tree trunks. Then we were thrilled to hear a flock of White-collared Jays. We managed to catch a glimpse of a couple as they flew up towards the road. The rest of the group came up and we headed back to the road.

When we got back up to the road, the White-collared Jays were loudly calling. We managed to get very good looks. The name White-collared is a bit confusing to the average person. We tend to think of collars as being around the back of the neck. Instead the jays have a thin line of white around the front.  It can vary from a relatively thick white band, to a barely noticible sliver. These birds were in the latter camp.  We had our lunch and moved on to our next stop, the trail by the Carpish Tunnel.

The trail up above the tunnel was not steep, nor very muddy. I really enjoyed the walk. The weather was a little better; still cloudy, but not raining. There were numerous butterflies and flowers. I photographed a darner dragonfly ovipositing in a small pool. As we walked we came to an area where there had been a recent landslide. There was enough of the trail left to walk safely, but it was a bit disconcerting. Alex, our guide, was completely fearless, standing on the edge, playing his iPod to call in birds.  As we continued, Alex succeeded in finding one of our main targets in this area, Yellow-scarfed Tanager. We also actually saw a Chestnut Antpitta! I even got a poor photo of it.

We birded our way back to our hotel in Huanuco and got ready for dinner. We went to a nice little restaurant, where I ordered something called a mixto. I was thinking it would be like a dish I had in Brazil, skewers of mixed grilled meats. Well, it was grilled. It smelled and tasted pretty good, but I have no idea what some of it was. There were pieces of heart, which I like very much and some cubes of beef. But then there was something that looked like the skin of a tongue with strips of other stuff hanging down off of it, kind of like the hangy down things in a car wash. Maybe it was tripe, but it didn't look like any tripe I have ever seen. I am a pretty adventourous eater, (I even love haggis!)  but I have to admit I didn't finish it. If we go back to Peru, I will be doing more research into the country side cusine!

Here is a link to my photos for the day:

Here is my bird list:
1 Andean Guan

2 Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle

3 American Kestrel

4 Band-tailed Pigeon

5 White-tipped Dove

6 Speckle-faced Parrot

7 Scaly-naped Parrot

8 Peruvian Pygmy-Owl- Heard only

9 Andean Swift

10 White-bellied Hummingbird

11 Collared Inca

12 Violet-throated Starfrontlet

13 Tyrian Metaltail

14 Masked Trogon

15 Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan- Heard only

16 Azara's Spinetail

17 Rufous Spinetail

18 Pearled Treerunner

19 Streaked Tuftedcheek

20 Olive-backed Woodcreeper

21 Montane Woodcreeper

22 Bay Antpitta- Heard only

23 Chestnut Antpitta

24 Trilling Tapaculo- Heard only

25 Rufous-vented Tapaculo

26 White-tailed Tyrannulet

27 Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant

28 Yellow-olive Flycatcher

29 Cinnamon Flycatcher

30 Golden-browed Chat-Tyrant

31 Tropical Kingbird

32 Barred Fruiteater

33 Barred Becard

34 Rufous-browed Peppershrike- Heard only

35 White-collared Jay

36 Blue-and-white Swallow

37 Fasciated Wren

38 Mountain Wren

39 Gray-breasted Wood-Wren

40 Great Thrush

41 Spectacled Redstart

42 Citrine Warbler

43 Russet-crowned Warbler

44 Superciliaried Hemispingus

45 Common Bush-Tanager

46 Blue-capped Tanager

47 Hooded Mountain-Tanager

48 Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager

49 Yellow-scarfed Tanager

50 Rusty Flowerpiercer

51 White-sided Flowerpiercer

52 Slaty Brush-Finch

53 Stripe-headed Brush-Finch

54 Peruvian Meadowlark

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