Long-tailed Sylph


Andes to the Amazon, Peru 2005 
2-16 July 2005
by Henry Detwiler

Suzanne, Gaby, Adriana, Becky and I enjoyed two weeks in Peru with our friend Jim Rorabaugh, starting in the Inca Valley, moving on to the Amazon Basin, and ending up at Paracas National Park.  It was a fantastic experience!  
species -- bird list may be viewed by clicking > BIRD LIST
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

We spent the first night in Lima, and then left the next morning via air for Cusco.  Then a van trip took us to Pisac, our first real destination.  Here we explored our first Inca ruins, had a blast bargaining at the indigenous market, spotted a Pygmy Owl, and saw lots of Sparkling Violetears.

Sparkling Violetear

Plaza de Armas - Cusco

In Cusco, the "bellybutton" of the Inca civilization, we wandered past ancient Inca walls, along colonial cobblestone streets, marveled at massive Spanish cathedrals, shopped in quaint stores and the flea market, and ate typical Peruvian cuisine.
Jim and I spent one morning at Huarcapay Lakes, where we saw many fine birds, including this Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Plumbeous Rail, Silvery & White-tufted Grebes, Andean Duck, Cinereous Harrier, and Andean Lapwing.  And we were happy to add two fine hummingbirds, the Giant Hummingbird and the Bearded Mountaineer.

Black-throated Flowerpiercer

Ollantytambo Ruins


Our next destination was Ollantytambo, another Inca town along the Urubamba River.  This heavily fortified city was the only one that allowed the Incas to repel the Spanish conquistadors.  The giant blocks that make up the walls were so finely fitted together that you can't even fit a blade of grass between the stones.

Machu Picchu

The next morning we took the train from Ollantytambo to Aguas Calientes, the jumping-off point to Machu Picchu.  That afternoon we walked the tracks through the cloud forest and saw almost a dozen beautiful tanagers, like the Blue-gray Tanager pictured below.  An early-morning bus trip took us to the fabled city of Machu Picchu.  As the fog and rain swept over the ruins, we marveled at the awesome sight.  One special bird we found here was the endemic Inca Wren.

Blue-gray Tanager

Parrot Snake

Adriana found this parrot snake along our hike to a small waterfall several miles west of Aguas Calientes.  It was to be the only snake we saw over the entire two weeks.

Hummingbirds and tanagers symbolized the beautiful birds in the cloud forest surrounding Machu Picchu.  At the feeders of the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, we were treated to magnificent views of these amazing creatures.  In addition to these most common coronets and racquet-tails, we were happy to see Gould's Incas, Green and White Hummingbirds, woodstars, and Long-tailed Sylph.  And then, a flash of red turned out to be the state bird, a magnificent Cock-of-the Rock!

Chestnut-breasted Coronet

Booted Racquettail

This tanager was one of many that we saw, along with Silver-beaked Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, and Blue-and-Black Tanager.

Golden-naped Tanager

ON to PAGE 2

Photos Henry Detwiler