Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Santa Eulalia Canyon, Central Andes, Peru

The next morning Alejandro and Henri arrived at 5.00 am with the “Hippy Van” loaded with cooker, gas cylinder and food to head off on our Central Peru trip.  The plan was that the next afternoon Gunnar would bring Alex Durand, our next guide, in Gunnar’s 4 x 4, as the "Hippy Van" had to go back to Lima for it’s MOT.

We headed off east into the Andes and an hour and a half later arrived at the start of the Santa Eulalia Canyon.   Surrounded by high mountains on both sides, the road winded up with the canyon dropping deep to our right.  The Canyon is amazing for endemics, the purpose of our visit here.

Birdgirl enjoying the views

We spent the day working our way up the Canyon, as it widened, stopping from time to time for specific endemics.  The endemics seen were Black-Necked Woodpecker, Great Inca-Finch, Bronze-Tailed Comet, Rusty-Crowned Tit-Spinetail, Thick-Billed Miner, Rusty-Bellied Brush-Finch and Rufous-Breasted Warbling-Finch.  As well as these, we saw some great birds including Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Canyon Canastero and Peruvian Sheartail.

We then turned down a side road to the small village of Huachopampa at 2,900m, which did not look like it was possible to hold a hotel.  However, on the square was the Municipal Hotel, which was clean and comfortable (though not the beds particularly) and was able to provide us with vegetarian food.

The next morning, our stop for breakfast brought three more endemics, White-Cheeked Cotinga, Striated Earthcreeper and Black Metaltail.  Further along the Canyon we saw Black-Breasted Hillstar, Dark-Winged Miner.

Back onto the main road, we drove higher to Ticlio Bog, at 4,900m where we saw the endemic White-Bellied Cinclodes and Junin Canastero as well as Diademed Sandpiper-Plover which was my bird of the day, having spent 5 hours in the freezing cold at 5,000m looking for this and then seeing it here within 10 minutes.
An unbelievable couple of days for endemics!

Ticlio Bog

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