Friday, 13 July 2012

Tingo Maria, Peru

It had been raining heavily during the night in Tingo Maria but by the time of our late start of 6m and getting to our first birding site it had reduced to a drizzle.

Alex told us to stick together for safety.  Tingo Maria used to be stronghold for Guerrilla fighters from Shining Path but was safe these days, but it was worth taking all precautions.  Lonely Planet certainly advised again night time travel in this area and not driving north from here.  Shining Path are now involved in the narco trade in this area and the resultant wealth was apparent to us in Tingo Maria.  Tingo Maria was the area where two British birders were murdered in the early 1990’s.  Andrew told us that he had been on a trip to Gambia with one of the guys.
Doube-Toothed Kite taken by adn copyright Alex Durand

Here we managed to see Pale-Eyed Blackbird and Blackish Rail, a catch up lifer for Birdgirl which she was very pleased about.  We then headed for Tingo Maria National Park, where we visited an oilbird cave.  These are amazing birds that are nocturnal and live in caves.  The also have loud calls that sound pretty spooky as they echo around their caves.  Although we have seen these birds before, they are always great to see.

Oilbird cave

Oilbird taken by andn copyright Alex Durand

Also seen near the caves, Black-Faced Antbird taken by and copyright Alex Durand

We also managed to see a few Blue-Headed Macaw flying over, which are a great bird and a lifer.

After egg and chips  in Tingo Maria, we headed back South towards Huanuco, stopping again at The Carpish Tunnel.  This time we walked a little further along the path and could see the extent of the destruction of the forest.  Coming from the Huanuco direction, much of the forest had been cut down and turned over to crops.  New areas had been cleared even on a very steep high section and even whilst we were there a section was being cleared.  It is sad to see, knowing that probably in a few years time this area will be all agricultural land with little forest.  I know that Kolibri Expeditions camp out in the school at the top of the Paty Trail and perhaps use of this and so money from eco-tourism is the only way to protect the area.
Back in Huanuco, it was back to the pizza place before an early night, ready for our very early start tomorrow.

New birds for the Peru trip so far - 85.

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