martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Birding at the fish farm in Patria Village - Manu

Something remarkable about this blog referring to an interesting spot that have become a nice place for birding at hometown, that’s is the result a land that you can be suddenly surprised by encountering any migrant or simply be surprised by any unexpected sight in terms of geographical distribution or just simply rarities.

Least Grebe reported recently 

I have become used to visiting these ponds and the top quality birding it has to offer, some highlights on the last couple of years have included;

Black necked stilt, greater yellow legs, Black bellied whistling duck , southern lapwing , Brazilian Teal and recently the least grebe and few other raptors Laughing falcon, Osprey. 

Laughing Falcon

Other species restricted to this aquatic habitat such as; herons, egrets, silvered Ant-bird, little cuckoo and the juvenile of black crowned night heron seen on short period of time. 

Little Cuckoo

The endangered blue headed Macaw and few other psittacidos can be easily heard and seen before dusk, the second growth vegetation holds few other interesting species; spot breasted woodpecker, little woodpecker these 2 were spotted while nesting on the cavities of the standing trees. 

Amazon Kingfisher

The observation of migrant flycatchers also are interesting ; vermilion flycatcher and most of the species remain as resident that would be the case of the unmistakable hoatzin so I got surprised when we first spotted the magnificent hoatzins on October 2013, actually our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some passerines strongly related to the marshes, which are; silvered antbird, silved beaked , palm and blue and gray tanager. 

Few Flycatchers types  used to be perched on standing up trees 

Brazilian teal and Southern Lapwing have become attractively resident along the area as they are strongly colonizing the man-made habitats ; rice ponds , fish farms and grassland so I still pursuit the chance to get my first picture of the Brazilian Teal that unfortunately couldn’t happen yet , I suddenly have seen them twice flying away around the dam, they  remains as elusive birds for now.

Black Necked Stilt reported on 2013

Southern Lapwing Initially reported on 2012
The ponds are entirely surrounded by grassland, pineapple , bananas plantations and scattered bamboo vegetation at one corner , in general the nearby forest was impacted for most of the human activities we see in the area ; agriculture at reasonable scale, most of the landscapes have changed into large cattle ranching along the road !

Dead trees are favorite nesting places for woodpeckers

In fact the ponds ,(hoatzin habitat ) was accidentally created by my father on his way to run  his project of fish- farm for breeding some Gami-pacos tilapias etc  so the creek that emerges out from the forest was dummed,  eventually it have become a huge ponds that  have flooded the forest around ,  once the conditions were favorable and optimal the  hoatzin started colonizing the shores as they were coming out from the forest interior as they also live along creeks and swamps  , for instance the vegetation around was diying slowly and this a particular habitas for other species of birds such as; flycatchers , woodpeckers, the first time we saw the hoatzin was nice surprise ! Initially we only counted around 8 or 9 individuals on the October 2013 

they were apparently non tolerant for being watched at close range so nowadays their population have increases reasonably as I have counted over 16 individuals, actually the ponds are my favorite site to observe these pre-historic looking birds while bird watching along the Manu road, its true hoatzins appears to be one of most common birds around water bodies but somehow at much lower elevation for instance the fish farm are over 600 meters on elevation, 
this area is interesting site for birdwatching and I hope will keep bringing surprises.

Jose helps to see birds

Anita can also drives towards the birds there   

domingo, 31 de marzo de 2013

Birding Escape along the Manu road.

Over the years I had been travelling hundreds of times along the Manu road, since my   childhood as I am originally from that region. Since I am guiding I could enjoy of the most fascinating birds glimpses, views at any transect of the road and  spending great deal of time  searching for the most outstanding and colorful  birds that can be found in the area, In effect  driving a car on bumpy road you may see mostly flash views. This time we have choosen for something different as we packed our birding equipment and started our  motorcycle birding along the memorable Manu road.

 Day 01 
Our escape was for 3 days and we made a birder’s life much easy , in fact this birding adventure never been that easy for me,  in terms of  flexibility and accessibility from riding a motorcycle and considering that were adventuring and facing the  peak of the rainy season  with fabulous couple of  new birds for our life lists. ( landslides used to be more frecuent at this time of the year) Although, it could not have been better but the birds eventually did managed to provide to me with a memorable trip, here are just some of the images we managed to capture during my trip.

We left Paucartambo village (andean village located in way to Manu Cloud forest)  we started searching for birds in the intermontane valleys , as we had seen some; rust and yellow tanager, sierran eleania, great thrush, red crested cotinga, andean guans, creamy crested spinetail, tyrian metaltail.

Tyrian Metaltail

The red flowers blooming were atracting several species of birds in the rainy season; tyrian metaltail, sparkling violet-ear white browed conebill, black throated and mustached flower piercer, scarlet bellied mountain tanager.

Girl holding her pet "Andrea"

After our birding we sttoped at the restaurant on the pass "acjanacu", this nice young  girl is proud of her just borned pet named Andrea.

Just arriving to the entrance of the Manu National Park we saw a couple of creamy crested spinetail again, which is one of the endemic  birds of this locality, the birds were calling from an exposed perch in addition we got a great views of; white throated tyrannulet, sparkling violetear.
Violet Throated Starfrontlet
This is a Violet Throated Starfrontlet nesting above the manu road  by the proximity of the tunnels.
White Throated Hawk

 By Pillahuata we have seen another vibrand mixed species flock made by; Azaras spinetail, barred fruiteater, grass green tanager, mountain caciques, pearlet treerunner, chesnut bellied mountain tanager, hooded mountain tanager, superciliared, hemispingus, blackburnian warbler, white winged black-tyrant, streaked tuftedcheek, montane foliage gleaner, white collared jay, mountain wren, olivaceous siskin, blue backed conebill, masked trogon, yellow billed cacique, late in the afternoon we have been  walking further down was the second time in my life I have come across the red and white Antpitta, I am equally as excited despite I had not gotten the opportunity to capture its images because was getting much darker in the forest interior, the bird just forage in the bushes in front of us, paying much attention to the calls we made, finally we added to two more species to our list, band winged nightjar and the chestnut collared swift by the tunnels at night.

Day 02
Early in the morning , the explosive calls of the active bird flock  caught our immediate attention as the calls sounded a little more vigorous than usual.  We managed to trace the calling birds to a sparsely foliaged tree and to my delight,  spotted firstly, the endemic Inca Flycatcher, Green Violetear, blue and black tanager, capped dacnis, blue capped tanger, handsome flycatcher, common bush-tanager.

Golden Collared Tanager

A stunning Golden Collared Tanager decided to provide the magic this time, there are moments of magic when everything just falls right in place, this colorfull bird was travelling in flock as follow; slaty backed chat tyrant, barred becard, montane woodcreeper, bar bellied woodpecker, cinnamon flycatcher, spectacled redstar among others.

Black Faced Brushfinch

Black Faced brushfinch
A brief encounter with some  Black faced brush-finch following a troop of foraging in the understory forest  produced record shots as the lighting was good  and the bird was always at close range from me . This common but attractive species is one of the first few birds I came across in the field when I started birding back in the Manu cloud forest.

Spectacled redstar
Golden Headed Quetzal

We had great views of Golden headed Quetzal, a stunning male!!

The scenery was of course stunning, literally passing by this fragile ecosystem with a mixed species flying by, It is amazing that this forest of freshwater waterfall is home to several fascinating species and some of them are even considered rare elsewhere.

Andean Solitaire
Citrine Warbler
Slaty Capped Flycatcher
Dusky Green Oropendola
Andean Cock of the Rock
Day 03 
We were  back to the pass  by noon, the lighting was quite ideal this time and much to my delight, this  Puna thistletail ignored by our  presence. other species completely good for spotting.
Puna Thistletail

death puma
Death Puma along the tres cruces Manu road
We then made a run towards the top of the mountain, as we passed by the  lagoons ,we suddenly saw a death Puma at the edge of the road, the cause of death still reminds a mystery ( it seemed to be poisoned by the local farmers, Pumas tend to attack the  people´s  poultry). that is one of the reasons why I like birding in remote areas where there are hardly any humans beings around. (Local  people used to take the canines teeth, skin from felines just for pleasure or kept as souveniers).we reported this fact to the  Park Rangers at acjanacu Post.
Then we decided to continue, We saw a couple of pipits has eluded me  so many times, sadly, none have come close in terms of accessibility and observation and they kept way for picture opportunities.
This was an unexpected surprise as well, the variety of pipits species seen and reported at this location are the  Paramo Pipit  however the species we have seen were obviously little bit larger and showing white flanks in the tail, looks more like  correndera Pipit anyway. it should be clarify in soon, just walking off the road we could see some puna snipe flying away, some sedge wren. 

Moustached Flowerpiercer

Juvenile Mountain caracara
Special thanks  to  Anabella López (pictures credits)