Sunday June 3rd: We left the hotel around 5:30am, and headed up the coast to Lomas de Lachay, which we plan to visit again at the end of the trip. This time, we only birded near the entrance. A Least Seedsnipe was sitting up near where we stopped the bus. It was the first of many. There were hundreds of them flying around all the time we were there. Some Tawny-throated Dotterels were visible on the top of a rise. A little searching turned up some Coastal Miners. A flock of eight Peruvian Martins that flew overhead were not only lifers for me, but also for our guide, Dan. The call is apparently unrecorded, but they sounded much like Purple Martins. I was puzzling over one bird on the ground, so I photographed it, and enlarged the photo. Although not a great photo, it made clear that it was a Burrowing Owl. I got only a brief look at a Yellowish Pipit which was following a Coastal Miner that was chasing an insect (grasshopper?).
After Lomas de Lachay, we continued up the coast. Both Turkey Vulture and Snowy Egret put in appearances before we turned inland at Paramonga. After going uphill for a while in the Paramonga Valley, we pulled over to bird a riparian area along the road. A number of Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrants were calling (we saw a few). There was another Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, a couple of Killdeer, and American (Great) Egret. As I was looking to make sure that the heron was really a Little Blue, a Striated Heron flew across the stream.
We got back in the bus, and headed further up. We stopped for lunch in the early afternoon near San Cristobal. Dan had seen Peruvian Pygmy-Owl there before, so he played a tape for it. The owl called back, and eventually moved to a close tree. The same tree had Amazilia Hummingbird and Highland Hepatic (Tooth-billed) Tanager. We spotted the Peruvian Pygmy-Owl near the tanager (eventually we saw both male and female tanagers). Some Southern Beardless-Tyrannulets also came in to harass the owl. The owl was not impressed. A White-tipped Dove flew back and forth under the tree with the owl.
|San Cristobal||Peruvian Pygmy-Owl|
After lunch, we added Tropical Gnatcatcher (the white-browed form, bilineata) and Band-tailed Sierra-Finch. Then we boarded the bus and continued upward to the 4100-meter (13,450-foot) pass near Lago Conococha. We saw our first Mountain Caracara as we approached the pass. Numerous species were present on Conococha itself. I had already noted Andean Gull and Giant Coot before we drove down to the lake. A Puna Ibis and American Egret were in a ditch right in front of where we stopped the bus. Crested Duck and White-tufted Grebe were close by on the lake. A couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons flew around. One spent some time sitting on the shore to the right. I spotted a bird acting like a shorebird that didn't seem to be a shorebird. It was an Andean Negrito. The lake also had Yellow-billed Pintail, Greater Yellowlegs, Silvery Grebe, Chilean Flamingo, Yellow-billed Teal, Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Puna Teal, and Slate-colored (Andean) Coot. The bunch grass in front of us was harboring a few Cream-winged Cinclodes. Further searching turned up a pair of White-winged Cinclodes. Another arm of the lake also had Ruddy (Andean) Duck.
|Cordillera Blanca||Lago Conococha|
|Puna Ibis||White-tufted Grebe|
|Coot and Pintail||Lago Conococha|
|Cream-winged Cinclodes||White-winged Cinclodes|
|Crested Duck||Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch|
After a short break, and putting on more clothing (it was cold and windy), we got to see a Plain-breasted Earthcreeper that Dan spotted when the rest of us were getting warmer. The same are also had Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch and Streak-throated Canastero.
The highway from Lago Conococha to Huaraz has apparently be repaved since Dan was last here. We had a smooth ride in to Huaraz, and even arrived at the Andino Club Hotel before sunset!
Today's species total was 60. My trip list increased by 42 today, including 10 lifers. My current trip total is 92 species, including 25 lifers.
Andino Club Hotel, Huaraz