Over the years I had been traveling hundreds of times along the Manu road, since my childhood as I am originally from that region. I could enjoy the most fascinating bird’s glimpses, views at any transect of the road and spending a 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 a bumpy road you may see mostly flash views.
This time we have chosen for something different as we packed our birding equipment and started our motorcycle birding along the memorable Manu road.
Our escape was for 3 days and we made a birder’s life much easy, in fact, this birding adventure has never been that easy for me, in terms of flexibility and accessibility from riding a motorcycle and considering that was adventuring and facing the peak of the rainy season with a fabulous couple of new birds for our life lists. Landslides used to be more frequent at this time of the year. Although, it could not have been better the birds eventually did manage to provide 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 a way to Manu Cloud forest) we started searching for birds in the intermontane valleys, as we had seen some; rust and yellow tanager, Sierran Elaenia, great thrush, red-crested cotinga, Andean guans, creamy crested spinetail, Tyrian metal tail.
The red flowers blooming were attracting several species of birds in the rainy season; Tyrian metal tail, sparkling violet-ear white-browed one bill, black-throated and mustached flower piercer, scarlet bellied mountain tanager.
After our birding we stopped at the restaurant on the pass “Acjanacu”, this nice young girl is proud of her just-born pet named Andrea. Just arriving at 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 view of; white-throated Tyrannulet, sparkling violetear.
This is a Violet Throated Starfrontlet nesting above the Manu road by the proximity of the tunnels. By Pillahuata we have seen another vibrant mixed-species flock made by; Azara’s spinetail, barred fruiteater, grass green tanager, mountain caciques, pearled tree runner, chestnut bellied mountain tanager, hooded mountain tanager, superciliary, 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. I had not gotten the opportunity to capture its images because was getting much darker in the forest interior, the bird just forages in the bushes in front of us, paying much attention to the calls we made, finally, we added two more species to our list, band winged nightjar and the chestnut collared swift by the tunnels at night.
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 tanager, handsome flycatcher, common chlorospingus . 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 colorful bird was traveling in the flock as follows; slaty backed chat tyrant, barred becard, montane woodcreeper, bar bellied woodpecker, cinnamon flycatcher, spectacled Redstar among others.
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.
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 the freshwater waterfall is home to several fascinating species and some of them are even considered rare elsewhere.
We were back to the pass by noon, the lighting was quite ideal this time and much to my delight, this Puna thistle-tail ignored by our presence. other species completely good for spotting.
We then made a run towards the top of the mountain, as we passed by the ponds. We suddenly saw a dead 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 souvenirs). We reported this fact to the Park Rangers at the Acjanacu Post.
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, however, the species we have seen were obviously a little bit larger and showing white flanks in the tail, looks more like Paramo Pipit anyway. it should be clarified soon, just walking off the road we could see some puna snipe flying away, some sedge wren.