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Saturday 4th November - Friday 24th November 2017

Eustace Barnes

Scarlet-banded Barbet (Eustace Barnes)

Scarlet-banded Barbet (Eustace Barnes)

FIRST IN THE FIELD! Obviously, and certainly first in the mud, but maybe we could now say first and only to

predict where to be First in the Field and to score!! That takes some doing. All the targets and two recently

discovered and as yet undescribed species: Myrmeciza sp nov and Xiphocolaptes sp nov. WHAT A TRIP!

How can we even equal this year, anywhere, ever again? We had problems, of course. You cannot travel to

the end of a great many roads in search of rare endemics without a few logistical challenges. The ongoing

habitat destruction and degradation is par for the course, but it was not the tour I had hoped for. It ran far too

late in the year this year, with a powerful El Nino having disrupted the breeding patterns of many species.

The weather was either dry or wet, the birds were not singing, the sea was warm, and the roads were bad,

but we did see most of what one might reasonably expect to see and more. We missed getting caught the

wrong side of a land slide by a few hours and narrowly avoided some mega-storms, creating a sense of

untouchability, assisted in no small part by having a hard working, patient and indeed long suffering (muddy)

group; essential ingredients for a great trip. I love it, a case of ‘Addicted to pain’, it must be Northern Peru


Check this out. A superb Stygian Owl just waiting for us in a car park at the end of a great afternoon’s

birding. Otherwise, it was mud, mud, land-slides, bugs and mud but we did have a spectacular time yet again

with a decidedly eager group.

It was not the outstanding tour I enjoyed last time I ran it, but it far exceeded the usual returns. There is a lot

more to look for now and the tour is overburdened with feeders, target species sites and now new species to

science! I don’t like excuses but there was literally no bird vocalization at many sites where normally bird

activity is frenetic, and most species had bred and were resting up before the rains.

Yellow-scarfed Tanager (Eustace Barnes)

Yellow-scarfed Tanager (Eustace Barnes)