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CENTRAL PERU

Tuesday 5th July - Saturday 23rd July 2011

Pete Morris

Rufous-browed Hemispingus (Pete Morris)

Rufous-browed Hemispingus (Pete Morris)

This was our first trip around our Central Peru circuit for some years, a tour for the connoisseur keen to see some of the more remote avian jewels this bird-rich country has to offer. The total number of species recorded on the tour was not high for a neotropical tour, just 376 species, but this is to be expected considering most of our time was spent in very high Andean habitats – the haunt of specialities but not of high diversities. Of these 376 species, no fewer than 52 were Peruvian endemics, a quarter of which were furnarids. Overall, our success rate with the endemics and specialities was extremely high, though we were cursed with some bad luck when it came to the species illustrated in the brochure write-up! Our fun-loving and keen group witnessed some of the most spectacular scenery that the Andes has to offer (and that’s pretty spectacular!) during our quest to find these species, and reached birding sites that few birders have reached before. A few nights camping were required at Bosque Unchog, but these were comfortable, if a little chilly, thanks to our fantastic team of helpers. We also rounded the trip off with a stunning pelagic out into the cool Humboldt current. Our bird of the trip was the critically endangered Junin Grebe which seems to be hanging on by the skin of its teeth! Indeed it was rather a good tour for species of conservation concern with no fewer than 30 of the species we saw being listed as threatened, near-threatened or data deficient by BirdLife International. As well as the grebe, both Waved Albatross and White-bellied Cinclodes are listed as critically endangered, whilst Peruvian Diving Petrel, Peruvian Tern, Plain-tailed and Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finches and Black-spectacled Brush-Finch are all listed as endangered. Other highlights included the smart Bay-vented Cotinga, brilliant Rufous-browed Hemispingus and unusual Pardusco at Bosque Unchog, fabulous Undulated, Bay and Leymebamba Antpittas, rarely seen endemics such as Fiery-throated Metaltail and Eye-ringed Thistletail, a brilliant Orange-breasted Falcon, Masked and Huánuco Fruiteaters a whole bagful of tapaculos and several as yet undescribed species! Oh, and there were the thousands of storm-petrels at the end which included two excellent rarities: Markham’s and Ringed (or Hornby’s) Storm-Petrels.

Markham's Storm-Petrel (Pete Morris)

Markham's Storm-Petrel (Pete Morris)