Saturday, 16 June 2012

All things Pacific and Peruvian

It's been another long day, but on nature-watching holidays long days are apt to be good days. It began in the dark on a beach, with black skimmers yik-yak-ing out to sea and rufous-collared sparrows singing in the garden of our hotel. A chilean flamingo flew past in the still-not-light and as day came we saw dozens more flamingos feeding in the shallows of the bay.

The rest of our day was spent around Ica and in the Reserva Natural Paracas. Ica is the jump-off point for overflights of the Nazca lines (though on our tour no clients opted for the flight) and is also a spot for several of West Peru's special dry-country birds. Peruvian pygmy-owl (scowlingly adorable), Peruvian sheartail (splendid) and lots of amazilia hummingbirds were found here, as were more of Peru's feral birds. I don't think I've ever been anywhere in South America, except perhaps Buenos Aires, where there are so many out-of-place birds. In Lima the scarlet-fronted and white-winged parakeets, plus the bananaquits, are feral. Yesterday we saw feral yellow-hooded blackbirds. Today we saw feral saffron yellow-finches and a single female Pacific parrotlet. What's with the moving birds around all over the place Peru?

In the afternoon we entered Paracas reserve on land (tomorrow we'll explore it by boat). The same dramatic company of seabirds was to be seen as yesterday in Pucusana plus - a highlight for me - tiny Peruvian terns fast-flapping their little wings in the vastness of this drama-laden landscape.

I'm tired and I still have much to do so I'll leave you with white-headed Peruvian boobies hurling themselves into the navy waves of the ocean of my mind. Be sure to tune in for more Pacific marshtittery tomorrow.


Chilean flamingo
Phoenicopterus chilensis
hudsonian whimbrel
Numenius hudsonicus
coastal miner
Geositta peruviana
Pacific parrotlet
Forpus coelestis
saffron yellow-finch
Sicalis flaveola
shiny cowbird
Molothrus bonariensis
Peruvian pygmy-owl
Glaucidium peruanum
Peruvian sheartail
Thaumastura cora
cinereous conebill
Conirostrum cinereum
semipalmated plover
Charadrius semipalmatus
Peruvian tern
Sternula lorata

2012 Totals
Mammals: 62
Birds: 539
Reptiles: 14
Amphibians: 6
Fish: 6

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