Sunday 3 June 2018

Day 61 To Abancayo

May 31st, 2018

Sunny intervals

                The last day of the month and I am up at 4.00 a.m. Not that I want to be but my patience has reached it's end and the group of people in a room down the hallway, who have been talking, laughing and playing music all night, have finally got me out of bed and banging on their door. On the second round of my persistent knocks they open the door and my begging that at four a.m such noise is not on brings an English word, “sorry.” They carry on until 5! Oh well, I edit my three hundred and eighty seven photographs and listen to music.
                Five o'clock, they stop. A cockerel just outside makes his own persistent noise for an hour! I'll shoot the bloody thing. Another one replies to him. Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhh! I give up trying to get a couple more hours sleep and get up, packed and ready to go.
                Pushing the bike up a very steep dirt side road in the village, to get to the main road at the top of the incline, two snarling dogs are surprised when instead of abuse and the threat of a pebble, they get some chicken bones instead. I always prefer sugar to a stick and they both stop their attack to fight over the bones.
                The road to the top most point, the summit as I call it, has me fooled. The map says it is only eight miles to it yet the gradient is one of the steepest I have had to push on so far and therefore the time taken to get there is longer than I had expected. Two women stop me before I reach that point and practically beg for one of my cuddlies. I go through the now regular reasons why that cannot be.

                At the summit, which is at the far end of an almost empty village, I meet the first cyclists of my tour. A Swiss couple from the beautiful city of Lucern, have been cycling from Patagonia for six months and are heading north. To cycle as a couple must be wonderful and I have pangs of envy. I often feel lonely and someone to share a tent with on a cold night would be wonderful. Any female Biking Birders out there?
                The cycle down is as rapid as the uphill struggle wasn't. I stop after just a few kilometres because some pale looking swifts are dashing around the fir and Eucalyptus tree canopy. I am surprised to find that they are a sub-species of the already seen Andean Swifts. 

Now I have been surprised and disappointed at the lack of swifts and swallows on this trip and hope that will change once I am walking down the Urubamba river valley to Aguas Calientes.
                Another stop to see what birds are in the large bushes as I munch some lunch. Red-crested Cottinga, Sparkling and Green Violetear show themselves. Now what was that cotinga-sized bird with the bright orange wings? No idea!
                The descent continues and the temperature rises. By the time I have reached the river the afternoon heat is incredible and as I turn to face north instead of south, as I cycle along, a strong breeze hits me. Unbelievable, from freezing ice two nights ago to tropical temperatures. Peruvian Andes, ringing the changes. A cafe attached to a petrol station saves me. I am tired and the thought of a ten mile push up to Abancay has me thinking of where do I camp. I turn in and find a table.

                Half an hour later, a cup of strong coffee inside and a litre of some sort of milk inside me, I am ready, refreshed and ready to face the hill. Headphones on, The Who . . . perfect!
                Two hours later, just as darkness falls and having faced the largest number of barking dogs on the trip so far, I arrive in Abancay centre and find a great hotel, chuffed that I made it.

Green Year list :  204 birds                         average new birds to list per day  :  3.34 birds 

Distance walked, pushed and cycled : 39.63 miles

elevation : up 7,407 feet,  down 8,976 feet       

altitude : 7,504 feet

May statistics :

total miles : 596.7                  elevation : 74,622 feet UP!       81,696 feet down.   

New birds for Green Year list : 24

Solitary Sandpiper, Puna Snipe, Ornate Tinamou, Aplomado Falcon, White-collared swift, Streaked Tit-spinetail, White-bellied Hummingbird, Blue-capped Tanager, Black-backed Grosbeak, White-winged Black Tyrant, Sierran Eleania,Red-eyed Vireo, Scarle-fronted Parakeet, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Mitred Parakeet, Cinereous harrier, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Green Violetear, Red-crested Cottinga, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Rust & Yellow tanager, Azara's Spinetail, Rufous-webbed Bush tyrant and Rusty-fronted Canestero.

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