Thursday 25 January 2018

65 Days to Go to BB2018-Peru

Hello everyone, another day closer to the start of Biking Birder 2018 - Peru, the latest Biking Birder adventure.

Yesterday I really enjoyed going through some of my photographs of birds to be seen at Los Pantanos de Villa nature reserve, south of Lima.

To begin birding there will be wonderful and it would be great to see the many young people who work there as staff and volunteers. As with too many places there is a lot of plastic to be found there, especially along the beach and I will spend some time collecting some of it. My way of saying thank you to the birding gods who bring me such incredible bird views.

It is a fabulous, long and sandy beach, with large, noisy rollers that crash down steeply onto the shore. Birds in large numbers are always flying past; Peruvian Boobies and Pelicans, Inca Terns and many gull species. Sometimes tens of thousands of birds perform. Last year around 50,000 Guanay Cormorants were fishing just offshore. 

Another video, too big for on here, shows the scene . . .

Title Guanay Cormorants Passing the Beach, Los Pantanos de Villa, Lima, Peru.

Another time I sat and watched as a huge curtain of around 10,000 Peruvian Boobies curtained down into the fish laden water. Unlike Atlantic Gannets that are individual in their steep arrow-like dive down to catch fish, Peruvian Boobies on occasions coordinate to act like a closing theatre curtain as they cascade down. Both species though retract their wings just before splashdown in order to streamline their bodies for maximum penetration.

The coastal Pacific waters are extremely rich, carrying The Humboldt Current's cold water north and hence birdlife is magnificent at all times of the year.
On the Boxing Day 2014, I visited the reserve and was astounding to find maybe 100,000 birds roosting on the sand. Mostly Franklin's Gulls and Elegant Terns, to sit in awe and watch the spectacle for hours was memorable.

At other times of the year bird numbers are less but always fascinating. Black Skimmer numbers vary from around the hundred to approaching the thousand and beautiful Gray Gulls appear. Waders include American Oystercatchers and crabs appear from their burrows in the sand. Fishermen with their children cast nets to catch masses of small crustaceans, whilst the occasional lizard catches flies on the tideline.

Yet, as well as the birds, a thrill is meeting the people there and seeing school parties of school children who come there. I remember back in July last year seven coach loads of Primary aged children arrived all at once. 

Staff and volunteers soon had them walking in packs around the reserve.
Another time I remember going out onto the reserve to look for Burrowing Owls . . . 

So please, if you visit Peru, visit Los Pantanos de Villa. Have a look at the Facebook page . . .

or how wonderful it would be to meet you there in April.

All the very best and love to you all,


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