Saturday 5 May 2018

19th April 2018 Uphill to Babra Blanco

I am sorry to have been out of internet range for so long. Who would have guessed that being thousands of feet up in the High Andes would be so remote?

I intend now that I am back in Wifi country to post all of the days details I typed whilst in my tent or in a small room found for me by villagers.

Things have been very tough but so very wonderful.

OK let's go back a couple of weeks . . . . 

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April 19th, 2018

Hot, hazy and sunny day

Time to move on from Chaclacayo, the road is busy and the way is a constant uphill climb, though not quite enough on the most part to require a push. Going through a few grimy villages, the tarmac has frequent potholes and cracks; the concrete pathways have steps and slopes and are busy with people.

A divide in the road with my chosen route leaving the busy main road, heading north. At last, although much steeper, this road is quite and as it climbs the scenery changes to one of lush, orchard-filled valleys. I won't be missing the traffic! House Sparrows are beside the road but I won't be counting these introduced birds on the Green Birding list.
A Peregrine Falcon dashes past!
Mostly now I am pushing my heavy bike uphill and with the weather so hot I am in need of a lot of liquid to drink. This is mostly cartoned fruit juice, peach being my favourite. Does this count as my 'five a day?' I know that as usual I have checked that the cartons contain juice that has vitamins, in this case A, C and D. I am always amazed, and always put a carton back on the shelf, when such juice doesn't contain vitamins. Pulped, concentrated and worthless as a food item in my eyes. Anyway I stop at a small shop to buy a couple of my favourite one litre juice cartons and chat with the lady behind the counter. Her name is Rose and she gets every item customers want despite the fact that she finds walking very difficult due to arthritis. 

I give her a large cuddly toy of Nemo to give to her Granddaughter, though I feel that Rose might hold onto it for herself for a while!
A small ground dove lands on the road in front of me and starts to forage amongst the grass beside the road, a Bare-faced Ground Dove, a lifer as well as a new bird for the Green list. Another dove lands next to it, a Croaking Ground Dove making a nice pair to compare differences. Both are about the same size but the markings on the Bare-faced make for darker looking bird when watched without optics. As they take off on my drag uphill another difference is the whirling rattle of wings sound as the Bare-Faced Ground Dove takes off.
The road continues through this beautiful valley, villages are passed and one surprise is the number of large hotel with camping recreation places with exclusive looking restaurants I pass. At some time of year this area must be a popular destination for Peruvian tourists, a place for Limans to escape the city. Most are closed with refurbishment going on. On reaching Barba Blanco and having seen an advert for one particular establishment every kilometre along the way, I decide to ask for a bed for the night at Hotel Rustica. Despite the expensive price of one hundred Soles, around £50 a night, I take it and find myself on a room with a long balcony and an immense king-size bed, en suite of course. Luxury it may be but considering that I will be camping more often than not as I proceed to climb higher and higher, I will take two nights of this for now.
Mid afternoon, showered and fed, I go out for a walk to explore and bird. The hotel is built upon the flood plain of a river and the area is an expanse of stony plateau with adjacent agricultural orchards, corn or cactus crops with a couple of closed down camping spots. Birds are few yet there are enough to keep one alert. An Oasis Hummingbird is new and is feeding on some flowers that are beneath the lowest branches of some tall eucalyptus trees and is in shadow. Monarch butterflies are flying around in small numbers. I wonder of these ones are migrating north?
Over the hill tops to east a white phase Variable Hawk flies over quite high. The hills on all sides are magnificent and rise a few thousand feet higher than the river terrain. A small flock of birds feeding on plants near a smashed household, a sign of the power of the river at some time of the year, includes Rufous-collared Sparrows, Hooded Siskins and Band-tailed Seedeaters. Strangely enough this is only flock of small birds of these species I see.
After being chased off one particular derelict camping area by two fiercely barking dogs, the riverside has some twelve foot tall reeds and willow-like trees. 

As usual Vermilion Flycatchers are within the trees and two Dusky-headed Flycatchers. Pishing, the silly sounds one makes that seem to make some birds show themselves with curiosity, works here by bringing a number of Southern Beardless Tyrannulets close to me.
Now having not seen any other hummingbird species at Chalacayo other than Amazilias, I will be honest and say that I was getting worried over not seeing Peruvian Sheartails. I needn't have worried as they are common here. They include males with two beautiful, long tail plumes of white, tipped with black. Such tiny birds but constantly on the move. Another common hummingbird here is the Sparkling Violetear. Much larger than the diminutive sheartail, the spectacular green hummer with brilliant blue belly and ear coverts, is found here amongst some tall plants with orange flowers, sharing the nectar with a number of Amazilia Hummingbirds. I stand amongst an area strewn with the popular flowers and have Amazilias and Violetears come to within a few feet of me.
Doves are everywhere with good numbers of Croaking and Bare-faced Ground Doves, Eared Doves and Western Peruvian. In fact doves of these species make up the majority of the birds seen. With eight new birds for the Green bird list, things are going tremendously well in every way.

Green Year list : 94 birds average new birds to list per day : 4.95 birds

Distance cycled : 15.19 elevation up : 2671 feet, down 397 feet altitude : 4445 feet

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