Thursday 10 May 2018

Day 24 Arrival at Huanza

April 24th, 2018

Cloud builds during the day and light rain in the afternoon follows a sunny morning

Awake in the early morning semi-darkness I pack away everything and am on the move by 6:30 a.m.

The Torrent drake is on a rock with just one female now. I wonder whether the other female has given up trying to get the male's attention?
Cows appear, decorated in their ears with coloured ribbons of wool. This closeness is un-nerving. I like my cows behind a fence.

I start the long day of uphill struggle and see new birds almost immediately; Ash-breasted and Mourning Sierra Finches. Even better in the birding stakes is a very interesting looking Pied-crested Tit-tyrant. It stays mostly hidden in a thick bush but I can hear it's progress through the thicket by it's scratchy little song. When it does make an appearance the crest is very distinctive.

More cows sneaking peaks at me from bushes as I pass. I don't like this but pass safely enough. 

The road is getting rougher and steeper and the valley narrower and narrower. It doesn't prevent the landscape from being gorgeous though.
I reach a bridge over the river and find that I am extremely thirsty and lacking in food. I had thought that I would have seen a pueblo (village) by now but the names on the map that I have denote no existing place of residence. As if by magic a lorry stops and the driver gives me fruit and a bottle of water. Wonderful Peruvian hospitality once more.

The fruit is unknown to me and upon opening the edible part looks like frog spawn. It tastes delicious though and is very much appreciated.

Another new bird lives up to it's name, a Great Thrush. Now that is a lifer but the next bird I have seen before, a smart-looking White-browed Chat Tyrant.
Miles go by and I reach a large dam. On the top two Andean Geese are sitting but the following lake is disappointing in not having any water birds on it. I stop for lunch and manage to get some photographs of Andean Swifts. Maybe not the best photographs in the world but evidence enough.

More cows . . . help!
On reaching a large hydro-electric plant the road splits and and I continue along the road that goes uphill along the river valley. About a mile later I turn and see that a village is high up on a ridge behind me. Considering the food and water situation I determine to get to it and reverse downhill. An hour or so later and after pushing up extremely steep and zig zagging roads, I reach the village of Huanza. 

On the way up I regularly stopped for breath and on one such stop a Rusty-crowned Tit-spinetail briefly clung to a brick wall right by me. It quickly retreated to a nearby sedgy area but showed itself well when pished.

In the village I find a shop and ask a shopkeeper if there is a hostel. She, I later find out her name is Diana, takes me to a man and he has a key for a small room with three beds in it. 

The toilet is behind a shower curtain and there is a large bucket in a sink beneath a tap. With a table and bench it is well furnished for such a small room and there are masses of warm blankets. Perfect and all for fifteen Soles a night, around £3.50. The doormat, or where one would be, is made out of small bones made into a semi-circular pattern. Fascinating.

A walk around the village, I greet everyone I pass and talk with a group of young boys about their school and life. A bull ring is unused and hopefully never will be again. In it is a lone donkey braying for company.

Green Year list : 135 birds average new birds to list per day : 5.63 birds

Distance cycled : 11.58 miles

elevation up : 4,495 feet, down 2,095 feet

altitude : 11,164 feet

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