Monday 25 June 2018

Day 74. A Great Day but . . . .

June 13th, 2018

Warm, Cloudy morning , sunny intervals in the afternoon

The son of Maria, the owner of the bed & breakfast I am staying in, hands me a leaflet over breakfast, one advertising a nearby set of waterfalls and says that there are lots of birds there. So, changing my day's plan, I head for it.Passing through Aguas Calientes, past a large set of football pitches with a stage to one side and past some rock carvings that depict times in Peruvian history. 

I pay the ten Soles entrance fee, I walk up admittedly a beautiful densely forested valley and see a small waterfall. That is it. The other two waterfalls and the rest of the path up the valley is now out of bounds and massively overgrown. Birds? A couple of Andean Motmots, a male Booted Racket-tail, a stunningly beautiful hummingbird, tiny and with a long tail and a Gray-breasted Wren. That's it.

Disappointed I head off for the Butterfly Farm and Mandor Valley. Walking along the riverside once I am out of town, I stop a couple of times. First time is to watch Black Phoebe's chasing insects from off rocks by the river. The second is to watch and listen to a Dusky Green Oropendula attending it's pendulous nest.

Down river to the Mach Picchu Butterfly Farm, an Occelated Piculet was in a tree right by the steps down to it. Nice start. I paid the ten Soles entry fee and went down through the garden and around the large mesh-like butterfly house to the riverside. Torrent Tyrannulets were on the rocks and a couple more Dusky Green Oropendulas flew over. Into a courtyard where a counter sold coffee and sundries. I sat with my fare and watched as a variety of tanagers came down on the two bananas on a bird table. They included species seen at Inkaterra the day before but also a few of a new one for the Green Year list, Silver-beaked Tanagers.

Into the farm itself, there weren't too many butterflies flying, just a couple of blue-winged Morpho species. Cabinets with pinned pupae were interesting though, as was a plastic box containing the caterpillars of Owl Butterflies.

On leaving I head towards the railway line that goes west around the base of the mountain that is topped by Machu Picchu and am surprised by the number of people walking along it. Dozens of people coming towards me, mostly young people. 

Now when I first visited here early in January 2014, it was forbidden to do so. People still did and I remember one memorable walk that way when I met a small family , who lived in a small shack by the train track. I sheltered with them as torrential rain fell and once it had stopped was shown their orchid collection in their garden of sorts. Walking past that spot now I was amazed to see a large new glass windowed cafe.
A couple of kilometres later, after saying Hi and hello to many people passing making their sweaty way to Aguas Calientes, I reach the entrance to Mandor Valley and pay the ten Soles to get in. A gang of eight Canadian lads are doing in as well and once inside, run past me to get up the valley as far as they could before dark. I slowly go along the well-maintained path searching for birds. There aren't many but an obliging Green Jay is colourful and new. Strange to think the only one that I seen on the trip was the most likely escaped Green Jay at Los Pantanos de Villa, that favourite reserve of mine south of Lima, back in April.

I walk back to Aguas Calientes thinking that I should have gone to Mandor Valley first thing and not have been distracted from that intention by a leaflet showing a waterfall!

Green Year list : 262 birds                                  

average new birds to list per day : 3.54 birds

altitude : 6,795 feet

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