Monday 25 June 2018

Day 75 A Guest at Inkaterra, Machu Picchu Pueblo!

June 14th, 2018

Warm, Cloudy morning , sunny intervals in the afternoon

An invitation from the incredible Inkaterra Hotel to stay for the night cannot be ignored! The problem is I haven't a thing to wear and my shoes, well I can just imagine the faces on the people who stay there if they saw the lack of toe fronts. An hour or so after breakfast and after saying goodbye to the lovely people at the bed & breakfast, I have a new pair of trousers and a new pair of shoes; trainers that I don't usually buy as I never feel that they are good for my feet. Mind you as these are size 46, I will take them, kiss them, lick them and love them. The right size for me, at last, I could almost kiss the lady who has the stall that sells them! She needs some TLC too. As I was deciding on which pair of trainers to have, a man came over who started berating her over something and moments after he had left she burst into tears. I give her a big hug and hold her hand as she sobs. No idea what it was about but noticeable that no one came over to offer help.
To Inkaterra, I breeze past the security guards and go to the reception desk. My name is on the list and, leaving all of my luggage, a few clothes in a rucksack, with them to put into my room, I go around to Inkaterra's Eco Centre to discuss birding the garden. One of the bird guides, Joseph, offers to walk with me in the afternoon and asks that I return there at three. Brilliant, four eyes and ears are better than two.
I have the day to relax and bird and that is precisely what I do, following the paths that I went along just a couple of days before. The same species of tanagers are at the bananas. The same species of hummingbirds are at the feeders. As usual each place holds a fascination with colour and movement. Mitred Parakeets arrive but are difficult to see as they hide in the treetops. Dark Green Oropendulas bubble and do the same. Luckily though they occupy lower branches than do the parakeets and if one strains one's neck one can watch them as they do their display as the call. Lower still and very still on a branch close to me a superb blue Andean Motmot sits. Surely this bird is the one that captures most people's attention in the garden; that is when they spot it. Looking up I see that an adult Black-breasted Buzzard Eagle is soaring high above. I watch it doing so until it glides away over the mountain tops and away down the valley.
Along the path I meet a young man from Paris. Max is a photographer and he tells me that he is twenty one years old and Inkaterra were so impressed with some of his photographs that they have invited him to do a publicity photo shoot for them. With some of the staff I watch as Max arranges packets of Inkaterra's tea to create a scene where the tea can be seen with the river and cloud forest backdrop. Brilliant to see the enthusiasm and skill that Max displays and to see him here at Inkaterra.
Moving through the tea garden and to the place where there is a view over the river I see Cinnamon Flycatchers and Slate-throated Redstarts. As I watch the river a Fasciated Tiger Heron appears on the far bank and flies along further upstream. The usual pair of Torrent Ducks are there on the rocks as are Black Phoebe's and Torrent Tyrannulets. A number of Blue & White Swallows hawk over the water. Suddenly a male Cock of the Rock flies over the river and still shows itself by sitting on an exposed branch. Wonderful how the brilliant scarlet colour stands out amongst all the green foliage around it.
I go further and find Inkaterra's personal helipad. From this elevated position one can watch the canopy and see difficult to identify Tyrannulets and easier to identify vireos. A Capped Conebill is easier to identify than any Tyrannulet with its almost completely black plumage with blue on it's crown. A nearby fuschia bush has a Green & White Hummingbird in attendance for a while and soon after that leaves a spectacular Long-tailed Sylph arrives. Once all features are noted I try to get a photograph of the iridescent blue hummer to no avail. Its movements from flower to flower are too speedy for me and it spends most of its time at the back of the bush, just allowing fleeting glimpses. What a fabulous bird though. The long tail's blue sparkle is astonishing. Sitting on a convenient rock I watch as tanagers pass through and a Smoke-coloured Peewee takes advantage of a prominent dead branch to make sallies into the air to catch flying insects. An Ocellated Woodpecker gives great views too. I am really enjoying the sit and wait approach and feel that a comfortable bench positioned here would be a boon to any visiting birders.
The afternoon session with two bird guides is a delight. Golden-crowned and Streak-necked Flycatchers and Streaked Xenops are soon added to the Green Year list and the pleasure of sharing birds with two Inkaterra staff members who obviously feel the same way as I do about them is wonderful. We bird together for over two hours and take a path I hadn't seen before that takes us higher up the hill. Amongst the birds we see four more new birds are new; Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Oleaginous Hemisphingus and Yellow-olive Tyrannulet, seen in that order. With the light fading a return to the hummingbird feeders brings the delight of having the incredible Collared Inca arrive. It is soon chased off though by the Chestnut-fronted Coronets.
Profuse thanks for a superb afternoon, I am taken to my room by a young lady who kindly shows me all of the room's features. I am about to indulge myself with a hot shower when there is a knock on the door. Upon opening it I am greeted by a young man carrying a basket of chocolates. I take a couple and thank him. No this is a service I have never had at a hotel before! Using the various shampoos and creams provided, I enjoy my hot shower and once dry sit on my sofa and relax. The room has a very large kingsize bed and the view from the sofa is beautiful, as the lights positioned outside softly light up the trees that surround the building. I take dinner but make a silly mistake in thinking that the small white bowl on the table contains grated parmesan cheese. I sprinkle it over the rice of my Lomo Saltado. It isn't cheese. It is sea salt and the rice quickly becomes inedible!
Going back to my room after dessert I write up the day's notes in my notebook. Forty two species of bird with eleven of them new for the year list. I fall asleep in this fabulously luxurious room. Thanks Inkaterra, a truly wonderful day.

Green Year list : 273 birds average new birds to list per day : 3.64 birds

altitude : 6,795 feet

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