Monday 25 June 2018

Day 76 The Walk back to Ollantaytambo. June 15th 2018

June 15th, 2018

Cool first thing then very sunny and very warm, no cloud

Breakfast starts early at Inkaterra in order that those guests who want to ascend to Machu Picchu for sunrise may do so. Hence I am eating bread, olives and a simple omelette by six. 

I sit at a corner table so that I can look out of the large windows in two directions. A male Booted Racket-tail comes to a flowering bush nearby and I point this out to two Canadian ladies sitting at the table next to mine. The food available is displayed on a very large table, It includes a variety of fruits, cereals, olives, hams, cheeses and yogurts. Teas, fruit juices and coffee are also to be had and there is a menu that is quite extensive. I have a long walk back to Ollantaytambo today and I eat sparingly.
I pass the bananas put out for birds as I go to the office to hand in two books that I had borrowed from the Eco Centre and check out. A Dark Green Oropendula is feeding voraciously on one of them. And I am off. Thank you Inkaterra. A perfect stay at a wonderful hotel.

The contrast in the weather over the day I walked here and today is striking. Last Sunday's heavy rain is now replaced by a beautifully sunny day. This is going to be a wonderful walk. A male Cock of the Rock is the last bird I see as I leave the Inkaterra complex.
Torrent Ducks and Andean Motmots are active in the semi-light of the deep valley. A colourful insect has me staring closely to try and decide whether it really is a butterfly or a moth as it's colours look moth-like. Feathered antennae and wing shape, it's a moth and a beauty too. The Roadside Hawk is on it's usual telegraph pole.

Walking along the path steadily I am extremely lucky when as my foot is coming down I notice a long, dark snake beneath it. Missing it and stepping back I look at it carefully as it slowly moves. It is obviously a viper of some sort but about to slough, lose it's skin, from the look of it's cloudy eyes. I am just grateful that I didn't tread on it. (I later find out that it is a species of Pit Viper, called a Leatherhead. Extremely venomous, I probably wouldn't be here now to type this if I had been bitten by it!)

A flock comes through the canopy by me and for the next fifteen minutes or so I panic to try and see all of the birds. Slate-throated Redstarts dominate, with Streaked Xenops, Blue & Gray Tanagers, a couple of Tyranullets and even a House Wren. A little further along, just after a Cinnamon Flycatcher has been seen, a very tame Brown-backed Chat Tyrant goes from one nearby rock to a dried plant stem and on along the path in front of me. Fabulous to see, I have seen nearly all of the family of Chat-tyrants now.

After maybe ten miles or so I meet a young Peruvian woman, Stephani, who states as we walk together that she is a forestry worker and is originally from Huancayo. She has a keen passion for nature and conservation which is thrilling for an old Biking Birder. Her company makes the next ten miles go quickly as she asks the occasional question. Just before we reach the village where she lives, she stops and tells me that she had been sitting at that spot feeling rather sad because of work and life in general and that meeting me had really cheered her up! Carpe deum.

I reach the road and march as quickly as I can along it. Ollantaytambo, I am back and Wilma has my room ready. Showering I notice that my legs are badly bitten. I hadn't noticed any insects of the biting variety during the walk but they had noticed me. Bites went all the way up to my knees on both legs and I put antiseptic cream on them and drape a wet towel over my legs as I sit and write up my notes in the evening.

Green Year list : 274 birds

average new birds to list per day : 3.64 birds

altitude : 9,321 feet

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