25 September 2014

Birds & Boats in Coastal Peru...6 Sept.

After our bumper crop of Tumbesian birds at Bosque de Pomac, we headed back towards Peru's fourth largest city, Chiclayo, and the coast. We were rudely interrupted by some birds along the way though, with Nick spotting a Baird's Flycatcher, rather skillfully, from our speeding vehicle, which caused us to flea the vehicle at pace, (the bird was found sitting unremarkably shortly after). Nick too, noticed a camera-shy Pearl Kite, sitting on roadside wires, which hot-footed it away as soon as our cameras were in sight of it. As we got close to the coast our eyes were directed skywards, for any small flocks of hirundines (i.e. swallows), as this is the realm of the scarce Chestnut-collared Swallow, several small parties of which were seen, with persistence.

Finally, we arrived by a small pool in off the sea at Puerto Eten, where Nick (the official guide for the trip), was ready to target a small songbird within the low rushes at the edges. As we bundled out of the car, a couple of stately shorebirds rose suddenly out of the shrubbery, and revealed themselves to be a pair of Peruvian Thick-knees, which posed, in exemplary fashion, for our raised cameras. The pool revealed the hoped-for Wren-like Rushbird, appropriately in the low rushes around the edges. The pond also hosted numerous waterbirds, including Gray-hooded GullsLeast and Baird's Sandpipers, Black-necked Stilts, and the first, of literally hundreds, of Wilson's Phalaropes. In the grassy edges of the pool we flushed up a couple of Yellowish Pipits, which later showed much better with aid of our 'scopes.

The final stop of the day was on the coast at Santa Rosa. Again, a pool was the centre of our attention, although the edges of this one were matted with tall reeds and rushes, much more suitable for the main target bird of the afternoon, a strange and colourful reed-dwelling flycatcher, which defies the very idea that flycatchers are all dull and boring. A quick burst of playback brought three Many-colored Rush-Tyrants into view, sporting their lemon-yellow chests and beautiful blue sides to the head. Magnificent, this bird seemed to get a better rise than the plantcutter did earlier that day! 

We finished off on the nearby beach, which was carpeted with gulls, with numerous adult and juvenile Gray Gulls dominating the pack, while massive Peruvian Pelicans cruised regularly overhead. We also got to admire the traditional reed fishing boats dotted along the beach. The near city of Chiclayo may be a modern bustling city of some 700,000 people, but here on the coast, traditional practices, at least to some degree, were still alive and well. 

Next up Abra Porculla...

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