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May 2007

We went to Peru on a birding trip with the Colorado Audubon Society. There were 15 of us and three guides, two were from Peru. We flew to Lima a day early to visit museums, but then they offered a birding trip to the coast and wetlands around Lima, so we did that instead of museums.

Then we flew to Cusco (11,600 feet), and birded in the afternoon in a wetlands. We had taken our high altitude medicine (Diamox), and also drank coca tea. The next day we took a mountain train to Aguas Calientes (see map), and then a bus to Machu Picchu (only 8,000 feet). It was very beautiful and very interesting. Everything was so green, and steep. They have several Llamas there that "mow" the grass for them. After our visit, we birded along the road for a few hours, and then took the bus back to Aguas Calientes.

The next day we returned to Cusco by bus and train (fashion show on train). Next morning we switched to a bus with huge tires (maybe 4 feet in diameter), and travelled forever on a impossible mountain road over the Andes, encountering many land slides and washed out sections of the road (see altitude map at end). The bus cut up a tire on the rocks.

We eventually got to the Cock of the Rock Lodge in Manu National Park, where we spent two nights. Although we saw some Cock of the Rocks, they were not on their lek performing for us.

Then it was another long bus ride down to the river, and then motorized canoes for 4 hours to get to Manu Lodge, deep in the jungle of Manu National Park. We were there 5 nights. There was no electricity, except for recharging batteries. We had nice cabins with hot water in the shower, but none in the sink, and we slept under mosquito nets. The food was excellent and varied, and they had marvelous deserts.

One day we hiked for 6 hours along jungle trails looking for impossible birds (ant birds) that skulk on the ground in the dark areas of the jungle. Without guides we would never have seen them, and many in our group still did not see some of them, because they were standing a few inches to the left or right of the "window". Sometimes being tall helped, and at other times it did not.

We also climbed up two ~200-step towers to get above the forest canopy. It was beautiful, but we did not see a lot of birds. We did see dozens of Macaws at the clay lick (see pictures).

Getting home was "fun". We had an 8-hour canoe trip (motorized), and a 1-hour bus ride to get to Puerto Maldonado (near Bolivia). Next morning we flew to Cusco, and then on to Lima. We had two hours in a hotel to rest in Lima, and after dinner we headed for the airport for our over-night flight to Miami, and then we caught a flight to San Francisco. So, it took 3 days of travel to get out of the jungle and home.

We had a surprise at the Lima Airport. Ann Davidson, who lives on our block, was there. She had been on an archeological trip. Small world and all that.

It was a great trip for doing ONCE at our age. We had excellent Peruvian bird guides, Renzo Zeppilli and Silverio Duri. Gary Graham is the Directory of the Colorado Audubon Society, and has spent time in Peru. Our Peru guides said that they hoped that when they were 80 that they could still go on birding trips like us. There were many places that I could not have made without a walking stick, and even Marion had to borrow one for some of the tough places at Machu Picchu.

Now we have to rest up and catch up, and prepare for our trip to Ecuador in October 2007.

In Peru, I saw 306 bird species, and 180 were life birds, i.e., not seen before.


Map of Peru

Map of Peru with visited areas marked

Manu National Park

Fishing Village near Lima

Flute Band at Cusco Airport

Tail End of Sunday Parade Cusco

Church in Cusco

Train Map - Cusco to Aguas Calientes and Bus to Machu Picchu

From the Train

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu


Llama Baby and Mother

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Statue in Aguas Calientes

Clown on Train plus Fashion Show

Church in Cusco

Fountain in Front of Church

YES, That is FOG

Mostly Red and Green Macaws
Yellow ones are Scarlet Macaws

Macaws at Clay Lick

Red and Green Macaw
Amazon Kingfisher

Giant Tree


Red Tree from Tower

In The Tower

Tree and Tower Steps
Gary Graham right

Ox Bow Lake below Tower

Nesting Cocoi Herons

Our Most Unusual Bird
Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Bird Book)

Gold Mining - a Fancy Outfit

Elevation Map

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