Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visiting the the burst of color that is the Peruvian rainforest

During our week off, which started on Sunday, August 17, we decided to take a trip down Manu road to the sister reserve of Wayqecha, Villa Carmen. Villa Carmen is on a river and about 500 meter elevation. The cheapest way to get down is to hitch hike down Manu road- this is what we attempted. We sat out at the road for 8 hours and very few cars even passed by. 2 stopped but didn't have room for us. There was a mix up with a reserved car for a tourist couple that was staying at the station and their vehicle wasn't gonna arrive till 9pm- which was too late for them. So we caved and took their spots and payed the full fare to get down. We had the last 2 seats in a cramped 'collectivo' which is a 12 person van. It had started raining about 20 minutes before the van arrived and poured the whole way down. Manu road is a curvy, steep, dirt road. In the dark and the rain it was an interesting ride to say the least. It made me feel as if I was on the Indiana Jones ride for 2 straight hours. We even had to drive through 2 waterfalls that were in the middle of the road! We got in very late and so we just set up our tent and ate some food (meat, yay!) and went to sleep.
Waking up on the second day of vacation, I was very unhappy to hear the sound of rain. I really wanted to go look for cool new species to see and photograph. Luckily, that was the only rain we got on our vacation week and we were able to find lots of very cool new species.

A map of Manu road, we stopped at Cock of the Rock on our way back to Wayqecha. Although it was only a 40 mile drive, it takes 2-3 hours because of the curvy and narrow road. Also notice the difference in topography between Wayqecha and Villa Carmen.
This is a blue flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) and the flower, which I don't know the name will appear in a lot of photos because the hummingbirds and butterflies loved them.

Caterpillar that looks like it could kill. They are poisonous, but for us, it is more of a rash reaction.

Sapphire-spangled emerald (Amazilia lactea).

Long-tailed tyrant (Colonia colonus). This was my favorite bird in the lowlands. I spent hours watching the male and female pair perched near their nest.

Long-tailed tyrant (Colonia colonus)

White-eyed parakeets (Aratinga leucophthalma)

Plumbeous kite (Ictinia plumbea). These kites were very common. I love their red tipped wings.

Red-capped cardinal (Paroaria gularis)

Vermillion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peru: More Manu

Today I am going to finish out the photos from the first half of working at Wayqecha. (As a reminder, these photos were taken between July 17 and August 16 at about 3000 meter elevation)

Scarlet-bellied mountain tanager (Anisognathus igniventris)

Lymanopoda butterfly. I saw these guys very rarely, maybe only 2-4 times.

White-throated hawk (Buteo albigula)

Fog covering the mountainside.

And now for the last few photos, these were taken after we captured the bird in a mist-net. For non-target species (which varied depending on what we were doing that day), we just collected some basic measurements and photos and then released the bird.

Slaty-backed chat-tyrant (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris)

Female great thrush (Turdus fuscater)

Black-throated flowerpiercer (Diglossa brunneiventris). Notice the curved bill- this helps them grab the top of the flower and then pierce the flower with their sharp lower beak.

Yellow-breasted brush finch (Atlapetes latinuchus). These were really abundant around our tents and we very good at making sure I didn't sleep in.

One last photo of Lola. (She made it into every post so far!) Her ruffled feathers amused us and made her really easy to ID in the field.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peru: part 3, now with added maps!

So I realized that my last two posts were missing maps for reference to where I was when I took the pictures you are (hopefully) admiring. I made a few maps using google and my great photoshop drawing skills to show the different places I went in Peru. The map below shows the trip broken up into the three parts. Part one was my vacation time with Ann and Sean (Post here: My first post from Peru). Part two was working at Wayqecha and our mid work trip to the Manu lowlands. Part three was the final vacation portion where I set out to northern Peru to find the Marvelous Spatuletail- photos will be coming shortly.

This is a close-up of the approx location of our camp site within Wayqetcha, the satelite map was a little cloudy and didn't have a clear view of our actual camp site. The main station was where the internets were (sometimes).

Ok, back to the photos. This post is the second third of photos from the first half of my working time in Peru. Did you follow that? That's ok, takeaway is that there are some more bird and butterfly photos from the high elevations.

Oressinoma butterfly. I am not certain on the species, but either way- these little guys were my favorite butterflies in the high elevations. (The low elevation butterflies are a whole different story!)

Corades butterfly, again- working on the species for this one.

The larger bird on the right is a black and chestnut eagle (Spizaetus isidori) and the smaller is a white throated hawk (Buteo albigula). Not sure why these two were hanging out together, but it didn't seem hostile.

This photo is one of those oops pictures that I ended up liking. I spent a lot of time working on my birds with flash skills. I haven't really used my flash much with birds in the past. Unfortunately, even though I saw the amazing grass green tanager (Chlorornis riefferii) very often while working, I only got a few photos of them. This one ended up being my favorite.

The Andean guan (Penelope montagnii) is an odd bird. This day, I was sitting in the quiet and all of the sudden a loud crash in the bushes startled me. I looked in the bush (kind of thinking that a puma may come crashing out any second) and realized it was the not-so-graceful guan.

Amethyst-throated sun angel (Heliangelus amethysticollis).

Our tagged bird Lola (shining sunbeam, Aglaeactis cupripennis) protecting her Oreocallis flowers from flower-piercers.

Amazing or creepy? I choose the former. Sphaenognathus feisthameli, a member of the stag beetle family.

The last third of the first half are coming soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peru: Part two! Manu National Forest

There was a long gap, but I am finally able to post some more pictures from Peru! Unfortunately, right after my last post, my computer broke and I was without for the rest of my trip. I am now back in the US and able to post-process photos.

Today I thought I would start off just with some shots from Wayqecha where I was working in the Cusco region of Peru. Our field site was at about 2900 meter elevation. The weather was very mild- 40s-70s usually and lots of fog. It rained anywhere from 1-4 days a week, but usually not for very long. There was a lot of dry lightning/thunder at night. My time at Wayqecha was broken up into 2 halves. The first half was July 17-Aug16. In that time I didn't ride in a car, walked a lot of steep paths, held a few hummingbirds and took a lot of photos. The following photos are from the first work half.

Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis) at an Oreocallis flower. These guys get their name from the patch of color on their back, usually a whole rainbow of color, this one only has a little purple on the butt.

Andean lady (Vanessa altissima). These were the most abundant of the butterflies present.

Rufous antpitta (Grallaria rufula). These birds are quite adorable. They hop around on the forest floor and have giant cartoon-like eyes.

Rufous antpitta (Grallaria rufula)

Some unknown pollinator- If anyone knows the name, please share!

Blue-capped tanager (Thraupis cyanoephala)

Andean silverspot (Dione glycera)

A displaying pair of sparkling violetears (Colibri coruscans). I have a lot of pictures of this species- they are abundant at many different elevations.

Amethyst-throated sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis). This is the territorial male who liked to monopolize the feeder by our tents. In my opinion one of the most beautiful hummingbirds in Peru.

Shining sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis), aka Lola. This was one of our tagged hummingbirds- my favorite of the ones we tagged.