Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cock-of-the-Rock

The unofficial bird of Peru is the cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus). They are a very odd species. The males meet every morning and evening to strut their stuff to the other males in what is called a lek. Because this bird has become such a staple for the tourism industry in Peru, the leks are boarded off from public view and locals let you into the 'viewing area' after paying them a fee. The morning Sean and I went to see the birds, we stayed at the camping platform where another avian research group and they informed us that the current lek (they move every few years) was located about a 45 minute walk up the road. We got up really early and walked up to the lek and arrived right before sunrise. Unfortunately there was no one there to unlock the door for us. We climbed the barbed wire fence (which had a huge drop on the other side that we had to scale to get to the platform) and had our little 15 minute show of male cock-of-the-rocks bobbing and squawking. They left before the sun actually came up over the mountain, so the photos I did get were not ideal. Even so, it was definitely an experience.

Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)
Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)

Back at the lodge, they are geared for big time photographers and tourists, they have several hummingbird feeders and put out fruit for the tanagers. It was a really nice day- I could have stayed at those feeders for the whole day!
 
Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans). These guys were the most fierce protectors of the feeders, therefore the most abundant.

Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans). I was playing around with my flash and different shutter speeds. This one has a little slower shutter than the one below where the wings were frozen.

Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans) about to take off.

Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans). No flash on this photo.

Golden-eared tanager (Tangara chrysotis)
Golden-eared tanager (Tangara chrysotis)

Golden tanagers (Tangara arthus) with a piece of fruit. I feel like this one can make a good 'caption me' contest.

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

Many-spotted hummingbird (Taphrospilus hypostictus)

Many-spotted hummingbird (Taphrospilus hypostictus)
Blue-winged mountain tanager (Anisognathus somptuosus)
 As I like to do... I saved my favorite for last. This hummingbird was so small and beautiful. My favorite hummingbird I saw in Peru!
Booted racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii)