Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Road to Cuspe - Cajamarca Provence
Another wonderful trip to Peru  and as always the two highlights were the people and the birds. We traveled again to the fab private preserve at Chaparri  where we spent 3 days- there were no other guests so the three of us were in Paradise. Our arana (Chilean taranchula) from the last trip was nowhere to be found, but our little fox came daily to watch us.

Chaparri- its beauty changes with the hour

Jeremy got me up at 4 A.M. one morning so we could hit the highway (dirt-rock road) up the mountain, in the dark. Owls and night-jars flew at us as we disturbed their feeding.  It was a three hour trek to where we were going. After two hours we stopped at a tiny hamlet where we had a break for the bano.  I was able to see the local sheep and dairy cows which were being led to milking.  One of the best conversations I had with a native who spoke no English, to my almost non- existent Spanish, was with Senora Nina.

Senora Nina
 It was really amazing as she told me about the milk and how it is sent to be processed. She could not believe that we have raw milk (she said they call it leche cruda)  and did we really drink it?  This, in a country that often does not have the most sanitary conditions, esp. in rural areas. This family, while poor in the eyes of a gringo, was actually quiet well off. Their fields were abundant with crops, their animals were numerous and healthy, they lived in an absolutely gorgeous valley between the mountains, and they certainly knew the meaning of hospitality..

As we climbed up the mountain on foot, with Fernando our driver following at a distance with the car, we encountered many children going to school: some walked, some on bikes or donkeys, and  a few on the handle bars of father's bike.  All seemed happy waving at us!  Of course I am sure I was a sight in my habit with binoculars. At 7 we had a wonderful tail-gate breakfast.

Children on the way to school

Tail-gate feast
The walking was gentle and slow on this mostly stone trail, which if you have an extra 10 hours will eventually take you to the city of Cajamarca.

 Some of the 30+ birds we spotted were rare hummingbirds, including the tiny little woodstar (the size of a bumble-bee), the long-billed starthroat, the fab green-tailed trainbearer, and the grey-chinned hermit. 
I love the names of these tiny jewels of the mountains, as if they are giants carrying more than just their colors!
Little woodstar

Grey-chinned hermit

Long-billed starthroat
Green-tailed trainbearer

Foliage-gleaners that I had missed on my last trip were there for us. Another gem in its splendor was the grey and gold warbler. We could hear the rarely spotted Ochre-bellied dove and the Ecuadorian trogon, but never got sightings.
Our guide Tomas with his son

 On this trip, half the length of the last trip to Peru, I added 32 new species to my life-list giving me a total of 246 species for Peru and 1349 total world-wide.  Next stop???? who knows!

Henna-hooded foliage-gleaner
Grey and gold warbler

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