Guango and Papallacta
Thursday, July 14, 2011: We walked the grounds of Guango Lodge after breakfast. We managed to find several new species, including Gray-hooded Bush Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Slaty Brush-Finch, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Red-crested Cotinga, (Northern) Mountain Cacique, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, and White-banded Tyrannulet. Then we packed our stuff and took off. Although we were headed downslope to San Isidro, we first went up to Papallacta Pass.
At the pass, we drove up to the radio towers (permission required) to search for the seedsnipe. We didn't have any luck with the seedsnipe, but did add Plain-capped (Paramo) Ground-Tyrant, Chestnut-winged (Bar-winged) Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Many-striped Canastero, Blue-mantled Thornbill (flyover), and Grass (Sedge) Wren. We drove down to a Polylepis stand, where we spotted Andean Tit-Spinetail. Somewhere in here we also found our first two Andean Condors of the trip. The Polylepis also contained Giant Conebill and Black-backed Bush Tanager. The Giant Conebill was one of the few occasions where I was able to both spot and correctly ID a bird before Jose said anything.
|Ground Cover at Papallacta||High Mountain Lakes|
|View at Papallacta||Bunch Grass at Papallacta|
On to San Isidro
We left the pass area and returned to the main road. We stopped near a trail that led up to a lake. As we walked down the road, we checked for a Great Horned Owl that Ann had seen from the bus. The owl was still on its roost, but moved away from road before all of us moved on. Apparently it was unhappy with the attention. There wasn't really a proper trail up to the lake, it was more of a herd path, and there was a lot of water from recent rain. At this lake and Papallacta Lake, we found Andean (Ruddy) Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Teal, and Slate-colored (Andean) Coot. As we walked back toward the bus, we could see Bob and our driver Roberto pointing to something downslope — an Andean (Paramo) Fox!
We checked various bridges as we drove down to San Isidro. One-by-one, we added Torrent Tyrannulet, White-capped Dipper, and Torrent Duck. The hummingbird feeders at San Isidro had a Bronzy Inca, along with many hummers we had previously seen. We also watched a White-throated (Emerald) Toucanet in one of the trees.
After dinner we tried to find the famous San Isidro Mystery Owl. Ann and Bob spotted an Oilbird crossing the moon. Wish I could have seen it. Our owl search started slowly. We heard the Mystery Owl call a few times, but could not find it. We did find a White-eared Opossum and also heard two Rufous-banded Owls calling. Eventually, our group dwindled to Alice, Bob, Brian, and myself (besides Jose). We were headed back to lodge when we noticed a large owl on the wire next to us, a Rufous-banded Owl! We got a quick look before it sallied out to grab a moth, and then flew out of sight.
My bird total for the day was 53 species, including 5 lifers. My trip total increased by 30 to 239 species, with 75 lifers.
Cabañas San Isidro