A 3:45 AM wake up prepared us for our last day in Peru. We were picked up by Alejandro (guide) and Carlos (driver) at 4:30 to be taken to Santa Eulalia to see the Andean Condors. I slept part of the way there knowing that it would be a very long day, but I awoke when the ride became too bumpy. We were starting to ascend the mountain. The road was thick dust, not paved, and hugged the side of the mountain, once again only wide enough for 1 car, but a 2 way rode nonetheless. Our first stop we had White Capped Dipper and Peruvian Pygmy Owl and Carlos set out our breakfast in the trunk of his car. We had our favorite of the trip: liquid mango yogurt mixed with granola, which was very good since it was mixed with peanuts. Then we continued the ascent stopping for small flocks of Mourning Sierra Finch and Hooded Siskens. I spotted a Canyon Canestero, which looks very similar to the mystery bird of 2 days ago that we could never figure out in the book since we did not see it well enough. We arrived at the spot where the Condors are typically seen by about 9:30 and waited for about an hour with no luck. Alejandro said he usually sees anywhere from 4 to 10 birds. I guess it was not our lucky day. While we waited we had a Black Chested Buzzard Eagle fly very close overhead and perch on a pole about 100 yards away. Shortly thereafter an American Kestral perched very close to the Buzzard Eagle. As we watched the Kestral kept moving closer and closer. Eventually the Buzzard Eagle flew off and we watched the Kestral continually dive bomb the Buzzard Eagle on the back, until it was far enough away that the Kestral was satisfied that it chased off the bird. At this point I asked if we could try for the Plover, but they said the car could not make the drive and it would be too far. We were disappointed that Kolibri’s checklist for this area included many birds that were not possible on this tour. We picked this day tour out of the 3 day tours we paid for because of the most chances to see birds we had not already seen the rest of the trip, but given that we only had 38 species for the day and no condor it was hardly worth the cost of the one day trip price!
We started heading back and stopped to try for the Rufous Breasted Warbling Finch which I found almost instantly, but it flew off before we could all see it well. So we waited a bit longer and a very cooperative Black Necked Woodpecker flew into a cactus and Paul was able to get very close to it to get some great photos. During this time the Warbling Finch reappeared with many Rusty-Bellied Brush-Finches and Mourning Sierra Finches. The next stop was when we spotted Black Winged Ground-Doves on the road. Paul went down to take photos and ended up seeing a group of Pied Crested Tit-Tyrants that I missed, which was really sad because that was one bird I had noticed in the book that I really wanted to see. It was now time to make sandwiches from the back of the car and hope to see some more birds, but the only one around was the White Browed Chat tyrant. Our final stop was at a recreation area that had lots of flowering lantanas filled with 3 species of hummers: Oasis, Amazilla, and Peruvian Sheartail and the very common Long Tailed Mockingbird. We headed back to town descending what seemed like the never ending mountain road. We passed 3 villages built into the mountains along the way. At one point the road was blocked by a herd of goats. Closer to Lima the traffic started to build. It was about 4:30 and it seemed like all 8 million residents of Lima were sitting in traffic. We stopped at the Indian Market – our only shopping stop for the entire trip – especially since most of the places we were in, did not even have shops, picked up a few gifts and souvenirs and headed to our “day” room hotel to clean up prior to our 12:20 AM flight from Lima to Miami. Gunnar met us at the hotel at 8:15 PM and had a taxi waiting to take us. Now here we sit waiting to board our flight and doing the last day’s trip report!