Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nov 16 - Chillo to Leymebamba

5:30 AM breakfast of a fruit cup sprinkled with quiwicha and some bread. It was a nice change from eggs. We visited the 2 snuggled together Koepcke’s Screech Owls once more before taking off to Leymebamba. We actually passed thru the town and started on a very bad dirt road of which we had to turn around since it wasn’t passable. The primary mode of transportation here seems to be by Horseback instead of by Motorcycle Rickshaw, which was more prominent at lower elevations. We took the road to Sixsi. We walked the road first crossing the river and then back to the main road. The landscape was littered with moss covered rocks and logs and we were surrounded by Andean hillside at an elevation of 2500 meters. We had scope views of a beautiful Slaty-Backed Chat-Tyrant sitting near the river (and got a photo too). We walked about 3 miles total and turned around when the threat of rain was looming. It was at the end of the walk where we had the most birds and great views of the Gray-Breasted Mountain Toucan and the Golden Headed Quetzal. There was also a nice flock of Blackburnian Warblers, Mountain Caciques, Spectacled Whitestarts (Redstarts), and White banded Tyrannulets.

Later, we stopped at the home of a German woman called Kentipata who had lots of hummingbird feeders and had lunch there – chicken sandwiches and banana bread. The gardens were beautiful and we had great looks at many hummers including the Sword-billed, Purple Throated Sunangel, Sparkling Violetear, White bellied, Marvelous Spatuletail, and Rainbow Starfrontlet to name a few.

We stayed there until about 4:00 PM and then took the road toward Cajamarca to do some birding along the road before returning to the hotel in Leymebamba called Laguna de la Condores. The birding was at an area that seemed to have endless skies – very open hilly habitat. We had 3 Mountain Caracaras flying over head mixed in with Black and Turkey Vultures. Some other highlight birds were the Scarlet Bellied Mountain- Tanager, Streak Throated Bush Tyrant, Red Crested Cotinga, and lots of Blue and White Swallows that had burrows in the side of the cliffs near the road. They were getting ready for roosting just before we left at 6:00 PM. We checked in to the hotel which is behind a stone walled front on a very narrow street. There was a nice courtyard in the center with a garden where we did our checklist before going to dinner. We ate at a small restaurant in town after walking thru the town square. – steak and rice. We were the only ones there.

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