We managed about 6 hours of sleep (with a bit of help from Garret’s box of medical tricks) and after breakfast we took a walk down to the beach. We’re staying in the Miraflores area just south of the CBD and it would be best described as the equivalent of Camps Bay or a smart Sea Point. The streets are filled with cafes and bars and has a wonderful atmosphere. We strolled through the Parque de Miraflores and ticked our first new birds. Nothing earth shattering but still great to stretch the legs and enjoy a bit of birding.
Being a Sunday morning, the streets and parks were full of people. We stopped for a quick coffee and then headed down to the coastline. The beachfront was much like you’d see on the promenade on a Sunday morning – runners, cyclists, walkers and birders. Yes, birders. Not only Garret and I but also a French couple.
The birds on the coast were fantastic. The bucket list bird was Inca Tern and we saw plenty of them. They were quite beautiful as they fluttered above the waves, over the rafts of surfers enjoying a sun-filled Autumn day with decent swell. Another comparison – just like Muizenberg. There must have been more than 100 surfers in the waves in perfect conditions.
After returning to the hotel at 12pm we met up with our entourage for the next three weeks. Juan is our main guide. He’s about 30 years old, devilishly handsome and he speaks excellent English. We’re told he knows a thing or two about birds as well. Then he has brought along his good mate Alex who is a bit older (about 25 years older) and may not be considered as handsome but he apparently also knows his birds. So, we’ve done well with a ratio of 1:1 for Birder:Bird Guide. And don’t forget our driver Julio who is somewhere in between in age and I have no idea what he knows about birds. As long as he drives us to them, I guess that’s okay. Is he handsome? Hmmm.
We bundled into our trusted vehicle with great enthusiasm and we sped through the southern suburbs of Lima to a wetland called Pantanos de Villa. It was the perfect location to get into things with a few big and colourful wetland birds as an easy start. We were blessed with a model shoot down at the wetland (I’m not joking) but I felt too shy to use my long lens to take pictures of the three very scantily clad ladies so, instead, I chose to photograph birds instead, although I did snap an iPhone pic for posterity.
Great birds included Black Skimmers (in their hundreds), Grey Gull, Great Grebe and plenty of waders and waterfowl. The main targets were three reed skulkers and we snaffled all of them. The Many-coloured Rush-tyrant is a shining light of colour in amongst a family of very dull birds – the New World bird family of tyrant flycatchers has several hundred species and most species are not much to look at and so this would be the best we would see all trip. Its name is certainly apt. Then we eventually had good views of a Wren-like Rushbird, which I called a Resh-like Runbird in my excitement. The final of the triumvirate was a Plumbeous Rail.
All in all, an excellent first day. We’re now chilling at the hotel and will soon be tasting our first Peruvian beer.
- Total day birds: 55
- Total trip birds: 55
- Mike lifers: 28
- Garret lifers: 27
- Bird of the day: Inca Tern
Click here for Day 2