The Inca were not finished with the ruins before they abandoned them, with the approaching Spaniards apparently being a main factor. But the entire hillside apparently originally looked like this jumble of boulders, which they either chipped away or buried beneath terracing.
The three-hour guided walk from Vilma was interesting, and she was captivating. But it was still a bit much for me, and I was constantly distracted by the various forms of wildlife around the ruins.
We saw two Northern Mountain Viscachas, Lagidium peruanum, close relatives of the Chinchilla, and in a disctinctive grouping of New World rodents that includes the Capybara, New World porcupines, cavies, and agoutis, among others.
Incidentally, I learned from Vilma that the extra “c” in Picchu is there because you’re supposed pronounce it. Ma-chu peek-chu.
And despite it not being much of a birding day, we still managed 68 species such as this immature Fasciated Tiger-Heron on the river rocks. (Note: all my bird pics are either digiscoped or digibinned, such as this one. I held my little point-and-shoot camera up to my binoculars.)
Some new birds for me today included Inca Wren, Black-streaked Puffbird, and Green-and-white Hummingbird.