Today we drove from Tarapoto to Moyobamba, the capital of San Martín province, Peru. Don't worry, I had never heard of these towns before studying up for this tour either. But they are busy little cities with very nice hotels and not far from great birding spots. Looking at a map, you might think we are in the middle of nowhere, but with everything connected by paved highways, it's quite civilized.
Which makes it most amazing that along this paved highway we made a short stop at a small bridge, looked down, and saw Oilbirds. One of the world's weirdest birds, the nocturnal Oilbird's ecological function is more like that of fruit bat than any bird. They are nocturnal, colonial, live in caves, and navigate by sonar. And most known locations involve something of a hike or some pre-dawn departure to a remote cave. This spot is nothing short of amazing. When you arrive it doesn't even look like the bridge is going over anything larger than a little draw.
But look down, and there's a slot canyon to take your breath away. Not good if you're susceptible to vertigo.
Near Tarapoto, we birded the Cordillera Escalera. Rain and fog drove us out this morning, but the light made the Tibouchina trees glow.
By the afternoon, the weather was gorgeous at the butte west of Moyobamba called Morro Calzada. This robber fly let me get a close shot while it was munching on a tiny gnat.
Interesting birds here included Spot-winged Antbird, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Striped Manakin, and Lesser Elaenia.