I didn’t fly home after my month at Cristalino but rather went directly to Lima to meet the group for my WINGS tour the northern Peru states of San Martín and Amazonas. This was my eighth time to this area and my four time leading this particular itinerary, which visits the dry forests south of Tarapoto and then reverses to move west into the cloud forests of the easternmost ridges of the Andes in the upper Mayo River drainage. The Owlet Lodge is the most famous lodge here.
We did see some of the most iconic birds of the region, including the Long-whiskered Owlet and the Marvelous Spatuletail. But far more photogenic than either of those is the ridiculously adorable Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher.
The Owlet Lodge’s illuminated exterior walls are a never-ending parade of moths, beetles, and other invertebrates, and I hope to someday put names to the hundreds of things I’ve photographed. I prioritize some, such as the geometrid genus Opisthoxia. This was my first Opisthoxia orion.
Sticking to lepidoptera, I was beyond excitement to find this Styx infernalis in the open area at the bottom of the Owlet Trail below the lodge. It’s a rarely seen butterfly, the only relative of the Costa Rican Metalmark, Corrachia leucoplaga, which I’ve blogged about.
Even on a birding tour we’ll stop for special mammals. This is the critically endangered Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey, Oreonax flavicauda. We got to watch a troop the canopy foraging on leaves and fruits.
Finally, I had to mention this exciting Passiflora tarapotina, which I spotted high in the vine tangles not far from our lodge close to Tarapoto. It’s listed as threatened and, while known well in “captivity,” is rarely seen in the wild. I have to give thanks to my Passiflora specialist acquaintances on Flickr for immediately recognizing this flower.