Saturday, October 31, 2009

Peru: Day 6 High-elevation to mid-elevation Cloud-forests

Dawn from our rooms at Wayqecha Biological Station in the upper cloud-forest of Manu National Park.
We began birding just a couple miles down the road and during the day made at least seven stops, each slightly lower in elevation and accompanied by an ever-increasing diversity of birds.
But the butterflies were easier to photograph, and often were more thrilling than the birds for me.
In the higher elevations, this gorgeous satyr, Corades cistene, was common.
This Catasticta dartwhite is a tough one to identify without the upper side visible.
This is Perisama diotima, a genus of eighty-eight-like butterflies found in the Andes.
Heliconius telesiphe, feeding from a Fuchsia.
An unknown skipper, soon to be identified. [Update: Richard Lindstrom has identified this as Dalla dimidiatus.]
Mexican Silverspot, Dione moneta.
This Epiphile orea was quite possibly one of the most beautiful butterflies I have ever seen.
The colors on this caterpillar scream “don’t touch.”
A dragonfly cruising the roadside edges of the cloud-forest.
There were several species of Bomarea here, but this pink one was stunning. Related to lilies, the family is best known from the florist favorite Alstroemeria.
This adorable little mouse, probably to remain unidentified for some time, was hopping about in the middle of the road where we were watching our first Blue-banded Toucanets.
And yes, there were birds. This is one of several Golden-headed Quetzals we saw.
This digiscoped video is of an Andean Potoo on a day roost, a rare find. Our drivers, who also have an interest in birds, had just finished driving for a Field Guides tour, who found this bird. So we owe many thanks to them for finding this bird and showing it to Amérigo and Mario.
We arrived at our next night’s hotel, Manu Paradise Lodge, in the late afternoon. A Many-spotted Hummingbird and Violet-fronted Brilliants were at the hummingbird feeders.
On the walkway, this pint-sized opossum greeted one of the participants with its paws outstretched and mouth wide open. I got there in time before it completely disappeared into a heliconia thicket. It appears to be Micoureus regina, the Bare-tailed Woolly Mouse-Opossum.
A quick list of today's special birds, in addition to those mentioned above: White-throated Hawk, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan (heard), Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Marcapata Spinetail, Rusty-winged Barbtail (quick views), Inca Flycatcher, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, White-collared Jay, Fulvous Wren, Slaty Tanager, and Grass-green Tanager.

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