La Montañita (Oct 7-9)

The morning of the 7th, we headed out of Yacuabamba to find La Montañita. Unfortunately, we missed the easily missed turn-off road to La Montañita, so we ended up going all the way into Buldibuyo to figure out where we went wrong before backtracking to find the turn-off road. Finally we found it and headed to the recently famed La Montañita. Only a couple of birding groups had ever been to this place, and they'd reported incredible birding, so our hopes were very high.

The several hour drive after the turn-off from the "main" road was one of the roughest roads of the whole trip, and we had to slow down to a crawl in many places. When we arrived, we found that the campsite area was in a small muddy clearing centered around the skeletal remains of an old truck. This was the beginning to another 3 days with NO facilities, but we were excited about the birding. Then we started birding and found it to be fairly tough birding overall. However, we still managed a bunch of great birds and high quality "lifers" such as Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, Pardusco, Green-headed Hillstar, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Great Saphirewing, Coppery-naped Puffleg, Coppery Metaltail, Russet-mantled Softail, Tschudi's Tapaculo, Tawny Antpitta, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-capped Hemispingus, and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager!

Mountain Caracara cruising along the road to La Montañita.

The road to La Montañita was one of the roughest, slowest roads of the trip. Note the angle of the items dangling from the mirror.

A lake above La Montañita.

Marginal photos of an Andean Gull hanging around the lake.

Lounging at our future campsite, complete with the skeleton of an old truck, and plenty of mud and cowpies.

Sr. Juan established the kitchen in the old truck cab.

While the weather looks good in this photo, it often drizzled as the clouds moved in. The elevation here was ca. 3200m (10,500 feet).

Mossy trunks in the cloud forest adjacent to the campsite.

Harry searches for tapaculos in the moss-covered bamboo thickets.

An orchid of some sort.

Birding along the road at La Montañita.


Not the greatest photo, but it's a pretty darn good bird!

Bay-vented Cotinga

An even worse bird photo, but hey, it's my website!

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant nest tucked into the rocky wall by the trail.

Here's Derb with a new friend on his finger. While this is a good pic of Derb, there's a better pic of the butterfly (Hypanartia lindigii) on my Peru Butterflies 2 page.

We found lots of butterflies at La Montañita. Here are a bunch of satyrs or arctics (Pedaliodes sp.) enjoying a fresh cowpie!

Check out more of my Peru butterfly photos here!

Nice mossy cliff wall along the road.

Hey Rytas, what are these?

Our pot of gold under this rainbow manifested in the form of a couple of Golden-backed Mountain-Tanagers, one of Peru's most sought-after endemics!

The morning of 9 October, we birded for a few hours then packed up camp and headed back out of La Montañita along that lovely road . . .

We found Many-striped Canesteros, Striated Earthcreepers, Andean Flickers, etc. along the roadside by that lake.

This is the season when the locals often light brush fires to encourage fresh growth for livestock to eat.

As we were driving out the long road from La Montañita we noticed these fires across a valley had just been started.

The closer we got, the more we watched the fires grow. Then we realized that the road above the fires was our ONLY road out of this valley. It became a race to see if we or the fires would take over the road first!

As you can see, the fire won the race. This suddenly became the view out the front windshield along this twisty, one-lane, high mountain road.

Thus we were forced to make as hasty a retreat as possible, considering that now we had to BACK UP along that twisty, one-lane, high mountain road as there was no room to turn around!

Sr. Juan coughs his way back from taking pictures at the leading edge. Unfortunately, a hearty wind was pushing the fire our direction!

Here I am watching quite a variety of birds, including a Band-winged Nightjar, fleeing the front edge of the fire.

Some of the flames along the leading edge were pretty impressive. We had to wait about an hour for the fire to burn itself out enough for us to drive the road.

Our eyes watered and burned for most of the rest of the day!

Continue tour: Buldibuyo to Tayabamba to Huancaspata to Sihuas to Caraz to Yungay to Llanganuco (Huascaran National Park) to Huaraz to Aija (Oct 9-11)

ITINERARY: Or jump to another section of the trip.

Back to Peru Tour Home Page

Created on ... November 16, 2003 |