Thursday, December 29, 2005

Northern Peru - the Maranon Endemics Entry #5

22 September

We "slept in" this morning .... we didn't get up until 4:45 a.m.! :) AND we had a "hotel breakfast"! Fried eggs with bacon and platanos fritos (mmm!). At the sight of the first plate, Dave immediately responded and ensured that he could have huevos revueltos (scrambled) instead.... a long story but suffice it to say that looking at fried eggs, even on my plate, brings back some bad childhood memories. We birded around the Puerto Puma hotel and finally spied the Rufous-capped Antshrike that had been skulking and calling in the bushes. It was a male that was irritated enough that he came out of his nest (which we could see below us in a gully full of deep grass). No sign of the female.

We then climbed onto the bus and drove to the same trailhead where we'd looked for the Marvelous Spatuletail several days previously. And there we implemented Barry's "cunning plan". Instead of hiking down the trail, based on Richard and Rosanne's "scoping", we hung out at the guard rail along the road by the trailhead (no ... really), staking out a flowering tree in the "back yard" of a very poor farm family. We sat there chatting along the guard rail and they stood in their door way, apparently dumbfounded by the sight of a SECOND group of crazy gringos standing around on the road with binoculars! Richard and Rosanne and their group had seen an immature male "spat" there a few days before, coming in sporadically. It was quite the entertaining wait. The woman from the farm apparently decided that no group of crazy gringos was going to prevent her from fulfilling her usual chores, so she carried two buckets of pig slop (mostly potato peelings in a most disgusting "broth") up to the half of a tractor tire lieing right in front of us and dumped them in. Then she led the family pig by a piece of twine over to the tire for her breakfast. She was quite a tame pig who snorted and snuffled through the slops, oblivious to the bunch of crazy gringos hanging around her breakfast table. She did stop long enough to investigate the palatability of Dave's hiking boots, but as he discouraged this behavior and they probably weren't very tasty, she moved on. I dubbed her "Portia" and we got several good pictures although I wished for a video camera when Bill began conversing with her. Portia finally finished the slops and "skinnied" herself under the guard rail and began foraging along the road, eating dust and gravel to all appearances. Eventually the woman returned and led Portia down the road and around the bend .... I guess so the pig could graze (if pigs graze) for the day.

We watched a Sparkling Violetear and a Purple-throated Sunangel in the flowering tree and the shrubs along the bank. We had to wait quite a while but did get two quick (1 minute) views of the immature male Marvelous Spatuletail (not all that marvelous since he was too young to have developed the long spatulate tail feathers .... just a long regular-looking tail). He snuck in, foraged rather serruptitiously and then left. The Sparkling Violetear is notoriously dominant over "spats" and on the second appearance, the violetear did chase the spat away rather aggressively.

We then piled back onto the bus at about 8:45 a.m. for about 5 hours of driving back south to Pedro Ruiz Gallo (I slept much of the way) and then west on a new road toward Bagua Grande. We stopped several times at rice fields near Naranjillos and birded from the road. We saw a collection of different shorebirds taking advantage of the flooded fields and our first Saffron Finches (a lovely yellow bird). We drove on through Bagua Grande, turning off onto a dirt road and stopping in the desert for lunch. It was HOT, humid and smoggy and we were in the middle of desertscrub-type habitat with columnar and barrel cacti (I don't think that's really the correct life zone term). It was quite oppressive; the table and chairs had been set up without the benefit of any shade ... pretty insane. Although there was the usual delicious fare, I fear it was lost on us as we sat there with our brains baking in the heat. We then walked along the road (dragged is probably more like it) and did get two "lifers" - Little Inca-Finch and the local Collared Antshrike, which may be split to become the Maranon (Collared) Antshrike. Mercifully we then clambered back onto the bus where at least the speed and open windows created a hot wind. We drove a little further and stopped one more time, looking for the Elegant (Maranon) Crescentchest, but we were unsuccessful - it was too hot and quite windy (therefore dusty).

We continued the short distance to Baguas Chicas where we checked into The Wilson Hotel. Baguas Chicas was another dusty, frontier town with mototaxis blaring horns. We checked into a room with air conditioning (!) which was vaguely cooler (it did get cooler with time), a bad small of kerosene (we learned this was a traditional form of "disinfectant" used to wipe down the floors .... I think I preferred unsanitary conditions), AND the information that there was NO water until 5:30 p.m. anywhere in town. It being "Peruvian time", at 6:45 there was still no water in the pipes .... just a bucket of water brought to our room for "necessities". SIGH. So I had dinner in my dirty clothes and held out hope for water later in the night or tomorrow morning early. Dinner was quite good - shared a bowl of Sopa de Criolla with Dave and a Chife (Peruvian Chinese) dish - fried rice with pork. When we got upstairs there was a trickle of water coming into the sink and the toilet but not the shower. So we took what my Mom calls a "spit bath" with a dampened towel, quickly used the toilet and flushed for fear of the water going off again. We then climbed into bed where it felt quite luxurious to have a basic air conditioner ..... it also served as "white noise" to block the noise of traffic on the street below.

Birds Observed around Pomacochas and on the travel day from there to Baguas Chicas (September 22)

Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Striated Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Savanna Hawk
American Kestrel
Common Moorhen (heard only)
Greater Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
Yellow-billed Tern
Eared Dove
Ecuadorian Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet
Smooth-billed Ani
Groove-billed Ani
Lesser Nighthawk
White-tipped Swift
Sparkling Violet-ear
Spot-throated Hummingbird (Peruvian Endemic)
White-bellied Hummingbird
Purple-throated Sunangel
Marvelous Spatuletail (Peruvian Endemic)
Emerald (Andean) Toucanet
Pacific Hornero (Tumbes Endemic)
Rufous-fronted (Maranon) Thornbird
Collared (Maranon) Antshrike (Tumbes Endemic)
Rufous-capped Antshrike
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Highland Elaenia
Vermilion Flycatcher
Rufous-tailed Tyrant
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Social Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Inca (Green) Jay (heard only)
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (heard only)
Great Thrush
Long-tailed Mockingbird (heard only)
Fasciated Wren
Maranon (Speckle-breasted) Wren
House Wren
Maranon Gnatcatcher (heard only)
Gray-breasted Martin
Blue-and-white Swallow
House Sparrow
Hooded Siskin
Citrine Warbler
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Rufous-naped Brush-Finch
White-lined Tanager
Blue-capped Tanager
Purple-throated Euphonia (heard only)
Little Inca-Finch (Peruvian Endemic)
Saffron Finch
Chestnut-throated Seedeater
Russet-backed Oropendola
Peruvian Meadowlark

23 September

We got up at 3:15 a.m. this morning and finished repacking our stuff so that we had only one large duffle (for both of us) to take across the river to our camping site today. We were on the bus by 4:00. We drove for over 2 and 3/4 hours and stopped for breakfast at a spot along the road past Montenegro - French toast with maple syrup - and birded along the road while it was being prepared. This road from Bagua Chica to Imaza runs along the Rio Maranon. We drove further along the road and stopped at a place near Chiriaco (650 m)and birded again. We continued on our way until we reached Imaza where we drove through town and right down to the sandy beach along the river. There we met our local organizer (Jose), the father of Tercero (means third son I think). Jose greeted us all like any local politician (I think he was running for mayor of Imaza if I understood correctly). The crew loaded all of our needed luggage and the cooking and camping supplies AND all of us including Barry, Tercero, Raul, and Ivan into an aluminum boat (about 22 ft long) that seated 3-4 across on several benches. It took us about 20 minutes going down river and across to Nuevo Salem (450 m) (see photo). We were greeted there by Jorge, the chief or president of the Aguaruna village, which was founded about 10 years ago. We walked through the village under the stares of many villagers. The older children seemed intrigued, the teenagers appeared distrustful, and some very young children cried. We must have looked frightening and foreign to them, both because of our white skin and our strange equipment .... cameras and binoculars around our necks, etc.

The camp set up, provided by the Aguaruna, was incredible. For an extremely primitive village (just a few generations out of the stone age), they've done a fabulous job providing for eco-tourists. They have built a large thatched hut with a rammed earth floor; a "shower hut" with three shower stalls with cold, running water; two "bano huts" (the squatting kind with a key-hole shaped hole in the cement), and an outdoor sink with running water! Amazing - this was much more luxurious that any of us (including Barry - this was his first time in this village also) had expected. Unfortunately the welcome at a previous Aguaruna village had been revoked due to some visitors who did not follow the arrangements made between the village and several ecotourist/birding tour leaders like Barry (Expediciones Manu). So this set up was completely new. In fact, it occurred to me that the accomodations here were better than at the Hotel Wilson where there'd been no water and rooms that smelled like kerosene! :)

Dave and I, and Dan, set up our tents under the thatched roof hut in the hopes of avoiding the chiggers that Rosanne had warned us about and to whose bites Dave and Dan were particularly susceptible. The others pitched their tents in the open clearing surrounding the huts. The large thatched hut we stayed under was also used for the dining tables and chairs, set up at the open front, and the cook tent was set up right outside.

After getting somewhat organized and having a late (2:00 p.m.) lunch of tuna salad, and crackers, ham and cheese, we headed out up the one available trail to the soon-to-be dubbed "magic tree" - a huge fruiting fig tree where the target bird - Orange-throated Tanager - has been regularly seen. This turned out to be the "tanager death march". The trail was quite steep at places and I struggled to continue ... steep steps cut into the clay soil and reenforced with small logs ... each step of a different height and width. On two occasions there was some shouting ahead that there might be "the tanager", which elicited rushing on everyone's part (some faster than others) and a great deal of huffing and puffing on my part (I continue to blame my allergy-induced asthma instead of the possibility that I'm just an out-of-shape weenie). These proved to be false alarms, much to my chagrin. However, we FINALLY made it to the top of the hill and the target tree (soon to be dubbed "the Magic Tree").

The tree stands in a partial opening in the forest canopy and slightly downhill from the ridge, although the tree canopy itself towers far above the ridge top. On the ridge there is a very basic "bench" consisting of two logs placed side by side, and it is covered by a narrow thatched roof. It was a well-placed resting spot but you had to get off the bench and out from under the thatch to actually watch the birds in the tree. We were there for quite a while, watching multiple mixed feeding flocks and individuals moving through the tree when, suddenly ... there they were! Orange-throated Tanagers (see photo) I saw two individuals, their orange throats illuminated and glowing in the late afternoon sun. They were truly fabulous birds ... everyone proclaimed them the "bird of the trip" and one of the best birds they'd ever seen. Of course, knowing that we were likely among an elite group of less than 200 people who have ever seen this bird made it particularly special. The chief had accompanied us to this location and was clearly very proud of being able to show us these magnificent birds, as well as all the others that we saw there. I was grateful for his observant nature as well. He noticed that I was having a difficult time getting a good view of several birds and on two occasions called to me to come over to where he was standing so that I could get a better look. I believe that it was at this point that someone in the group offered him his binoculars so that he could look at the birds. His delight suggested that perhaps he'd never seen them through binoculars before.

After enjoying the views and the birds for a while longer, we dragged ourselves back down the trail. Dave was not feeling well, so we went down a little earlier than the others. On the way down we saw a beautiful frog of brilliant lime green with black strips on its back and black blotches on its thighs ... must have been some species of "poison dart frog" advertising its dangerous nature. I took a wonderful shower that felt better than any I'd taken in a long time. It was very "brisk" but welcome in contrast to the heat and humidity of the day combined with constant sweat trickling down my back. It was also a little tricky balancing on my Tevas while pulling my clothes on in the semi-dark of the hut amidst jokes from the guys sitting around outside drinking beers (iced beers in point of fact) and claiming to be able to see into the hut! :)

We had one of the most interesting evenings of the trip. We were just getting ready to do our evening bird list when the chief showed up wearing an amazing traditional feathered headdress - Cock-of-the-Rock, toucan, and other feathers - a sort of yellow and red headband with four dangling strands made with huge (2 inch+) beetle carrapaces and feather tufts at the ends. It seemed to be appropriate to be sitting around in the candle/lantern light listening to him talk. He spoke Spanish, although their traditional language is Aguaruna, and Barry translated (I understood some but his accent was quite different). He spoke of quite varied experiences. He has traveled to the U.S. (somewhere in Texas), courtesy of the missionaries, where he took some training in theology. By contrast, I don't think most of the people of the village have traveled much farther than up river to Imaza and probably can't imagine much about the outside world. He explained about his headdress - it is not passed down from one chief to the next; rather, a new one had to be made for a new chief. He talked about the tribes having only a few older people who had the "vision del Tigre" (the vision of the jaguar). With the help of hallucinogenic plants, these people can go to an alternative universe where they learn more about the the forests around them and become "one with the jungle". This village (Nuevo Salem) has only one very old man with the vision. We talked also about curanderas who know all about plants with medicinal properties. I was curious to know whether there were any attempts to teach younger people to carry on the knowledge from the curanderas and those with the vision del tigre, but somehow someone raised the question of brujos (witches or witch doctors) and it became clear that he did NOT want to talk about these bad people and so that subject was dropped. He talked about how he was trying to lead the villagers, since he had seen some of the world and "knew how things should be". However, some of the padres de familia (household heads) are much more traditional and are not even all that pleased about the current arrangements to permit access to outsiders. We learned later from Barry that these tribes can still be violent at times, killing people who have tried to rob them or who infringe on their territories and try to settle there. We were grateful for their hospitality and very conscious that we were there at their pleasure. Most of the villagers ran away at the mere sight of a camera and it was made clear to us that we should not take pictures of them unless permission was granted. However, the chief did want to have his picture taken and so both Erick and I took pictures with flash that night (one of the pictures I most regret losing).

Dave had to excuse himself during this conversation with the chief and go to bed because he was feeling so badly (no dinner ... feverish, weak and ache-y). When the chief left, we finished our bird list and then had dinner - good soup as usual, and yummy curried chicken with peppers, onions and prunes. I crawled into my sleeping bag while the rest of the guys continued talking and drinking Pisco for a while in the candle light, their shadows flickering on the sides of our tent.
24 September

I got up at 5:00 a.m.; Dave said he was going to sleep in a little longer, but he was up by breakfast at 5:30 - omelette with potatoes, ricotto peppers, and cheese. We got started slowly in the morning since we didn't have to drive anywhere. We birded a little around the camp and then headed slowly up the same trail toward the "magic tree", taking more than twice the time on the trail as yesterday. We finally arrived at the ridge and the "magic tree" where we again saw many species of tanagers, as well as other birds. In early afternoon, Raul and Tercero and another fellow carried lunch up to a flat area just one ridge short of the "magic tree" where the Aguaruna had built some narrow, long tables with attached benches out of planed logs tied together. There we had chicken, baked/fried yucca and plaintains, tomatoes and cucumbers. Dan and Dave were not feeling well and so the three of us headed back to camp, leaving the others to bird for a little while longer. They were really beat when we got back to camp and it was very hot and humid. I played Florence Nightengale, with wet hankies for heads and making sure they drank lots of water; they were both quite feverish with headaches. We all rested for a while (I was pretty exhausted as well, although not feeling sick). Then we took showers to cool off. We then sat around and caught up with our journals and hung around camp, being joined by the others who didn't hold out much longer than we did.

Late in the afternoon the chief (Jorge) (see photo) and many of the people from the village - men, women and children - came down to the camp with some local crafts. We were encouraged to buy these crafts so that the people could see how they could benefit from making these crafts and selling them. I bought a beautiful necklace made with beads, shells and seeds. Sam bought another necklace and Terry bought a sort of hanging mobile of similar materials. The guys bought spears, although we had no idea how we might get them on the airplane and/or through customs. (NOTE: Sam did manage to get his home, Erick's was "confiscated", and the rest of us donated ours to Barry for display at his British pub in Cuzco - The Cross Keys Pub.). (For any of you who end up in Cuzco, you have to check out this authentic British pub One elderly fellow kept trying to sell us a monkey skull. We knew that it was illegal to collect such things, there was no way we could bring it through customs, and it would only encourage the collection of more skulls if they thought they could sell them. Because he knew that they would not understand about such laws and ways of thinking, Barry explained to them that it was against our religion to keep such things. This elicited quite a bit of laughter, as they undoubtedly thought we were pretty silly for such beliefs since the monkey was already dead (and had probably been pretty good food), but they did stop offering it to us. It probably confirmed their opinions that we were pretty strange folks.

The villagers hung around the edges of camp for much of the time we were there. I really wished on several occasions that we could communicate with them in some way and try for some common ground. However, they were very wary of us, and I suspect that many of them only spoke Aguaruna. Thinking that perhaps communicating with a child was an easier way, I squatted down in front of one child standing with her mother, and although the mother did not move away, the child clung to her and appeared uncertain of whether to be afraid, so I didn't pursue it. I had brought a bag full of small boxes of crayons and small tablets for the children, but Barry said that we should present these to the chief for distribution rather than handing them out ourselves. I was disappointed because we didn't get to see the children receive them, but when I presented them to the chief he expressed thanks and it was clear that he was the one to distribute resources to the village. In the same way, Barry said that the money we paid for staying there (I think it was $5 per person per day) went to the chief; the money was designated for education and health needs - the chief and the treasurer distributed this money as it was needed in the village.

After the villagers left, we did our bird list for the day and had another great dinner - a delicious creamed "mystery" soup (couldn't figure out what was in it), beef steak with mashed potatoes and a tomatoe-y gravy, and canned, mixed fruit for dessert.

Here are some images from our time in the Aguaruna village: (1) Seeing garden patches of yucca (also called manioc or cassava at different places in the world) - slender plants with compound or palmate leaves (three leaflets). The plants seemed so small that I wondered whether they get much larger before they would produce those thick tubers for harvest. (2) The chief (Jorge) offering us slices of fresh pineapple that he had cut and sliced right in the field along the trail to the "magic tree". (3) A huge butterfly (or moth?) that the chief showed me, sitting at the base of a huge tree - brown with a huge "owl's eye" on the underside (outside) of the folded wing. It was as big as my palm. (4) Waking up in the middle of the night to hear a pair of Spectacled Owls calling to each other, sounding like someone drumming on a large, hollow log - WUH' wuh wuh wuh wuh wuh" (5) Multiple kinds of cicadas calling - (a) the British police car siren type; (b) the steam locomotive type; and(c) the dental drill type, etc. (6) The caecilians - we found several individuals. Actually the chickens found them and we rescued them from the outraged chickens. It was so interested in these wierd creatures that I looked them up in my herpetology book when I returned. Caecilians are limbless, tropical amphibians, of the taxonomic group Gymnophiona, which contains 6 different taxonomic Families! They are quite diverse but are very poorly understood. Most are fossorial, living and burrowing in the soil. These individuals were almost 2 feet long; they looked like large earthworms, with segments. They were a steel gray-black color, with no obvious eyes, and stubby non-tapered tails. They were not very agressive or wriggly when we picked them up; they tried to get away but they were sort of like limp noodles. When we put them on the ground, they tried to bury themselves in the dirt.

25 September

We got up at 5:30 a.m. and had breakfast in camp at 6:00. Since the boat was coming to pick us up at about 10:30 a.m., we did not hike up to the "magic tree" again. Instead we packed up our gear and birded around camp. As usual, the gnats were up before we were, burying themselves into any available skin or orifice, but they were not as bad as in some places we'd been. Dave and I did not manage to escape unscathed from the chigger paradise, although Dave "got it" worse than I did. Bites were mostly around our ankles in spite of ALWAYS wearing our pants tucked into our socks and never wearing shorts. The chiggers either got us going in/out of the shower, or while stripped down in the tent at night in response to the heat, OR through our clothes! We wandered around camp birding, mostly up an additional short trail that went as far as their water supply on the side of the hill (a small cement building surrounded by a fence). We managed a look at another one of the best birds of the trip (most dapper) - Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher. I managed to "dip" on the fourth manakin of the trip - White-bearded Manakin - that was snapping and displaying in thick vegetation at several places along the trail. I give up! Me, the one whose biggest wish is to see all the possible manakins on a trip (it's my favorite family of New World tropical birds), did not see one manakin. (NOTE: this is not a good trip to see manakins, but three species were seen and I missed them all .... oh well).

We had another visit from a big group of villagers, mostly women and children, who came down to stand or squat on the edge of camp and watch us. It was somewhat uncomfortable due to our inability to communicate and their reticence to talk. Some smile but many do not (I have to remember that smiling can be quite a cultural thing and can even mean different things in different places, not all of them friendly). The children continue to appear curious at times but often cautious if not afraid. Their only response to my squatting down to their level was to either cling to their mothers or each other, or not respond at all. In the back of my mind was the concern that I would inadvertently do or say something that would insult them or make them angry, causing problems for us and future visiting groups. Suddenly they appeared to be called away, and soon after we heard the singing of hymns and someone speaking - it was Sunday morning and it appeared that most of the villagers were attending church. We assumed that someone in the village, presumably the chief who had traveled to the U.S. thanks to the missionaries, was in charge of the service.

We sat in something of a heat-induced stupor under the thatched roof hut once it got too hot and quiet to bird, waiting for the sound of the approaching boat motor. All our camping equipment and luggage had already been carried to the beach, so we squatted on the makeshift benches along the inside wall of the hut, admiring the HUGE spider hanging from the ceiling (see photo). We'd discovered it after Dave noted that something had pooped on the shirt he'd been drying on the top of our tent. Just about on time, we heard the boat coming up the river and headed for the beach. Again the boat was piled high with supplies and equipment and then we piled aboard, with an audience of silently watching children who didn't really even respond to our goodbye waves, although one of the older women who had been present at many of their visits and appeared to smile on occasions, did say goodbye. Some of the young people (typical of all teenagers) seemed to have their own jokes and would say things to each other and laugh loudly. I'm assuming that we were the butt of their jokes.

The boat was a more comfortable one than the previous one - we even had back rests on the seats! We had a basically uneventful return up river to Imaza - we did see a Short-tailed Hawk and Dave saw a Great Black-Hawk. We were glad to see Jose waiting with the bus, along with the other Jose (Barry's contact with the Aguaruna). After reloading the bus and taking some pictures of the group, were back on the bus and headed out of Imaza at 11:45 a.m.

We had a LONG drive ahead of us, back up the bumpy, winding road to Bagua Chica and then on to Jaen for the night. We ate a quick lunch standing up along the road at about 1:30 p.m. - delicious chicken salad on rolls with mayonnaise and mustard, a long spicy "slim jim" type jerky, and a tangerine. We then got immediately back on the road. On the way back along this road, since we were now traveling it all during the daylight, I was struck by the rapid transition from the tropical vegetation near Imaza and the river back to the arid, desertscrub type habitat as we climbed higher and closer to Bagua Chica. Just before Bagua Chica, we saw the huge confluence of the Utcubamba and Maranon rivers around some large sand bars - something we'd missed while sleeping in the dark on the way down. We stopped in Bagua Chica at the Hotel Wilson just before 5:00 p.m. to dropp off the "personal flotation devices" from the boat for the next trip Barry is outfitting. After some quick pit stops and purchases, we left at 5:15. We took a slightly different route to Jaen than Dave had guessed at on our map. We came across the major bridge over the Maranon - a big orange suspension bridge - and then stayed on the road along the river all the way to Chamaya and then turned north-northeast to Jaen, arriving at the Hotel El Bosque at about 6:45.

Jaen is a largish town/smallish city and the Hotel El Bosque was located on a busy city street but was quite calm and relaxed, with a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and rooms with air conditioning and ceiling fans. We met again at 7:30 and learned that, rather than eating next door, which was crowded and noisy, we were going to take mototaxis (1 Sole to go anywhere in town) to the central plaza and eat at a restaurant there. What a trip! jouncing and swerving our way through traffic with the benefit of frequent horn-blowing. Our taxi on the way to the restaurant was quite stable and the driver proficient; on the way back to the hotel we were glad that Barry had not offered 50 Soles to the driver who got there first as he'd threatened. Our taxi was much more rickety and the driver an apparent rookie - we wobbled and jounced quite a bit more and if we'd been in a race, might have ended up in a ditch somewhere. We ate at a restaurant that was a sort of Peruvian fast food or fried chicken joint. I had a great traditional salad with corn, onions, peppers, etc. with lime sprinkled on top - apparently eaten regularly by the "peasants". Then I had the lomo pimienta (steak with a black pepper sauce) - delicious! and the hugest pile of papas fritas I've ever seen - they do, however, know how to make good fries! As we were finishing up our meal, we were interrupted by an earthquake! A sort of slow, but rather extended (Dave thought 45 seconds) back and forth, up and down. At first people didn't respond, but then as it continued, everyone stood up (we were on the second floor), and filed pretty calmly downstairs and out onto the sidewalk. Dave noted that this kind of quake, which is not as dangerous in the States where buildings are built to withstand them, is probably more dangerous in Latin America, where old buildings can be shaken loose and tumbled down by the back and forth. (NOTE: this was quite a big quake that was centered not too far from Rioja where we'd been a few days before; in fact, due to related landslides, Richard and Rosanne's group was delayed for a couple days while the roads were cleared.) It was Sunday night and the plaza was crammed with people - there was a modern (futuristic style) church on the plaza and it had some kind of event going on with people overflowing onto the steps outside. We settled up with the restaurant and then mototaxied our way back to the hotel, where we did our bird list - it was too noisy in the restaurant.

Birds Observed from Bagua Chica down to Imaza, around Nuevo Salem, and back through Bagua Chica to Jaen
September 23 - 25

Cinereous Tinamou (heard only)
Little Tinamou (heard only)
Bartlett's Tinamou (heard only)
Cattle Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
King Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Great Black-Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Black Hawk-Eagle
Black Caracara
Speckled Chachalaca
Spotted Sandpiper
Collared Plover
Plumbeous Pigeon (heard only)
Ruddy Pigeon (heard only)
Eared Dove
Croaking Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-fronted Dove (heard only)
Cobalt-winged Parakeet (heard only)
Blue-headed Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Smooth-billed Ani
Groove-billed Ani
Spectacled Owl (heard only)
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (heard only)
Crested Owl (heard only)
Lesser Nighthawk
Pauraque (heard only)
White-chested Swift
Chestnut-collared Swift
White-collared Swift
Blue-chinned Sapphire
Sapphire-Spangled Emerald
Blue-crowned Trogon (heard only)
Chestnut-capped Puffbird
Lanceolated Monklet
Black-fronted Nunbird (heard only)
Gilded Barbet
Lemon-throated Barbet
Ivory-billed Aracari
Channel-billed Toucan
Golden-collared Toucanet (heard only)
Lafresnaye's Piculet
Lineated Woodpecker
Crimson-crested Woodpecker
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper (heard only)
Buff-throated (Lefresnaye's) Woodcreeper (heard only)
Lineated Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Great Antshrike (heard only)
Plain-winged Antshrike
Pygmy Antwren
Gray Antwren
Black Antbird (heard only)
Black-faced Antbird (heard only)
Warbling Antbird
White-shouldered Antbird
Thrush-like Antpitta (heard only)
White-browed Purpletuft
Spangled Cotinga
Golden-headed Manakin
Blue-crowned Manakin
White-bearded Manakin
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher
Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher
Slender-footed Tyrannulet (heard only)
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet
Torrent Tyrannulet
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant
Black Phoebe
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher
Bright-rumped Attila
Tropical Kingbird
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Dusky-chested Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Masked Tityra
Black-capped Becard
Violaceous Jay (heard only)
Red-eyed (Chivi) Vireo
Long-tailed Mockingbird
Thrush-like Wren (heard only)
Coraya Wren (heard only)
White-breasted Wood-Wren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
House Sparrow
Buff-rumped Warbler
Magpie Tanager
Guira Tanager
Fulvous-crested Tanager
White-shouldered Tanager
Silver-beaked Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Orange-throated Tanager (Near Endemic; VULNERABLE)
Masked Crimson Tanager
Flame-crested Tanager
White-lored Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Rufous-bellied Euphonia
Turquoise Tanager
Paradise Tanager
Green-and-gold Tanager
Yellow-bellied Tanager
Opal-rumped Tanager
Opal-crowned Tanager
Masked Tanager
Black-faced Dacnis
Yellow-bellied Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Short-billed Honeycreeper
Purple Honeycreeper
Lesser Seed-Finch
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater
Slate-colored Grosbeak
Buff-throated Saltator
Grayish Saltator
Russet-backed Oropendola
Yellow-rumped Cacique
Moriche Oriole
Peruvian Meadowlark


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