We arrived in San Damian just after 4pm and decided to backpack up to a campsite rather than camping in town. This gave us a better shot at Koepke's Screech-Owl (which we heard but didn't see) and Russet-bellied Spinetail, a fairly rare mid-elevation Peruvian endemic. We had to work hard first thing in the morning for the spinetail, but eventually all got good looks!
The town of San Damián. Note our two vehicles (with Julio and Lucho) in the center of town.
The San Damián health building.
We are loaded up and ready for the two-hour hike
We felt like the trail went "straight up" . . . The temps were fairly hot, so by the time we arrived at the campsite, we were drenched in sweat!
Our camping destination was wayyyyyyy up there, just below the further "knob" in the saddle. When I figure out how to draw an arrow with photoshop, I'll add it to this image!
At first glance this arid habitat looked pretty bleak. However, we did see some neat wildlife along the way including a couple lizards.
Here's a different lizard.
And here's an incredible desert amaryllis.
Jeff searching for a Russet-bellied Spinetail.
David spots the Russet-bellied Spinetail!
Incredible mountain scenery here.
After successful birding above San Damián, we hiked back down to town the next morning around 9:30ish. You can see San Damián as that little dot in the middle of the photo.
Our reward for a successful hike down was to spend a few minutes in this store (note the earthen floor) in San Damián and enjoy a nice room-temperature beverage :-)
Goyo's making sure we're heading in the right direction!
We left San Damián late morning and drove for hours through an agricultural valley toward the coast.
Typical housing along the agricultural valley.
Another typical roadside scene in Peru . . .
We finally hit the coast and starting heading South along through the Atacama Desert, which runs from Peru down through Chile and is one of the driest deserts in the world!
Lomas de Lachay is a preserve featuring some very unusual habitats in a "moist" section of the Atacama desert (mostly from fog). Here we saw Grayish Miners and the endemic Cactus Canestero!
Please note that one must contact Ernesto Malaga at email@example.com to secure the proper permits to visit this "off-limits" section of the reserve.
Sr. Juan surveying our final tailgate breakfast in Peru 2003!
Packing up the truck after breakfast
We then visited the main entrance to Lomas de Lachay, where we saw Thick-billed Miners and Band-tailed Sierra-Finches among other goodies.
Loasa urens (Loasaceae)
Dan gazing at Oasis Hummingbirds
Derb, Harry, & Jeff watching a Thick-billed Miner
After leaving Lomas de Lachay, we continued south toward Lima, stopping at some coastal marshes along the way for some good wetland birding where I photographed several good birds. Check them out on my Birds of Peru Photo Gallery. It was here that I also managed a decent dragofly shot. In general, we didn't see many dragonflies, and those that we did see were quite tough to photograph!
Sid Dunkle says this Darner is probably in the genus Rhionaeschna, recently split from Aeschna.
Finally we continued South along the Pan-American Highway through the town of Ventanilla (seen here) and then into Lima, the capital of Peru.
Ventanilla is probably not my first choice of vacation villages . . .
Inca Cola, the number one drink in Peru, was often our beverage of choice!
You can see from the billboard picture why we preferred Inca Cola over some of the other choices . . .
The Hotel Mami Panchita -- our excellent accomodations in Lima!
ITINERARY: Jump to another section of the trip.
Created on ... December 16, 2003 | firstname.lastname@example.org