Abra Patricia (Sep 29 - Oct 2)

We spent three nights and parts four days birding Patricia's Pass (Abra Patricia) from the restaurant at the top (ca. 2000m) down to the bridge at Afluente (ca. 1100m). The weather here could change in a heartbeat from cool & rainy to warm and sunny, and it did make these changes several times a day each day!

This area provided some of the best birding of the trip with lots of cloud forest tanager flocks, lots of butterflies along the road, and lots of incredible scenery and vegetation. It's also where we all came down with Montezuma's Revenge about the same time (probably from the restaurant in Imacita the day before . . .). Thank goodness for Cipro & Imodium!

David and Blan birding the edge of Abra Patricia.

Home Sweet Home

This abandoned building was our campsite, hotel, and kitchen all rolled into one. The building was originally a restaurant, and the home of the restaurant owners with bedrooms in the back. I wish I'd gotten a picture from the "back porch", which literally was falling into the valley below . . .

The Abra Patricia area had some nice cloud forests with lots of ferns and epiphytes.

And some unusual flowers. I'm guessing this is a Begonia sp.

Nice terrestrial roadside orchid

Many species of hummingbirds live in the higher elevations in the tropics, and this Passiflora sp. is one of many different kinds of hummingbird-pollinated flowers that occur here. Traditionally hummingbird-pollinated flowers are said to be red, but we noted hummers feeding on flowers of various colors including red, pink, orange, yellow, and white.

There were also some very cool (and large) spike-mosses and club-mosses around (Selaginella sp., Lycopodium sp.). That's a standard-sized Leatherman tool in the picture for size-scaling.

The Abra Patricia area was one of the few rural areas we birded where the road was actually paved! Here we're watching a small flock of White-capped Tanagers play around in the tree-tops below us.

A hummingbird known as the Royal Sunangel is one of the rarest and most range-restricted birds in the world.

It is known only from 4 locations in Peru along cloud-forest ridges like this one, which provided some interesting hiking considering 1.) the ridge was only a couple meters wide in some areas, 2.) the edge of the trail dropped off sharply several hundred feet, and 3.) the trail substrate was quite spongy-boggy with many twisted-growth branches ready to trip you up!

The vegetation along the trail is classic elfin-forest with stunted growth trees, lots of epiphytes, Sphagnum, ferns, etc.

Harry and David missed the birds on our first hike along the ridge. Here you can see them hiking back out for the sunangels.

Here's the view down several hundred feet to the river below. I took this shot looking straight down from the trail from further along than Harry and David are in the picture above.

Great view from the end of the trail!

Señor Blan contemplates how he got mixed up with these psycho-birders!

Way cool big brown caterpillar

Abra Patricia, ca. 1500m
30 Sep 2003

Here's lookin' at you, kid!

Lucho was quite skilled at opening cans of tuna for meals!

Back in the abandoned building we performed our nightly ritual (usually while waiting for dinner) of doing the daily checklist by flashlight and candlelight. This was one of the most bird-rich areas of the trip!

The first night I slept in a tent outside the building and the trucks would thunder by about 10 feet from the tent all night long. That along with the nightly rain drove me and others to set up our tents inside the building for the next two nights we were there!

Here are our lovely restroom facilities, located next to the building (and next to the road), that we enjoyed for 3+ days . . .

Here's a typical roadside abode complete with a few of the resident farm animals found with most houses in rural Peru.

A familiar sight along roadsides was a Peruvian woman in colorful clothing and wearing a distinctive hat carrying a "switch" and directing her beasts of burden. This photo was taken on the road to Leymebamba after we left Abra Patricia.

Continue tour: Leymebamba to Abra Barro Negro to Balsas to Hacienda el Limón to Celendín to Cajamarca (Oct 2-4)

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Created on ... November 6, 2003 | jeffpippen9@gmail.com