Birding Without Borders

Day 62: Blocked From Highland Forests

Another day in Peru; another unforeseen readjustment of plans.

March 3, 2015, Puerto Maldonado, Peru — The near-full moon was out last night, and this morning dawned damp and misty at Los Amigos Biological Station in southeast Peru. Two days ago, I hand-washed a couple of T-shirts, pants, and socks, and left them to dry in my cabin; this morning they were wetter than when I hung them up! The humidity here is off the charts. I pulled on the heavy, wet (but theoretically cleaner) clothes and went birding with Gunnar and Glenn.

We spent a couple of hours hiking a loop trail in the forest, finding some good bamboo specialties (Flammulated Tody-Tyrant, Peruvian Recurvebill, Bamboo Antshrike) before it was time to leave Los Amigos. The three of us packed our bags, ate some bananas for lunch, and hung out by the dock along the Madre de Dios River until a collective water taxi picked us up. Three hours later, we were back in the relative civilization of Puerto Maldonado, with plans to take an overnight bus to Cusco so that I could spend my last two days in Peru birding in the cloud forest.

But the agricultural workers in Cusco went on strike today, and are reportedly blocking the roads to the highlands (where the good birds are) with burning barrels and mobs. When in Peru, you must stay flexible! So, instead of taking the bus to Cusco, Gunnar decided we should stay put in Puerto Maldonado. We’ll use the next two days to do more lowland forest birding, which isn’t necessarily a bad strategy; the Amazon, after all, is the most biodiverse place on the planet, and you can spend months in one patch of forest here without seeing all there is to see.

In other news, the U.S. paperback edition of my book, The Thing with Feathers was released today! It's been one year since the hardcover came out, and, in some ways, that book directly helped make this big year a reality. Funny how one thing leads to another. Anyway, you can find it on Amazon or in your favorite bookstore ;)

New birds today: 17

Year list: 1443

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