Machu Picchu, Abra Malaga, and
the Lima Coast

Day 9: 6 July 2006
Ridge-top hike to the Polylepis Forest


The last day of birding at Abra Malaga was intended for the ridge-top hike to the Polylepis forest at 14,000 feet to observe the avian specialties of that habitat. On the way up, we stopped briefly to locate Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch and Creamy-crested Spinetail, both Peruvian endemics. Jay was able to coax both out without any difficulty. Here is the Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch.

We them headed up to the Polylepis forest, which is a threatened ecosystem. New conservation measures have been taken to preserve this vanishing habitat.

We took our time to work our way up slope, mindful of the thin air. This also gave us an opportunity to look at various ground-tyrants and cinclodes, though the Royal Cinclodes would elude us this trip. Yet again, the skies overhead were cloudless and blue.

On the way up, a wandering dog joined the group and stared mournfully at each of us in turn, hoping for a handout. The dog hit pay dirt with George. Rummaging in his backpack, he managed to produce several dog biscuits that he had hauled up to 14,500 feet.

Here is "dog biscuit" ridge.

On the ridge in the Polylepis, we saw White-browed Tit-Spinetails, Tawny Tit-Spinetails, and three species of canasteros: Streak-throated, Streak-backed, and Line-fronted. While trying to get one of the canasteros into my scope, I had a Puna Tapaculo walk, or rather scamper, through the field of view.

The views down into the valley were nice. A rather expansive farm spread out on the valley floor.

Jay told us that past years' tours would make work their way through the Polylepis and hike out through the valley. It looked like a long walk down to the road, just visible at the other end.

After this, the journey back home began. We went down the ridge to the bus, down the pass to Ollantaytambo, up from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco, then flying down to Lima. The next morning it was home to Chicago.

Peru 2006 Trip Home


This page was last updated on 30 July 2006.
Contact Geoff Williamson with any comments, updates or suggestions.