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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Peru: Machu Picchu and the Manu-Kosñipata Road

Our well-honed itinerary begins with a scenic and short side trip by bus and train down the Urubamba River to the village of Machu Picchu. Our morning spent at Machu Picchu will be unforgettable. Northern Mountain Viscacha, a close relative of the chinchilla, is one of the few modern in habitants of the ruins. Central Peru We should also be successful in our search for White-capped Dipper on the Urubamba River. After Machu Picchu, our travel through the interior valleys of the Andes involves some birding stops at wetlands like this… …as well as passing through mountain villages on market day. As we cross over a pass at 11,000 feet, we’ll hope for a break in the clouds to get a view of stunning Apocañihuay. Our first birding lodge is at 9000 feet elevation perched above a most delicious looking cloud forest. Our rooms at Wayqecha are simple but well-designed, and much better than the old days of camping in this area. Birding from the roads in this cloud forest is most productive, but the view of the canopy from the hanging bridges shouldn’t be missed. The minute Mountain Wren can be found in trees whose trunks are thickly clad in moss. Between Paucartambo and Wayqecha Biological Station, Cusco, Peru Central Peru The taller forest just a few miles away is home to the stunning Barred Fruiteater. The are no feeders here, but nor is there ever a lack of flowers to provide for many species of hummingbirds such as this Amethyst-throated Sunangel. We bird our way down the humid slope with many stops at different elevations. Our mid-elevation home at the Cock of the Rock Lodge is one of the best-situated lodges in the country. A short drive away is a lek of the bizarre Andean Cock-of-the-rock, this head-bowing posture somehow irresistible to the females.. Pillahuata - Rocotal Area, Kosñipata Road, Cusco, Peru Our lodge does have feeders, but the unusual Wedge-billed Hummingbird prefers the flowers over the feeders. We finally reach the lowest elevation at the incredibly birdy Villa Carmen Biological Station, with this view of the gardens from the dining hall. Our rooms here are the best on the tour – elegant, breezy, and comfortable. The biological station is situated at the confluence of three rivers, here the Piñi Piñi, with a vast area of primary forest across the way. There’s often a stake-out potoo, here a nestling Common Potoo right above the trail. A family of Hoatzins, one of the biggest taxonomic mysteries in ornithology, is usually visible from the dining hall. On Rich Hoyer’s tours, we stop to admire all forms of wildlife, and the variety encountered along the trails seems to have no end, here a pleasing fungus beetle in the genus Gibbifer. The moth diversity is mind boggling, some species extremely attractive, if little known. This one has been dubbed the Amazon Silky White. The Kosñipata Valley, merely 45 miles of road from Wayqecha to Villa Carmen, hosts more species of butterfly than any other similarly sized area in the world. This is the Sylphina Angel. We won’t be able to ignore such beautiful gems as this Superb Leafwing. Don’t be too surprised to find a Common Snouted Treefrog in your room.