In the last week or so I’ve been back up in the Alto Mayo and out to Yurimaguas again for the last time. Around Nueva Cajamarca, our base for the upland Heliconius, the endemic Black-bellied (Huallaga) Tanager, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove and Rufous-fronted Thornbird were noted en route. The rice fields between Moyobamba and Aguas Claras held hundreds of Snowy, Cattle and Great Egrets and a few Striated Herons. Up around 1300m at El Afluente I finally obtained nice views of Ecuadorian Piedtail and Violet-headed hummingbird. Other notable species included Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Equatorial Greytail, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Smoke-coloured Pewee and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. Between 1700 and 1800m on the LSU trail to Cerro Patricia the beautiful stunted forest produced Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Striped Treehunter, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, White-backed Fire-eye, Napo Sabrewing and Emerald Toucanet.
Back in Tarapoto for a day, I made use of some pre-breakfast time to explore the Urahuasha trail once more, adding Spotted Tody-Flycatcher and Speckled Chachalaca to list to a two hour list of 50 species.
On to Yurimaguas via the tunnel at Km-18 produced a trio of stunning hummers: White-tipped Sicklebill, Black-eared Fairy and Koepcke’s Hermit. A Golden-collared Toucanet was calling from a roadside tree, its colours all revealed against a deep blue sky. Between Yurimaguas and Munichis, Oriole Blackbird, Red-crested Blackbird, Snail Kite, Dusky-headed Parakeet and Purple Gallinule were seen along roadside pools. Our final morning the Yurimaguas area was cool and cloudy with little butterfly activity and, with an hour or two to kill on the Micaela Bastida road while conditions improved, I located around 60 species along 1km of roadside passing forest fragments, second growth, chacras and marshy fields. Best of the lot were Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Blue-headed Parrot, Short-billed Honeycreeper, Spangled Cotinga, Grey-capped Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher, Yellow-headed Caracara and Uniform Crake.
I’m now leaving the Tarapoto area and moving on to Pucallpa via Lima. Our new study site, mainly for Heliconius pardalinus butleri , will be around Yarinacocha, the big oxbow lake beside the Rio Ucayali.