Have begun our 11 day birding tour with six other members from the Austin Audubon Society. We begin by driving southeast from Cusco and then turning northeast into the mountains of the Parque Nacional del Manu; 6,600 square miles of Andean Highlands, cloud forest & lowland rain forest/jungle. The park is relatively new, having been created in 1973.
The paved road ends a few miles outside of Cusco, and we climb into the Andes on gravel, twisting & turning narrow 'roads' replete with 1,000 ft. drops to the valleys below at the edge of the 'road'. Oh, and there is not a guardrail to be seen. I try not to look down from my window seat view, but instead concentrate on the gorgeous views of the mountains, forests, valleys, & rushing streams.
Our first destination is the Wayqecha Cloudforest Biological Station at 2,900 meters above sea level (9,500' asl). Here we'll spend two nights and bird in the surrounding area during the day. The day starts at 05:30, breakfast at 06:00, out on the trails or walking the roadsides before 07:00. Morning air is crisp & clean, temps ~ 55F (13C). By 13:00, after lunch, temp has risen to 75-80F (24-27C). In the sun it feels quite hot, but step into the shade and the temp feels like it drops 10 degrees.
Have seen &/or heard 50+ species on the 1st day.
Ciao for now.