Updated: Feb 11
I will warn you now, most of this blog post was done over voice to text. As usual, I have performed minimal editing for this post. So, if you see someone usual wording, blame Apple and not me. (That was a joke...)
After arriving in Chachapoyas, our new friend, Antonio, took us to a lovely little bioreserve and lodge in the Utcubamba Valley. Say that word out loud and try not to smile. Impossible. A wonderful couple runs the bioreserve, and allowed us to stay while investigating the property and providing advice about future projects. We were picked up late at night, and while we could not see the beauty of the property in the dark we could tell something great was awaiting us. The dirt road up to the lodge was switchback laden and full of bumps that could turn a stomach over three times.
We Interrupt this Post, For a Lewis Line
This is the Lewis Line from Lewis Hein. Lewis Hein, making sure Zach doesn’t say something too outrageous or offensive for the past 30 days.
LL: We’ve been teaching Zach some Peruvian slang; we are not sure what language he is learning, but he can now make as little sense as I do when I talk.
Thank you, Lewis, for that Line!
Back to the Story
After a night of sleeping in some of the most comfortable beds we’ve had in Peru, we woke to the splendor that is the Utcubamba Valley. After a quick breakfast, we started our day of investigating the property in some dry forest habitat where specialty endemic species were known to occur.
Bird names in Peru can be quite entertaining so I’m going to list some of my favorite from the morning. Actually, scratch that I’m not going to write jack. I’m going to post screenshots of my eBird checklist. That’s why I take the ridiculous amount of time to make those stupid things anyway. Okay, they aren’t stupid. They do feel tedious at times though!!
The second half of the day was spent further up the mountain. It was here we began our initial search for the Marvelous Spatuletail. This rare and endemic hummingbird, spends much of its time moving low in the wet forests of the Andes. I could wordsmith some amazing sentences to describe our first attempt for the marvelous hummer, but instead, I will just tell you we saw the male for about three seconds and it flew away. No videos. No photos. No Discovery channel views.
After waiting for more than an hour, we decided to trek up to the top of the mountain where some different habitat provided opportunities for new birds. We had brief views (always typical) of new species of hummingbirds, and for you Game of Thrones lovers out there, one, in particular, made me smile. It is called the Tyrian Metaltail. We spent several hours exploring the mountainside. We found interesting bird species, some new to the property. We found caves, mini waterfalls, and more orchid species than I can recall.
We spent several more days at the property, with half of one day being spent at the Kuelap fortress. The fortress will get a blog post all to its own, though it will likely be shorter. It may come after my return to the United States, where I can access more of my photos and other media. I will wrap this post up telling you about an incident I had at breakfast one morning. The previous night, bread and a light-colored cheese had been served with dinner. The following morning the remaining bread, and again, a light-colored block of dairy product was served. I proceeded to cut off several slices of said light-colored dairy product and shoved one of those slices into my gullet without thinking. As you imagine a child reacts when eating broccoli for the first time, so was my reaction to realizing I had just violently placed pure butter, into my mouth, in a large quantity. End of blog post.