South America has more species of birds than any other continent. This alone makes South America very, very important in terms of world biodiversity.
November 21st, TO-DAY ! is being celebrated as Big Birdwatch day in South America. This great event is organised by Aves Argentinas and Ebird, So Paula and I, as part of our Living Wild in South America quest, spent the day on the rich agricultural lands of La Pampa.
We wild camped by a remote marsh and woke at dawn to a landscape bathed in orange light, as the sun rose so thousands of waterfowl commenced their morning flight in search of feeding grounds.
White-faced Ibis were everywhere, skeins criss-crossed the horizon, most settled in the fields and upset the local Southern Lapwings which were nesting close by.
Here in one of Argentina’s richest agricultural areas wildlife abounds, but it still needs our protection.
In Peru, there are only two routes over the eastern slope of the Andes down into the Amazon basin. One is the road just south of the historic city of Cusco, down to the river Manu. Only by taking the Manu road can birders easily access the cloud forest.
The road is rough and in places quite narrow but so long as you drive carefully use your horn as you approach tight bends, to alert other drivers and avoid the wet season, from November to February ,it is as safe as any road in Peru.
It takes about six hours to get to the Manu, but if you stop and bird as you go it will take much longer.
There are very few places to stop overnight, the first is the Wayqecha Field station situated in the upper parts of the cloudforest. Further down is Cock of the Rock lodge. Lower down still is Villa Carmen Field station, all these are excellent for birders and naturalists, we would recommend them all, but book in advance.
Paula and I have travelled this road many times as part of our Living Wild in South America expedition and the birds that can be seen as you stop at different altitudes are stunning. This Blue-banded Toucanet is not uncommon but is a retiring species.
Our Toyota Hilux with Four Wheel Camper on the outskirts of a Peruvian village.