Guest post by Adrian Walker, “The Snake Whisperer”
For a birdwatching enthusiast of more than 4 decades, Iquitos and in particular my room with a view, provide a constant source of delight. With the Itaya River winding into a kind of oxbow with a shoreline rising and falling according to season this is a haven for birds of many kinds.
There are 3 species of Vultures from the small and drab Black to the larger more colourful GreaterYellow-headed with Great Black Hawks and an occasional Falcon for variety. The Vultures are commonplace and patrol as relentlessly as the street vendors and beggars, occasionally visiting the streets for early morning forays through rubbish bins, perhaps overturned by hungry dogs.
Then there are Waterbirds such as Egrets, Terns, Herons and a host of smaller more secretive species lurking quietly in the vegetated banks and often only distinguishable by a swaying lily leaf as they skulk the muddy banks.
Tanagers, Antbirds, Wrens, native Peruvian Sparrows and other finches in addition to an occasional regally plumaged Cacique complete this array of feathered fauna and within 5 weeks my window list has grown to an impressive 65 species.
Of course Peru is rich in birdlife, claiming in excess of 1800 different species within its borders, second only to Colombia in avian biodiversity so my tally is comparatively puny when measured against this figure. Iquitos and surrounds boast perhaps one third of this total with the balance restricted to the drier pampas of the far south or the coastline and montane peaks of the Andes. As I write this I’m momentarily disturbed by a small unfamiliar bird in the palms that foreground my view across the river, a female Crimson Finch actively forages through the foliage searching for seed or perhaps a hapless insect as this uncommon species is omnivorous. No.66 is thus added to my window list.
Peru and Iquitos are a must for any serious birdwatcher as many of these may be seen nowhere else on Earth.
Bird Watching From Dawn on the Amazon
Guest post by Adrian Walker the author of Diary of a Snake Whisperer, Birds of Mission Beach, and several books of fiction.
Photo of Blue-headed parrot by Glenn Bartley. Click this link to check out his wonderful wildlife and avian photography, http://www.glennbartley.com/
Hello, this is Bill Grimes reporting from Iquitos Peru. Adrian Walker and his family are living and bird watching from one of my apartments with a view of the river and jungle on the other side, while looking to open a lodge. He was kind enough to write this series of articles for my Captain’s Blog and the Iquitos Times. We hope this is Chapter five of his new book, The Road to Iquitos. To read chapters one, two, three, and four, please click these links to The Road To Iquitos, and The Road To Iquitos Part 2, The Road To Iquitos Part 3, and The Road To Iquitos Part 4, Ups And Downs In Iquitos.