Day 7. 1 Dec 2022. Lake Llanganuco
Lake Llanganuco is not only a good place for birding, but also very good for short hikes and landscape and nature photography. Today, we drove straight to the lake and stopped at a nearby Polylepis forest for birding. Unlike lake Paron, lake Llanganuco has plenty of bird activity. Among the waterfowl we found were Andean Geese, Crested Ducks, Andean Ducks, and Andean Gulls. At the Polylepis forest we had the typical Cream-winged Cinclodes, Line-cheecked Spinetail, Black-crested Tit-tyrant, but also great views of the endemic Canyon Canastero.
Further, we stopped a little closer to the lake and added more birds to the list: Yellow-billed Teal, Andean Teal, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Puna Ibis. Here, the forest gave us new birds again: Aplomado Falcon, Ancash Tapaculo, Black-billed Shrike-tyrant, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Plain-colored Seedeater. But the main attraction was a couple of Rufous-eared Brushfinches that showed very well.
It was around noon already when we reached the Yuraccorral valley, just above the second lake. We did a short hike in this flat area, spending more than one hour enjoying the landscape and looking for more birds. Here, we added Black Metaltail, Andean Flicker, Striated Earthcreeper, d’Orbigny’s Chat-Tyrant, and Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch.
The mountains above lake Llanganuco
As we drove up the mountains the landscape became more dramatic, with several snow-capped peaks surrounding us. The first birds to welcome us into these mountains were Mountain Caracara, Streak-throated Canastero, and the omnipresent Tit-like Dacnis and Ancash Tapaculo. A little further we had Variable Hawk, Stripe-headed Antpitta, and more Rufous-eared Brushfinches. We tried to reach the mountain pass at 15,400 feet, but the road conditions were too bad for our small car.
It was around 3:00 PM when we turned around and drove back to the valley and then on to the hotel. On our way down, we still had good “giant” birds like Giant Hummingbird and Giant Conebill.
Tomorrow we are leaving the Cordillera Blanca to explore lower elevation habitats. We are going north of Caraz to get into the Marañon river basin. The drier habitats should bring different species for the trip.
You can read the first post of this trip report here: https://greentours.com.pe/birding-huascaran-national-park-scouting-trip-report-day-1/
Or go the the next post here: https://greentours.com.pe/canon-del-pato-and-the-road-to-la-pampa-day-8/