Machu Picchu Extension Galapagos Cruise Jul 01—08, 2017
Posted by Doris Valencia
The Machu Picchu Extension to our Galapagos Island Cruise includes a wealth of natural and cultural attractions along the gorgeous Urubamba Valley, the high mountains of the Urubamba Range, and the fabulous World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, ending in the capital city of the Incas, Cusco.
After collecting our guests from the airport, we headed south of the Cusco Valley. Our first stop, the Wetlands of Huacarpay, located a 45-minute drive from the airport, was declared a RAMSAR site in 2006 and protects habitats for both local birds and migrants (boreal and austral).
The various Andean species seen here are not particularly rare but certainly added excitement to our first morning of birding in the Andes. We got excellent looks at a pair of gorgeous Many-colored Rush-Tyrants in full breeding plumage, along with a secretive Wren-like Rushbird, Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Yellow-billed Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Andean Lapwing, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Puna Ibis, and others, all seen very well through the scope, adding a nice selection of species for the day’s list. A particular highlight of the morning was a group of 7 Chilean Flamingos feeding quietly in a shallow pond. A delicious picnic lunch with great mountain views followed, allowing time for a rest and enjoyment of the area. After lunch we made our way around the road that encircles the lagoon; here within the area of the wetlands, the Wari—recognized as the first urban state level society in the Andean region—built a very large city called Pikillaqta, believed to represent a ritual facility for the practice of ancestor worship with important hydraulic works that connect the water resources of the site to terraces and cultivated fields still in use by local people.
Read Doris’s full report in her Field List.