Day 7 started with Cañas Rapid (Class III), after which we arrived at the broad and open valley of Huchus. Here, we observed construction under way of a bridge, which bridge is intended to support the building of Rupac dam.
While on the subject of birds with unusual names, we had also been seeing a bird by the catchy name of Black-billed Shrike Tyrant. Peru has 1800 species of birds, many of which are closely related species and hard to distinguish, one from the other. The latest theory on bird evolution suggests that birds went through an adaptive radiation in South America, following the extinction of the dinosaurs. Wikipedia states that: “In evolutionary biology, adaptive radiation is a process in which organisms diversify rapidly into a multitude of new forms, particularly when a change in the environment makes new resources available, creates new challenges, or opens new environmental niches”. Flipping through the 664 page guidebook, “Birds of Peru”, is an education in groups of birds that have no counterpart in the northern hemisphere. The ornithologists responsible for the original naming of the birds of Peru had, therefore, to be particularly creative. Here, for example, are the groups of birds whose names begin with the word “Ant”: Antbird, Antpipit, Antpitta, Ant-Tanager, Antthrush, Antvireo and Antwren. These groups account for over 150 individual species. Then there are the 75 species of tanager.
Another bird of interest that we had been seeing was the Scarlet-fronted parakeet, which flew around in noisy flocks, but never came close.
The day ended at Camp #7 (K. 134), with a very pleasant riverside hot springs (aguas termales) located a short distance downstream.
Tomorrow would bring another Class IV rapid, Mayas, (see below) and end at “Wasson’s Staging Camp”, followed by our siege of Wasson’s Landslide Rapid the following day.
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