Peru, Hummingbirds at Huembo, 11/2/15

We hired a taxi for our trip to Moyobamba (#7 on map below). This was an affordable and convenient option because there were four of us to split the cost. Two miles back down to the Rio Utcubamba valley, and we then turned north, to return the 10 miles to Pedro Ruiz. There, we rejoined Route 5N (the road we had taken from Bagua Chica to Pedro Ruiz) which heads NE towards Lake Pomococha (see map below). 5N would take us over the crest of the Northern Highlands. But first, we intended to stop at the hummingbird refuge known as Huembo (#5 on the map below), which was located only a few minutes outside of Pedro Ruiz.

Northern Peru Area Map

Northern Peru Area Map (click on map to enlarge)

Huembo Visitor Center (Reserva Huembo)

Huembo Visitor Center (Reserva Huembo)

The Visitor Center was a short walk down a path from the highway. We paid our entrance fees, and the lady in charge pointed out the locations of the feeders to us. One group of feeders in particular, she said, was frequented by the most famous of the local hummingbirds – the Marvelous Spatuletail. This hummingbird was an “endemic”, restricted to the Rio Utcubamba watershed. Before walking over to the indicated place, I stopped for a few minutes at a close-by feeder, and saw the Marvelous Spatuletail there first.

Marvelous Spatuletail

Marvelous Spatuletail

The Marvelous Spatuletail is named for the spatula-like pair of tail feathers, seen above. What a bird!

Marvelous Spatuletail

Marvelous Spatuletail. The blue object on the right is one of the “spatulas”.

Marvelous Spatuletail

Marvelous Spatuletail

Britt was able to get a sharp photo of the Marvelous Spatuletail while he was perching.


Marvelous Spatuletail (Britt Runyon photo)

And there were a number of other hummingbird species present.

15. White-belliedHummer Oct302015_8127

The White-bellied hummingbird, seen previously at Gocta. Behind the bird is a section of re-bar that holds up the feeder.

16. SparklingVioletEar Oct302015_8121

Again, the Sparkling VioletEar

20.5 Purple-throatedSunangel? Oct302015_8118

I tentatively ID this bird as a Purple-throated Sunangel hummingbird

I tentatively ID this guy as a Rainbow Starfrontlet hummingbird

I tentatively ID this guy as a Rainbow Starfrontlet hummingbird

3. Chestnut-breastedCoronet?HummingbirdOct302015_8123

Chestnut-breasted coronet hummingbird

4. Chestnut-breastedCoronet?HummingbirdOct302015_8124

Chestnut-breasted coronet hummingbird

And how about this collection of Sparkling VioletEars?

Three Sparkling VioletEars

Believe it or not, we didn’t stay at Huembo for more than an hour and a half, feeling the pressure of time. It deserves much more time – such as days. We continued uphill, cresting the range at 7684′, just before arriving at Lake Pomacocha.

21. LakePomacocha Oct312015_8155

Lake Pomacocha

Farther on, the driver suggested we stop ahead, for lunch, at the El Bosque Restaurant. It was a very pleasant place, with good food and posters and decorations on the theme of the birds of the area and the protection of the forests, and was set into virgin forest.

25. RestaurantOct312015_8158

Marvelous Spatuletail illustration, at El Bosque Restaurant

27. QuetzalPaintingInRestaurantOct312015_8165

Quetzal painting inside the restaurant

27.7 EcoanSign Oct312015_8169

Poster concerning the preservation of the Polylepis tree. Photos of this tree appear in my post on Laguna 69

27.5 RutaDeAvesSign Oct312015_8166

“Ruta de Aves del Norte Peruano” poster. This translates to the “Northern Peru Birding Route”, which is becoming one of the most sought-after trips for serious birders from around the world. We were now following this route (which also included Gocta and the rest of the Rio Utcubamba valley).

The cloud forest, seen from the back of the restaurant

The cloud forest, seen from the back of the restaurant

The road turned east, as we drove over forested ridges and in and out of small verdant valleys. We entered the protected area of Abra Patricia and saw the turn-off for the Owlet Lodge. This was along the most beautiful and wild stretch of the road we would travel. The Owlet Lodge was another top birder destination, and I’m still kicking myself for not having suggested to the others that we stay there. Next, as we began our descent to the east, was the “Bosque de Protección Alto Mayo”(the Alto Mayo Protected Forest), a very large tract of protected virgin cloud forest bisected by the highway (see map above).

Descending to the east

The highway descends to the east

At the same pull-out as the above, a birding sign

At the same pull-out as the above, a sign identifies observation points along the highway for spotting particular bird species

We continued east and downhill, and pulled in for gas at the first town we encountered.

Gassing up

Gassing up

38. BringingHomeFodder Oct312015_8182

Bringing in fodder for the animals

39. LeadingHorses Oct312015_8185

Leading horses


Looking back (west) to the Alto Mayo

Our next stop was the small city of Moyobamba, where we would stay two nights at the Casa Seizo, relax at the hot springs next door and visit the orchid garden and hummingbird feeders at Waqanki. Here is the link to the following post:

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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