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.
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.
The Marvelous Spatuletail is named for the spatula-like pair of tail feathers, seen above. What a bird!
Britt was able to get a sharp photo of the Marvelous Spatuletail while he was perching.
And there were a number of other hummingbird species present.
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.
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.
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).
We continued east and downhill, and pulled in for gas at the first town we encountered.
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: