Part 03/11 of Glenn Bartley’s 3-month trip around Peru – With these targets photographed it was time to start making my way into the jungle. I really wanted to spend some quality time in Manu National Park. After all, it is the most biologically diverse place on the planet! Imagine a single park with over 1000 species of birds. It is enough to make your head spin! I made a plan to spend the next 3 weeks in Manu and began to prepare for what was sure to be an amazing adventure.
What makes Manu National Park so diverse is the fact that the park covers elevations from approximately 3500m all the way down to sea level in the Amazonian lowlands. This kind of altitudinal gradient creates all kind of different habitats for plants, animals, insects and of course birds to thrive in. Getting the most out of Manu means spending time at various elevations because many of the birds have very specific habitat requirements.
Driving in to the park from Cusco was incredible. The windy road took me up and over a pass of about 4000m ASL and then began to descend toward the park entrance. Before long the grasslands faded from view and gave way to cloud-forest. Trees became larger and were covered with moss and bromeliads. Clouds rolled in from the lowlands below hiding much of what lay ahead beneath a mysterious veil.
After a lengthy drive I arrived at my first photo stop at an area around 1500m. I would spend the next 3 days searching this area for as many birds as I could find. This area turned out to be great for mixed species flocks and I saw some really stunning birds. Photographing them however was often a challenge. But over the three days I did have some really rewarding encounters. Perhaps most memorable was a visit to a very active lek for Andean Cock of the Rocks (Peru’s national bird).
If you think that a bird photography adventure to Peru might interest you make sure to e-mail me to sign up for the wish list for my workshops that will begin in the fall of 2013.
Article written and images fully copyrighted by Glenn Bartley.