Help our Field Guides team tackle the World Birding Rally in Peru!

November 27th, 2013 by Field Guides· Add a Comment

Update from Day Two: Team Field Guides is up to 202 species!

Big news: Guides Dan Lane and Jesse Fagan are off to Peru for the 8-day World Birding Rally as they team up with Peruvian colleague Fernando Angulo to raise money for a great cause – the Marvelous Spatuletail and Peruvian conservation!


The Marvelous Spatuletail, photographed by guide Richard Webster

The Rally runs Dec. 3-10, and Jesse will be posting about their exploits on our Facebook page so we can all follow the action (and we’ll let you know here on our news page, too). Want to participate and help out? Support the team’s efforts with a pledge! Check out all the info below.

Notes Dan (whom you know from his numerous Peru tours as well as the fantastic field guide, Birds of Peru):

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.50.42 AM“Some great birding competitions have been launched in the past three decades or so, pitting different birding teams’ skills against one another. Among these are The World Series of Birding in New Jersey and the Great Texas Birding Classic, both familiar by now. A new birding event, the first such being run in South America (the Bird Continent), has joined the ranks: the World Birding Rally of Peru. This event, the brainchild of several folks from Inka Terra Association (of luxury hotel chain fame) and funded generously by PromPeru (the Peruvian Commission for Export and Promotion), first ran for six days in December 2012 with six international teams who scoured the forests of Madre de Dios, in southeastern Peru, and up the Andean slopes to above treeline and finally to the world-famous Machu Picchu area. I am proud to say that my colleagues on the LSU team were the winners of that event, finishing with 493 species! In June 2013, a  second Rally was run, this time a long route from the coast at the northern Peruvian city of Chiclayo, across the northern Andes, and ending at the city of Tarapoto in the foothills near the Rio Huallaga, one of the larger Amazonian tributaries within Peru. This rally was eight days long and again comprised six international teams, including the LSU team, of which I was a member. It was a grueling and exhilarating experience, and we captured first place again with 636 species!


“So the pattern is set: the Rally promoters want to have two competitions each year, and the next is scheduled for this December 3-10 (2013), again in the south of Peru. For this competition, team members will include guides from tour companies, and Field Guides is among them! Peru tours veterans Jesse Fagan and I will be team members, along with our friend and Peruvian ornithologist Fernando Angulo. Fernando has been active in conservation and research in Peru for about two decades, working with the endangered White-winged Guan, as the in-country representative of BirdLife International, and now as one of the principal investigators of the Centro de Ornitologia y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), a Peruvian institute based in Lima. Together, the three of us will be running hard to do Field Guides proud!

East slope of the Andes

A flowering Erythrina tree add to the color palette on the east slope of the Andes. (Photo by guide Rose Ann Rowlett)

“The route will be an expanded eight-day run starting near Puerto Maldonado and ending at Machu Picchu. We’ll be scouring the lowland rainforests of Madre de Dios in southeast Peru for several days, then driving up and over the eastern slope of the Andes, stopping at various elevations to try to boost our list, then spending the last day and a half in the Urubamba valley below Machu Picchu. The potential list of species is around 800 (imagine that!), and we’ll do our best to get as many as we can. And you can participate in this competition, too!

Machu Picchu

The ruins at Machu Picchu fall off toward the Urubamba River…and Inca Wrens! (Photo by participant Marshall Dahl)

“Much like the teams in the well-known North American birding competitions, we wish to raise money through per-species donations (we expect to observe around 550 species or so). Funds raised will go towards Peruvian conservation, helping to maintain the amazing and unique ecosystems and their birds that we enjoy so much while we’re birding in this incredible country. Specifically, pledges made in support of the Field Guides team will focus on the iconic Marvelous Spatuletail, Loddigesia mirabilis, a spectacular endemic Peruvian hummingbird listed as endangered on the current Red List, and a RARE Pride campaign . We invite you to support the spatuletail work through the Field Guides team’s efforts. More details are below.

Wish us luck!

[Also check out the Field Guides team page on the Rally website at this link.]

The RARE Pride Spatuletail campaign

The spatuletail is the object of a RARE Pride campaign coordinated by the BirdLife International collaborator in Peru, APECO. With its wonderfully extravagant spatulate tail and male courtship dances, this superb hummingbird is a flagship species for the paramo grasslands and forests in the higher part of the watersheds of the Tilacancha and Cruzhuayco rivers, as well as to the people in the rural communities of San Isidro de Maino and Levanto and the residents of the town of Chachapoyas who depend on these water resources.

The campaign intends to support a community reserve, the Private Conservation Area of Tilacancha, by raising its profile and encouraging the creation of reciprocal agreements for watershed conservation between users and landowners. All the funding raised by pledges in support of the Field Guides team during the Birding Peru Challenge will go towards assisting the project on the ground.

If you would like to make a pledge, either a per species contribution or a set amount, please contact the Field Guides office. We will acknowledge your pledge and contact you when the Rally is completed to let you know the Field Guides team’s results as well as provide you with information on how to make your tax-deductible contribution. In the meantime, keep watching this space or our Facebook page for updates on the Field Guides team’s exploits. And many thanks in advance!


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