It was so exciting starting out on my second hummingbird photography quest to Peru. The flight to Lima from Houston was fabulous! It was my first time on a United Polaris flight. I used miles to upgrade to Business Class and felt like I had my own little apartment on the plane. It's real easy to get spoiled!
I landed in Lima at midnight and was met by William Orellana of Beaks and Peaks Birding and Adventure Tours. After a very short overnight at the Wyndam Costa del Sol by the airport, we were off to Tarapoto on LATAM to meet Steve Sánchez of Steve Sánchez Photography and our driver Miguel Angel Vasquez Vallejos. We needed to make the long drive to the Huembo Reserve, where we would spend the next few days.
About three weeks before this trip started, I gave Steve a new challenge. In addition to everything else he had planned for me, I wanted him to find me a Royal Sunangel Hummingbird. This endangered species is found only in a small area of Northern Peru and Southeast Ecuador, and since I didn't see myself coming back to this area very soon, I wanted to photograph this bird on this trip.
Fortunately, Steve had seen one at the feeders at Fundo Alto Nieva, which just happened to be on our way to Huembo. I was excited and hopeful that we would find one here.
Fundo Alto Nieva is a private conservation area dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna of the local cloud forest. Last October I photographed many species here, including the Greenish Puffleg, Long-tailed Sylph, and Booted Racket-tail.
We arrived and took the short hike to the very busy feeders and it wasn't very long before a Royal Sunangel showed up! In addition to this beautiful bird, two other new species for me paid a visit: the Speckled Hummingbird and the White-tailed Hillstar!
IN ADDITION TO THE THREE NEW SPECIES, I WAS ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH SOME OLD FAVORITES: A MALE LONG-TAILED SYLPH, A MALE GREENISH PUFFLEG AND A FEMALE BOOTED RACKET-TAIL.