Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 25, 2010

Lobitos, North Peru 3

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , , — steve_happ @ 12:52 pm

More Lobitos Surf and Birds

Los Lobitos tube, Northern Peru

I really like this photo

This guy is as deep as you can get and still be seen

Something different

Some green water for a change


Oasis hummingbird
Oasis Hummingbird

ID required
Cinereous Finch (Piezorhina cinerea)

October 23, 2010

Lobitos, North Peru

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 8:13 pm

Lobitios surfing and birds

Bodyboarder getting tubed at Lobitos Point

Lobitos 424

Lobitos - Piscina
Chileno dude getting some sick air at piscinas

Lobitos - Piscina
Leo getting shacked in some very wild water at piscinas

Lobitos - Piscina
Leo off the lip at piscinas

Lobitos - Piscina
Nice cutback

Lobitos - Piscina
Getting some air


royal tern
Royal Tern, Sterna maxima

Black Vulture
Black Vulture

Peruvian Pelican
Peruvian Pelican, Pelecanus thagus

October 22, 2010

Surfing and Birds at Lobitos

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 11:32 pm

Los Lobitos Surfing and Birds

I finally made it to Lobitos, which is about 70 kilometers south of Mancora. On the way I was quite surprised to see lots of oil rigs pumping away in the desert. there is even one on the beach here. Lobitos is a deserted town inhabited only by surfers and fishermen. Its like surfing on the moon here, it is so desolate and barren.

Wide shot of Lobitos

This morning a bunch of Chilean dudes were out at Lobitos point ripping it up. They are used to these conditions, often riding cold, big waves.

A Chileno Goofy-footer cuts back

The inside wave was spitting out barrels like Pipeline. I think it may have been impossible to ride. These guys were surfing the next section along the point.

Pulls into a barrel

Conditions here are pretty tough. The wind is always blowing really hard, the water is freezing cold, and there are no hot showers. Othere than that, there is great company, surfers from all over the place just hanging out and having fun.

A backhand barrel

Birds of Lobitos

Going down to the beach this morning I was quite surprised to see a little camouflaged bird darting around the bushes.

Coastal Miner (Geositta peruviana)

These green parrot type birds were camouflaged very well against the green ground bushes next to the beach. Some had blue flashes on them.

Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)

While others were all green.

Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)

October 20, 2010

Birds of Mancora 2

Filed under: South America — Tags: — steve_happ @ 7:10 pm

Mancora Birds #2

Well, yesterday I did not go for a surf but took the camera for a walk to try and photograph some birds. As soon as I got past the end of the hostel wall, I saw this hummingbird on the overhead wire. I had been seeing him for the last few days scooping in and out of the garden feeding on the red flowers. I had a look at the hummingbirds for South America on Arthur Grosset’s web-site, but there were thousands of them. So I am going to wait until I get home before I try and identify any hummingbirds.

hummingbird 1
Amazilia Hummingbird (Amazilia amazilia)

That one had a mainly orange back and orange in the stomach area. Further down the road at some hotel, they had the water sprays going on the garden and another variety of hummingbird was having a nice bath and slipping around on the wet leaves.

hummingbird 2
Oasis Hummingbird (Rhodopis vesper)

This one may have been having a drink or just playing around in the water. I have no idea. It had a purple patch under the chin.

hummingbird 2
Oasis Hummingbird (Rhodopis vesper)

Later on he flew up onto the wire and did some very strange gyrations and flapped his wings around and contorted his body in all strange shapes. This is one of the pretty ones.

hummingbird 2
Oasis Hummingbird (Rhodopis vesper)

Later on, down the beach, I spotted this wader that I cannot seem to identify as yet. It is not a surfbird, but I cannot seem to place it. I looked all over – not a sandpiper, etc. I am stumped. It was a Willet, Tringa semipalmata.

not sure yet
Willet, Tringa semipalmata

Last night and this morning I have been for a surf and it has been pretty good, but small. This morning I snapped the fin in my board and had to buy another one for 35 Soles. There may be some waves tonight and tomorrow morning. I am waiting for the swell to pick up and the high tides to be in the early mornings.

There have been lots of sea birds about, but they are nearly mostly all Peruvian Boobys, Peruvian Pelicans and Magnficent Frigatebirds. the Peruvian Boobys sometimes fly horizontally into the water to catch fish. They just cruise about above the waves and then whack! dive into the water to catch a fish. There are lots of fish around here. The water is full of them jumping about, so it must be easy for the sea birds to get a feed of fish. There are both Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures in Mancora, but the Black Vultures seem to stick to the pueblo whilst the Turkey Vultures hang out at the beach.

October 19, 2010

Birds of Mancora #1

Filed under: South America — Tags: — steve_happ @ 5:25 pm

Mancora Birds #1

After Chicama, I got the bus from Paijan to Mancora. It left at 8 pm but the seats on Emtrafesa line are horrible. They are really hard and you cannot sleep on them at all. And I landed in Mancora about 4 am and I am surrounded by autotaxi dudes pesterning me. So I settled down and waited for a while and let the tout give me his spiel about the hostels he would get a commission from. I chose the Gaucomayo because it was the cheapest and I was very tired. That day, I went for a surf and it was about 2-3 foot and I enjoyed it heaps.

Magnificent Frigatebird
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

I had been seeing Frigatebirds flying around for a few days, so I finally got some shots in the back yard of the hostel. There may be two kinds – one is mostly black and the other has a white belly, or the one with the while belly is a juvenile. I have not done the research yet. Here is a shot with the tail spread a bit. They seem to close the tail up mostly when flying. They are Magnificent Frigatebirds, and the male is all black while the female and juveniles have the white belly.

Magnificent Frigatebird
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

There were some waders in the excavation for a pool with a little bit of water in the bottom. One was a Killdeer and the others were Sanderlings, I am pretty sure. If I am wrong, please let me know. I think it is a wintering juvenile Sanderling. Thanks to JPPerret, it is a Least Sandpiper.

Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla )

There are lots of Mockingbirds hanging out around the yard. I have not been able to identify them yet. When I get to the internet I will check. They are of the Family: Mimidae and are called Long-tailed Mockingbird (Mimus longicaudatus).

 Long-tailed Mockingbird
Long-tailed Mockingbird (Mimus longicaudatus)

This strange bird with the ugly big beak was hanging around the remnants of what seemed like a sewerage pond in the middle of town.

id required
Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris.

And here is a closer shot of that amazing beak.

ID required por favor
Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris.

And I saw one of the varieties of South American Himantopes. They are very similar to the Australian ones. They even stand around in ponds, casting reflections. They are in fact the same as the Australian ones – Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). Nope, they are the mexican ones. doh!

black-winged stilt
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus mexicanus)

I finally got a shot of these very red birds that I had been seeing in fields as I went past in buses. They could be some kind of flycatcher as they have the whiskers around the bill. I did see one with a bug in its mouth, I think. Thanks to Dendroica for the ID. It is a Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus. I was right about the flycatcher part.

id required
Vermilion Flycatcher ( Pyrocephalus rubinus)

October 9, 2010

Lima Birds

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 2:20 am

Birds of Lima, Peru

Ater Paracas, I caught the bus to Lima and got a bed in a hostel in Barranco, Lima, which is on the beach. These photos were taken from the roof of the hostel over the two days that I was staying there. I was quite surprised by the number of birds that were around the city.

Black Vulture
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

There were lots of Black Vultures flying about overhead in Lima. It is quite a daunting experience, especially if you are not used to having vultures wheeling over you.

Black Vulture
Black Vulture

I really like the flaming red background on this photo. There was a plot of land below that was covered in red flowers.

Croaking Ground-Dove
Croaking Ground-Dove (Columbina cruziana)

The Croaking Ground-doves were coming onto the roof of the hostel where I was taking the photos. They were really close and allowed me to get this great shot.
Croaking Ground-Dove
Croaking Ground-dove

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) has a range from Arizona to central Argentina. They are widespread, common and adaptable.

Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

The Bananaquit (Coereba flaveloa pacifica) is a small nectar-eating bird that is found in the warmer parts of the Americas and is fairly common.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveloa pacifica)

The other birds that I saw were the Rufous-collared Sparrow, House Sparrow and Pacific Dove. After Lima, I caught the all-day bus to Trujillo and arrived in Huanchaco about 11 in the night. Today I went for my first surf in Peru, but my surfboard is too small for me. doh! Tomorrow I am going to try and swap it or rent a bigger board and then head for Chicama.

October 7, 2010

Birds of Islas Ballestas, Peru

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 4:29 am

Islas Ballestas Birds

Inca Tern
Zarcillo (Larosterna inca) – Inca Tern.

Inca Tern
Inca Tern

Peruvian Pelican
Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)

Guanay Cormorant
Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii)

Red-legged Cormorant
Chuita – Red-legged Cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi)

Humboldt Penguin
Humboldt Penguin

sea-lion cub.
Sea-lion cub

October 6, 2010

Paracas National Reserve Birding

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 2:43 pm

Paracas Nature Reserve

The Paracas National Reserve is located in Ica province of southern Peru. It is a peninsular which juts out into the cold Pacific Ocean but is a desert. It hardly every rains here and the land has remained constant for 45 million years. There is no river or creeks or flash floods to erode the landscape, so it stays pretty much the same except for the effects of the wind.

id required. nfi

The Atacama Desert of Peru butts right up against the ocean and there is only any life at the edge of the ocean, where you will find hordes of birds and a few lizards.

Peruvian Booby
Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) – Piquero

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

American Oystercatcher
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

Hudsonian Whimbrel
Hudsonian Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)


El Chaco, Paracas NP

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 3:44 am

El Chaco Birding.

El chaco is the town and port at the entrance to Paracas Nature Reserve in Southern Peru. This morning after I arrived here, I went for a walk along the beach front and photographed heaps of new birds. It is quite remarkable here. There are birds everywhere. I will probably only stay here two days but you could easily spend a week or so here, the bird life is so rich and diverse.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Belcher’s Gull juveniles have a dark brown hood and breast with pale fringes to the upperparts. They are very similar to the southern Australian Pacific Gull, which I thought they were at first. And also, they are very similar to the Kelp Gull. They have many names and have gone through a few splits. I think the official name now is Belcher’s Gull. They were also know as Band-tailed Gull and Peruvian Gull. In Spanish, they are called La Gaviota Peruana. This juvenile was picking around in the rubbish tip near the beach. There were quite a few birds there having a scrounge.

Belcher's Gull
Belcher’s Gull (Larus belcheri), juvenile

Pacific Dove (Zenaida meloda)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

Hudsonian Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus) in flight


Grey Gull (Larus modestus), Gaviota garuma

List of birds usually seen in this area

Inca Tern
Black and American Oystercatchers
Band-tailed Gull
Humboldt Penguin
Guanay Cormorant – black and white
Chuita Cormorant – greyish – Red-legged Cormorant Phalacrocorax gaimardi
Peruvian Booby
Chilean Flamingo
Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan)- Gaviota de Franklin
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), Jote de cabeza colorado, Redhead gallinazo.

September 24, 2010

Birding and Surfing in Peru

Filed under: South America — Tags: — steve_happ @ 1:02 am

Surfing and Birding in Peru fly internally.
buses –



4 hours from Mancora. Stay at Nachos.


65 km north of Chicama. Near to El Faro. Duke Keahounha Hostel. Its a 30-40 minute walk to el faro break.


El Hombre hostel.


Pimentel, Santa Rosa and El Faro. Puerto Eten is south of Chiclayo.


It is a couple of kilometers from Trujillo. Hostels are Casa Suiza or Hostel CocosBeach.
“Transportes Linea” buses run from Lima. Get a “directo”.

Punta Hermosa

Bravo surf camp. 45 kms south of Lima.

If buying a surfboard, try or Derrem –
Stay at Barranco in Lima here –

Birding in Peru

Reserva Ecológica Chontachaka

See their representatives in Cuzco. Its about $30 per night and is in the Manu NP.

Islas Ballestas

Reserva Nacional de Paracas


Home to pink dolphins, iguanas and lots of birds.

Casa de Avila in Arequipa offer spanish courses for about $80 per week. + $125 .

Pucallpa is real nice to do boat trips to jungle – very cheap. Now, there is Laguna Yarinacocha (reachable by taxi from Pucallpa), and there you can rent a boat, and go wherever you want. It is usually a trip to San Francisco shipibo village, but there is not much to see. I prefered going to albergue on the opposite side of Laguna, and there they have some animals and nice short hikes into the jungle. Pucallpa itself is interesting city, it has that amazon charm. also Tingo Maria .

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