Leica Birding Team member Steve N.G. Howell takes on the Peru Birding Challenge

Leica Birding Team member Steve N.G. Howell just returned from the 3rd World Birding Rally in Peru, where five teams from around the world competed to record as many species as possible in five-and-a-half days of pre-dawn to post-dusk birding, starting with 3 days near the Bolivian Border in Amazonia (the world center of biodiversity) and ending with a day around the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu (“all those big stones crawling with people, that we didn’t have time to visit”).

Steve was part of a team from the international birding tour company Sunbird/WINGS, competing with teams from the USA (mainly the heavily favored Field Guides team, including a field ornithologist living in Peru, plus an author and illustrator of the Birds of Peru), Colombia, and South Africa. The event was sponsored by PromPeru (the Peruvian government tourist agency) and the Inkaterra Association (who run the wonderful lodges where we stayed: “never have I had such a nice bed and so little time to sleep in it”) to help promote Peru as a birding destination.

Despite Steve never having been to any of the places they visited, and with one team member who had never before been to Peru, the race was a close-fought competition, as Steve reports:

“On Day 1 we were somehow (well, we didn’t have the 3 hours of torrential rain that hit other groups!) in 1st place (with “only” 176 species, to the nearest team with 172 species), but from there the only way was down. On Day 2 we were 2nd (242 species to 248), on Day 3 still 2nd (288 to 287), on Day 4 up to joint 1st (355 species), on Day 5 back to 2nd, but only just (440 species to 441), and we ended in 2nd place (455 species to 457 from Field Guides). The five teams in total recorded 619 species in less than 6 days and without being on a coast – pretty amazing!”

More details can be found at:

http://www.birdingrallychallenge.com

and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Birding.Rally.Challenge

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image