This week’s photo, taken September 29, 2017 near Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes, Peru, features a female ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK, the national bird of Peru. Considering there are over 1800 bird species in Peru, that’s quite a noteworthy distinction.
My most wanted bird during my recent trip to Peru was the uniquely stunning Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. During our last morning in Aguas Calientes, I stood in a forested area where – according to the locals – a Cock-of-the-Rock shows up about every other day. At one point, I got glimpses of one, and I frantically tried to follow it on foot as it moved about in the tree tops.
Although I got in a decent workout trying to keep up with my target bird, I failed to capture even a lousy out-of-focus or blurry image of Peru’s national avian treasure. I had mixed feeling about the sighting, since my attitude while birding is usually: if I don’t get a photo, then I haven’t seen the bird.
I returned to my post and glanced at my watch. We had a train to catch soon, so I would need to return to the hotel in about 15 minutes. The Cock-of-the-Rock re-appeared 10 minutes later, flew towards me and landed on a branch 20 feet away – in plain view AND at eye level! I got some photos, and I got to the train on time.
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