In 2012 March We were a small group of birders headed for the Manu Cloud Forest for a day birding. We began a trek along the “Trocha Union” in the heart of the cloud forest of Manu National Park this trails starts from elevations above 3800 meters and the transect is narrow and steepy. (According the chronic this path was a former Inca Trail heading to kosñipata Valley in the Incas times and also it had been used in the conquest period by the Spaniards to explore the further Amazon)
The day we started was a somewhat sunny day that commenced with a cool morning , as We could be accommodated at the checkpoint “Acjanaco” and also we were drove the 8 km by rangers to the lookout called “Tres Cruces“”, as they have planned to patrol the Union Trail (no used frequently by people by now) Firstly we had seen a mountain deer running by the mountains, once we were on the top of the mountain and we also enjoyed the view of the Amazon landscape below with the serpent like rivers, waterfalls and cascades flowing to the amazon, this was amazing sunrise while the temperature was warming up.
Our first stop was along this high elevation where we checked out small birds on the grass that flew along the trail ahead. we were able to identify the bird as an Lined Fronted Canastero, paramo seedeater and in quick succession at the same stop, we identified sedge wren , puna thistletail were heard calling, where we soon found more couple of Great Sapphire wing, shining sunbeam and many moustached flowerpiercers, capped conebills, white browed chat-tyrant.
From the sign (Trocha Union) we gradually walked the mountains down,
We remained here for the first hours of the morning where Tanagers; golden collared, Scarlet bellied mountain hooded, blue and black, chestnut bellied tanagers were the dominant colorful birds, the Little trilling Tapaculo were busy inside the fully covered bushes as every plant is coated with a dense layer of moss and lichens its mostly prevent to see clearly, then we got a good views of this small and reclusive bird, rufous and undulated antpitta were calling and busy setting up territories in the deeper chusquea bamboo forest.
We moved lower, downhill the landscape looks eroded, this caused by the previous rainy season where the wearing away of the land surface was affected, obviously we have been forced to walk off the trail in some parts.
A mixed flock species (green grass, blue capped tanager, spectacled redstars, citrine warblers, strong billed woodcreeper, pearled treerunner, streaked tuftedcheek) suddenly flew across entertained while we ate. After lunch we explored much lower of the mountains as we hiked was easy to see how the ecosystem have changed from dense forest to scrub bush, where we found plenty of pale footed swallow, were flying around and there were also white throated quail-dove were perched on the trees.
We proceeded slowly down, where we were rewarded by seeing a pair of grey breasted mountain-toucan, oleaginous hemispingus, barred becard, black throated tody-tyrant, rufous pigmy tyrant, streaked necked flycatcher, barred & band tailed fruiteater.
The erosion caused by the annual rains along the trail, it has dug deep channels producing some stretches and dark transects along the trail, all adventure by now!!
We finished the day with a list of 70 species and a satisfied group of birders headed to our lodge and very pleased by the birding walk in the mountains of this section of the cloud forest in Manu