Trip Reports
Butterfly-watching Holidays
Peru 2008
Section 4 - San Pedro / Rio Kosnipata

The inclement weather stayed with us as we drove down the eastern slope of the Andes, but fortunately cleared as we arrived at the hamlet of San Pedro, which was to be our base for the next 3 nights. Here at an altitude of 1450m are several lodges providing accommodation for the many birdwatchers who visit the area to see the spectacular brilliant red Andean Cock of the Rock. These wonderful birds gather at roadside leks and put on a noisy and very showy display at dawn and mid-afternoon each day.

San Pedro, Rio Kosnipata, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

San Pedro is set amidst luxuriant cloudforest, and is a wonderful area for Lepidoptera. The area around the lodge was rich in butterflies - we saw massive aggregations of Firetip Skippers, mainly Pyrrhopyge telassina, crowding out smaller numbers of Marpesia Daggerwings and Phoebis Sulphurs which gathered to imbibe mineral rich moisture from seepages and rock pools along the riverside. Unfortunately these were only accessible via a dangerous descent down the rocky bank of the fast flowing river, so personal safety dictated that we had to settle for photographing the much smaller numbers of butterflies that visited the damp sandy road surface outside our lodge. Nevertheless we were more than happy with the numerous Perisama, Adelpha, Heliconius, Callicore, Marpesia, Myscelus and Doxocopa species with posed for our cameras !

Perisama calamis, Manu cloudforest, 1600m  Adrian Hoskins

Manu road, San Pedro, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

Manu cloudforest, Rio Kosnipata, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

From San Pedro we made daily excursions to several roadside habitats at altitudes of between 1300-2000m. The best spots for butterflies were often in the vicinity of small waterfalls or small streams, and provided us with many additional species including the gaudy orange-banded Catonephele salambria, the magnificent Rusty-tipped Page Siproeta epaphus, and its close relative the Malachite Siproeta stelenes, stunningly marked with translucent green "windows" on brown scalloped wings.

Although our prime interest was to study and photograph butterflies, we were also very keen to look at moths whenever the opportunity arose, and there is no better place than the eastern Andes to find moths of every size, shape and colour. Many are quite bizarre and adopt extraordinary postures. Others are so wonderfully camouflaged that finding them by daylight would be virtually impossible. We were therefore very pleased when the lodge managers allowed us to use their generators to power lamps, attracting dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of fascinating species, many of which had to be seen to be believed. Photographs of some of these moths can be seen on the Moths of the Andes pages of the website.

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