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Trip Reports
Butterfly-watching Holidays
Peru 2008
Section 3 - Wayqecha

The following day we departed from Cusco at dawn, travelling by private minibus up the barren dry western slopes of the Andes. This section of the trip was blessed with brilliant sunshine on last year's tour, but this year we were not so lucky, with no sunshine until midday, by which time we had arrived at Tres Cruces, a very remote spot at an altitude of 3370m where the puna grasslands of the high Andes merge with stunted elfin cloudforest at the south-western edge of Manu Biosphere Reserve.

Metardaris cosinga, Manu cloudforest, 2800m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

At Tres Cruces there was great excitement as the group watched and photographed the first of several giant Skippers Metardaris cosinga hawking back and forth like humming-birds, pausing occasionally to nectar at flowering bushes.

Other delightful species in this area included the pretty orange Nymphalid Junonia vestina and a dainty blue Lycaenid Madeleinea koa. Perhaps the greatest interest however was aroused by the large intricately patterned Satyrine Junea doraete, a species which appeared briefly on several occasions but sadly refused to cooperate with the photographers this year.

We spent the next 2 days based at Wayqecha cloudforest research station at an altitude of 2950m. On both days sunshine quickly burnt through the dawn fog giving us marvellous views across the high Andes, but within an hour cloud built up and butterfly activity was minimal. We were fortunate to see several beautiful Brazilian Painted Ladies Vanessa brasiliensis hill-topping at the research station, but we failed to see the specialised high altitude Satyrines which we had hoped for.

Manu cloudforest seen from Wayqecha, 2950m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Manu cloudforest seen from Wayqecha, 2800m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Manu cloudforest seen from Wayqecha, 2800m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
Manu cloudforest seen from Wayqecha, 2950m, Peru  Adrian Hoskins
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