Fishing at Cabo Blanco

Iconic ‘Miss Texas’ fishing boat is sailing again in Cabo Blanco, with renowned captain Norm Isaacs on the lead. While it currently serves research purposes in the tropical sea of Northern Peru, the Miss Texas gear is also being tested during excursions. This month, the fishing of a 24-pound Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) was caught on video. Using Boomerang fishing rods tailored for Inkaterra and Everol reels, deckhands Juan Panta and Diego Rehder and angler Alex Passapera (sitting on the Murray Brothers chair) caught the Mahi-Mahi when sailing 12 miles off shore. As soon as it had bitten a cedar plug, the angler did his job and Diego performed the leadering, holding the fishing line to let the catch swim next to the boat. When it was close enough, Juan took care of the gaffing, bringing the fish on board. After weighing it, the catch went into Miss Texas’ ice-filled Engel cooler.

Cabo Blanco

It was just its third expedition and despite sailing dark waters that day, another two Mahi-Mahis were caught while other fish were spotted. It is worth mentioning that just some days before, a 250-pound Black Marlin (Makaira indica) jumped twice near the boat, which allows captain Norm Isaacs to confirm Cabo Blanco’s potential for sport fishing.

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Anaconda found at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción

We have a very exciting sighting this month from Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción!

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

It was 10 a.m. when Inkaterra explorer guides Ghlemm and Justo were leading a group of travellers in the ‘Cocha’ excursion. Hidden in some bushes on the shore of Concepción creek, a green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) was encountered. Though it remained tangled and its head could not be seen, a good look at its width and the tail’s end allowed guides to estimate that this snake was about 4 meters long! Other explorer guides were told of the sighting, so they could lead their groups of travelers to where the anaconda remained quiet. Everyone was enthusiastic about it, as this kind of snake is extremely hard to find.

Wildlife spotted at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

Eunectes murinus (derived from the Greek ‘ευνήκτης’ meaning “good swimmer” and the Latin ‘murinus’ meaning “of mice”, for being thought to prey on mice) is a non-venomous boa species, considered the largest, heaviest and second longest snake. It can reach about five meters long, and female specimens are larger than males in adulthood. Green anacondas are found in South America east of the Andes, from the Guianas to Paraguay, and tend to live in or around water in marshes and swamps from tropical rainforests. Employing constriction to subdue their prey, anacondas eat mostly fish, birds, small mammals and other reptiles. Larger anacondas can even hunt tapirs, deer, capybaras and caimans, though these are not commonly consumed. Though local legends depict this species as a man-eater, little evidence supports this practice.

Anaconda at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

After about an hour later, the anaconda had migrated as the river and the creek increased their water level due to heavy rains in the area. Such an exciting encounter made a very special day at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Have you ever spotted any wildlife during a stay at Inkaterra? Share with us with hashtag #InkaterraWildlife

Our top wildlife sightings of 2013

2013: an incredible year for wildlife sightings across our Inkaterra properties. We thought we’d put together our top highlights from last year. Check back on our blog each month where we will be sharing our top spots of the month. Have you spotted any incredible wildlife during your time in Peru? Or captured any photography of wildlife where you are in the world? Do share with us below, or on Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #WildlifeInkaterra. If you’ve taken a photo during a stay at Inkaterra or during an Inkaterra experience, you should enter the first Inkaterra Photo Contest of 2014 right here.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel 

Sunbittern

Tigana (Photo by: Ron Blake)  Jose Luis Lavilla | Inkaterra Explorer Guide | Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

During a specialised birding excursion, travellers pointed out a bird that flew close to them and went into the jungle. At first glance, they thought it was an Andean Guan (Penelope montagnii) but a few seconds later they saw the bird perched in front of them. As one of the group grabbed their book to identify the bird, someone else took a picture of the bird so they could identify it afterwards. To their surprise it was a sunbittern (Eurypyga helias). Of course, they were all very excited because it is quite a  rare sighting.

Andean Spectacled bears 

Andean Spectacled Bears  Our resident spectacled bears have made several appearances across 2013 here at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Here’s to seeing them a lot more during 2014. You can read about their most recent sighting here.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica 

Jaguar

Jaguar (Photo : Stephen Coupe ) Jesus Glhemm Ccari | Explorer Guide | Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica 

During a guest’s  Twilight River excursion they noticed something in between the bushes on the shore of the Madre de Dios River, just a few meters away from the Hotels’ dock. They aimed their flashlight at what appeared to be a big animal. As soon as they used the flashlight a powerful reflection (from the animal’s eyes) caught their attention. It wasn’t a small animal and definitely not a caiman as the movement was constant and far away from the water. As they approached, they could not believe what was in front of them. It was a Jaguar (Panthera onca). A few seconds after the sighting, the feline jumped away to find refuge in the dense rainforest vegetation. Observing jaguars in the wild is extremely rare so they were ecstatic to see the “King of the Rainforest”! Definitely a night to remember!

Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

Early in the morning Alberto Checca, an Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge, visited Lake Valencia along with five other travellers. During the trip to the lake, having sailed for an average of 45 minutes through the Madre de Dios River, Alberto spotted a big bird in the distance, perched on a tree on the right bank of the river. As they approached the bird, Alberto was able to recognise that it was a harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) one of the most powerful birds of prey. Fortunately, the guests were able to observe the eagle for about 10 minutes before continuing their trip to the lake leaving the bird perched on the tree

At the end of the excursion the guests, as well as the Explorer Guide, were very pleased to know that they saw one of the most wanted eagles by ornithologists.

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion 

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

Puma

While Carlos Torres, an Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción was on the hidden rainforest excursion near the Cacao plantations with a group of two guests, they heard the bushes shaking a few meters from them. They decided to stay quiet for a couple of minutes to see if whatever was out there would show itself. Oh surprise when what appeared in front of them was a juvenile puma! (Puma concolor). This feline is considered one of the most adaptable animals in the continent. The puma seemed to be looking for a good place to rest. Suddenly the puma climbed all the way to the top of a bread fruit tree (Altocarpus altilis) for not to be seen or heard again. Simply amazing.

The Hidden Forest Excursion at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion The Hidden Forest Excursion

Tapir

Gabriel and three guests were out on the Hidden Forest excursion (near the remains of the Fitzcarraldo boat) when they heard sounds coming from between the trees just a few meters away. They remained silent for a few minutes to see if whatever that was making those noises would come out. To their surprise a tapir (Tapirus terrestris), one of the largest mammals in the area, appeared just a few meters in front of them. The animal was about 1.5mts. long and seemed to looking for food (being the perfect season  for the fruit trees they feed on). The guests, as well as Gabriel, were amazed by this sighting since they knew they had been extremely lucky.

Deer

While doing the Hidden Forest excursion, along the trail towards the cacao plantations, Carlos Torres and guests heard noises coming from the dry leaves a few meters away. They decided to remain silent for a few minutes. They were amazed when they saw a deer (Mazama americana) before them. They could identify it was an adult female because of its size and the lack of horns. These species have diurnal and nocturnal habits; apparently it was looking for seeds, fruits, bushes, and/or leaves. Since it did not run away due to their presence, they were able to observe this animal for a quite some time. This deer is now protected here in Peru, therefore the sighting was extra special.

Join our wildlife conversations online with hashtag #WildlifeInkaterra. We’d love to see your photos!

Birding Rally Challenge – Southern Peru – The Winners Are Crowned

After one of the closest competitions that we have seen, we are proud to announce that the winners of the final Birding Rally Challenge Southern Peru 2013 are the Field Guides from the USA, after spotting a grand total of 457 species. Just two species behind with 455, and tied for second place are Sunbird (UK) and Surbound (US).

Third place is awarded to the team from South Africa, Birding Ecotours, who counted 389 species. It has been an incredible Birding Rally Challenge for us to help host, and it is remarkable that the teams managed to identify 619 species, that is 7% of the world’s total species.

Green and White Hummingbird

Here is a breakdown of the Birding Rally Challenge results in full:

FIELD GUIDES (USA) – Total: 457

SUNBIRD (UK) – Total: 455

SURBOUND (USA) – Total: 455

BIRDING ECOTOURS (South Africa) – Total 389

AVIATUR (Colombia) – Total 350

Heptic Tanager

We would like to offer our congratulations to all the teams that have taken part. The support that they have lent to ecotourism and sustainable development in Peru is immeasurable. We look forward to seeing our friends again for the next Birding Rally Challenge  BRC – Nor Amazónica in May 2014.

The challenge has definitely intensified.

There is nothing like a bit of international rivalry between the UK and the USA teams!

Day 2 of The Birding Rally Challenge 2013

The teams in the 2013 BRC

The Birding Rally Challenge has set off to a flying start here in Peru. Already on our 2nd day, the UK Sunbird’s showed great promise coming in first place for their day 1 sightings, but have now been knocked off the top spot by US team Surbound. Combating a merciless sun, the teams did a great job on the Rally’s second day.

Our Founder and Chairman, Jose Koechlin, at the opening of the BRC 2013 with PromPeru

Our Chairman & CEO, José Koechlin, at the opening of the BRC 2013 with PromPeru

Both US teams, Surbound and Field guides were sent to Valencia Lake at the beginning of Day 2. Leader’s Surbound ticked off White-chested Swift’ and ‘Plain soft tail’ near Gamitana creek from their checklist, and a magnificent ‘Black Hawk Eagle’ perched low on the Madre de Dios riverside caught their eye. Meanwhile, Field Guides found a ‘Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant’, due to Dan Lane’s privileged sense for bird calls. A ‘Chimney Swift’ and an extremely hard-to-find ‘Sungrebe’ were Field Guides’ other picks.

Spotted at the BRC on day 2

The UK team Sunbird’s, now in second place, walked around the surroundings of Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, where they spotted a ‘Pavonine Cuckoo’ (very rare for the area) and the impressive long-beaked ‘Purus Jacamar’. On the same route, South African Birding Ecotours found two colourful species from the tropics; an ‘Ivory-billed Aracari’ and a ‘Curl-Crested Aracari’.

South Africa Birding Ecotours

Aviatur (Colombia team), led by Alba Milena Ayala –the first woman to participate at the rally– was the only one to travel by the Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion and Lake Sandoval route, where they spotted a ‘Long-billed woodcreeper’, a ‘White-throated Jacamar’ and an ‘Agami Heron’.

Spotted in action at the BRC

Barred Antshrike

It’s been a successful few days here in the Amazon for the beginning of the Birding Rally. Tomorrow see’s the last day at Tambopata, after which all teams will be heading to Puerto Maldonado. Check out the full itinerary for the rally here. Stay tuned for updates on both our Twitter and Facebook and right here on our blog, as well as on the official BirdingRally Challenge.com website.

Top sightings at Inkaterra this month

We’ve had some wonderful wildlife sightings across our Inkaterra properties in the past month. See below for some of our highlights and unique stories from Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Each of these sightings are seen and reported by the Inkaterra Explorer Guides during our Inkaterra excursions.

SaltarinLuis Ortiz, Inkaterra Explorer Guide, has been conducting a Lek Monitoring Project, consisting in a group of males competing for a chance to mate with females, of Band-Tailed Manakins (Pipra fasciicauda) at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. In one of his most recent outings, Luis observed a specimen performing a series of exhibition movements, such as jumping and dancing, in order to attract a mate. The sighting lasted about five minutes, long enough to record the activity, as part of the project, and take the photo above.

Jergon

Written by Lizbeth Chávez, our Explorer guide at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion 

As we headed back to the lodge with two Spanish travellers from a canoe ride at Lake, we were entering the exit canal of the lake and I spotted what appeared to be an extremely poisonous snake. A two meter long fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox) laid well camouflaged on top of some dead leaves. This snake species is  difficult to observe due to its solitary and silent behaviour. When sighted, it stayed very quiet and still, as if waiting for a distracted prey to walk by. Being underneath the sun’s rays I realised it was basking in order to warm its blood. After a few minutes of observing the snake (which allowed us to take some photos) we decided it was time for us to continue our journey, leaving the fer-de-lance alone sunbathing at the lake.

Caiman-Negro

On the Twilight River excursion with the help of Alan (another Inkaterra Explorer Guide) we observed a rarely seen species of alligator in the Madre de Dios River: a black caiman (Melanosuchus niger). Although we observed the caiman’s head protruding above the water surface, measuring about 70 centimeters long. Calculating the length of his body according to the size of his head (which usually is 7 times longer) we arrived to the conclusion that the caiman was about 4 to 5 meters long from its mouth all the way to the tip of the tail. It was so large that he was not afraid when our boat stopped a few meters away. The caiman stood still for more than 2 minutes, allowing us to observe this reptile in detail: black head,  big eyes, and its mouth filled with sharp teeth. I share with you a photo of the sighting. Enjoy!

A day as a bear at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

A day as a bear...

At 12:30m on September 22nd, Inkaterra staff working near the Vilcanota River reported the sighting of a spectacled bear within the hotel grounds, also known as Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), walking on the left bank of the Vilcanota River in front of Café Inkaterra restaurant. Fortunately the bear was in sight for more than 30 minutes which allowed staff members and travelers to observe and take pictures of this interesting species. During that time the bear went down to the river, drank water, took a bath, and then climbed a tree to feed on bromeliads. Quite a show. Let’s hope he visits us again!

Spotted at Inkaterra... our spectacle bear family

At 3:45 pm on October 7th, Florentino Candia and Rudy Quiroz, security and logistics personnel at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel respectively, were working near the railroad, when they saw some branches moving on the opposite side of the river. After a few minutes, a spectacle bear (Tremarctos ornatus)appeared from between the branches looking for bromeliads. They immediately reported the sighting to the Ecology and Ecotourism staffs by radio come and watch this interesting species. The bear was 2 years old approximately and looked underweight, due to the dry season that the area was currently going through. The sightings are specially important because we can learn more about the species behaviour, eating and breading habits.

Check back on our blog next month for our top sightings from November!