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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sounds of Birds and Waves Crashing... A Welcome Break!

Being in Lima for so long now, it really is difficult to remember that not everywhere is so crazy, and loud, and constantly moving.  Car horns, sirens, buses, and very loud people are what I have become used to.  I still sleep terribly from all of this and get so frustrated that it NEVER ENDS.  So on Friday, when I went for another tour with Haku Tours, I was in for a very welcome surprise.  I was joining my friend Colleen, a friend of hers and her her 3 year old daughter as well as her mother law (whom we later found out was celebrating her 80th birthday that day).  Daisy was again our fabulous guide and started off our day with her chipper, adorable personality.
We were on our way to the Pantanos de Villa Nature Reserve.  I had driven by the entrance to the Reserve a few times, and even had a couple friends that lived in the community surrounding the area, and I never knew anything about it!  We arrived and were greeted by a school group of what I think were maybe third graders (my age judging ability in Peru is awful).  Right away, they were attracted to the gringas as it seemed they were probably from a poorer area that doesn't often see people like us.  Little girls were coming up and talking about my hair and wondering where we were from in Spanish.  They were quite shocked when I replied to them in Spanish that we were from Canada.  They were also very attracted to the little girl that was on the tour with us.  Peruvians love little blond babies!

Once the commotion died down, we started our trek.  We learned that the reserve is privately owned, but the man that owns the land still lives on the property.  The reserve was established in 1989, and is the only protected area in the entire city of Lima, which was quite shocking to me, as Lima is so huge.  It sits on roughly 650 acres of land that has been used for many other things over many years.  There are some unfinished building, and other signs of the area trying to be modernized.  It is also covered in lagoons, reeds, palm trees (introduced there), plant life, and thousands of birds.  The amazing thing about this place, is that all of this is found right on the shore of the Pacific ocean.  So there are many things to see and a mix of shore birds and wildlife, and birds and animals you would find inland.  It is home to over 170 species of birds, about 70 of which are migratory so I am sure I was among some fellow Canadian birds, also escaping the cold North American winters.

The first thing I noticed was the silence.  It was amazing.  I guess it wasn't really silence, since there were the calls of thousands of birds and the huge waves crashing in the distance. It was heaven!  Unfortunately, I didn't bring my zoom lens with me, so I couldn't get too many close ups of the birds, but I think I got some good shots! What do you think? The sunburn I got was most certainly worth it for this gorgeous break from the city.

The peaceful reserve with the bustling city, and a lot of fog in the background.

A cute little lizard came to visit, but didn't stick around long.

A horse, being harassed by some egrets.

According to our guides, this donkey is an exhibitionist.  If I had posted his whole body, I would have had to make this blog post rated R.

Another Egret taking a break on the back of a horse.

If you look closely in the middle on a reed there is the tiniest, cute little bird.

Another Egret enjoying the marsh.

Some free range horses running across the beach, scaring up hundreds of birds.

An Andean Coot in the water.  A close relative to the American Coots that we have at home.

Huge flocks of Gulls, Terns and Pelicans.

Egrets, Oyster catchers and Terns

Pelicans coming in for a landing.  Also a gull  that looks like he is going to go for a swim near the top of the pond.

A young Blue Heron near the middle of the photo.  This is one of the guys that will likely be on his way to Canada in a couple months.

Look closely and you can see someone out on horseback loping through the birds.

A Sandwich Tern.

Birds for miles.


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