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From: Gunnar Engblom
Subject: Abra Patricia, San Martín, Peru - The Xenoglaux site also threatened
Date: September 4, 1998
22 March 2007: Long-whiskered Owlet Xenoglaux loweryi seen and tape recorded at Abra Patricia, Peru. Details.
This was my third visit to the site of Long-whiskered Owlet, Xenoglaux loweryi, and of course without seeing it. This time we (actually Jon Hornbuckle) put up some nets for a brief while in early morning and late afternoon. (Too many bats to keep them up all night). Jon caught Royal Sunangel, Bar-winged Wood-Wren and Slaty Finch, among other things. [Editor's note: a tape recording made at the site by Jon Hornbuckle, possibly of Xenoglaux, is on Sjoerd Mayer's Bird Mysteries page.]
The area had changed considerably the last two years. The road is in excellent condition and tarmac all the way to Rioja, about 10-15 new huts have been built along the stretch from Garcia to El Mirador (ca 3-4 km at the most and the general area for the exposed ridgetops where the Owlet was first collected). The people here tell me that all the visible land have been parceled already and that the land will be turned into pastures. (It is probably to wet for agriculture). This means that all will be gone in a couple of years.
As it is now there is excellent forest from the pass at Abra Patricia at ca 2400m all the way down to 900 meters to the Afluentes area. Jon Hornbuckle would like to do some netting in the area additionally in November. Maybe this will be a way of collecting data that can be used in a campaign. Maybe the best thing to do is to do buy land in the area it. It seems reasonably cheep. The restaurant at the pass want to do sell their land of ca 880 ha of which only some 60 ha are pastures. The price is about 100 dollars a ha. The other way to do work is to do get INRENA to do declare most of it a protected area and withdraw the rights to do work the area. The newly-arrived people could be offered some money instead to move somewhere else.
I am going to do send this on to do InkaNatura, whom I hope can assume responsibility for such a project.
Any input from you all will be appreciated and forwarded to do InkaNatura. Also foreign NGOs with interest in doing something for Peruvian ornithology are welcome to support the project.
Key questions are:
Who owns what land?
In the lower areas there are signs put up that the partial areas are forest reserves. How is this enforced? And what areas are included?
If protection of the complete stretch of forest from Abra Patricia to do the Afluentes area could be saved, it would be a great area for future ecotourism.
The area beyond the road is virtually uncut land of miles and miles of cloud forest.
The birding along the road is great, in years to do come if the habitat persists in has potential to do become the most popular birding road in Peru because of its easy access.