Stuck in Peru – Day 19

eBird tells me that eight swift species are possible here in Iquitos. We  need one of them, the Pale-rumped.

We had some swifts zip by our window a few times yesterday. What were they? LOL.

How not to observe and identify swifts

When we lived in Asia in 2018, we learned to lament the lack of a book to help with identification of non-singing Phylloscopus warblers. Equally needed is a guide to the subtleties of swifts seen with less then perfect views. Is there a tougher class of ID challenges? Understanding differences in flight motion, wingbeats, height, how the flock behaves, propensity to vocalize, or any other clues. Now that is a course I would pay for. Our Chimney Swifts at home make a lot of chatter, and sure have a distinctive method of flying, but they seem to be an exception.

Occasionally in the tropics, we will be with a guide, get poor views of some swifts, and then have to decide if we can really claim the ID, using the guide’s familiarity with the local birds as a ‘selling point,’ almost like another field mark. We hate having to do that.

In other news, our President, yesterday, announced that “almost everyone” had been brought home from Peru. There are still over 1,000 of us here.

UPDATE: And just now, the State Depart sent us this, regarding getting the rest of us out:

As the COVID-19 situation develops, our ability to provide such assistance working with commercial airlines or arranging for evacuation flights may become more limited or even unavailable. 

A few days ago, their emails had nothing but earnest assurances that everyone would be repatriated. They don’t say that anymore. And for tomorrow April 2, they have announced that there will be zero flights.

We are preparing to hunker down for a long time here…

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