PISCO (Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (23rd May, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

Isla Ballestas is a really spectacular seabird colony only accessible on a tour. These are very cheap (30s) from Pisco. Pisco is a large town with many places to stay, eat and do internet. It also has some dodgy characters and it is best to stick to the areas near the plaza with lots of people, especially at night. Tours are easily arranged through a hotel or tour agency. They leave about 7am and return about 11am. The boat trip to Isla Ballestas is about 2 hours and you can see 3 cormorant species, Peruvian Booby, Inca Tern, Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes and Humboldt's Penguin (only a few) plus lots of sea lions. Pelagic species can sometimes be seen in the area but I saw none. The area around El Chaco port has 5 species of gull plus some waders. 

I arranged a full day tour (through my hotel) for 40s which went to the island in the morning and the reserve in the afternoon. The land on the peninsular is desert with little life, but the coast has many sea birds. Our tour stopped at the museum nearby which there is a viewing platform where you can see Chilean Flamingos plus some waders and terns in a small bay. On the walk from the museum to the platform I saw Coastal Miner. It is quite far from the platform to the bay and binoculars don't really suffice. A telescope would be very handy. I saw some very small terns feeding in this small bay which were probably Peruvian. A better place for this species is further on this road where there is another platform. Our tour didn't go there though. Walking though the dessert to get there wouldn't be very pleasant. The tour also stopped at a beach which had Black Skimmer, Osprey and oystercatchers and another place called 'La Catedral' with a splendid view over the cliffs. I saw 35 species including 5 lifers.

Species seen

  • Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti Vulnerable Photographed
  • Peruvian Pelican Pelecanus thagus Photographed
  • Peruvian Booby Sula variegata Photographed
  • Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Photographed
  • Guanay Cormorant Phalacrocorax bougainvillii Photographed
  • Red-legged Cormorant Phalacrocorax gaimardi Near-threatened Photographed
  • Great Egret Ardea alba
  • Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
  • Snowy Egret Egretta thula
  • Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis Near-threatened
  • Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Photographed
  • Osprey Pandion haliaetus
  • American Kestrel Falco sparverius
  • Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater Photographed
  • American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
  • Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola Possibly seen
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
  • Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Photographed
  • Belcher's Gull Larus belcheri Photographed
  • Gray Gull Larus modestus Photographed
  • Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus Photographed
  • Gray-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus Photographed
  • Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan Photographed
  • Royal Tern Sterna maxima Possibly seen
  • Peruvian Tern Sterna lorata Near-threatened Possibly seen
  • Black Tern Chlidonias niger Possibly seen
  • Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia Introduced species
  • Pacific Dove Zenaida meloda
  • Croaking Ground-Dove Columbina cruziana
  • Coastal Miner Geositta peruviana Endemic
  • Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes Cinclodes taczanowskii Endemic
  • Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
  • Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus Introduced species

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse