We got out of the city today and headed to the foothills of the Andes. We spent the day at the Le Mayen located up the hill from El Torno, a small town about 2 hours drive west of the Santa Cruz. The increase in elevation gave us a refreshing cool climate and lush, verdant green surroundings. I took a couple of walks before and after we had a delicious lunch at the restaurant. I spotted this Chestnut-eared Aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis). As you can see, the aracaris are a genus of the toucan family. The chestnut-eared aracari is found in the Amazon forests, ranging from Colombia to Paraguay and Brazil. There were a group of 4 of them flying through and I was able to photograph one of them. What a thrill!
A group of noisy Plush-crested Jays (Cyanocorax chrysops) were on the property all day and I finally got a chance to photograph them late in the day. They were chattering about in a banana grove . What a striking, elegant looking bird and they definitely have unusual calls for birds. Plush-crested jays have up to 20 different calls They are a southern South America bird found in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The last bird I want to feature is the Spectacled Chachalaca (Ortalis guttata). They are even noisier than the jays, and I managed to photograph the female below.
I highly recommend Le Mayen for the day. They have cabins and we might go back and stay for the night. I had a really great day of hiking in the forests and plantations in the hinterlands of El Torno.