Located in the Islay province of Arequipa and designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International, Mejía Lagoons National Sanctuary was one of the destinations selected as the site of the second Big Day, along with Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, located in the provinces of Arequipa and Caylloma, which holds the biggest volcanoes in the area and their surrounding lakes.
To participate in this contest, aspirants had to compete on the “Visit Perú” Facebook page, where they demonstrated their knowledge about birds. Out of 2,639 participants, the contestants with the six fastest times won a spot at the Big Day with an all-expenses-paid trip to Arequipa.
Magaly Rodríguez Rejas, from Piura, won first place by completing the game in 24 seconds. Anthony Torres Ruesta, also from Piura, came in second, also finishing the game in 24 seconds, just a few thousands of a second after Magaly; in third, fourth, fifth and sixth place were Janina Martel Ramírez, from Cusco; Christian Cáceres Calderón and Tomas Abdala Carrillo, both from Lima; and Jorge Tiravanti Chocos, from Oxapampa, respectively.
We share a summary of the highlights of the 2014 Big Day Arequipa:
The winners of the competition were divided into two teams called “Los Huerequeques” and "Los Peregrinos”. The Huerequeques won, after managing to observe 121 bird species during the 24 hour route. They were followed by the Peregrinos, who sighted 115 bird species.
Both teams were aided by experts, who helped them differentiate and record the types of birds they found.