Day 1. When the clients flying in from Lima have arrived you will be taken to Sacsayhuaman to look for Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, as well as Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Buff-throated Saltator and Hooded Siskin. From the birding site here you get an splendid view of the impressive Inca ruins. Later we will continue to Huacarpay lake 30 minutes from Cusco, where a variety of wetland birds can be seen such as Andean and Cinnamon Teal, Andean Duck, Puna Ibis and Plumbeous Rail. Waders in season may include Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Stilt, Baird´s and Pectoral Sandpipers and White-backed and Black-necked Stilts. The reeds hold secretive birds like the smart Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Wren-like Rushbird. However, most time will be spent on finding the endemics Bearded Mountaineer and Rusty-fronted Canastero as well as secretive Streak-fronted Thornbird. The journey continues over the Andes and we will look out for species such as Puna Hawk, Spot-winged Pigeon, Andean Flicker and Andean Lapwing. In the late afternoon we will check out the scrub near Paucartambo for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail as well as Tufted Tit-Tyrant, White-winged Black-Tyrant, Shining Sunbeam and Rust-and-Yellow Tanager. We spend the night in the basic cloud forest research station at Esperanza.
Day 2. Birding the temperate woodland near Tres Cruces we will specifically look for Puna Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculo and Yungas Pygmy-Owl and lower down species like Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Hooded, Grass-Green and Scarlet-breasted Mountain-Tanager, and finally Swallow-tailed Nightjar when dusk sets in. Night at Esperanza.
Day 3. We will bird down the road towards Rocotal, situated just at the upper limit of the subtropical zone. Birds include Red & White Antpitta, Crimson-backed Woodpecker, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-eared and Andean Solitaires, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Scaly-naped Parrot, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and many more. Recently, the rare Great-billed Scythbill has been seen here. We will camp on a roofed platform near Union close to the Cock of the Rock lek, which we will visit one of the mornings.
Day 4-5. The private reserve around here holds a number of good birds such as Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufescent Screech-Owl, Long-tailed Antbird, Dusky-Green Oropendula, Yungas Manakin, Black-throated Brilliant, Black-billed Treehunter, Orange-eared Tanager, Versicolored Barbet and Black-and-Chestnut and Solitary Eagles. The permanent mixed species flock around the camp holds species like Yellow-rumped Antwren, Bolivian Tyrannulet and Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet. A nearby trail often treat us with Slaty Gnateater and Rufous-breasted Antthrush. On the last day we will the lower part of the road for species like Amazonian Umbrellabird, Peruvian Piedtail, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet, Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher and scrutinize a bamboo patch on the way to Pilcopata. The bamboo holds species like Ornate Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant. A new undescribed Tanager has been collected in this area. We will stay in Pilcopata the second night at a basic hotel with private showers.
Day 6. The road between Pilcopata and Atalaya has produced a number of very good species in the past, such as Military and Blue-headed Macaw, Wattled Guan, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Manu Antbird and Pheasant Cuckoo. Around midday we will transfer to Manu Camping Lodge where we should arrive near nightfall.
Day 7-10. Apart from the great trail system at the camp which includes both terra firme and aguajales (palm swamps), we also have access to Cocha Camungo canopy tower and the floating observation platform for the Macaw lick one morning. One night we will look for Tapir at a nearby mammal lick. Surprises may include cats. Monkeys are plentiful including Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarin.
Day 11. An additional morning birding at MCL until 11 AM. If there are people who will fly out to Cusco we will instead bird around the Boca Manu airstrip first thing in the Morning. Johanni's Tody-Tyrant has often been seen here.
Late afternoon arrival to the basic Pantiacolla Lodge, which provides brilliant birding Pantiacolla. Birding is somewhat similar to Amazonia Lodge, but there is more terra firme type forest and splendid bamboo.
Day 12. Second night at Pantiacolla. Most of the morning will be used to explore the extensive trail system at Pantiacolla. In the bamboo, species like Rufous-headed Woodpecker and White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher have been easily seen recently. We shall be doing an overnight camp at the mirador at 1000m, where we hopefully shall treck down the rare Black Tinamou, as well as Band-bellied Owl and many others. The view must be seen. You have virtually the whole Amazon region at your feet.
Day 13. Pantiacolla AM-tranfer to Amazonia Lodge and birding there in PM jeep track is usually very good.
Day 14. Full day at Amazonia Lodge the specialties include Koepcke´s Hermit, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Long-tailed Potoo, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta, Red-billed Tyrannulet and many more.
Day 15. Additional morning at Amazonia Lodge and then travel to Pilcopata. Stay at basic hostel.
Day 16. We will travel back to San Pedro platform and bird in this area again for species we may have missed.
Day 17. All day in the area picking up species we may have missed.
Day 18. The morning will be spent at the higher altitudes to pick up species we may have missed on the way down. In the afternoon we will travel back to Ollantaytambo (for the train-ride to Machu Picchu) or Cusco.
Things to bring: rubber boots which protect you from mud, chiggers and army ants - you may stand in the army antswarm and the ants will not be able to climb over the top. Some say rubber boats also bounces off the fangs of striking snakes, but we have never had the experience. (Hiking shoes/boots only during the driest season - which never can be guaranteed. You will be able to use sneakers/tennis/running shoes when birding from the road), torch (for nightbirding), head torch or small torch for night walks, umbrella (for light rain), rain-poncho for heavier rain, clothing in dull colors, sun-screen, mosquito repellant.
Weather and climate: It is upper tropical and subtropical rain-forest which means it can rain any time ? but even in the wet season it should not rain all day. The wettest months usually fall between January and March. Therefor for instance Amazonia lodge is closed during these months. If your targets are in SE Peru you may still visit. It is very seldom that your birding will rain away. You should include a few contingency days and allow for changes. One may for instance combine Manu road with Tampopata or replace Manu road with the road to Quillabamba or Satipo road further north. Tell us what species you need and we can arrange it for you - any time of year.