Day 1. Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
We make a brief stop at Huacarpay Lake, especially to look for the endemic hummingbird Bearded Mountaineer. As we drive over the highlands, it is possible to see Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Mountain Caracara and Andean Flicker. It’s about a 4 hour ride before we are in good forest. The Manu Road drops into the Amazon cutting through amazing habitats of cloud forest that is practically continuous and in very good condition ranging in altitude from 3,600m to 600m In the afternoon we shall visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek. We spend the night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge at 1,400m elevation.
Day 2. Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge
We spend all morning at the feeders of Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge until lunch. In the course of the afternoon we arrive at Amazonia Lodge. The veranda at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge has a number of hummingbird feeders and many flowers that attract hummers, as well as fruit tables for tanagers. Some of these are Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbirds, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Wire- crested Thorntail, Wedge-billed Hummingbird and with some luck, Buff-tipped Sicklebill.
At Amazonia Lodge we also concentrate on the Lodge clearing that has an enormous variety of birds including many hummingbirds such as Gould’s Jewelfront, Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Gray-breasted Sabrewing and many tanagers such as Magpie Tanager and Masked Crimson-Tanager. Other animals. It is not unusual to see Brown Capuchin Monkey, Woolly Monkey, Tayra and Brown Agouti at Cock of the Rock Lodge
Day 3. All day at Amazonia Lodge.
Absolutely one of the best birding verandas in the world at Amazonia Lodge. It is excellent for bird photography with many species of hummingbirds and tanagers. There is also a good trail by a lake where one can, with patience, get close-up photographs of Hoatzin, Sungrebe and Sunbittern. The jeep track often allows views of Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Undulated and Black-capped Tinamous, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Amazonian Antpitta and Fiery-capped Manakin. Among mammals Red Howler Monkey, Saddle-backed Tamarins and Squirrel Monkeys can be seen quite easily. And night Night Monkey is possible.
Day 4. Amazonia Lodge to Wayquecha
It may be possible to visit a small parrot lek. Unfortunately, the parrot lek is quite distant and there is no hide. Afterwards we visit the small oxbow-lake of Machu Wasi to get closer to some waterbirds. We need to start back-tracking around mid-morning to go beyond Cock-of-the- Rock Lodge and stay at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station (2,900m) in the temperate cloud forest zone. We are closer to Cusco from here, and it will ensure that we have plenty time to reach Cusco, and less risk of a landslide on the way. Machu Wasi Lake has Horned Screamer, Black-capped Donacobius and Pale-eyed Blackbird, often at short range. Capibaras can often be seen in the lake.
The stretch between Cock-the-Rock-Lodge and Wayquecha has oftenrewarded us with day observations of Andean Potoo.At Wayqecha we’ll look for Swallow-tailed Nightjar at dusk.
Day 5. Wayqecha to Cusco
Wayqecha is managed by the conservation NGO ACCA. The cabins are comfortable and spacious. Departure from Wayqecha will be around 9.00 to allow for a few stops en-route. We’ll be at Cusco airport for a flight around 5:00 or 6:00 pm, arriving in Lima at 7:30 pm at the latest. The area near Wayqecha is very good for Red-and-White Antpitta and Rufous-capped Thornbill. There are also often good Tanager flocks which sometimes pass at close range for good photo opportunities. The flocks include Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner and many more.
On the way to Cusco, we don’t stop birding yet as it is possible to stop at a highland small lake above San Salvador, where there is Giant Coot and Crested Duck. Lower down, and dropping into the Sacred Valley, we look for the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch and Bearded Mountaineer that can be found here.