This is one of the most exciting birding experiences in Peru, and maybe in all of South America. The cover species of newly published Birds of Peru - Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager is frequently seen. Many other threatened and endemic birds are specialties of this area. We will make a particular quest for the endemic Yellow-browed Toucanet on a trail that will take us down to the subtropics with a completely different set of birds. Few ornithologists have seen this species in the last 20 years and there has certainly not been any bird groups before ours. Apart from magic Montañita we will search for birds around Chagual which includes Great Spinetail, Purple-backed Sunbeam, Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Buff-bridled and Rufous-backed Inca-Finch.
Don´t let camping turn you off. It will still be as comfortable as it can get under the circumstances and certainly better than the hotels available in the region. We use very spacious Eureka Timberland tents and Thermarest air mattresses during our safari style camp nights. We will also partly use one of the few houses in the area for rain-shelter and storing things. The area is completely pristine, so it is likely that we will not see a single soul except for our group
We have chosen to separate this program from the North Peru trip because getting to La Montañita overland is a long and dusty and virtually birdless trip. Since there are regular flights to Chagual this means that this gruesome journey can be avoided.
This year two more days have been added to make sure that there will be enough time to catch both of the main targets - the Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager and Yellow-browed Toucanet.
Kolibri Expeditions and Marvelous Spatuletail Tours are this way supporting a conservation project to save la Montañita from almost certain deforestation by introducing sustainable development through eco-tourism. Your presence helps to achieve this goal considerably and 100 dollars of your fee will go directly to the project. Our goal is to bring in 50 birders per year initially.
Day 1. We catch the plane from Trujillo to the small airfield at Chagual on the Marañon river, where we transfer to our vehicle to reach the nearby village of El Molino where one of the most localized hummingbirds persists - the endangered Purple-backed Sunbeam. Other species here include the nominate Unicolored Tapaculo - most certainly a good species, and Rainbow Starfrontlet. Lower down we encounter Great Spinetail and Rufous-backed Inca-Finch. We camp in Chagual on the beach of the Marañon river.
Day 2. In the scrub near Chagual one finds the threatened Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Buff-bridled Inca-Finch, Marañon Gnatcatcher and Peruvian Pygmy-Owl. The orchards are good for Peruvian Pigeon and Marañon Thrush. Later we leave for a long journey to La Montañita near Buldibuyo. We shall arrive in the late afternoon after checking birds in the roadside scrub which include the peruviana race of White-chinned Thistletail (a potential split), Line-fronted Canastero and Coppery Metaltail. Night in camp.
Day 3-9. We spend seven full days in this area to give adequate time to locate the many specialties. Working with FM radios we can scan various areas simultaneously to find the key target Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager and Bay-vented Cotinga. The different altitudinal levels have different birds. The upper sections include gems like Yellow-scarfed, Golden-naped and Orange-breasted Tanagers, Hooded, Buff-breasted, Scarlet-bellied and Lachrymose Mountain-Tanagers, skulkers like Peruvian Wren, schulenbergi-race (potential split) of Plain-tailed Wren, Rufous-browed Hemispingus and Rufous Spinetail and mixed species flock species with birds like Russet-mantled Softtail, Black-capped, Drab and White-bellied Hemispingus and Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant.
Lower down we will try to lure out Pale-billed Antpitta and Large-footed Tapaculo. Here one also sees birds like Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Andean Guan and Peruvian Tyrannulet.
One of the days will be used trekking down a newly cut trail to the area where the enigmatic Peruvian endemic Yellow-browed Toucanet occurs. Many other cloud-forest birds occur. The last night we will spend in a basic but friendly hotel in Buldibuyo
Day 10. We will back-track to Chagual to fly back to Trujillo and Lima.