Sep. 27th - Oct. 1st: Big Month Part 1, 4 Day Prep and the Biggest Day
The first 4 days before before the Big Month officially starts is preparation because the birds in the rainforest are hard to see, but easy to hear. To see them one must often lure them out with playback and if we are to be effective during the big month we want to limit this practice to birds that have not previously been seen by the group. Therefore, between Sep. 27th - 30th we shall scout the areas around Puerto Maldonado and use playback to see many of the antbirds and furnarids that will only be heard on Oct. 1st. This way on the first day of the Big Month, we can concentrate on racking up the numbers and start off in a grand way. During the Big Day attempt we will move fast as hearing the bird is to counting them on the Big Day and Big Month. We aim to get off to a great start with 300+ species on the first day only around Puerto Maldonado alone. Maybe more…
Some highlights that we shall both try to hear and try to see include Zig-Zag Heron, several owls and nightjars, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Peruvian Recurvebill, White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Pheasant Cuckoo and many more.
To get an idea what we may see, have a look at this ebird generated checklist from the hotspots. All these birds are recorded within 10km from the center of Puerto Maldonado.
Tip: Download the BirdsEye app and search Puerto Maldonado. Set radius to 10 km, and a list of 600 species is generated with photos and all. You can do a lot with the free version, but it is well worth to get a subscription for many off line features, especially if you do a lot of travel to areas where you don't have full knowledge of the likely species.
The preliminary program for the first 4 days presented below follows that of 2018. However, we may make changes in this program, as the road between Puerto Maldonado and Infierno is in poor shape and too much time is lost here. This year we shall sleep comfortably in Puerto Maldonado every night.
Sep. 27th: Puerto Maldonado, Grasslands and Savannah
The start of the trip is with a flight via Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. You will be picked up by the local guide and start birding straight away at La Pastora with White-throated and Purus Jacamar among the specialties.
Other birds include Small–billed Tinamou, Brazilian Teal, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Zig Zag Heron, Southern Lapwing, Black-banded and Grey-breasted Crakes, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, White-throated and Purus Jacamar, Pheasant Cuckoo, Barred Antshrike, Peruvian Recurvebill, Rusty-margined and Sulphury Flycatchers, Grassland Sparrow, Black-faced Tanager and Red-breasted Blackbird.
At night we shall search for Zig-Zag Heron, Pheasant Cusco, Little, Spot-tailed and Rufous Nightjar and Striped Owl and other nocturnal birds of the savannah. We'll have a meal at EcoAmazonia and then return to Puerto Maldonado for an overnight stay.
Sep 28: Saona Lodge
Pre-dawn start from Puerto Maldonado to leave for Saona Lodge. The grounds near the lodge has proven very good for Peruvian Recurvebill and Rufous-headed Woodpecker. A Great Potoo has been seen recently, just next to the building. The area is also good for Pale-winged Trumpeters.
There is a great trail system that includes both varzea forest as well as some terra firma. Special birds include Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Undulated Antshrike, Pheasant Cuckoo, Cream-colored Woodpecker and the rare Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak. We shall also bird the river lookouts and various patches of bamboo along the Infierno - Puerto Maldonado Road.
Sep 29: Saona Lodge and Puerto Maldonado
Additional morning at Saona Lodge learning all the rainforest species.
Sep 30: Saona Lodge.
We continue to work the trails at Saona Lodge and continue additional scouting near Puerto Maldonado. We shall make it an early dinner and an early night to catch a few hours of sleep at EcoAventuras.
Oct 1: The Big Day
We start night birding in the savannah near Puerto Maldonado at EcoAventuras Lodge, continuing with night birds at Saona Lodge. Here is the outline of the day:
00.00-00.45. EcoAmazonia. Nocturnal birds.
00.45-2.00. La Cachuela road for nocturnals.
02.00-03.00. Drive to Saona.
03.00-05.00. Walk through forest.
05.00-06.00. Terra firme.
09.00-09.30. To Infierno.
09.30-10.30. Infierno road - Puerto Maldonado.
11.15-11.30. To La Cachuela
11.30-12.15. La Cachuela
12.15-12.30 to Pastora.
12.50-13.30. Savannah species and aguajal.
14:03. Flight from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco.
14:45-16.00. Travel to Lago Huaypo
16.30-17.00. Bird Laguna Huaypo
17.00-18.00 Travel to Mollepata.
After 18.00 some night birding.
Big Month Part 2: Birding Manu Road, Abra Malaga and Apurimac Drainage
At 14:03 pm we fly to Cusco for 40 minutes, and immediately head to Laguna Huaypo. Some people may join up in Cuzco.
We shall add several species of ducks, Spot-winged Pigeon, Andean Gull, Common Gallinule, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Eared Dove, Andean Flicker, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rush-Bird, Plumbeous Rail, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Sparkling VIoletear, Bearded Mountaineer, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Rusty-crowned Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Hooded Siskin, Golden-billed Saltator, Rufous-colored Sparrow, House Wren, Peruvian Sierra-Finch, Andean Negrito, Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant, Mountain Caracara, Cinereous Harrier, American Kestrel etc.
Later we continue down the Apurimac valley. It is likely we shall arrive after dark, so before arriving we stop to do some owling for Apurimac for of Koepcke's Screech-Owl, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl and perhaps with some luck Buff-fronted Owl.
Oct 2 Salcantay road
We make an early morning start for Apurimac species such as Apurimac Brush-Finch, Apurimac Spinetail, Vilcabamba Tapaculo, and Pale-tailed Canastero, as well as endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, White-tufted Sunbeam, Rusty-fronted Canastero, as well as White-eared Puffbird, as well as Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Moustached, Rusty and Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Andean Swift and Creamy-crested Spinetail in the morning and then we continue to Ollantaytambo to bird on the Abra Malaga road in the afternoon. Abra Malaga has more than a hand full of good birds of the Polylepis woodland on the ridge, such as Royal Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Puna Tapaculo, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Tit-like Dacnis, Andean Snipe, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Line-fronted Canastero and perhaps Andean Condor, all which are most likely only seen here.
Oct 3: Wayqecha to Villa Carmen
We start super early to get to the temperate zone of the Manu road to bird between Wayqecha, via Cock of the Rock Lodge to Villa Carmen. 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. Stopping at known sites for mixed species flocks and special regional endemics and specialties such as Black-backed Tody-Tyrant and Lanceolated Monklet en route. Night at Villa Carmen
Oct 4: Villa Carmen (great Bamboo) - via Amazonia Lodge
Villa Carmen has a great Bamboo trail with White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill and Bamboo Foliagegleaner. Many bamboo birds that are absent on the Puerto Maldonado section can be found here. Also an Amazonian Antpitta which is being fed, as well as Black-capped Tinamou.
We continue to the Pilcopata-Atalaya Ridge and look for Blue-headed Macaw and foothill species such as Red-billed Tyrannulet, Fine-barred Piculet, Rufous-fronted Plush-crown and Yellow-billed Nunbird.
Later we shall visit Machu Wasi Lake with Horned Screamer, Black-capped Donacobius and Pale-eyed Blackbird, often very close. Capibaras are often be seen in this lake.
In the late afternoon we'll arrive to Amazonia Lodge. On the famous jeep trail we also often see Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Undulated and Black-capped Tinamous, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Amazonian Antpitta and Fiery-capped Manakin. The feeders and flowering porterweed attracts many hummers including Rufous-crested Coquette, Amethyst Woodstar and Gould's Jewelfront.
Oct 5: Amazonia Lodge - Pilcopata
We shall bird most of the day the grounds of Amazonia Lodge, particularly focus on the ridge forest above the lodge that has White-shouldered Antbird, Brownish-headed Antbird, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Sooty Antbird, Red-billed Tyrannulet, and many more.
In the afternoon we shall return to Pilcopata for an overnight stay.
Oct 6: Pilcopata-Cock of the Rock Lodge
Depending on what we may have missed we shall go up the road or down the road, but eventually we shall reach well known Cock of the Rock.
At Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge there are good feeders that attract a number of hummingbirds such as Many-spotted Hummingbird, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Booted Rackettail, Speckled Hummingbird, Wedge-billed Hummingbird and more. The flocks around here are often accompanied by the rare Yellow-rumped Antwren. Additionally, this is a good site for Cerulean-capped Manakin, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Yungas Manakin, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Slaty Gnateater and Spotted Barbtail.
Oct 7: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge - Drive to Ollantaytambo
We shall have plenty of time to target special birds that we are still missing and look for flocks as we drive back towards Cusco. Some of these may be Andean Potoo, Masked Trogon, Long-tailed Antbird, Stripe-chested Antwren, White-throated Antpitta, Solitary Eagle, Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Hooded Tinamou, Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail and many more. After a long drive over the Andes which may add Slender-billed Miner and Plain-breasted Earthcreeper we get to Ollantaytambo to spend the night and to be closer to Abra Malaga for the following day.
Oct 8: All day in Abra Malaga Area
This will possibly be one of the most productive days with unique birds. Also in the wet temperate and subtropical cloud forest there are a number of good birds such as Plushcap, Parodi's Hemispingus, Marcapata Spinetail, Cusco Brush-Finch, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Barred Parakeet, Diademed Tapaculo, Puna Thistletail, and many more.
In order to have all day for Abra Malaga we stay overnight in Cusco and fly to Lima at 5 AM the following morning.
Birding Central Peru Part 3 of Big Month Peru.
Star birds include Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager, Cloud-Forest Screech-Owl and Black-spectacled Brush-Finch, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and White-bellied Cinclodes. Visiting Satipo road, Oxapampa, Junin Lake, Unchog, Marcapomacocha and Santa Eulalia in a brutal pace.
We expect takers of only this part to be at domestic arrivals at 9.40 pm to coordinate with driver. Speed is essential. Please note that there will be driving through the night. We recommend you carry a travel pillow you have tested before, because you will rely on it a lot.
Although pace will be fast, we shall try to SEE as many of the endemic birds as possible. Other more widespread birds will have less importance and no particular effort will be done to call in common birds. As for skulking endemics, we shall set a time-limit how much time we spend doing playback. The nature of the game is such that we may have to let some go with a heard only, but we shall give each a try at least.
We recommend you to also carry bird calls and a small speaker so you can try on your own to call out the skulkers which the rest of the group may have given up on.
Oct 9: Santa Eulalia-Ticlio - Comas
We shall be arriving in Lima at break of dawn and will proceed to Santa Eulalia Canyon where we have the chance of running into the following species: Black-necked Flicker, Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail, Bronze-tailed Comet, Great Inca-Finch, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Canyon Canastero, Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch, White-winged Cinclodes, Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Streaked Tit-Spinetail.
We'll make a short stop by the Polylepis forest and try for hite-cheeked Cotinga. Other Polylepis specialists include Striated Earthcreeper, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Thick-billed and Black Siskins, Giant Conebill, Black Metaltail, etc
Later we pass over the pass of 4900m to descend into the Marcapomacocha basin where we will look briefly for White-bellied Cinclodes, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Dark-winged Miner, Puna Snipe, Rufous-bellied and Gray-breasted Seedsnipes, Olivaceous Thornbill, White-winged Diuca-Finch, White-browed Ground-Tyrant and Junin Canastero.
We don't have a lot of time, and must head on to the small viallage of Comas on the way to Satipo road where we shall spend the night. En route, there will be sightings of Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Giant Coot, etc, and with some luck when we have passed Concepcion possibly the rare Taczanowski's Tinamou.
Night in Comas.
Oct 10: Andamarca - Satipo road. Calabaza, Colibri Lodge
We're in the Andamarca valley a warm and dry valley in the Mantaro drainage. New species to science have been found here in recent years, some still remain to be named. They are Black-spectacled Brush-Finch, a new Thryothorus wren "Mantaro Wren" and a new undescribed species of Thornbird "Mantaro Thornbird". Also, the form of Azara's Spinetail whose calls are completely different here and may well warrant species status.
Other specials include White-winged Black.Tyrant, Black-backed Grosbeak, Golden-billed Saltator, Black-and-White Seedeater and others. We shall also spend some time trying to Apurimac Screech-Owl, described as subspecies of Koepcke's Screech-Owl.
Heading over the pass towards the Satipo road proper we get into a more humid temperate area, where hopefully we find Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Unstreaked Tit-Spinetail, Taczanowski’s Slaty Brush-Finch (a likely split from the ssp. in Ecuador) and the white-crowned weskei ssp. of Marcapata Spinetail.
Later we shall be looking for Satipo Road specials such as Fiery-throated Metaltail, Eye-ringed Thistletail, obscura form of Rufous Antpitta (certainly a good species), Bay Antpitta, and the undescribed "Millpo" and Tchudi’s Tapaculo. We stay at the basic community lodge at Calabaza Colibri Lodge supporting the local community. At night, we shall look for Lyre-tailed Nightjar and White-throated Screech Owl.
Oct 11: Satipo road - Travel to La Merced
We continue towards Satipo and down the old Satipo road. We shall spend most of day looking for flocks. The possibilities are enormous. Some say it is as diverse as Manu road. These include Sunbittern, Peruvian Tyrannulet, Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Versicolored Barbet, Solitary Eagle, Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzal, Cock-of-the-Rock, Torrent Duck, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer and many more before we continue to La Merced.
Above La Merced there is good habitat for Creamy-bellied Antwren, Masked, Fiery-throated and Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters, Cerulean-capped Manakin, and many other subtropical birds here Olive-tufted Flycatcher, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, Barred Parakeet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Pasco Antpitta, Bay Antpitta, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Lachrymose Tanager, Peruvian Wren and Strong-billed Woodcreeper. We shall look for Cloud-Forest Screech-Owl at nightfall. Night in La Merced.
Oct 12: La Merced - Huanuco
Above San Ramon there is a site called Alto Pinchita, where we hopefully can reach some forests higher up which has Chestnut-crested Cotinga. Otherwise the birdlife is similar to that of La Merced. We shall also look out for White-browed Hermit.
On the way to Huanuco we pass the Polylepis forests at Quichas for Stripe-headed Antpitta, Giant Conebill, Baron´s Spinetail, Thick-billed Siskin and Striated Earthcreeper if time permits.
Night in Huanuco.
Oct 13: Bosque Unchog - Junin.
Early 3AM start for Bosque Unchog. Key species is naturally Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager. Pardusco is usually easy. Rufous-browed Hemispingus is time consuming and Bay-vented Cotinga rare but very conspicuous when perched.
Other birds include Coppery Metaltail, Neblina and Large-footed Tapaculo, Plenge´s Thistletail, Many-striped and Line-fronted Canastero, Paramo Seedeater, White-collared Jay, Rufous (Obscure) Antpitta (ssp obscura warrants species recognition) and in the scrub on the way to Huanuco Brown-flanked Tanager.
On the way to Junin we shall be birding the dry scrub for Rufous-backed Inca-Finch.
Night in Junin.
Oct 14: Junin Lake and drive to Lima.
At Junin Lake at break of dawn and immediately board a small boat with an outboard engine to get us to the lake center to try to see Junin Grebe. Later we shall try for Junin Rail, and also some of the endemics possible here such as Black-breasted Hillstar and Dark-winged Miner, and also Correndera and Short-billed Pipits if we still need any of these.
Working our way back to Lima, we shall target any of the birds that we still may be missing, such as White-bellied Cinclodes, Diademed Plover, Puna Snipe, Rufous-bellied and Gray-breasted Seedsnipes, Olivaceous Thornbill, White-winged Diuca-Finch, White-browed Ground-Tyrant, Junin Canastero.
White-cheeked Cotinga, Striated Earthcreeper, Rusty-crownedTit-Spinetail, Thick-billed and Black Siskins, Giant Conebill, Black Metaltail, Canyon Canastero and Rufous-breasted Warbling-Finch, Black-necked Flicker, Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail, Bronze-tailed Comet, Great Inca-Finch, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Canyon Canastero, Rusty-bellied Brush-Finch, White-winged Cinclodes, Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Streaked Tit-Spinetail.
Evening flight to Iquitos
Big Month Part 4: Iquitos with Canopy Walkway, River Islands and White Sand Forest.
We do a quick hop to Iquitos for a number of Amazonian species that are not in the South East, especially, the species of the white sand forests of Allpahuayo-MIshana reserve and those of the river islands. The Canopy Walkway near ExplorNapo will be a highlight on this section.
Oct 14: Tarapoto - Iquitos
Evening flight to Iquitos. Anyone joining us today shall fly from Lima to connect with us. After arriving to Iquitos at nightfall, we shall be heading directly to Allpahuayo-Mishana reserve to look for White-winged and Rufous Potoo. We’ll have timed our visit perfectly for a next to full moon when potoos are particularly active. We’ll stay the night at a nearby lodge.
Oct 15: Allpahuayo - Mishana and Explornapo
In the early morning we shall look for all the specials at Allpahuayo-Mishana reserve, such as Allpahuayo Antbird, Ancient Antwren, Brown-banded Puffbird, Zimmer’s Antbird, Mishana Tyrannulet, in the early morning. There is also an undescribed form of Fuscous Flycatcher which is likely a new species. Then later transfer to Explornapo with possibly some stops at a river island on the way for special birds such as Lesser Hornero, White-bellied, Red-and-White and Parker's Spinetails, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Castelnau's Antshrike, Black-and-White Antbird, Black-tailed Antbird, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, Riverside Tyrant, River Tyrannulet and Amazonian Umbrellabird.
In the afternoon we shall look for Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Cinereous Antshrike and Spot-winged Antbird. We shall also target some more widespread Amazonian bird species that we may have missed on the Puerto Maldonado Big Day, or at Amazonia Lodge on the Manu road. At night we shall search for Nocturnal Curassow and any other nightbird still missing.
Oct 16: Explornapo River Islands, Canopy Walkway and Nocturnal Curassow
Morning start with river islands holding Ash-breasted Antbird, Bicolored Conebill, Orange-eyed Flycatcher, Leaden Antwren, Bay Hornero and many others. We continue to target missed Amazonian birds during the rest of the day and in the afternoon we will transfer to the canopy walkway and spend the afternoon there. At night near the base of the canopy walkway, the Nocturnal Curassow can often be located.
Oct 17: Canopy Walkway, River Islands and Rio Nanay
Morning birding on the canopy walkway with Dugand’s Antwren, Pavonine Quetzal and Crested Eagle possible, before we head back to the lodge and back to Iquitos. We possibly do another river island on the way back. At 16:05 those continuing to do the North Peru program with Plataforma shall fly to Tarapoto arriving at 17:00 and then drive on to Bellavista to spend the night. If ending your tour here, you will fly on to Lima or do an additional Iquitos program.
Big Month Part 5: Scarlet-banded Barbet
Plataforma, also known as Flor de Cafe, has become a popular site the last couple of years to see the recently discovered and spectacular Scarlet-banded Barbet. Since two years if became focus again as a totally new antbird, the Cordillera Azul Antbird - was found just a couple of 100 meters where experienced birders had birding for a few years. Just a small detour around the corner, Josh Beck founds a new Antbird.
There is a bad muddy road up which can only be tackled with 4WD. Lodging is somewhat basic, but birding is extremely rewarding.
Oct 18: Travel to Plataforma
We make a 4 AM start to get a head start with the birding this day. The road to Plataforma allows for some good Amazonian species such as Curl-crested Aracari, Yellow-billed Nunbird and Blackish Phoebe.
We have most of the day to look for a variety of key birds such as Jet Antbird, a new species of Woodcreeper similar to Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Yungas Manakin and Gray-tailed Piha, but the star bird will be Scarlet-banded Barbet. We’ll also look for the newly described Cordillera Azul Antbird, Sharpbill, Wing-banded Wren, Rufous-Brown Solitaire and many more. At night we will look for Subtropical Pygmy-Owl and Vermiculated Screech-Owl.
Oct 19: Plataforma.
You will bird around Plataforma most of the day. In the afternoon we return to Bellavista for an overnight stay,
Oct 20: Quebrada Upaquihua – Tarapoto tunnel.
On the way to Tarapoto we shall bird the dry scrub of Upaquihua for Huallaga Slaty-Antshrike, Rufous Casiornis, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Chestnut-throated Spinetail and Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin.
We’ll also make a visit to the Tarapoto Tunnel for Plumbeous Euphonia and Dotted Tanager. At km 24 there are feeders for Gould’s Jewelfront and Koepcke’s Hermit and a good trail that often has White-plumed Antbird and Golden-headed Manakin.
We may check out some ponds near the airport for Comb Duck and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks before leaving for Moyobamba.
Big Month part 6: North Peru Birding Blitz, Tarapoto – Piura.
Although the pace will be challenging we aim to see all the special birds on the itinerary. We start in Piura and continue with detours to Huancabamba and to Cajamarca and end in Tarapoto in 9 and a half days.
The trip starts at 5 pm from Tarapoto airport. If you arrive earlier you can join the afternoon birding at the Tarapoto-Yurimaguas tunnel.
Oct 20. Drive to Moyobamba
On the way to Moyobamba we shall make a roadside stop to check out the Oilbirds. Near Moyobamba is also good for owls and nightjars including Band-bellied Owl, Black-and-White Owl, Stygian Owl, Blackish, Spot-tailed and Rufous Nightjars. Night in Moyobamba
Oct 21: Moyobamba to Aguas Verdes and Fundo Alto Nieva.
At the feeders of Waqanki we find a good number of hummers including Black-throated Hermit and Rufous-crested Coquette. We continue exploring the Moyobamba/Rioja savanna adding species like Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Yellow Tyrannulet, Russet-crowned Crake, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Masked Duck, Black-billed Seed-Finch, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant and Varzea Thrush
Next we drive to Aguas Verdes. Here there is a nice set up with feeders for Little and Cinereous Tinamous, Grey-necked Wood-Rail and Orange-billed Sparrow, as well as hummingbird feeders that attract a bunch of nice ones such as Wire-crested Thorntail and Black-throated Brilliant. This is also a good site for Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Huallaga Tanager, Painted Manakin and Mishana Tyrannulet (undescribed form).
Higher up we bird the area of Afluentes for Ecuadorian Piedtail, Grey-chinned Hermit, Gray-mantled Wren, Equatorial Greytail, Streaked Xenops, Black-and-White Tody-Tyrant and many tanagers, .
We arrive to Fundo Alto Nieva to see Ochre-fronted Antpitta that is being fed in the late afternoon and then a session with Long-whiskered Owlet - the mythical small owl which has recently been rediscovered. Here at Fundo Alto Nieva there are several territories.
There are only three rooms at Fundo, meaning there are no single rooms. Should the group become larger than 6 (unlikely) or if someone wants more comfort, it may be possible for some to stay at the Owlet Lodge at the Abra Patricia pass for a surcharge.
Oct 22: Abra Patricia-Pomacochas
We shall spend most day birding the area of Abra Patricia and Fundo Alto Nieva. Birds that we look for are Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Royal Sunangel, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Greenish Puffleg, Long-tailed Sylph, White-capped Tanager, Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant and many more.
We will transfer in the afternoon to Pomacochas and the Huembo station to see Marvelous Spatuletail, and Andean Emerald, Little Woodstar, Bronzy Inca and many more. At night we shall look for Cinnamon Screech-Owl and Stygian Owl.
Oct 23: Pomacochas-Jaen
This morning some people may want to do the hike for Pale-billed Antpitta or spend more time to try to get a good photo of the Marvelous Spatuletail. The hike starts above the hamlet of San Lorenzo and the trail is also good for Peruvian Treehunter, schulenbergi ssp of Plain-tailed Wren, Rusty-Tinged Antpitta and sometimes Chestnut-crested Cotinga.
En route to Jaen we may pick up Speckle-chested Piculet, Buff-bellied Tanager and Peruvian Pigeon.
We should be able to make it to Jaen to pick up the endemics around there which include
Little Inca-Finch, Marañon Spinetail, Marañon Crescentchest, Chinchipe Spinetail, Marañon (Northern) Slaty Antshrike, Ecuadorian Ground-Dove and perhaps the Marañon forms of Collared Antshrike (ssp shumbae) and Peruvian Screech-Owl. Night in Jaen.
Oct 24. Drive to Piura via Porculla pass and Quebrada Frejolillo.
If we have covered all the endemics we shall continue to Porculla pass making a very early start. Piura Chat-Tyrant and Porculla Hermit are our prime targets. Other birds that will be new but which also can be seen later by those who continue to Tumbes include Grey-and Gold Warbler, Black-cowled Saltator, Chapman’s Antshrike, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliagegleaners and Elegant Crescentchest.
Later in the day we continue to Quebrada Frejolillo, where the rare White-winged Guan has a good population. Here we may also see Tumbes Tyrant, White-tailed Jay, Baird’s Flycatcher, Pacific Elaenia, Parrot-billed Seedeater, Sulphur-throated Finch, Short-tailed Woodstar and others. Driving to Piura we’ll try for Scrub Nightjar and the pacific form of Peruvian Screech-Owl en route.
Hotel in Piura.
Oct 25. Manglares de Vice
In the morning we shall be visiting the nearby mangroves for some relaxed birding with plenty of Chilean Flamingos, many North American shorebirds visiting Peru and there is a very good chance of seeing the rare Peruvian Tern. We will also try to see Peruvian Plantcutter and Rufous Flycatcher near here in a small Prosopis woodland.
People who are ending the North Peru section with be dropped at Piura airport while the rest of the group continues to Huancabamba.
A few stops on the way should produce Grey-headed Antbird and perhaps Bay-crowned and White-headed Brush-Finch.
Oct 26: Huancabamba
North of Huancabamba is the Chinguela ridge. This is a seldom visited part of Peru by birders as it takes you off the main route and many can be seen in Ecuador. However, we should, quite rapidly get many new birds for the Big Month. Anyone wanting to boost an impressive Peru list needs to add Chinguela sooner or later. We need to get a very early start to get to the areas near the pass. Birds like Bearded Guan (uncommon), Red-faced Parrot (rare), Little Sunangel, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Neblina Metaltail, Glowing Puffleg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Chusquea Tapaculo, Paramo Tapaculo, Mouse-colored Thistletail, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Orange-banded Flycatcher, Black-capped Hemispingus, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Black-headed Hemispingus, Pale-naped Brushfinch, Turquiose Jay, Yellow-billed Cacique and many more are possible.
In the afternoon we drive on via Piura (where one may end the North Tour section and fly back to Lima) towards Los Organos. Depending on our success with Plantcutter and Rufous Flycatcher, we may add some stops for these species.
Oct 27. Los Organos pelagic
In the morning we venture into the warmer waters off Los Organos for several species of seabirds that are more difficult further south. In the past we have seen Galapagos Petrel, Parkinson's Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Galapagos Shearwater, Cook's Petrel, Black Storm-Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Brown, Nazca, Masked and Red-footed Booby. This time of year we sometimes get spectacular views of Humpback Whales.
We continue to Tumbes and we should be able to add a dusk/night visit at the Tumbes Mangroves which may reward us with Mangrove Rail, Red-necked Wood-Rail and Bare-throated Tiger-Heron.
Oct 28: Cotrina - Campo Verde
We shall do an exciting 20 km hike to El Caucho. We cross the Ecuador/Peru border pre-dawn to reach Cotrina on the Peruvian side. From here we walk a couple of kilometers to Campo Verde birding on the way and specifically looking out for Pallid Dove, Olivaceous Piculet and Purple-crowned Fairy. We continue hiking towards El Caucho and back we hope to pick up some of the species that barely gets into Peru such as Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Barred Puffbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Pale-billed Aracari, White-whiskered Puffbird, Ecuadorian Piculet, and Mantled Howler Monkeys.
It is also a good stretch for Crested Guan, Watkin's Antpitta, Ochre-bellied Dove and Western Slaty-Antshrike.
Night at el Caucho Field Station.
Oct 29. El Caucho
We have seen displaying Pacific Royal Flycatcher and Grey-backed Hawk in the past. Higher up birds like Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner, Grey-breasted Flycatcher, Blackish-headed Spinetail and Rufous-headed Chachalaca occur. Other birds include Slaty Becard, Ecuadorian Trogon, Grey-necked Parakeet, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Saffron Siskin, Three-banded Warbler, Orange-crowned Euphonia, White-edged Oriole, White-tailed Jay, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Collared Antshrike and many more.
In the evening we fly to Lima and to connect to Arequipa
Part 8. Birding Arequipa and Pelagic
Oct 30. Birding Salinas and Chiguata
We leave Arequipa an hour before dawn to get to the Polylepis scrub above the village of Chiguata at break of dawn. A number of good birds can be found here such as Black-winged and Bare-faced Ground-Doves, Dark-winged (Creamy-winged) Canastero, Mountain Caracara, Andean Hillstar, Black Metaltail, Giant Hummingbird, White-throated, Plain-breasted and Straight-billed Earthcreepers, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Canyon and Cordilleran Canastero, Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Cinereous, Giant and Tamarugo Conebills and Peruvian Sierra-Finch. At the roadside we shall take our picnic breakfast while enjoying all the birds. Occasionally an Andean Condor will pass by.
Higher up on at Lake Salinas, the main target is usually the three species of Flamingoes, Chilean, Andean and Puna Flamingos, however they are only there when there is water in the lake and this is not always the case. Water starts filling up in October-November and remains until May-June or so. But regardless, there are many other birds to look for such as Andean Goose, Yellow-billed Teal, Crested Duck, Puna Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Puna Snipe, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, Andean Gull, Burrowing Owl, Common Miner, White-fronted, Ochre-naped and Puna Ground-Tyrants, Andean Negrito, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch and Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch. Rarer are Horned Coot and White-throated Sierra-Finch. We plan to make our visit at this extreme altitude relatively short, so we will soon make it back to lower altitudes to have a late picnic lunch trying to pick up species we may have missed on the way up.
We continue to the coast. If time permits we shall bird also Mejia Lagoons where we may be able to pick up a couple additional birds. Bus to Paracas.
Oct 31: Pelagic From Paracas
With a 5 am start we will get all the pelagic birding done before the wind sets in with Sooty Shearwater, Cape Petrel, Markham's, Hornby's, White-vented, Wilson's (Fuegan) and Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels. Swallow-tailed and Sabine's Gulls. Waved, Gray-headed, Black-browed and Salvin's Albatross. Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Chilean and South Polar Skuas and inner shore birds like Humboldt Penguin, Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Blackish Oystercatcher, Inca Tern, Belcher's Gull, Surfbird, South American Tern, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants.
Species included In the afternoon birding are Peruvian Tern, Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes, Peruvian Pipit and Tschudi's Nightjar, as we return to Lima.
Our lists are exploding by now with over 1000 species and hopefully a new record.