Day 0. Arrive in Tarapoto on the evening flight
Flight to Tarapoto at 16:59 or 20:05. Hotel in Tarapoto. Dinner not included.
Day 1: Tarapoto-Rioja. Birding Yurimaguas Road, Tunnel Area and Morro Calzada. Dotted Tanager and Oilbird
Travel to the tunnel area on the Yurimaguas road. Here we find a number of special upper tropical species such as Blackish Pewee, Dotted Tanager and with luck the localized Plumbeous Euphonia. We also often see Andean Cock of the Rock, Swallow-tailed Kite and Paradise Tanagers. Later we continue to AKONABIKH where there are hummingbird feeders that attract Koepcke's Hermit and Gould's Jewelfront, and many more. A short hike take us to a lek with Golden-headed Manakins.
Around noon we continue towards Moyobamba. On the way we shall stop to look at Oilbirds at the Quiscarumi gorge. We finish the afternoon at Morro de Calzada, a strange rock formation on the Moyobamba-Rioja plateau. This area is good for Mishana Tyrannulet, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail and sometimes Spot-fronted Swift and White-chested Swifts which come to roost. It is also a good spot for nightjars at dusk with Spot-tailed, Rufous, Blackish and Little Nightjars and often calling Common Potoo, as well as Stygian Owl.
We spend the night at Waqanki Lodge, in Moyobamba. .
Day 2: Birding Waqanki to Owlet Lodge
Those who are fit may want to try the ridge trail above Waqanki for Scarlet-breasted and Fiery-throated Fruiteaters, Ash-throated Antwren, Chestnut-throated Spinetail and many more.
The hummingbird-feeders at Waqanki are fantastic. It is often possible to get over 15 species of hummingbirds in only a couple of hours. The star species is Rufous-crested Coquette and Black-throated Hermit.
We continue over the Myobamba/Rioja plain checking out ponds and rice paddies for Pale-eyed Blackbird, Black-capped Donacobious, Least Grebe and Black-billed Seed-Finch.
Later at the new birding resource at Aguas Verdes called Arena Blanca. Here the is a fantastic feeding station for Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail and Little and Cinereous Tinamou. Also Yellow-billed Sparrow comes to the grains provided from the feeding station. There is also an area set up for hummingbirds. The speciality here are Green-fronted and Blue-fronted Lancebill, as well as Wire-crested Thorntail, but there are loads of other hummers too.
The white-sand forest is very interesting with Northern Chestnut-tailed (Zimmer's) Antbird, Varzea Thrush, Mishana Tyrannulet and Black-bellied (Huallaga) Tanager.
We end the day at Fundo Alto Nieva with the hummingbird feeders which often attract Royal Sunangel and Rufous-vented Whitetip. the feeding station for Ochre-fronted Antpitta, and at night a first try for Long-whiskered Owlet at the Owlet Lodge.
Night at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge
Day 3. Afluentes - Abra Patricia
The trails at the Owlet Lodge are good for Chestnut Antpitta, Barred Antthrush, Wattled Guan, White-faced Nunbird, etc. The feeding flocks contain Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, Spectacled Whitestart, Pearled Treerunner, White-throated Tyrannulet, Blue-and-Black Tanager and Metallic-green Tanager.
Midmornig we transfer to the birdy Afluentes area. The flocks in the subtropical roadside forest can be very impressive. Vermilion Tanager, Subtropical Cacique, Speckle-chested Piculet, Montane Woodcreeper, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Streaked Xenops, Parasdise, Golden, Blue-necked and Bay-headed Tanagers and the endemic Ash-throated Antwren and many other birds. Sometimes we have seen Black-billed Toucan, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Umbrellabird and Andean Cock of the Rock in this area.
We shall get a second chance for Long-whiskered Owlet if necessary or try for Cinnamon Screech-Owl.
Night at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.
Day 4: Birding at Long-whiskered Owlet Lodge. Ochre-fronted Antpitta and Lulu’s Pygmy-Tyrant
Another morning at the Owlet Lodge.
The feeders have Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Peruvian Rackettail, Bronzy Inca, Violet-fronted Brilliant and Collared Inca. From the lookout one may often see White-capped Tanager.
We continue mid-morning to Pomacochas where we spend some time practicing bird photography at the Hummingbird feeders at Huembo with close-up views of the Marvelous Spatuletail and other hummers such as Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Sparkling Violet-ear, White-bellied Woodstar, White-bellied Hummingbird and Bronzy Inca. A rare visitor is Little Woodstar.
Those who are fit enough may want to try for Pale-billed Antpitta up the track to San Lorenzo. Also you can take the vehicle all the way to San Lorenzo, other birds that may be encountered, are Chestnut-crowned Cotinga, White-capped Tanager, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, schulenbergi race of Plain-tailed Wren and Russet-mantled Softtail.
Night: Huembo Birding Lodge
Day 5: Hummingbirds at Huembo and Pomacochas and drive to Jaen.
We shall be visiting a lek site for Marvelous Spatuletail in the morning or have some additional time for photographing the Spatuletail in the morning. The lek is active on and off between November to April but some luck is also needed. Later we drive to Jaen with selected stops on the way for Peruvian Pigeon, Marañon Thrush and perhaps Buff-bellied Tanager.
We arrivie to Jaen for a late lunch in the field while we look for Little Inca-Finch, Marañon Crescentchest, Marañon (Northern) Slaty-Antshrike, Chinchipe Spinetail and with luck Marañon Spinetail.
The flight to Lima is at 17:15.
If you have more time, add a night to look for Peruvian Screech-Owl and have a better chance for Little Inca-Finch the next morning before the flight to Lima.
The idea is that this program shall be run every week. In order to make the operation as cost effective as possible and avoid exessive driving the order will be reversed every other week.
The reversed program looks like this.
Day 1. Flight to Jaen at 5:19 AM. Jaen to Pomacochas. Night in Huembo.
Day 2. Huembo-Abra Patricia
Day 3. Abra Patricia area
Day 4. Alto Nieva - Waqanki, Moyobamba
Day 5. Waqanki-Tarapoto. Flight to Lima at 18.49
If you want to add extensions for some iconic birds in Northern Peru we recommend the Scarlet-banded Barbet and White-masked Antbird expeditions as pre tours. One may also continue birding from Jaen via Porculla pass - and next day look for endemics such as Peruvian Plantcutter and White-winged Guan and flu back to Lima in the evening from Chiclayo.