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Big Month Part 2: Birding Manu road, Abra Malaga and Apurimac Catchment


We shall concentrate on the endemic and restricted range species of birds along the Manu road, Salcantay road and Abra Malaga. Many more widespread birds will be encountered again during the Big Month in Central Peru and North Peru when we shall visit similar habitat again. The pace on this trip will be very demanding. 
The first day is part of the Big Day, that had started at 00.00hrs. in Puerto Maldonado. 

We should be well over 300 species for the Big Month by the end of the day. The current Peruvian record for a Big Day is 354 species and the world record Big Day is 431 species set in Ecuador.  This exact itinerary for a BIG DAY has not been tried before, but a trial some years ago that also included a flight to Lima and a similar itinerary ended with 299 species including some wasted  time while in Puerto Maldonado. In this link there is more about the The Big Day

While, the Big Day program, will be a standard program that we shall run each year if the idea picks up and this itinerary is likely repeated if we do another Big Month in the future. 

No Departures for this Tour

If the departure dates don't fit you, please suggest another date.


Oct 1: Cusco to Wayqecha. Bearded Mountaineer. Part of a Big Day

Carrying on the big day from Puerto Maldonado we take the LATAM flight at 13:55 hrs. on Oct 1 flight to Cusco landing at 14:40 hrs. We head straight for Huacarpay lake and should be able to pick up some 30 species, including Bearded Mountaineer before 4 PM. We then continue over the highlands to Manu Road to sleep in Wayqecha, arriving well after dark. Hopefully we’ll add another 30-40 species over this route including several nocturnal birds. 

Oct 2: Wayqecha to Guadalupe Lodge

Continue birding between Wayqecha, via Cock of the Rock Lodge to Guadalupe Lodge. 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 Lancolated Monklet en route. Night in Guadalupe Lodge.  

Oct 3: Guadalupe Lodge (great Bamboo) - via Amazonia Lodge and back to Cock of the Rock Lodge

Just next to Guadalupe is a fantastic bamboo trail that has specials such as White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill and Bamboo Foliagegleaner. Certainly many bamboo birds that are absent at Saona Lodge on the Puerto Maldonado section can be found here. In the garden Buff-tailed Sicklebill is a frequent guest.

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. 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 Humminbird, Wedge-billed Hummingbird and more. The flock around here is 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 4: 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 birds 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 Woodquail 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 the following day. 

Oct 5: All day in Abra Malaga area

This will possibly be one of the most productive days with many unique birds. Abra Malaga has more than a handfull 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 of which are most likely only seen here. Also in the wet temperate and subtropical cloud forest 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 the late afternoon we descend to Ollantaytambo and drive to Limatambo. At night we shall check for Buff-fronted Owl. 

Oct 6: Salcantay road

Apurimac species such as Apurimac Brush-Finch, Apurimac Spinetail, Vilcabamba Tapaculo, Ampay Tapaculo Apurimac Screech-Owl and Pale-tailed Canastero. Also endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, White-tufted Sunbeam, Rusty-fronted Canastero, and White-eared Puffbird in the morning.

We then return to Cusco and fly to Lima at 16:33 hrs, arriving there at 18:00 hrs. Those continuing to Paracas will arrive at the hotel there before 10 pm. 

Option: Big Month Part 2: Birding Manu road, Abra Malaga and Apurimac Catchment -- Days: 5
Price: US$ 1500
Price based on 5 guests, with accommodation per-person sharing.


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