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Big Month Part 4: North Peru Birding Blitz, Piura - Tarapoto


Join Noah Strycker and Gunnar Engblom in a North Peru whirlwind of birding in Northern Peru. 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. 

This section is included in the Big Month Kolibri Expeditions organizes in 2018 as part of the 20 year anniversary. You may join for only this section for $2150 or you could join for full 35 days for $8800. There is an early bird discount until August 19th at $7500. The trip starts at around 3:30-4:00 pm from Piura airport.

No Departures for this Tour

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

Oct 10: Piura - Huancabamba

You should be at Piura airport by 3:30 pm. We aim to leave Piura airport at 4 pm for a four - five hour drive to Huancabamba. We could make a few stops en route to try for Sulphur-throated Finch and White-headed Brush-FInch.

Oct 11: 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 we should, quite rapidly, get many new birds for the Big Month, and 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-inged 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. Night in Huancabamba.

Oct 12: Canchaque - Olmos

Once again an early start to drive back towards the Cruz Blanca above Canchaque. This is a good spot for Grey-headed Antbird and Piura Hemispingus. A bit further down we shall look for Black-cowled Saltator and Chapman’s Antshrike. We continue towards Olmos, on the way making a detour to try to get White-winged Guan at Quebrada Frejolillo. Other birds here include Baird’s Flycatcher, Pacific Elaenia, Parrot-billed Seedeater, Sulphur-throated Finch, Short-tailed Woodstar and others. Driving back we’ll try for Scrub Nightjar if it is still needed. Night in Olmos.

Oct 13: Porculla Pass - Jaen

Morning at Abra Porculla, with Piura Chat-Tyrant and Porculla Hermit as prime targets. Other birds that we should already have checked by now include Grey-and Gold Warber,  Black-cowled Saltator, Chapman’s Antshrike, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked Foliagegleaners and Elegant Crescentchest.
We continue to Jaen and hope to get all the targets here such as Marañon Crescentchest, Marañon Spinetail, Tataupa Tinamou, Marañon (Northern) Slaty Antshrike, Ecuadorian Ground-Dove, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Little Inca-Finch, Yellow-tailed Oriole. At night we hope to pick up Marañon (Peruvian) Screech-Owl.
We continue to drive through the night to Bagua.

Oct 14: Bagua - Leimebamba - Cajamarca

We will likely need to look for Shumbae Antshrike (split from Collared Antshrike) which inhabits similar habitat as Little Inca-Finch. The latter is easier to get in mornings, so we will head to a site close to Bagua first thing in the morning before we continue to Leimebamba and Cajamarca.

En route to Leimebamba we may pick up Speckle-chested Piculet, Buff-bellied Tanager and Peruvian Pigeon. Above Leimebamba we find intermedius form of Blackish Tapaculo, Neblina Tapaculo and Russet-backed Softtail, and when we decend into the Marañon again we’ll look for Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Buff-bridled Inca-Finch, Grey-winged Inca-Finch and Chestnut-backed Thornbird, before passing Celendin we have a chance of picking up Cajamarca Rufous Antpitta and Jelski’s Chat-Tyrant.
Night drive to Cajamarca. 

Oct 15: Cajamarca - Celendin - Leimebamba.

We start the morning near San Marcos for Greater Spinetail. Then head to Cajamarca again for Grey-bellied Comet, White-winged Cinclodes and cajamarca race of Pileated Tit-Spinetail. Also visit a site for Unicolored Tapaculo before driving back towards Celendin with Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch and Rufous-eared Brush-Finch and White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant. Also, a second chance on species we may have missed on the first day. Night in Leimebamba. 

Oct 16: Leimebamba - Pomacochas

The long drives end now, and the pace is back to a more normal pace. We’ll sidetrack into the Atuen valley where we often see Northern Mountain Cacique, White-collared Jay and Red-headed Tanager, before continuing to Pomacochas. At Huembo near Pomacochas we check the feeders for Marvelous Spatuletail, Andean Emerald, Little Woodstar, Bronzy Inca and many more. If there is time, we’ll do the San Lorenzo hike this day to have more time the following day at Abra Patricia area. 

Above San Lorenzo are Pale-billed Antpitta, Peruvian Treehunter, schulenbergi ssp of Plain-tailed Wren, Rusty-Tinged Antpitta and possibly Chestnut-crested Cotinga. 

At night we shall look for Cinnamon Screech-Owl. Night in Pomacochas.

Oct 17: Abra Patricia

If we have done San Lorenzo already, we shall make an early start for the Abra Patricia pass some 50 minutes away. Birds that we look for here are Emerald-bellied Puffleg and Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant. A bit lower down is Fundo Alto Nieva which will also be our lodging. Here we find Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Ochre-fronted 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.

Lower down we bird the area of Afluentes for Ecuadorian Piedtail, Grey-chinned Hermit, Gray-manteled Wren, Equatorial Greytail, Streaked Xenops, Black-and-White Tody-Tyrant and many tanagers, . 

We return to Fundo Alto Nieva for dinner and 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, then it may be possible for some to stay at the Owlet Lodge at the Abra Patricia pass.

Oct 18: Aguas Verdes and Moyobamba

Next morning we start birding lower down near 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).  

We continue exploring the Moyobamba/Rioja savanna adding species like Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Yellow Tyrranulet, Russet-crowned Crake, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Masked Duck, Black-billed Seed-Finch, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Varzea Thrush, and at the feeders of Wakanqi Black-throated Hermit and Rufous-crested Coquette

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. While having dinner in the vehicle that our driver has prepared we shall continue to Tarapoto for the night, stopping briefly at the Oilbird colony at the side of the road. 

Oct 19: Tarapoto Region, Tunnel Quebrada Upaquihua + Tunnel + Drive to Bellavista and on to Plataforma

We start above Tarapoto at dawn trying to pick up Wattled Guan first thing, then bird the road for Blackish Pewee, 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.
Mid-morning we’ll check some ponds for Comb Duck and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks before leaving those who have flights to Lima at the airport. Those continuing the Big Month will carry on to Plataforma towards the south. 

DAY 1 Piura - Huancabamba
DAY 2 Huancabamba. Chinguela Ridge
DAY 3 Canchaque-Quebrada Frejolillo-Olmos
DAY 4 Porculla Pass-Jaen
DAY 5 Bagua-Leimebamba-Cajamarca.
DAY 6 Cajamarca-Celendin-Leimebamba
DAY 7 Leimebamba-Pomacochas.
DAY 8 Abra Patricia area
DAY 9 Aguas Verdes and Moyobamba
DAY 10 Tarapoto areas
Option: Big Month Part 4: North Peru Birding Blitz, Piura - Tarapoto -- Days: 9
Price: US$ 2150

Minimum 5 guests per-person sharing.


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