Satipo road

January-May  is low season for us. Yes, it is part of the rainy season, but would you not rather have a few showers and around 300-400 species of birds seen in 8 days, than shoveling snow? Huh? And it does not rain all the time. Hand on heart – does rain stop you from birding in the UK, Scandinavia or Massachusetts? Birding in Peru is awesome any time of year.
Having said that, in Northern Peru the rains are not as intense as in the South. And it is the best time of year for seeing the Marvellous Spatuletail lekking.

Furthermore, a new site for Long-whiskered Owlet closer to Pomacochas has recently been found. No need to stay at the expensive lodge at Abra Patricia – unless you crave for such comfort (admittedly it is a very nice lodge!).

And when it comes to the South, we have introduced a new tour that use the new excellent Inter-oceanic Highway to get to Puerto Maldonado – with lots of birding on the way.

For Central Peru we offer inexpensive programs – and again continue offer these all year around.

As an outfitter I have made it our business to provide work for our staff through-out the year, but I admit this is a challenge during this period. So, here is the deal! I’ll give you some offers you can’t refuse and you come and do some birding with us. OK?

January Bargains

January is just around the corner, and although most trips have confirmed takers, we need one or two more people to make them worthwhile to run.

Jan  3-4. Santa Eulalia valley and Marcopomacocha. Fixed price: $248 regardless of number of participants.

Jan 5-11. Satipo road 7 days birding workshop. Fixed price. Only $980!!! Young birders up to 25 years old pay $650

Jan 16-19. Tumbes with pelagic. Price guarantee: Max $1000 including pelagic.

Jan 21-28. Budget North Peru 8 days. Max. $1400 Price may go down to $1090  if minimum 5 people.  Young birders up to 25 years old pay $695 on any departure of this tour through-out the year.

Jan 31- Feb 7. Amazon birding for less. 8 days. Max. $1600 including return flights from Lima to Cusco. Price may go down to $1290  if minimum 5 people.  Young birders up to 25 years old pay $895 on any departure of this tour through-out the year.

This last tour was done by Rick Wright of WINGS last September.  Check out his comments in this video.


As for the trips between February and June, we offer 20% discount (excluding the cost of airtickets) if booked and paid deposit before Jan 7.

Our slogan: “Why pay more? Why see less?” is more true than ever!

Google Buzz

Share with

Or should I say Merry Christmas!

What has happened to Gunnar’s blog – you may have asked? Or not? Because, I have not recieved a single note that I have been missed. 🙁

The last 6 weeks every single blogpost has been an automated “Gunnar’s weekly Twitterlinks” orderly delivered on Mondays.  Let me just conclude – and not really an excuse – I have been busy.

I am back now and I am blogging about how busy I have been the last 6 weeks.  Eh, Merry Christmas by the way… Guess I missed that too!

Busy 1.

Little more than two months ago, I started the project mentioned on this blog getting together 10 bloggers to make an international multi-author blog.  We  are very happy with the result – gets around 300 unique visitors daily resulting in a position among the top 40 on both NatureblogNetwork as well as Fatbirder Top1000.  We are less happy with the design. Well, the format is quite nice, but we want urgently a better logo (volunteering designers – help!!!). We would like to be aable to make the top right picture box scroll pics from the past blogpost with a title text (and link) rather than the current random picture, but none of us knows enough programming to do so.  Again, please if there is anyone very avid with WordPress and especially the Thesis theme can help with that as well – we’d be delighted and officially praise you with link love, kudos, virtual flowers – and a beer when we meet face to face.
There has been a lot of tweaking to get the page how it looks today – but yet more is needed.

But what counts at the end of the day is the content and the visitors. I must say, and this has not anything to do with my own content (which is about the same old topic – you know Satipo road, Conservation, and rarely heard of weird birds in Peru), but the fantastic content my co-bloggers are providing. I shall be posting a specific BirdingBlogs post about my co-bloggers here in the comming days. Stay alert!
Just thought I’d share with you some Christmas inspired blogposts with you from the last couple of days to get you into the mood to read birdingblogs everyday!

Busy 2. Birding trips. Sira Mountains.

Yes, I have been in the field quite a lot recently. More than probably is healthy for a funcional family life – and to be charge of the business. It was great to re-visit Sira Mountains, and although I did not see the Sira Tanager this time either – I have a good idea how to go about it next time. Furthermore, I have volunteered to help out the park administration with promoting the area. Where else can you hike in the wilderness like this far away from the Coca Cola trail.

Busy 3. Travelling with Hadoram.

The first leg I went to the Sandia area with Hadoram Shirihai and David Beadle. The second leg I did after in Central Peru. I was great to revisit Satipo road and see the results of the campaign for Satipo road last summer. Here are three posts about some of the birds we saw featuring Hadoram’s great pictures.

Busy 4. Antpitta twitch in North Peru and Ecuador.

My last trip lasted 3 weeks and ended just about a week ago. Over 780 species were recorded over 22 days – if one includes 5 days post-tour to La Selva and three days in Lima prior to the departure – over 1000 species were recorded. One of the best birds was the Jocotoco Antpitta here featured in this birdingblogs post. We shall probably run the trip again next year, with a few small changed to maximise the birding.  Stat tuned for more info.

Busy blogging from now on.

Anyway, I am back and I am in the mood to continue blogging – both here and on birdingblogs com.  I will resume the Social Media workshop for birders and possibly start yet another blog. More info forthcoming here. I will be busy with blogging and to try to make 2011 the best year so far for the company. I want to line up more tours for our excellent Peruvian guides. After all that is what we are doing: Creating work for Peruvians and stimulating local communities to invest time and effort in eco-tourism. In the end, without being overly pretentious: What we do makes a difference! And your support makes it all happen.

I particularly want to push for some special offers on this space. So stay tuned during the coming days if you are thinking to come and visit us in Peru in 2011.  Some offers can already be found on our web-site.
One thing that we started last year, was short budget trips to Northern, Central and Southern Peru – with additonal discount for Young Birders.  These trips have been scheduled for 2011 already. Check out our tour Calendar.

Google Buzz

Share with

Future birders on Satipo road

Cock of the Rock - by Ruth. Apaya-Calabaza. Satipo road

The kids at the school at Apaya-Calabaza had a painting contest. Here are the winning items. You can easily tell that these kids are fascinated with nature. In the village sling-shots are now prohibited and not sold in the store. This is the place for the future lodge that Adriana with Blue-bande Toucanet and Cock of the RockRainForest Partnership is raising money to. We hope that this contest will both bring necessary funds and awareness so more people visit this wonderful area.

Pampa Hermosa is the district that comprise Mariposa, Calabaza/Apaya and Carrizales on the birding route known as Satipo road which house endemic birds such as Eye-ringed Thistletail, Marcapata Spinetail (weskei race), Fire-throated Metaltail, obscura ssp of Rufous Antpitta, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, the undescribed Millpo Tapaculo and access to Black-spectacled Brush-Finch and the undescribed Wren and Thornbird in the Andamarca valley (Mantaro drainage). Birding is simply fantastic with spectacular birds such as Cock of the Rock, Umbrellabird, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzal, Black-chested and Solitary Eagles, Torrent Duck, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Sunbittern, Lyre-tailed and Swallow-tailed Nightjar, 45 species of Hummingbirds and 53 species of Tanagers. The species composition reminds me very much of Manu road. There is contineous forest habitat from around 1000m to 3600m.
A more complete species list and birding information can be found on Birding Peru

The community is commited to conservation and RainForest Partnership is doing great awareness work here. Right now the project is in fifth  place in the Global Giving Open Green Challange competition. If RP could sail up as a winner, 10000 dollars extra would be granted.

Blue-banded Toucanet by Adriana. Apaya-Calabaza, Satipo road

The money will be used to build a basic community lodge with clean beds and linen and working toilets and showers – as a minimum infrastructure to promote tourism (not only birding) and leave some funding with the community itself. There will also be workshops for the locals to learn to provide food for visiting tourists (hygiene and presentation) and mapping of eco-tourism in general such as waterfalls and cock-of-the-Rock leks. Other projects in a near future include sustainable Butterfly and Orchid farming.

You simply have to visit Satipo road. We shall not only do birding trips there, but also workshops of all type of biodiversity, specific butterfly watching, orchid watching and nature photography trips.  The beds will be implemented immediately in the village school.  There are already clean toilets implemented this year.

Spot less bathroms, assigned and cleaned by students. Photo:  Patricio Prieto

Spot less bathroms, assigned and cleaned by students. Photo: Patricio Prieto

Satipo road goes to Mindo

Below follows the three videos from 2008 when Kolibri Expeditions took three farmers from Pampa Hermosa together with three farmers from Carpish to Mindo in Ecuador. Pampa Hermosa is like Mindo was 10-15 years ago. With this in mind, the farmers now have a vision how the want their valley to develop within the coming years. RainForest Partnerships project and Kolibri Expeditions committment will make this possible – but not without your help.
The videos now have English subtitles thanks to Patricia Gonzales, who kindly helped me. Enjoy!

Satipo road goes to Mindo part one. Arrival and Butterfly garden

Satipo road goes to Mindo part 2. Rafting and Orchid garden

Satipo road goes to Mindo, part 3.  Maria the Antpitta and Angel Paz

Upcoming departures.

It is mainly our new community trip to Satipo road and Carpish that has scheduled departures between September to December. Let us know if you want to visit at other times.

Google Buzz

Share with

Lima Marathon and conservation.

It is time again for Lima Marathon on May 2, and although training has been a challenge with a nasty virus for 2 weeks and a hurting knee practically the whole period of 11 weeks of training, I am still going to do this race. I will not do my best time and certainly not qualify for Boston Marathon, but I am still running. Because there is something at stake. Conservation in the Satipo road area.
Last year around 1000 dollars were pledged to get me around the 42km and press myself to run faster than my stipulated finish time of 4h13 minutes. One dollar for each kilometer – or a dollar for each minute i shaved off my stipulated time. I managed to finish at 3:58, a time I was very pleased with, in spite of some drawback during the race. (Check the race analysis if interested).

Here is a this year’s pledge. Same as last year. Are you in?

  • 10 dollars. I think this is a great cause, and will support you no matter what with 10 bucks.
  • 1 dollar/min shaved off from 4:13.  You can do it Gunnar! For every minute faster you run I will donate one dollar more. Have this in your head at all times!
  • 42 dollars. That’s one dollar per kilometer. You are crazy Gunnar, but you have my support for each kilometer you run.

I’m in.

Within very short time, we got several people signing up to support Satipo raod again. And to help me make it all the way around.

1. Brian Allen, Michigan
2. Joe Church, Pennsylvania
3. Chris Drysdale. British Columbia, Canada. Of course I want to support the region that will play host to the November 22nd trip: $50 if you go under 4.13; $100 if you beat last year’s time.
4. You.

Make your pledge below in the comment section.  If you want me to link to your web-page or blog, I will do so above.

Why Satipo road?

I have had my eyes of this area since 2000 when I did my first trip to region. Birding is outstanding. Many endemic species, new species to science some of which are not described yet, and amazing cloud forest from top to bottom – much like more famous Manu road. Countless meetings with the local communities along the road over the years, finally in 2008 led to a trip to Mindo (Ecuador), to which I invited 3 community members (selected by the community) and 3 community members from the Carpish area in Central Peru where we also similarly connect with the communities.

The Ecuador trip was a great success, which has created awareness, not only among the participants, but also among the people locally, as I filmed the whole trip and gave each community a copy of the video. (Thanks goes to Fernando Valdivia for help with editing and Alan La Rue for down-size and YouTube format).   I am uploading to YouTube as I write this (not being a very avid YouTube uploader – Man is this slow!!!) and will let you know how to find the videos in due time.

First part with the arrival to Mindo and the visit to the Butterfly house ican be seen below.

Here is the second part involving River rafting and Orchid Garden in Mindo.

The third part is a must-see for all birders. The filming is staged at Angel Paz’s private reserve, where Giant Antpitta (named Maria) is being hand-fed at a few meters of astonished birdwatchers. This visit had tremendous impact on the guests from Peru.

Support Satipo road community eco-project.

Our effort involving local communities eventually reached Niyanta Spelman of Rainforest Partnership (with thanks to Charles Hesse for establishing this contact) resulting in a visit by Niyanta and Maurine Winkley to Mariposa and Apaya in Pampa Hermosa district.

RainForest Partnership have set up a donor page for the project in order to improve the infrastructure to receive birding tour groups. This is only the first step.  We have actively promoted Satipo road for 2010 in our sensational bird tour give away. In fact there is a tour their right now hosted by Brian Allen.

Here are the upcoming tours with the corresponding hosts.

Jul 6: Alan McBride, Australia
Sep 25: Chris West, Wisconsin
Oct 19: Joel Brady-Power, Washington
Nov 22: Chris Drysdale, BC
Dec 12: Kimberly Sucy, New York.

Soon RainForest Partnership will stage a continuation of the first activities, which involve forming a legally recognised protected areas in this region.  You can help, by making a pledge to support my Marathon or take part in the birding trips to the area.

Google Buzz

Share with

….a lot of places …and I like you to come with me.

This past year immersing myself into social media, has been amazing getting to know so many birders on line. I would like to meet all of you.  Although my year is not completely staked out, I’d like to give  you an outline the birding trips and events I have lined up for myself. Maybe our paths shall cross somewhere. Or maybe you want to come along joining me on some of these adventures. I shall write more detailed blogposts presenting each of them. Let me know which you would like to hear more about in the comment section below and I will prioritize.

I have already knocked off a North Peru trip and two Tumbes itineraries with Pelagics in January.  In February I was in Colombia with the family and managed to see a couple of nice new birds. (Blog post is practically ready, but need some photos – maybe  someone can please lend me photos of Golden-ringed and Black and Gold Tanager?).  I am planning to get a Colombia tour together for Januay 2011 if anyone is interested.  Here is an old draft of a Colombia Tour, but I certainly will change some as there are now new exciting reserves that can be visited.

Marathon. May 2 and July 18

First on my agenda is Lima Marathon. One may ask what that has to do with birding, but it does. Last year I ran it for the first time and turned it into a fund-raiser for the community on Satipo road.  A marathon for conservation. This activity made Rain Forest Partnership interested in starting a small project here.  My training has not gone the way I wanted this year, but  I am still running the Marathon. I shall be happy if I make it all the way around. So here is a pledge – the same as last year. I will run the Lima Marathon 42.195km on May 2 after sporadic training the last 10 weeks (interrupted by 2 weeks sickness and an injured knee)  at 4h13min or less. 4 hours and 13 minutes makes an average speed of 6:00 min per kilometer, which is more or less the speed that I have managed on the long runs I have done  so far.

Sign-up in the comment section. And if you have not  made the donation from the pledge last year available yet to Rain Forest Partnership, let me know.

My personal goal is to qualify to Boston Marathon. It will not happen at this race, but I have already a new Marathon in my mind where I shall much better trained. Rio de Janeiro Marathon on July 18.  That is one week before I turn 50. I have to run in 3:35.  I have 14 more weeks to find my top form.


I guess it is the viking in me that always take me to the sea.  Contrary to our Peruvian guides, I never get seasick – so I guide practically all of Kolibri Expeditions’ pelagics.  Pelagics from Lima are very good  with up to 5-6 species of Storm-Petrels seen regularly including the localized Markham’s and Ringed (Hornby’s) Storm-Petrel. The Critically Endangered Waved Albatross is seen on practically every trip. So far the following pelagic tours have clients booked and will thus surely run:  May 6, July 19 and 26, Sep 9 and 25, Oct 2, Nov 13 and 26. There are a couple of more dates in the tour calendar but without bookings. Most of these dates have been put there because they are at the beginning or the end of a scheduled trip. Since all trips in Peru begin or end in Lima it is easy to add a pelagic tour – providing we get enough people to run it.

May 17-24 Young Birders Manu community Tour

This is an idea that struck to me recently. Why not offer some tours that needs more assessment to people who would not normally come on birding tours, but are highly motivated birders. When testing new things, there  may be things that will not work 100%. Therefore a pre-trip to the community lodges in the Manu area that are promoted this year with the help of bloggers ,will get a jumpstart by young birders on a promotrip.

The gain is on several levels.

  • Young birders get some guiding in the most difficult habitat to bird. The Amazon rainforest and at a reasonable price.
  • Our company keeps staff busy and paid, and while the revenue for the company is not great, there will be lots of important pieces of information of what works and what doesn’t on this pilot trip – to be implemented on the coming trips.
  • The communities get some revenue and the chance to set all right for more comfort demanding clients.

And it will be fun to bird with intense young birders up to 25 years old. I bet we shall make a monster list of birds seen – and that there will be very little sleep! There are 4 vacancies on the trip. Max age 25 years old.
If you don’t qualify age wise, check out all the fixed departures that supports the communities in the Manu area. Still very good value for money and a good cause.

Meet-up / Tweet-up in Lima May 29

@Burdr tweeted a few days ago that it would be wonderful to meet every birder that one has been connected with via Twitter, Facebook or the blog and I could not agree less. When I said so in my tweet-reply, @Burdr said: Let’s all meet in Peru. It clicked as an idea. Dawn Fine has arranged meeting with birders all over the US arranging meet-ups for birders that blog, tweet or chirp.  We could do something similar in Lima.

Both locals and visitors and even clients – can meet up for some birding one morning every month. I am considering Saturday mornings when my wife works. That means that my two daughters (and our maid) would be joining us.  Join Gunnar, Luciana and Anahi for the first birding meet-up on May 29. I hope to be able to do a meet up once every month or other month.

The training of a new Peruvian guide.

June 15-23 there is scheduled a trip to North Peru and the land of Marvelous Spatuletail. Santos Montenegro is a local campesino who has become interested in birds and in particular the Marvelous Spatuletail. He was the guy who found the displaying Spatultetail that was recently filmed by the BBC on land that was purchased by Santos with funds acquired by Kolibri Expeditions. I recently interview Santos to feature a blog about him and how he got interested in birds. Through help from our clients we have provided Santos with birdbook, binoculars and birdcalls so that he has learnt all the birds in the area so well that local conservation organization ECOAN employed him full time. In June he has holiday and time to join us on a full tour and in July he has to decide whether or not renew the contract with ECOAN or opt to become a bird guide.  June 15-23 will be crucial. If you want to be part of forming a new local guide now you know.

British Bird Fair

August 20-22 it is time for the British Birdwatching Fair. Kolibri Expeditions have participated here every year since 2002 together with PromPeru, so we are sad to learn that PromPeru will not be putting up the stand this year.  There may be stand for us anyway. I am waiting in anticipation for the decision by the organizers. In any case, I think I will go. It is a unique chance to meet up with clients and business partners. Especially after the Social Media boom, this event has the potential to become a giant meet-up, where you put person to a Facebook profile.  Are you going to be at the BirdFair? Shall we meet up?

The biggest day!

September 1-13 . When I write this it is spring in the northern hemisphere and teams are forming to do Birdathons and big days all over for grand causes of bird conservation.  Lots of fun, lots of coffee, adrenalin and speed birding.
How about transforming the idea to a business model in the bird richest area of the world? Is it at all possible?  The Biggest Day tour!
Ted Parker and Scott Robinson set the world record of 331 species from Manu in 1982 – without motorized vehicle. The idea is to try to beat it or at least get very close to it at Amigos research Center between Manu and Tambopata.  The trip will work as  birding workshop where the participants will learn to seperate the Amazonian birds by sight and especially call the first 8 days. Day 9 is dress rehearsal, we form teams with the leaders who include guides Antonio Coral, Alex Durand and myself. All the teams should get over 300 species . The results are collected and analyzed before the gran finale on day 12. An attempt on the world record. Now the guides form a team together with one  of the participants (a raffle will be made to select the person), while the rest form one or two teams to compete against the guides. Day 13  will be dedicated for the highlights once again and to see some of the elusive vocal species. Day 14 it is back to Puerto Maldonado and flight on to Lima or Cusco.  Sound like fun?

Birding in Manu with Rick Wright

Rick Wright former editor of Winging-It and director and guide for Wings, hosts the Community Manu program in September 17-24 – together with me.  Rick  blogs at Aimophila Adventure. This shall be  a fantastic trip with the possibility to add a pelagic in Lima on September 25 and Satipo road/Carpish Community on Sep 26-Oct 3 hosted by Chris West.

Photographic project with Hadoram Shirihai.

All through October to November Hadoram Shirihai and David Beadle will travel in Peru with us on a private photographic expedition. I shall be guiding the first part in Puno, while Alex Durand does all the Manu area. At the end of the period, I shall be guiding again in Central Peru (Carpish and Satipo road).

Scarlet-banded Barbet in Sira Mountains

I have a request for a Scarlet-banded Barbet expedtion from David Matson and Dave Sargeant around Oct 22.  There is a new Barbet from southern Sira mountains yet to be described – whether species or subspecies status remains to be seen. Our expedition goes from Puerto Inca further North, where there is access to the highest peaks and from where Kolibri Expeditions already has a good set-up with local contacts. Obviously we don’t know that there will be a Barbet here but since it is the same mountain range as the southern population and our site is right between that and the original site of Scarlet-banded Barbet, there is a very good chance.  We get a good gradient of habitats as we reach the highest peaks of over 2000m. Other species that can be seen on this trip include the endemic Sira Tanager, (Peruvian) Horned Curassow (good species based on voice and genetic isolation soon to be split), Sharpbill, Rufous-brown Solitaire, Rufous-webbed Briliant, Creamy-bellied Antwren, White-plumed Antbird, Blue-headed Macaw, Curl-crested Aracari, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Wing-banded Wren and many more.

15 Antpittas – and hopefully Banded Ground Cuckoo.

In December I have set up a program that runs from Tarapoto in Peru to Quito in Ecuador and is aiming to pick up 15 species  of Antpitta on the way (actually there are 17 species, of Antpittas possible I don’t want to press my luck). We already have three bookings on this trip, which include well known bird book author Klaus Malling Olsen. This will be an epic trip, with lots of endemics. It is especially suitable for those that birded Ecuador in the 90s and want to fill in the gaps as more and more sites for then elusive species have emerged. It is a completely different Ecuador for birding today. Many places  have Antpittas feeders – following the success of Angel Paz  and his by now world famous Giant Antpitta Maria. The tour runs Nov 28 to Dec 17, with the option to add an eastern Amazonian lowland program of 3-4 days.

That is it. Well not really… because I am also spending a week in May with the family at the beach in Piura as well as a likely holiday somewhere abroad with the family in July or August to be determined.

If you can’t join me, but still want to be birding in Peru during 2010, I suggest you take a look at our tour Calendar, where there are loads of different bird tours scheduled that you can choose from.

Google Buzz

Share with

It’s not a holiday, it’s birding

Young birders - Chris West.

Young birders - Photo: Chris West of

Here is a  spinn-off from our recent Peru-trip give away, in which many young birders participated, although most did not make it all the way to win a free trip.  I did reserve several slots for young birders, but I had also to see what possibility the participants would have to be able to raise  interest among fully paying  participants. Although the social media skills were great, I felt many would  have difficulty in getting friends to pay full price. I felt very sorry, considering all the hard work they put in.

Since, then I have been balling a few ideas with  Young birders  Chris West and Kai Reed. Maybe it would be possible to cater a trip for young birders during our low season at a special discounted price, where some of the costly private transport or expensive hotels are scaled off.
From them I understood that during spring term there would be little chance of going away if the trips were not centered around some holiday. I also understood that price was more important than comfort.  This is what I have come up with. The first reactions are very positive among the young birders I have been in contact with, so it is likely that the trips will take off, in spite of the short notice.

We shall offer a birding Carpish/Satipo road program for Young birders SUB25 Feb 14-21 $699 (President’s birthday holiday) and birdwatching in Manu National Park and Amarakaeri communal reserve Feb 25-March 4 May 17-24 $699, with possibility to do Manu road or Abra Malaga/Machu Picchu self-guided prior to start of that section. The idea is to provide affordable trips for young birders – and also prepare the communities for when more comfort demanding clients will arrive.

UPDATE: We shall not fill either trip, why we offer both trips also for those birders young at heart, but older than 25 years old. Price is $120/day.  An 8 day trip would therefore be only $960. Unbeatable! Satipo road trip set off slightly modified with 3 people on Feb 15. The Manu trip is postponed to May 17. There are still a few vacancies.

Carpish/Satipo would be much less expensive in total than the Manu trip because no internal flight are involved.

What is the catch?

  • It is rainy season, which traditionally has kept birders away from Peru. However, that should not keep a birder away. The birding is still fantastic – and it beats shoveling snow any day, right!
  • Some of the Manu lodges are at  this point abandoned, but bringing in a large group will allow for the communities to send people there to clear the clearings, which will be a bit overgrown, and making maintenance. It is likely, that not all maintenance shall be ready, but we shall also bring camping equipment to be able to stay wherever we want en route.
  • No extras are included. That means the flight to Cuzco is not included (we can help with purchase for best price available). Alternatively, a bus can be take to Cuzco (21 hours) from Lima, with the possibility to stop and bird in Abancay. Bus cost is about 50$. The transport to Atalaya from where the Manu trip begins is also not included. This allows for participants to either go down the Manu road with the local bus (Mo, We, Fri) and make stops or travel straight there. The bus is around 20-30 dollars.
  • One may travel overland back to Cuzco from Maldonado (cost 20-30 dollars) or fly to Lima or Cuzco (we can help for best price). The overland option gives some opportunity to bird around Quincemil and Marcapata.
  • There are no extras on the Central Peru option.

And what do you get?

Apart from the limitations above, everything else is included. You get an expert English speaking bird guide that knows all calls of the birds to separate antbirds and flycatchers. You have a cook that makes sure you get great food and drinks through-out the trip. A private boat in Manu and private car in Carpish with professional boatmen and driver.

And you should get minimum 300 species of birds with up to over 400 possible.Carpish/Satipo road is potentially more species rich as you pass through many different habitats.

Here are the links again, if you want to read more about the trips.

There will be limited space on the tours. So don’t wait too long to book. Please spread the word through your network of young birders.

Great thanks to Chris West for getting me  the excellent picture for this blogpost. Check out Chris West’s blog here.

Google Buzz

Share with

Kolibri Expeditions bi-weekly Newsletter.

Golden-backed Tanager - one of the star birds possible during Kolibri Epxeditions Give-Away of 15 birding tours during 2010.

Golden-backed Tanager - one of the star birds possible during Kolibri Expeditions Give-Away of 15 birding tours during 2010.

I decided to present the full version on the Kolibri News directly on the blog today.  However, the give-away of free birding trips is only for the opt-in Newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, do so on the right of the blog.

In this issue:

  • Free birding trip in Peru
  • Upcoming trips – Fixed departures
  • Blog posts by Gunnar since the last newsletter
    A. Birding in Peru
    B. Fascination by Mega twitches, new species to science, re-discovered species and critically threatened species.
    C. Social Media for birders
  • Recommended external links the last month from Gunnar’s Facebook stream

Free birding trip in Peru

Last Saturday, I pulled a PR stunt, giving away 14 birding trips to Manu and Carpish/Satipo road in Peru. The give-away is still active if you follow the directions on my blog.  This is not just bold advertising for my company, but more than anything else an attempt to draw attention to birding areas that have communities that can be involved in the conservation of the same and initiate eco-tourism benefiting the same communities.

To be eligible for a free trip, you need to sign-up for our opt-in newsletter – if you have not done so already (there is a form on the blog), and you need to start sharing this link where ever you can (Facebook, Forums, Blog, Twitter, Listservers for birders, Flickr, etc.).  The newsletter that will be sent out to you after you have signed up will contain all the additional information and rules that you need to participate.

Fixed departures-upcoming confirmed tours.

The Kolibri Expeditions Birding Tour Calendar for 2009 is beginning to take a more final shape. Our fixed departures have been placed here. There are still a couple of tours that need to be uploaded as fixed departures so do pop in later. I imagine by the end of the week it shall be complete. The give-away hosts will be announced on Christmas Day. The fixed departures shall have both a lower price and an expert leader designated well in advance. Some tours are promotional for new areas and some are an intention to get slightly larger groups so that we can give you a better price.  If you don’t find a departure to your favorite destination for your preferred dates, we can still arrange a trip for you. Just let us know your preferences.

Here are a few examples:

  • Satipo road – short 7 day tour FIXED DEPARTURE Guide: Jose Antonio Padilla. Before: $1085 Now: $868 based on 5 group of five people.. Support the local community at Satipo road. Birding like Manu road and several yet undescribed species. Dec 26, 2009
  • North Peru 1: Tumbes and pelagic FIXED DEPARTURE: One extra day in Tumbes forest (surcharge 120 US$). With pelagic from Punta Sal. Only 2 vacancies. Jan 4, 2010.
  • North Peru 2. Piura to Tarapoto. Featuring White-winged Guan, Marvelous Spatuletail, Crescentchest, Royal Sunangel, etc. Departure: Jan 9. More North Peru trips will be scheduled for later in the year.
  • Amigos SE Peru. The best birding in SE Peru. A place where you have a single base for your birding during the entire stay. 7 or 14 days. At least one departure per month leaving always on a Thursday. Can be arrange also on demand. On Sep 2, 2010 we arrange a lowland amazonian birding workshop. Learn how to separate all the Furnarides, Antbirds, Flycatchers and Woodcreepers by voice. The trip ends with a BIG day for the clients and finally on the last day an attempt for the 24h world record. Everyone should get a personal best.
  • Guyana, Suriname and Roraima (Guyanan Tepui area in Venezuela) 3 weeks. Start on March 27. Price to be announced. It is possible to make a shorter one or two week trip.  I am working on the details and the price for this tour the coming week.
  • Butterfly-watching. Trip in May in Central Peru is under production. Also a the trip to Manu Communities in December with Corey Finger will include a fair bit of butterflies.

Gunnar’s blog the last three weeks.

A. Birding in Peru.

B. Critically endangered species.

C. Social Media and Blog Carnivals for Birders

Recommended Links picked up on Facebook.

Kind of hard to chose a favorite external link from the past 3 weeks, but since Christmas is coming up and I just announced on my Facebook wall, that I don’t want people to put bulky Christmas greetings applications there (If you are on Facebook, you know what I mean – the hideous virtual gifts are worse than spam), I thought I had best show that I am not Scrooge or the Grinch, the following video has been viral on Facebook. Happy Christmas everyone.

Links about Peru

From the last newsletter, you may remember the story of the Peruvian human oil extractors – The Pishtacos. Dan Tallman who accompanied the LSU expeditions in Peru in the 70s, wrote a great comment on this blogpost about his experiences in Carpish in the 70s. Things have calmed down now and a visit to Satipo road last week had no incidents. Good to know for all of you who plan to host Central Peru in the freebie bird tour give away.

Just a few days after my post about the Swim-with-the-Sealions tourism activity in Lima, I find a local post (in English) that praises the whole thing. I just had to ventilate my thoughts in the comment section….and get insulted!
Check it out – and do leave a comment to show that I am not the only one thinking this is too much intrusion.

Diana Fruguglietti and Paul Ippolito posted some of their pictures from our recent Northern Peru trip. The pics are on Facebook, but with the new more lenient privacy rules I hope they can still be seen by all.

Alan Wilkinson did part of the North Peru trip and part of a Manu road trip with us. Here are his photos.

Rich Hoyer has don a fantastic job blogging from the latest Field Guides birding and natural history tour to SE Peru including Manu and Machu Picchu.  Here is delivery of Day 6, but any of the posts in October and November from the trip is worth you time.  There is also a lot of photos about herps, butterflies and plants.

And a couple of referrals to the Manu and Carpish trips giveaway here. All websites are well worth a visit per se, not only to see the referrals.

Here a great picture of one of my favorite Hummingbirds. The Sword-billed Hummingbird. Check out that bill.

Other birding links

One of my favorite bloggers, Jochen of Bell Tower Birding, made this hilarious view on The Splitting of Birds.

The Guardian has provided a number of good posts on birding, especially in The Observer supplement. Here is a piece that explains what make the birders “tick”. To a birdwatcher, one glimpse, one moment is happiness enough.

You may remember I wrote about Floreana Mockingbird in the last issue of this newsletter. This post also received some interesting comments from the main scientist that made the study of the DNA from Darwin’s specimen. What an honour for me and my blog to get such qualified comment to my review!

David J. Ringer has a great blog for anyone interested in new species and taxonomy. His posts are ofter very thorough, and I always feel I learn something from his detailed style, but yet easy to understand. Here he writes about the recently described Limestone Leaf Warbler from limestone karst region of West Vietnam and Laos.

Darwin Finches Tatoo. You got to see this.

Again from Facebook – and not sure if you will be able to see it. But this photo on Jeffrey Gordon’s wall of  people looking at an Ivory Gull at Cape May is probably one of the coolest picture of birders doing their thing I have ever seen.

The ultimate birdfinding guide to iPhone. Kenn Kaufman reports on Birdseye – an amazing application for your iPhone.

Some Funny Videos that I shared on Facebook.

Warning: You watch on your own risk. I find these funny, but it may not be your case.

Rowan Atkinson tells the Gospel of John

Robin Williams on Bush and Obama – introduced by John Cleese.

Por eso es mejor sin condon

You need to know Spanish for this one

That is all folks. Another newsletter will be published in about 2 weeks. The winner of the 15 trips to Manu and Carpish will be published on Christmas Day. Maybe you get a trip to Peru for Christmas?

Google Buzz

Share with

How on earth can a marathon help conservation?

Pledge: I will run the Lima Marathon 42.195km on May 31 after only 5 and a half weeks of training at 4h13min or less. 4 hours and 13 minutes makes an average speed of 6:00 min per kilometer, which is more or less the speed that I have managed on the long runs I have done  so far.
But I aiming higher than 4 hours and 13 min and this is where you dear reader come in. I challenge you that I will run faster and you can help me to push my limits.  Let’s do this together for conservation. How? I tell you how! No you don’t have to run a marathon yourself, but I am sure you’d buy me a beer if I make it, right? In fact maybe you’d say that you’d buy me two beers if I shave 5 min from the stipulated time. If I shave 15 minutes you’d throw a party. Having a lot of friends and followers on the social media outlets and lists that I belong to, that could amount to a lot of beer for me to drink – and it would probably not allow me to do any more marathons (or birding for that matter) for a long time! Let’s convert your solidarity for my pain and suffering pushing the limit into a donation scheme for a good cause instead . The challange on your part is to donate 1 dollar for each minute I can shave off the 4:13 Marathon. The cause: Habitat conservation and supporting community eco-tourism project on Satipo road in Central Peru. See google map.
View Larger Map

The principal area for birding and the conservation project with the community is the stretch between Mariposa and Carrizales on the map ranging between 1200-3600m altitude.


I am not new to Marathons – the 42.195 km race that represents the ultimate running challenge. I have run 5 so far. My first in 1982 and my last in 2000. My last one I ran after 16 years of absence in 3:37 in a very hot Cozumel.
I have had a dream for a long time to run Boston Marathon – the oldest marathon in the US and the most prestigious. In fact this marathon is so popular that one needs to qualify. For my age-group 45-49 I  need to run a qualifying certfied marathon in 3h30min or less to be eligible for Boston. A bit more than 3 weeks ago, when I heard that the Lima Marathon would officially be ranked as an international marathon and thus serve as a qualifier for Boston, I was thinking that in spite of my lack of training I could give it a go. 3:30 makes an average 5 min/km speed. When starting my serious training at that point I was out of shape, but obviously not completely new to running. I had run only about 100km in the first four months of the year and now in only 3 and half weeks later I have run another 250km  A week ago however, I realized that I shall not make 3:30 this time. I have got the endurance to last the race, but not the speed. I would need another 5-7 weeks to build speed. My wife asked me: “so why do you run, if you won’t qualify to Boston?” The idea of running for conservation was born (cracked during training of course). A reason to go on in spite of not qualifying for Boston Marathon.

The details of the pledge

I hope to get at least 100 people to help out. You can choose to make pledges according to the following plans.

  • 10 dollars. I think this is a great cause, and will support you no matter what with 10 bucks.
  • 1 dollar/min shaved off from 4:13.  You can do it Gunnar! For every minute faster you run I will donate one dollar more. Have this in your head at all times!
  • 42 dollars. That’s one dollar per kilometer. You are crazy Gunnar, but you have my support for each kilometer you run.

To give you an idea of the speeds involved for different finishing times here are some examples

5.00 min/km speed gives 3:30
5.15 min/km gives 3:41
5:30min/km gives 3:52
5.41  min/km gives 4 hours.
6.00 min/km gives 4h13min

It shall be fun to support, because I will be  posting  at least every 10km on Twitter during the marathon.

I don’t know, but the whole thing may actually get some coverage in Peruvian press if I get it out through some Peruvian media.

Rainforest Partnership

For this to be successful and to channel the donations we need involvement of a recognized (and quite flexible) non-profit organization. Since similar pledges are not unheard of in the US, the US is the best base. Niyanta Spelman of Rainforest Partnership was in Peru last year checking out the Satipo road area making contacts with the community and is well aware of the needs and possibilities.  During this coming week, Rainforest Partnership will be informing of ways of receiving donations on their web-page and facebook page. Check them out to keep yourself updated.

What can your donation achieve?

Since 2000 Kolibri Expeditions have run birding trips to this area, but only a few trips per year. These trips have been quite rough, but we have supported the communities by using their communal schools as base for camping. We have brought school material, given talks about conservation, and small donations to install water and a toilet near the school. In spite of our effort, this can hardly sustain any major income for the community. Nevertheless, during these years awareness have increased, culminating last year when 3 community members were invited on a special trip with Kolibri Expeditions to Mindo in Ecuador to see with their own eyes what can be achieved in an area with same geographical conditions as their own. The same year they received visits from Rainforest Partnership and University of Huancayo was granted a conservation and research concession in their area.

Now is the best time ever to start supporting the communities. They have a school building and a communal building that can be used as lodging presently, but there are no beds nor dividing walls. This is what we can achieve with different amounts.

  • 2000$ – Implementing beds and improvements of shower and toilet area in Apaya (2350m) as well as hummingbird feeders. The community can raise the current price per person for lodging of 5 soles per night to 20 soles (7 dollars).  That is me running 10 minutes faster than 4:13 and 200 people making pledge.
  • 5 000$ – the above and a Butterfly house/butterfly farm in Mariposa (which incidentally means butterfly in Spanish!!).  There is much unsustainable collecting of butterflies near Satipo.  With a butterfly farm it can become an important export business and it is sustainable. Later it will become a tourism attraction. I cut 20 minutes and run in 3:53 and 250 people make the pledge.
  • 10.000$. With an additional 5000 dollars would ensure the building material to build a new building at Apaya for tourism and price can be raised for lodging can be raised to 12 dollars per person and night.  I cut 25 min and we get 400 people to sign up for the pledge.
  • With additional funding we shall be able to do some workshop for local guides and how to deal with tourists.

Every goal met will help to lessen the pressure on the forest and allow for an alternative way of subsistence.

This old article give you a little bit more background on the Satipo road project. The trip to Mindo was done in April 2008 and huge success. In a future posting I shall upload the video to You Tube so you can see what we did there.


I completed the marathon in 3h59min16s. 25 people made pledges. It gives an important addition to the Satipo road conservation project. Donations can be made on

Additional later posts about the Marathon can be found here:

The following people are in on the pledge:

    1. Brian Allen, Gran Rapids, MI
    2. Michelle Townsley, Ventura, CA
    3. Carol Foil, Baton Rouge, LA
    4. Dawn Simmons Fine, US (everywhere!) of Dawn’s and Jeff’s blog as they travel the US with their motorhome
    5. Janet Zinn, NY of
    6. Alan La Rue, Lima, Peru of Expat Peru. Learn spanish online
    7. Joe Church, Harrisburg, PA. Great pledge. Joe writes: On the same day of the Lima Marathon I will be running the San Diego Marathon. So here is a deal for your cause: I will pledge the $1/km or $42 no matter what for your marathon. I will also pledge $1/km for my marathon no matter what and $2 for every minute I exceed 4 hours or $1 for every minute I am under 4 hours.
    8. Antonio Coral, Massachusetts and Puerto Maldonado, Peru pledges $1/km. Thx Antonio. I told him I could knock it off his salary, because he is our main guide for Kolibri Expeditions’s Amigo research station program 🙂
    9. Bob Warneke, Austin, TX. Boardmember of RainForest Partnership.
    10. Stephen Greenfield, Minneapolis, MN.
    11. Lyn Nelson, Las Vegas, NV.
    12. Juan Liziola, Lima, Peru.
    13. Nigel Vouden, United Kingdom.
    14. Mark Egger, Seattle, WA
    15. Elizabeth Gross, Michigan, of Backyard Wildlife Journal
    16. Debbie Blair, Lexington, KY
    17. Phillip Brown, Santa Cruz, CA
    18. Domenic Tomkins from Expat forum.
    19. Olivia Gentile, NY. Author of “Life List” about Phoebe Snetsinger.
    20. Linus Thiel, Stockholm, Sweden aka @yesbabyyes.
    21. Christopher, Boston, MA. Owner of Picus blog
    22. Peggie Veggie
    23. Mary Ambler
    24. Stuart Starrs, Lima, Peru.

25. Murray Honick

Google Buzz

Share with

LBJ:s in Peru are pretty

With a Carpish trip just finished as and a Central Peru trip, featuring Carpish and Satipo road starting on May 17, I’d thought I’d tease you with some pics of some of my favorite birds in the region. In spite of not being exactly colorful, they are great birds – just to give you an idea.

Bay-vented Cotinga

Bay-vented Cotinga
Bay-vented Cotinga can usually be seen at Bosque Unchog, where it will sit on the tree-tops.

Taczanowski’s Brush-Finch

Taczanowski Brush-Finch (Slaty Brush-Finch)

Taczanowski’s Brush-Finch, soon to be split from Slaty Brush-Finch of Ecuador,  is endemic to Central Peru.

Eye-ringed Thistletail

Eye-ringed Thistletail

This is a Thistletail with personallity. A fantastically cool bird found in the bamboo in the upper part of the Satipo road. This is practically the only place where it can be seen.

Obscure Antpitta (Grallaria rufula obscura)

Obscure Antpitta (Grallaria rufula obscura)

I call him Obcure Antpitta due to its scientific name. It is absolutely clear that this subspecies Grallaria rufula obscura should be split out from Rufous Antpittas. Just listen to these recordings! Obscure Antpitta vs Rufous Antpitta ssp rufula.

The problem is what to do with the other subspecies and define exactly where the limits are. Rufous Antpitta most likely contain up to 7 or 8 species!!

Diademed Sandpiper Plover

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover

Not exactly an endemic (it occurs also in Chile), and a bit too particular to be called a Little Brown Job. This is one of the most wanted birds by the birders that come to Peru. Why? I think the fact that it is something in between a plover and sandpiper, and lives at 4600m above sealevel. How is that for a Shorebird (sic!).

Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager

Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager

It can’t be acccused of being a little brown job, but I include it anyway, because it is the most wanted bird on the route. It can be seen at Bosque Unchog.  If you are looking for some last minute travelling, the trip starts on May 17. And is offered with a 20% discount.

All photos  by Gunnar Engblom under creative commons license. You may use the photos as long as you link to this source. Recordings by Willem-Pier Velinga and Nick Athenas under creative commons license at
Google Buzz

Share with

Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan from Satipo road

Google Buzz

Share with