Nov 2 Lima
Arrive in Lima and transfer to airport hotel. Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel.
Nov 3 Lima
This morning we will make our way south of Lima for about one hour to the fishing port of Pucusana where we will take a ~45 minute boat ride out to circle Pucusana Island in search of Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian and Blue-footed (rare) Boobies, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, and Surf Cinclodes (endemic). The sheer volume of seabirds here is impressive in of itself!
We will then drive southwards for another hour to the arid desert of the Lomas de Asia Reserve. Here we will look for the endemic Thick-billed and Coastal miners, along with Oasis Hummingbird and Collared Warbling-Finch. A common mammal in the area is the Vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia), a close relative to the Chinchilla.
After a picnic-lunch we will drive back to Lima, with a stop at the Villa Marshes, a protected area near the Pacific Ocean that is good for Great Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and lots of shorebirds as well the spectacle of several thousand Franklin’s Gulls. Today will likely be very hot and good sunscreen/protection will be essential.
Nov 4 Lima - Tarapoto
Morning flight to the city of Tarapoto. Upon arrival, we will transfer to the stunning Pumarinri Lodge, located in lush lowland rainforest on the banks of the Huallaga River we may spot the diminutive Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher in the trees around the accommodation. There may even be time for a dip in the pool at some point over the next couple days!
The afternoon will be spent birding down the road outside the lodge getting acquainted with the common Amazonian avifauna of the region such as Black-fronted Nunbird, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Blue-crowned Trogon, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Riparian Antbird, Spangled Cotinga, and more.
After dinner in the covered outdoor dining area we can spend some time around the lodge looking for owls like Tropical Screech-Owl, Mottled Owl, and Black-banded Owl. Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge.
Nov 5 Tarapoto
After an early breakfast we will drive for about an hour to the mountains of Cordillera Escalera Reserve. Here we will be birding around “El Tunel” (the tunnel), a patch of excellent foothill forest along the road as well as, time permitting, at the overlook at El Mono y La Gata restaurant. The area is good for many specialties like Wattled Guan, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Dotted Tanager, Plumbeous Euphonia, Western Striolated Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Blackish Pewee and many more.
In the afternoon we will visit the Koepcke’s Hermit Conservation Center, another private reserve created to protect the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit. While waiting for our main target to show up at the feeders inside the reserve we can enjoy the likes of Gould’s Jewelfront, Golden-tailed Sapphire and maybe the rarer Black-throated Brilliant and Black-bellied Thorntail from the covered viewing area. A walk on the trails near the hummingbird feeders can produce Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Paradise Tanager, Golden-headed Manakin and White-plumed Antbird. If we are lucky we may even spot a roosting Long-tailed Potoo or Hairy-crested Antbird skulking in the undergrowth. The stunning Three-striped Poison Frog (Ameerega trivittata) is fairly common here as well. Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge.
Nov 6 Tarapoto - Moyobamba
We will get another early start to drive south of Tarapoto to the dry forests of the Upaquihua Valley. This is the only area in Peru where Planalto Hermit and Ashy-headed Greenlet can be found. Other possible interesting birds in the area are Northern Slaty Antshrike, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-manakin, White-flanked Antwren, Rufous Casiornis, and more.
After lunch in the city of Tarapoto we will drive northwest a couple hours to the city of Moyobamba, with one stop on the way to look for Oilbirds at Puente (bridge) Quiscarrumi . Here we will also have our first chance to see the national bird of Peru, the weird and wonderful Andean Cock-of-the-rock!
Once in Moyobamba we will head south about 15 minutes to the Waqanki Lodge where we will have some time to visit the hummingbird feeders and/or bird around the gardens. This lodge is perhaps the best spot in the world to see and photograph the stunning Rufous-crested Coquette that feed commonly in the Verbena along with Violet-headed Hummingbird and White-chinned Sapphire. Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.
Nov 7 Moyobamba
We will start the morning exploring the Quebrada Mishquiyacu trail, where Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Montane Woodcreeper, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Varzea Thrush, Peruvian Warbling-antbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Painted Manakin, and many others can be found.
The rest of the morning will be spent at the lodge’s hummingbird feeders and gardens, which have attracted over 20 species of hummingbirds! The forest around the feeders can also be productive and produce Tataupa Tinamou, Green-backed Trogon; mixed flocks of tanagers with Paradise, Black-bellied (endemic), Blue-necked, Guira, Golden, and many other; Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant and Mishana Tyrannulet (endemic) are also possible. A fruit-feeder is visible from the dining area providing regular distractions during meal-times.
In the afternoon we will visit Morro de Calzada, located 20 minutes from Waqanki. This is a mountain that rises lone over the valley and a set of great birds can be found at its base like Rufous Motmot, Mishana Tyrannulet, White-browed Purpletuft, Pale-breasted Thrush and Fiery-capped Manakin among others.
Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.
Nov 8 Moyobamba - Aguas Verdes - Abra Patricia
An early departure today (04:00 am) to get to the Arena Blanca Reserve near the town of Aguas Verdes, where we will have breakfast, and the chance to visit the “Arena Blanca Reserve” where the hummingbird feeders can produce Reddish Hermit, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Rufous-crested Coquette, Blue-tailed Emerald and Wire-crested Thorntail, and another 15 more possible species of hummingbirds. The principle reason for our early arrival is the Tinamou feeder which is usually visited by Cinereous and Little Tinamous, along with Rufous-breasted Woodquail and Orange-billed Sparrow. We will set up here for our first hour while our own breakfast is being prepared. Other interesting birds in the area are Northern Chestnut-tailed (Zimmer’s) Antbird, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Dark-breasted and Cinereous-breasted Spinetails, and flocks of Tanagers.
Moving up into the mountains our next stop is before the town of El Afluente, a good area to look for White-winged Tanager, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, the fantastic Andean Cock-of-the Rock, and a myriad of other tanagers, woodcreepers, antbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers and more.
We also will make a brief stop at La Llanteria hummingbird feeding station for Green Hermit, Booted Racket-tail, and Ecuadorian Piedtail.
We will arrive to the Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge at around 2400m elevation in time for a late lunch. In the gardens of the lodge we relax and enjoy the myriad of hummingbirds coming to the feeders: Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, White-bellied Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Collared Inca, and many more.
We will spend the latter part of the afternoon birding along one of the trails around the lodge and we may have our first attempt at finding the lodge’s flagship brid Long-whiskered Owlet! Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.
Nov 9 Abra Patricia
Birding around the lodge gardens and the parking lot can be very productive and produce Lulu’s (Johnson’s) Tody-Flycatcher (endemic), Yellow-Scarfed Tanager (endemic), Grass-green Tanager, Black-throated Tody-tyrant, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Drab Hemispingus, and many more.
Then we will try our chances at the antpitta feeding station, where the regular visitor is Chestnut Antpitta, a rare endemic bird of these mountains. Not far is the Rusty-tinged Antpitta feeding station, which will be one of two places we will try for this endemic.
Then we will walk the “Grallaria trail” that starts in the upper part of the lodge and goes down the hill for the rest of the morning. The trail goes through humid mountain forest where birds like Sharpe’s Wren, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Bicolored Antvireo, White-fronted Nunbird and Golden-headed Quetzal, and lots of tanager flocks can been seen.
In the afternoon we will walk the “Tino trail” looking for birds like Masked Trogon, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Variable Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Chestnut-breasted Wren, and flocks of tanagers with Golden-naped, Beryl-spangled, Saffron-crowned and Flame-faced Tanagers being regular. More difficult to find, but yet possible, are mammals like Yellow-tailed Wooly-Monkey, Kinkajou, and Andean Night-Monkey. Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.
Nov 10 Abra Patricia
Today we spend the morning at the hummingbird feeders and the trails around the main house at Fundo Alto Nieva, about 15 minutes down the road from Abra Patricia. Usual visitors to the feeders are Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Royal Sunangel (near-endemic), Booted Racket-tail, Greenish Puffleg along with the occasional Rufous-vented Whitetip and White-tailed Hillstar. The trails around the main house in Alto Nieva are good to look for Rufous-vented Tapaculo (endemic), Yellow-throated Tanager, Bar-winged Wood-wrens (near-endemic), and the rare Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant. We will drive back to the Owlet Lodge for lunch.
In the afternoon we will drive back down the road again to look for mixed species flocks with Flame-faced Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, and more. White-capped Tanagers might also be in the area.
Then we will enter Fundo Alto Nieva again, this time for a visit to the Ochre-fronted Antpitta feeding station. Before returning to the lodge we will spend a couple of hours looking for the legendary Long-whiskered Owlet. Since this is a very rare bird, we should keep our expectations low for this bird. Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.
Nov 11 Abra Patricia – Huembo – Leymebamba
In the morning we will transfer from Huembo, home of perhaps the most spectacular hummingbird of them all, the Marvelous Spatuletail! Other hummingbirds attending the feeders here are Andean Emerald, Brown Violetear, White-bellied Hummingbird, Little Woodstar and Purple-throated Sunangel. The forest inside the reserve is good for Southern Emerald (Black-billed) Toucanet, Specled-faced Parrot, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Silvery Tanager and many others.
The nearby Rio Chido road (about 15 minutes from Huembo) is good for Black-crested Warbler, Peruvian Citrine Warbler, Sickled-winged Guan, Lacrimose-mountain Tanager, Pale-eyed Thrush, and many more.
After lunch we will spend most of the afternoon driving to the town of Leymebamba, with a few stops to look for Torrent Duck, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Speckled-chested Piculet (endemic), Marañon Crescentchest (near-endemic), and Mitred Parakeet. Overnight in Hotel in the picturesque mountain town of Leymebamba.
Nov 12 Leymebamba – Balzas – Celendin
From the idyllic town of Leymebamba we will head up into mountains where cloud forests and scrubby ridge-lines dominate the scene. We will be looking for tantalizing birds like the Leymebamba Antpitta, Large-footed Tapaculo (endemic) and Russet-mantled Softail (endemic) along with other species like Rainbow Starfrontlet, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Grass-green Tanager, Gray-breasted Mountain-toucan, And Moustached Flowerpiercer, amongst others.
After the mountain pass of Barro Negro (locally known as Calla Calla) of 3600 meters elevation, we will be looking for Neblina Tapaculo (endemic), White-chinned Thistletail (endemic), Coppery Metailtail (endemic), and Rufous Antpitta (obscura race). During the long and windy drive down the spectacular road to the dry Maranon River Valley bottom, we will have more chances to see Russet-mantled Softtail, along with other birds like Azara’s Spinetail, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Purple-throated Sunangel, Red-crested Cotinga, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager and many other species.
We will cross the Maranon River in the town of Balzas, at an elevation of 1000 meters. We will stop here for Peruvian Pigeon and Yellow-faced Parrotlet (endemic), and nearby we’ll pick up the Buff-bridled Inca-Finch, another of Peru’s many endemics. We then gain elevation again to reach the El Limon and El Utco areas, the only known accessible places for the endemic Gray-winged Inca-Finch and Chestnut-backed Thornbird. Other special birds in the area are Maranon Thrush, Streaked Saltator, Buff-bellied Tanager, Tropical (Maranon) Gnatcatcher, and Mouse-colored Tyrannulet (maranonica subspecies, sometimes split as ‘Tumbes Tyrannulet’). Overnight in hotel near central plaza in Celendin.
Nov 13 Celendin – Cajamarca
After breakfast we will drive towards the historic and beautiful city of Cajamarca, with a few stops along the road to look for Jelski’s Chat-Tyrant, Rufous Antpitta (endemic cajamarcae subspecies), Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch (endemic), Paramo Pipit, and White-tailed Shrike-Tyrants. We will be passing through high-elevation pasture and puna grasslands which hold Mountain Caracara, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Streak-throated Canastero and Rufous-naped Ground-tyrants.
In the afternoon we will drive to the arid Chonta Valley to look for the extremely rare and range-restricted endemic hummingbird, the Gray-bellied Comet. Other species to watch for include yet another endemic, the Black Metaltail, and the truly awesome Giant Hummingbird, as well as Rusty-crowned Tit-spinetail, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Tyrian Metaltail, Andean Parakeet, Peruvian Sierra-Finch and the Andean Flicker. Night in Cajamarca.
Nov 14 Cajamarca – Chiclayo
This morning we drive southeast to the town of Jesus, currently the most reliable place for the endemic Great Spinetail. Other interesting birds in the area are Black-necked Woodpecker (endemic), White-winged Black-tyrant, Buff-bridled Inca-Finch, Spot-throated Hummingbird, Purple-collared Woodstar, Green-tailed Trainbearer, and more.
We then drive to Lake San Nicolas for birds like Andean Gull, Andean Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Plumbeous Rail, Andean Lapwing, Puna Ibis, Peruvian Meadowlark, Yellow-bellied Seedeater and others.
Next we will take the roads towards Chiclayo. We’ll have a picnic lunch at El Gavilan Pass. A couple of stops on the road near here may yield two more endemics, Unicolored Tapaculo and Rufous-backed Inca-Finch. A short detour from the main road can produce Bay-crowned Brushfinch, Black-cowled Saltator, Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Dusky-capped Flycatcher and Black-and-white Becard, just to name a few species.
Descending down to the dry coastal lowlands we will arrive at our hotel in Chiclayo in time for a late dinner. Night in Chiclayo.
Nov 15 Chiclayo – Chaparri
The famous Bosque de Pomac National Sanctuary is where our morning we be spent today. The top target bird here is the endemic Peruvian Plantcutter, while other special birds here are Rufous Flycatcher (endemic), Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Collared Antshrike, Superciliaried Wren, Pacific Parrotlet, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Pacific Hornero, Short-tailed Field-tyrant, White-edged Oriole, Cinerous Finch (endemic) and more.
After lunch we will drive for about 2 hours to the Chaparri Communal reserve in the foothills. Along the road we could spot birds like Peruvian Thick-knee, Ringed Kingfisher, Savannah Hawk, Aplomade Falcon, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Burrowing Owl and more. We will spend the remaining dalight birding around the lodge and in the evening we can try for Peruvian Screech-Owl.
Nov 16 Chaparri
The morning will be spent birding around the lodge. Typical birds of the area include Tumbes Sparrow, Tumbes Tyrant, Tumbes Hummingbird, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Collared Warbling-Finch, Sulphur-throated Finch, Parrot-billed Seedeater, White-headed Brushfinch and more. We will be on particular lookout for the reserve’s flagship bird, the extremely restricted endemic, White-winged Guan. Common Mammals around the lodge are Sechuran Fox, Hog-nosed Skunk, Collared Peccary and Peruvian White-tailed Deer.
After lunch and some relaxing at the lodge, we will head out mid-afternoon to visit the Tinajones Dam, looking for birds like Comb Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Short-tailed Woodstar, Collared Plover, Gray-hooded Gull, Wood Stork, Black-faced Ibis and more. Overnight at Chaparri Lodge.
Nov 17 Chaparri – Chiclayo – Lima
Early in the morning we will drive up into the mountains to the town of Casupe. The dry forest around here is good for Gray-chinned (Porculla) Hermit, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Ecuadorian Piculet, Ecuadorian Trogon, Ochre-bellied Dove, Red-masked Parakeet, Chapman’s Antshrike, Henna-hooded and Rufous-necked foliage-gleaners, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Piura Chat-Tyrant (endemic), and more.
After lunch we will drive to the Chiclayo airport for the flight to Lima where we will say our farewells at the Lima airport before international flights home.