Northern Peru offers one of those very special places where over 30 northern endemics can be exclusively found, and in addition to these sought after species we have a chance of another 10 more widespread Peruvian endemics as well as numerous Tumbesian and montane specialties that are only found in N Peru and S Ecuador. Our tour through this wonderful part of the country will visit dry desert and Mesquite forest at Bosque de Pomac and Chaparrí, in strong contrast to the lush cloudforests of Cordillera del Colan. As we visit the breathtaking Marañon river gorge and follow the eastern foothills which reach down to the Amazon basin, highlights could include such enigmatic birds as Marvellous Spatuletail, Peruvian Plantcutter, White-winged Guan, Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater, Rusty-tinged and Ochre-fronted Antpitta (with luck!), Koepcke's and Cinnamon Screech-Owls, Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Chestnut-backed Thornbird, 3 species of Inca-Finches, Gray-bellied Comet, Royal Sunangel, Lulu's Tody-Tyrant, Marañon Crescentchest and White-capped Tanager. We even have a chance of seeing the mythical Long-whiskered Owlet, a bird seen by very few birders but now possible in the Abra Patricia area. With very few companies offering this superb part of Peru, you are unlikely to find anything better. Join this very special Zoothera tour in search of a wealth of rarely seen endemics and specialities.
Day 1 Arrive - Lima - Saturday 12th March
For those travelling from the UK we will take a flight from London bound for Lima arriving on Sat 12th March. Note this is purely an arrival day and no activities are planned. Overnight Lima.
Day 2 Lima - Cajamarca - 13th This morning we will visit the nearby wetland Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge a 263 hectare protected habitat, that will give us excellent looks at a variety of commoner birds such as Black Skimmer, Gray-headed and Franklin;s Gull, Great Grebe, Andean Coot, White-cheeked Pintail, Peruvian Pelican, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant,and an assortment of shorebirds. We then take an afternoon flight from Lima to Cajamarca, a beautiful city set in a dry scenic valley. Night Cajamarca.
Day 3 Cajamarca - La Encanada - Celendin - 14th
We head directly for Otuzco where we look for the endangered and poorly known Gray-bellied Comet, our first North Peru Endemic (NPE). Also possible amongst the bushy slopes and gullies are White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Black Metaltail (Peru Endemic; PE), Bronze-tailed Comet (PE), the endemic race of Tyrian Metaltail, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail (PE ), Unicolored Tapaculo (PE), White-winged Cinclodes, Pied-crested and Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, Chiguanco Thrush, Cinereous Conebill, Piura Hemispingus, Peruvian Meadowlark, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Vermilion Flycatcher, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Peruvian and Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches, Black-crested Warbler and Giant Hummingbird. With a lot of luck we may also be able to get to an area that holds another endangered bird the Great Spinetail. In the afternoon we return for dinner and overnight at our comfortable hotel in Cajamarca.
Day 4 Cajamarca - La Encanada - Celendin - 15th
Today we have an early start as we have an hour drive to our birding destination at La Encañada where we bird woodland and scrub for Jelski's Chat-Tyrant, Baron’s Spinetail and Streak-backed Canastero. Further on towards Cruz Conga we hope to see the cajamarcae race of Rufous Antpitta most likely to become a new species; Cajamarca Antpitta. Open areas and scrubby hillsides will play host to a vareity of species that may include Rufous-webbed Tyrant, Andean Flicker, Striated Earthcreeper, Red-crested Cotinga, Andean Gull, Brown-bellied Swallow, Spectacled Redstart and Mountain Caracara. We should also get another chance for the rare White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch (PE) and Rufous-eared Brush-Finch (PE) before reaching the bustling town of Celendin where we spend the night. Dinner and overnight in Celendin.
Day 5 Celendin - Leymebamba- 16th
A spectacular day awaits us. The views are mind-blowing as we descend into the Marañon river basin; a gorge wider than the Grand Canyon. We look for Chestnut-backed Thornbird (NPE), Gray-winged (NPE) and Buff-bridled Inca-Finch (NPE) and Yellow-faced Parrotlet (NPE), all endemic to Northern Peru. Other possibilities include Maranon Thrush, Black-lored Yellowthroat and Striped Cuckoo. We bird our way back to Celendin and at one of our stake-outs we search again for the skulky Jelski's Chat-Tyrant, while a good variety of other species could include Baron's Spinetail (NPE), Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Golden-billed Saltator, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Rufous-naped Brush-Finch, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Rusty Flowerpiercer and Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet. Scattered patches of Cactus and Bombax forest will give us chances for more birds that may include Chestnut-backed Thornbird, Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Long-tailed Mockingbird, Streaked Saltator, Fasciated Wren, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Green Jay, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Purple-throated Euphonia, and the endemic Peruvian Pigeon (PE).
Amongst the scrubby hillsides and patches of deciduous woods we will look for Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant, Andean Lapwing and Grassland Yellow-Finch and we get a second chance of Yellow-faced Parrotlet (NPE). At Balsas we cross the Maranon river and ascend the steep eastern slope. Later we reach the pass at Abra Barro Negro where we hope for Coppery Metaltail (PE), White-chinned (Peruvian) Thistletail (NPE), Blackish Tapaculo (race intermedius that might be a split), Rufous-capped Antshrike, Many-striped Canastero, Pearled Treerunner and Moustached Flowerpiercer. With luck we may come across a nice looking Rainbow Starfrontlet. Dinner and overnight at Leymebamba.
Day 6 Leymebamba - El Chillo - Pomacochas- 17th
Today we will make a very early start as we re-trace our tracks back to Abra Barro Negro. In the small forest patches we look for the recently rediscovered and poorly known Russet-mantled Softtail (NPE). Amongst the morning mist we could find many other species such as White-capped Tanager, Coppery-naped Puffleg (NPE), Rainbow Starfrontlet, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, the obscura race of Rufous Antpitta (possible split), and a good chance for mixed species flocks, that might include Barred Fruiteater, Streaked Tuftedcheek, White-chinned Thistletail, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, White-banded Tyrannulet, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, White-collared Jay, Mountain Cacique, Scarlet-bellied and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, Drab Hemispingus and Blue-and-black Tanager. We will then return to Leymebamba and continue on towards Hacienda El Chillo, birding our way through another breathtaking canyon, the Utcubamba river valley. We will make several roadside stops for species such as Torrent Duck, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Torrent Tyrannulet, Peruvian Pigeon (PE), White-bellied Hummingbird, Black-capped Sparrow, Black-necked Woodpecker (PE), Maranon Thrush (PE), and Buff-bellied Tanager (PE). We may even get a chance to see Koepcke's Screech-Owl. We then continue our drive to Pomacochas, also called Florida. Here we visit a lek of one of South Americas most amazing birds; Marvellous Spatuletail (NPE). It is a hummingbird well worth its name! Displaying males wield their rackets like medieval knights jousting for their damsels, while their gorgets flare like gems in the undergrowth. Other noteworthy birds include Rufous-capped Antshrike, Silver-backed Tanager and a chance on the rare Chestnut-crested Cotinga. Late afternoon we arrive at our Hotel situated next to lake Pomacochas. Possible in the marshy fields and surrounding reed beds are Puna Snipe, Plumbeous Rail, White-cheeked Pintail, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Peruvian Meadowlark and the rare Subtropical Doradito. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Pomacochas.
Day 7 Pomacochas - Abra Patricia- 18th
This morning we will bird above San Lorenzo for Pale-billed and Rusty-tinged Antpittas, plus Russet-mantled Softtail and other temperate forest species. NOTE: This is a rather strenuous walk uphill at high altitude so people who are not fit for this will spend the morning at lake Pomacochas and Huembo watching hummingbirds. We then move on to Abra patricia and our first taste of the lush cloudforests of Cordillera del Colan, home to one of South Americas most mythical birds, the Long-whiskered Owlet (NPE). In recent years this species has been seen very close to the lodge, but we still need a lot of luck! The whole area holds a list of over 420 species so the possibilities are plenty including Green-tailed Trainbearer, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Bluish Flowerpiercer, Sparkling Violetear and Sierran Elaenia. At Abra Patricia we look for the spectacular Royal Sunangel (NPE) dressed in royal blue, and then the recently described Lulu's Tody-Tyrant (NPE), plus Bar-winged Wood-Wren, White-capped, Silver-backed and Yellow-scarfed Tanager (PE), three species of Antpittas, that include Ochre-fronted (NPE), Chestnut (PE) and Rusty-tinged (NPE). As we search forest trails, mossy trees and bamboo thickets we can hope for a wealth of interesting species that may include Blue-browed, Yellow-throated, Rufous-crested and Grass-green Tanagers, Bronzy Inca, Emerald-bellied Puffleg, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Long-tailed Antbird, Peruvian Rufous-vented Tapaculo (PE), Peruvian Tyrannulet (PE), Inca Flycatcher (PE), Rufous-tailed Tyrant, Chestnut-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Sharpe's Wren and with a lot of luck White-chested Swift or a Barred Antthrush. We will be staying at the superbly located Owlet Lodge and after dusk we have a stake-out for the rare Cinnamon Screech-Owl and a slight chance on the rare Andean Potoo. Night Owlet Lodge.
Day 8 Abra Patricia - Moyobamba - 19th We continue to bird the Cordillera del Colan and exploring the lower elevation tropical forests around Afluentes for mixed species flocks. Several gaudy Tanagers including the endemic Black-bellied Tanager (PE) mingle together with Versicolored Barbet, Speckle-chested Piculet (NPE), Ash-throated Antwren (NPE), Equatorial Graytail, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner and Gray-mantled Wren. More regular species include Andean Cock-of-the Rock, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Paradise, Spotted, Magpie, Orange-eared, Golden and Green-and-gold Tanagers, Yellow-breasted Antwren, White-eyed Parakeet, Black-mandibled Toucan, Little Woodpecker, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Lined Antshrike, Blackish Antbird, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Golden-winged Manakin, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Plumbeous-crowned and Ecuadorian Tyrannulets, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Olivaceous Greenlet, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Pale-eyed Thrush, Bronze-green Euphonia, Yellow-rumped Cacique and both Crested and Russet-backed Oropendolas. More skulkers await us and with luck we might see Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Equadorian Piedtail, White-crowned Tapaculo and Vermilion Tanager. In the afternoon we continue to Moyobamba and a newly opened and superb lodge. Dinner and night at Waqanki Lodge.
Day 9 Quebrada Mashkiyaca - 20th
Today we will spend all day in the relatively new reserve Quebrada Mashkiyacu and around Waqanki Lodge. The forest here holds a wealth of species and we will search for the endangered Ash-throated Wren (NPE), as well as the local form of Mishana Tyrannulet (NPE) which is likely to be split as a new species. Other noteworthy birds we will look for include White Hawk, Spot-winged Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Black-throated Hermit, Reddish Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Chestnut-throated and Cinereous-breasted Spinetails, Foothill, Yellow-breasted, Stripe-chested and Rusty-backed Antwrens. The list continues with Blue-crowned Trogon, Gilded Barbet, Brownish-headed, Zimmer’s, Spot-backed, White-browed, White-plumed and Hairy-crested Antbirds, Short-tailed Antthrush, Plain-winged Antshrike, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, White-bellied and Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrants, Stripe-necked, Pearly-vented, White-eyed and Buff-throated Tody-Tyrants, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Roraiman Flycatcher, Gray-tailed Piha, Speckled Chachalaca, Scaled, Fiery-throated and with luck Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters, Shrike-like Cotinga, Fiery-capped and Blue-rumped Manakins, Cerulean Warbler, Várzea Thrush, Red-shouldered, Masked, Black-faced and Yellow-crested Tanagers and Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch. One of the best hummingbird feeders we have ever seen allow fabulous views of up to 15 species of these avian gems. Night birding here could produce Spot-tailed and Rufous Nightjar and Band-bellied Owl. Night at Waqanki Lodge..
Days 10 - 11Quebrada Mishkiyacu - Abra Patricia- 21st - 22nd Morning birding in the Mishkiyacu area before we head back west. We May stop at the nice Yacumama site and look for Point-tailed Palmcreeper with a slight chance on Buckley’s Forest-Falcon. In the afternoon we come back to The Owlet lodge at Abra Patricia for another night. This evening we will try and see this mythical species. Certainly not guarenteed but we were very fortunate on our last tour here. The next day we have all day to explore around the lodge and nearby region where we can hope to see again if we have not already seen them Royal Sunangel, Lulu's Tody-Tyrant, Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Flycatcher and Bar-winged Wood Wren. We have another night to try for Cinnamon Screech-Owl or Long-whiskered Owlet, but not both as they are in different areas. 2 Nights Owlet Lodge.
Day 12Abra Patricia - Jaen- 23rd We start at the higher parts of Abra Patricia and look for birds we may have missed. Emerald-bellied Puffleg, White-eared Solitaire and Peruvian Wren (PE) are just a few more possibilities. Then we have a rather long drive through the Utcubamba Valley to Jaen in the Marañon lowlands. Stops along the way should find us Marañon Spinetail, Speckle-breasted Wren, and Mottle-backed Elaenia, and as the valley opens up in to wide open plains and Cactus covered desert, we will use the afternoon to search out more special birds such as Chinchipe Spinetail (NPE), Chestnut-throated Seedeater, the endemic Little Inca-Finch (PE), Red-crested Finch, Spot-throated Hummingbird, Marañon Cresentchest, Scrub Blackbird and Collared Antshrike. Night in Jaen.
Day 13Jaen - Olmos- 24th
This morning we will go birding just outside Jaen for specia such as Tataupa Tinamou, Marañon Slaty-Antshrike, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Drab Seedeater, Chinchipe Spinetail (NPE) and another chance for both Marañon Crescentchest and Little Inca-Finch (PE). Later we search for the cryptic Marañon Spinetail. Also here are Maranon Thrush, Brown-crested Flycatcher and chances on several species of raptors. In the afternoon we will drop down into the Pacific lowlands on our way to Olmos looking for Bare-faced Ground-Dove and Andean Condor along the way. Dinner and overnight in Olmos.
Day 14Olmos - Porculla - Horchones- 25th An early start today as we head back east to the lowest pass in the northern Andes - Abra Porculla - a great place for tumbesian endemics. We hope to encounter Red-masked Parrotlet, Rufous-necked and Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaner, Piura Chat-Tyrant (PE), Tumbes Pewee, Black-cowled Saltator, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Chapman's Antshrike, Three-banded Warbler, Elegant Crescentchest, Ecuadorian Piculet, Bay-crowned and White-winged Brush-Finch and Gray-chinned Hermit (which is now a possible split, Porculla Hermit). After Porculla pass we drive to Horchones near Bosque Pomac, looking for Peruvian Thick-knee in the hotel garden at dusk. Night in Horchones.
Day 15Horchones - Bosque Pomac - Chaparri - 26th We have less than an hour drive to Bosque Pomac, our morning destination. This reserve protects an extensive area of Mesquite Forest with some very unique species. Peruvian Plantcutter (NPE) and Rufous Flycatcher (NPE) are still fairly common here, both very rare in general due to deforestation and overgrazing. This place provides excellent birding and we continue looking for Peruvian Thick-knee, Coastal Miner (PE), Scarlet-backed and Guayaquil Woodpeckers, White-tailed Jay, Short-tailed Woodstar, Oasis Hummingbird, Ecuadorian Trogon, Necklaced Spinetail, Tumbes Swallow, Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Gray-and-white Tyrannulet, Baird's Flycatcher, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Cinereous Finch (PE) and White-edged Oriole among others. Afternoon drive to Chaparrí with possible Andean Ibis along the way. Night at Chaparrí Lodge
Day 16Pampa de Chongoyape- 27th
A very early start as we traverse the Pampa de Chongoyape. On the way we look for Anthony's Nightjar, West Peruvian Screech-Owl and Pacific Pygmy-Owl. Reaching the higher parts before sunrise we will lcheck this recently discovered site for really wild White-winged Guans. With some luck we should find it here. Many Tumbesian endemics are present such as Tumbes Hummingbird, Tumbes Tyrant (NPE), Tumbes Sparrow, White-headed Brush-Finch, White-tailed Jay, Collared Warbling-Finch as well as Ecuadorian Trogon, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Pacific Elaenia, Speckle-breasted and Superciliated Wren and King Vulture. In the afternoon we return to Chaparrí. Night at Chaparrí.
Day 17Chaparri - Lima- 28th Chaparrí is a private reserve with an extensive Mesquite forest. It is one of the best places to see Tumbes Tyrant (NPE) and Sulphur-throated Finch. Ochre-bellied Dove is also possible here. We will then take an afternoon drive to Chiclayo for an evening flight to Lima. Night in Lima.
Day 18Lima - End of Tour - Tuesday 29th March. Today depending on your flight time we will transfer to Lima airport in time for your international flight.
Leaders: Roger Ahlman
Ground Price: £3495.00 - Lima/Lima
Airfare:£800.00 - £1150.00 (Approx)- UK/UKAir prices will vary greatly on time of booking and route and airline used.
Single Supplement: £325.00 Deposit: £500.00
Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 6 and a maximum 9.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms mostly en-suite, all meals including picnic lunches where necessary, domestic flights, bottled water, all entrance fees, transport throughout, and services of local guides and leaders.
Not included: International airfare, insurance, departure tax, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: The hotels used during this tour range from good to standard, most with en-suite facilities. We will stay in the best available lodges/hotels which are as close to the birding sites as possible in order for us to maximise our time in the field.
Tour Code: This is a relatively intense tour as we make early starts and have long days in the field, although we usually take a couple of hours off where possible to relax over the midday period. Some long drives are necessary but the roads are mainly paved now and our transport is comfortable and well maintained. The weather is variable at this time of year, but expect it to be hot and humid in the lowlands, ranging to cold and wet in higher areas. Please note that this tour will specialise on finding many of Northern Perus specialities and endemics and a wider variety of species will be seen as well.
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