Cloud Forests and Mountains of Manu

13 Days / 12 Nights

Day 1:

Arriving in Lima we transfer to our hotel in Lima, which will vary depending on flight arrival times.

Day 2:

The group gathers and takes the early morning flight to Cusco and we head out south of town with a picnic lunch to Huacarpay lakes. The lake is surrounded by Inca, and pre-Inca ruins. Here we will see a variety of high Andean waterfowl including Puna, Yellow-billed and Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Duck and other wetland associated birds. White-tufted Grebe and Andean Coot will be here too. Depending on the time of year migrant North American shorebirds (waders) may be present. We will be specifically on the lookout for Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Puna Ibis and Andean White-winged Negrito. Birds of Prey we may see include Aplomado Falcon, Cinereous Harrier, Red-backed Hawk and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. In the arid scrub around the lake we’ll look for the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero and also Streak-fronted Thornbird. We should find the pretty, endemic Bearded Mountaineer feeding in the tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca.) with Giant Hummingbird and Trainbearers. Peruvian, Ash-breasted and Mourning Sierra-Finches will be here with Greenish Yellow-finch and Blue and Yellow Tanager. In the late afternoon we’ll drive back to Cusco for a night in the old Inca capital. (B,L,D)

Day 3:

Early start in our expedition bus. We will make a couple of selected stops in the inter-montane valleys specifically for two endemics. We’ll take a picnic breakfast as the sun hits the slopes and colorful Quechua peasant farmers pass by with livestock creating a peaceful pastoral scene – our target here - the Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. We amy see Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chiguanco Thrush and more. A quick stop at the historic village of Paucartamabo to buy bread for lunch will provide Brown-bellied Swallow and Torrent Tyrannulet as well! Our next stop is for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail, before arriving at the last Andean pass - Ajcanacu. We have had luck with Andean Condors here in the past and if it’s clear we’ll be able to look out from the last range of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance, as the Incas did in ancient times, worshipping the sun rising over the endless rainforest. A side stop should find us Scribble-tailed and Line -fronted Canasteros and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo (but if not we may return later). In the after-noon we will bird the upper limits of the eastern slopes. Working our way down the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becomes more continuous and we will spend the afternoon birding to our accommodations at 2800 meters above sea level above Pillahuata. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed species flocks of Tanagers, Flycatchers and Furnarids. Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay and Mountain Cacique are among some of the many species we may find. In the evening we will go to a favorite spot where we have had luck calling in Swallow-tailed nightjar. Night at the Wayquecha Biological Station (B,L,D)

Day 4:

A full day to explore the humid temperate forest from tree line down. We’ll start early near our Lodge. Our target birds after a hot breakfast include – the recently described Diademed Tapaculo, Mustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared Tanager and the Puna Thistletail. As the day warms we’ll spend all day birding various elevations through the forest looking for mixed feeding flocks that will contain Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Black-throated Tody-Flycatcher, Barred Fruiteater, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulets and much more. If we are lucky we may see Peruvian Treehunter, Golden-plumed Parakeet or Greater Scythebill. We’ll stay again at the Wayquecha Biological Station again for this night. (B,L,D).

Day 5:

At breakfast we will be greeted with a varied dawn chorus and Red and White Antpitta should be calling. We will spend all day birding from the biological station at 2800 meters to our next stop at 1300 meters. This is pristine forest on a little traveled road. Some of the special birds on this stretch which we will look for include: White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, Black and Chestnut Eagle, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, a wide variety of Hummingbirds including Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Violet-throated Startfrontlet and Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, White-throated Tyrannulet, Ochraceous-breasted and Unadorned Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and many Tanagers. Night at the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge near Union at 1300 meters. (B,L,D)

Day 6, 7 and 8:

Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated in the pristine Cloud Forest of the Mountains of Manu just a few minutes’ walk from a spectacular Cock of the Rock lek furnished with comfortable blinds (hides) which enable us to observe these colorful birds during their dawn mating rituals. Facilities at the Lodge include 12 large spacious en-suite bungalows with hot and cold running water, flush toilets and two single beds in each room plus several rooms with shared facilities – which room you get depends on how early you book!. Private bungalows have their own private balcony. Lighting is by candle and lantern but there is a small generator available for charging batteries. There is a large dining area and lounge overlooking a feeding station for Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Tayras (a large mustellid related to the Martens). Tanagers also attend including Golden, saffron-crowned and Euphonias. Hummingbird feeders and a Hummingbird garden attract many species, some right in the dining room including Rufous-webbed Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorntail, Booted Raquetail, White-bellied Woodstar and the dominant Violet-fronted Brilliants amongst others. There is trail system behind the lodge that enables you to see the under-story of the Cloud Forest first hand and facilitates seeing some species not likely from the road such as Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush’s, Slaty Gnateater and the endemic Cerulean-capped Mankin. Many spectacular waterfalls in the area are far enough away so as to enable hearing birdsong. Orchids abound with c. 80 species recorded around the lodge. One day we’ll devote to the 2500 meter altitude zone, and one day to the 1500 meter zone. Possibilities include White-rumped Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Andean Motmot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Slaty Gnateater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Yungas Mankin, Uniform Antshrike, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Peruvian Piedtail (endemic) and lots more. We will visit one of the two nearby Cock-of-the-Rock leks to watch the strange mating dance of these spectacular birds. Up to 20 males congregate at this spot to display. We will also do some night birding here and we have been lucky previously with Foothill and Rufescent Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Andean Potoo. Nights at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. (B,L,D) NOTE: If Cock of the Rock Lodge is full we’ll stay at the nearby very comfortable Paradise Lodge

Day 9:

After a dawn breakfast accompanied by the singing of Andean Solitaires and Paradise Tanagers from the breakfast table, we leave San Pedro at 1600 meters and spend the day birding slowly down to the lovely Amazonia Lodge at 500 meters. We will pay particular attention to the stretch between 1500 meters and 800 meters. This upper tropical zone forest has disappeared on much of the Andean slopes in South America because of its suitability for cash crops such as tea, coffee and coca, but in this part of Peru the forest remains untouched. A spectacular new Tanager to science, yet to be described is along this stretch and we have seen it with several tours. Birds we have seen well on this stretch of road include: Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Speckle-faced Parrot, Chestnut-collared Swift, Peruvian Piedtail, Three-striped and Three-banded Warbler, Long-tailed Sylph, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Russet Antshrike, Rufous-lored Tyrranulet, Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Russet Antshrike, Olive-tufted Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Dusky-green Oropendola, Golden-collared Honeycreeeper, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager and much more. A short boat ride across the Madre de Dios river takes us to the lodge. We plan to reach Amazonia Lodge before dusk. Night at Amazonia Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 10 and 11:

Two full days at the comfortable Amazonia Lodge. This family run converted old tea and citrus hacienda has a bird list of over 600 species and others are continually being added to the list. The lodge is situated in the transitional zone at 500 meters, where the last low foothills of the Andes begin to flatten out into the lowland Amazon Basin proper. There are Butterfly bushes that attract various Hummingbird species including the pretty Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Black-eared Fairy, Wire-crested Thorntail, Amythyst Woodstar and the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit. A canopy tower on the hill enables us to watch canopy foothill flocks. We will be birding a variety of habitats over the next two days including floodplain and hill forest. The possibilities around Amazonia Lodge are enormous but some species we will be on the lookout for include: Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, the strange Hoatzin, Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Wattled Guan, Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, Pheasant Cuckoo, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythbill, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Bamboo Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta’s, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrranulet, Johannis’ Tody-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Black-backed Tody -Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Golden-bellied(Cuzco) Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis - the list goes on....! We will have the possibility of night birding here and in the past we have seen: Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo. We will be reluctant to leave this very birdy place, but yet more awaits us in the Amazon lowlands. All nights will be spent at Amazonia Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 12:

After breakfast we’ll return to Cusco, retracing our steps by van for overnight in the Inca Capital (B,L).

Day 13:

Time to look around the old Inca capital before early afternoon flights to We’ll provide day use of a hotel for relaxing before your international flights if required. (B)

Departures 2015: April 1 -13, July 22 – August 3 , November 10- 22

2015 Prices per person: Prices are available upon request.