Northern Peru: Tumbes and Marañon Endemics

20 Days / 19 Nights

Day 1:

Arrive in Lima and transfer to our hotel in Lima. Night at our Hotel in Lima.

Day 2:

Morning flight from Lima to the coastal city of Chiclayo. On arrival we’ll head to Batan Grande. Here we'll bird the protected Algorrobo woodland for Tumbes Swallow, Rufous Flycatcher, Necklaced Spinetail, Peruvian Plantcutter, Baird’s Flycatcher, Supercilliaried Wren, Coastal Miner, and more. At about 10:00am we’ll pass the interesting Tinajones reservoir and see if any Black-faced Ibis are in the area and then to the Chapparri Ecolodge. This ecolodge is situated in a community reserve and we’ll spend the night at these charming accommodations. Before bed we’ll do some owling for Peruvian Screech Owl and Scrub Nightjar. Night Chaparri Ecolodge. (B,L,D)

Day 3:

Morning to bird at Chaparri and leisurely breakfast at the lodge – Almost every morning from 06.15-07.00 several species of hummingbirds gather to bathe in the stream in front of the dining room. Watching this spectacle with a cup of coffee is a popular way to start the day. Depending on the weather an season we may see Purple-collared Woodstar, Tumbes Hummingbird and Amazilia Hummingbirds, Long-billed Starthroat, Short-tailed Woodstar Oasis Hummingbird and Peruvian Sheartail and Little Woodstar. Other specialties here include sulphur-throated and Cinereous Finch, Tumbes Tyrant, as well as such mammals as White-tailed Deer and Sechuran Fox. As the desert sun becomes too hot we'll head out for the dry deciduous forest north of Naupe. We'll bird the scrub and some of the possibilities include: Tumbes Tyrant (endemic), Tumbes Sparrow, Sulphur-throated Finch, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Gray-breasted Flycatcher (endemic), Gray and Gold Warbler, Sooty-capped Flycatcher, Gray and White Tyrannulet and more. We'll head to Olmos in the late afternoon and our dry camp in the Guan canyons. Before bed we’ll do some Owling for Peruvian Screech Owl and Scrub Nightjar. (B,L,D)

Day 4:

Early pre-dawn start to Quebrada Frijollillo. Here we will meet our local guide who will have been scouting the side and we should have some pretty precise information on the whereabouts of the bird we have come to see - the recently re-discovered White-Winged Guan. We'll get the up to date information as our cook team prepare coffee and breakfast, then off into the canyons. We hope to see Guans of course and we will give them priority. Other species we are likely to see in the canyons are: White-winged and White-headed Brush-finch, Elegant Crescentchest (endemic), Tumbes Hummingbird (endemic) Red-masked Parakeet, Long-billed Starthroat, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Guayaquil Woodpecker Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Baird's Flycatcher, Gray and Gold Warbler, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, One –colored Becard, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Cinereous Finch (endemic), Short-tailed Woodstar and Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner. Returning to the main hi-way in the afternoon we'll head for Olmos a night in the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 5:

Leaving the coastal strip behind we'll set off early heading for one of the lowest passes in the Andes - Abra Porculla. Making selected stops along the way, we will pay particular attention to a side trail where we have seen Piura Chat-tyrant, a very rare and local endemic. Other birds we may see include: Black-cowled Saltator, Andean Tinamou, Elegant Crescentchest, Three-banded Warbler, White-winged and Bay crowned Brush-Finch’s Chapman’s Antshrike, Rufous-necked and Henna-hooded Foliage-Gleaners, Ecuadorian Piculet, Yellow-bellied and Black and White Seedeaters. Dropping over the east side of the pass for lunch, we'll drive straight through to our hotel. Arriving in the bustling town of Jaen on the lip of the Maranon canyon we'll transfer to our hotel. Night Hotel El Bosque in Jaen. (B,L,D)

Day 6:

Pre-dawn start and breakfast in the field at first light. We'll drive to a side road where we have had spectacular success with the endemic Maranon Crescentchest. Here we will see other Maranon endemics including- Buff-bellied Tanager, Chinchipe Spinetail, Marañon Slaty Antshrike, Sooty-crowned Flycatcher, Marañon Spinetail, Marañon Thrush and Yellow-cheeked Becard. The distinct Maranon races of Speckle-breasted Wren and Black-capped Sparrows are here too as well as Tataupa Tinamou and, surprisingly, Miltary Macaw. After lunch we’ll head for Pomacochas with stop for Little Inca Finch along the way, then on to an area of rice fields to look for Spotted Rail and Paint-billed Crake. We continue up the Utcubamba River, keeping an eye out for Fasciated Tiger-heron and Torrent Duck passing through Pedro Ruiz and onto Florida. Tonight we will make our first try for the legendary Long-whiskered Owlet about 45 minutes drive from our hotel and close to the road. Night Hotel Puerto Pumas. (B,L,D)

Day 7:

A flexible day. We'll give priority to Marvelous Spatulatail, Here we will be looking for this spectacular Hummingbird, perhaps the classiest of all – we’ll visit a protected area where this snazzy Hummingbird is quite common and comes into the Hummingbird feeders in the garden. Other Hummers here include the scarce Little Woodstar, White-bellied Woodstar, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Mountain Velvetbreast and more. We may also explore the San Lorenzo trail. Patches of good cloud forest remain and some of the possibilities here that we have seen in the past include: Torrent Duck, Speckled Hummingbird, Golden-headed Quetzal, Versicolored Barbet, Gray-breasted Mountain- toucan, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, White-tailed and White-banded Tyrannulets, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-capped Tanager, White-collared Jay, Andean Solitaire, Silver-backed and Straw-backed Tanagers plus lots more. We have seen the newly described Johnsons Tody-tyrant, here in the chusquea bamboo. In the afternoon we’ll drive to Abra Patricia for birding near the pass and to the Long-whiskered Owlet Biological Station and Lodge where we’ll spend the next nights. Night Owlet Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 8-9:

Two days at Abra Patricia area. Staying at the new lodge will give us access to an extensive trail system enabling us to better look for Antpittas etc. This famous collecting site is home of some of the least known Peruvian birds. We’ll base ourselves at the comfortable Lodge which has White-throated Screech Owl and Rufous-banded Owl in the garden. A trail gives us access to several territories of Long-whiskered Owlet and we’ll certainly try if we have not already seen it. We may bump into mixed flocks with Blue-browed, Metallic-green and other Tanagers. Exploring side trails we may see the new Johnson’s Tody-tyrant, Tyrranine Woodcreeper, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails. During the three full days we have here, we'll bird various altitudinal zones between 1000 and 2200 meters. We have recently located Ash-throated Antwren here. Target birds - some very rare -we hope to see include; Cinnamon-breasted Tody-Tyrant, Bar-winged Wood-wren (endemic), Royal Sunangel (endemic), Equatorial Graytail, White-capped and Scaly-naped Parrots, Straw-backed, Metallic-green and Blue-browed Tanagers, White-capped Tanager, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Crimson- mantled Woodpecker, Montane Woodcreeper. We may hear or see if we are lucky Ochre-fronted (endemic) or Rusty-tinged Antpittas (endemic). Long-tailed Antbird, Large-footed Tapaculo, Golden-faced Tyranulet, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Fiery-throated and Scaled Fruiteaters, Cock of the Rock, Lanceolated Monklet., Fine-barred Piculet (endemic), Barred Becard , Sharpe’s Wren, Black-crested Warbler, Bicolored Antvireo.Night birding should be good here with Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Cinnamon Screech Owl. Nights Owlet Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 10:

Early morning birding at Abra Patricia and then onto Puente Aguas Verdes Further down slope from Abra Patricia, near the tiny settlement of Afluente, the road passes through beautiful lower upper tropical forests where another set of new and exciting birds will await us in excellent roadside habitat. The most noteworthy specialities are the tiny Speckle-chested Piculet and the canopy-dwelling Ash-throated Antwren. Until recently the latter was only known from the outlying mountain ridge above Jesus del Monte (further east), but in the course of 1999 this highly localized species was also found here by us at at Afluente. We have excellent chances of seeing the flame-coloured Andean Cock-of-the-Rock shooting across the road or indulging its taste for fruit, and of seeing the Ecuadorian Piedtail, a lek-forming hummingbird here reaching the southernmost limit of its range. The endemic Huallaga (Tanager is fairly common here and the rather modestly-adorned Yellow-throated and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanagers make their rounds in noisy family parties. We shall carefully scrutinize mixed parties for the beautiful Versicoloured Barbet, the noisy Yellow-breasted Antwren, the restless Grey-mantled Wren and the easily overlooked Equatorial Greytail, a Warbler-like member of the Furnariidae here at the southern extremity of its range. Other birds we may find in this ‘purple patch’ include Ruddy and Plumbeous Pigeons, White-eyed Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Black-mandibled Toucan, Golden-olive, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Olivaceous and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Ash-browed Spinetail, Montane and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners, Streaked Xenops, Lined Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous rumped Antwren, Blackish Antbird, ‘Northern’ White-crowned Tapaculo (though the taxonomic position of the form concerned remains to be determined), Golden-winged Manakin, Slaty -capped, Ornate and Olive-chested Flycatchers, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Plumbeous- crowned and Ecuadorian Tyrannulets. Later we shall continue on our journey, and a few stops in cleared areas may well produce open country and second growth species. Night in Tarapoto. (B,L,D)

Day 11:

This morning we shall visit an area of semi-deciduous woodland and xerophytic scrub south of Tarapoto, home to the isolated huallagae race of Northern Slaty Antshrike. This area also holds the gaudy Bluish-fronted Jacamar and the flycatcher-like Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, while other interesting birds we may find here include Speckled Chachalaca, Blue Ground-Dove, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Blue-crowned Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Black-fronted Nunbird, Planalto Hermit, Chestnut-eared and Lettered Aracaris, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Plain –crowned and Chestnut-throated Spinetail’s, Stripe-chested Antwren, White-browed Antbird, White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Olive-faced (split from Yellowbreasted), Boat-billed and Piratic Flycatchers, Buff-breasted Wren, Hauxwell’s Thrush, Ashy- headed Greenlet, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Red-eyed Vireo. In the afternoon we’ll explore the Shapaja road where our lodge is located and see what we can find. We’ll look for Chestnut-headed Crake, Undulated Antshrike, Mouse-coloured Antshrike, Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant, Black-and-white Hawk Eagle, huallagae race of Northern Slaty Antshrike and others….” The new Pumarinri Lodge located above the swirling Huallaga River with private balconies and stunning views. After dinner we can look for Rufous Nightjar, Crested Owl, Band-bellied Owl, Tawny-bellied and Tropical Screech Owls that live in and nearby the lodge grounds. Night Pumarinri Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 12:

North of the bustling town of Tarapoto the road ascends into a low range of forest-clad foothills, with a low flow of traffic allowing for some really juicy Amazonian roadside birding. A pre-dawn start will give us an excellent opportunity to look for the powerful Band-bellied Owl, a rarely seen relative of the more widespread Spectacled Owl, and seemingly more common here than in most parts of its range. As dawn breaks the almost synthesizer-like calls of Fiery-capped Manakins start buzzing through the air, while a monotonous series of grunting calls may draw our attention to the smart Chestnut-tipped Toucanet. Blackish Pewee and the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit are not uncommon in this area, and if we are very fortunate we will also find a fairly widespread but infrequently encountered foothill speciality, the splendid Scaled Fruiteater. Among a multitude of other possibilities are American Swallow-tailed Kite, Painted Parakeet, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Gould’s Jewelfront, Amazonian White-tailed and Collared Trogons, Striolated Puffbird, Gilded Barbet (split from Black-spotted), Golden-collared Toucanet, White-throated, Scale-breasted and Redstained Woodpeckers, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Eastern Woodhaunter, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Rufous-winged Antwren, Black and Scale-backed Antbirds, White-lored Tyrannulet, Yellow-olive and Streaked Flycatchers, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Short-billed, Purple and Green Honeycreepers, Blue, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnises, Thick-billed and Plumbeous Euphonias, Yellow-bellied, Silver-beaked and Olive Tanagers, and Buff-throated Saltator. After lunch we’ll head for Rioja where we may do some night birding at Morro de Calzadas where we have regularly seen Rufous, Blackish and Spot-winged Nightjars, Black –banded and Tropical Screech Owls. Night Hotel in Moyobamba. (B,L,D).

Day 13:

Morning at Morro de Calzadas where we can see an undescribed race of the endemic Misahana Tyrannulet, Lesser Elaenia, Stripe-necked Tody-tyrant, Pale-breasted and hauxwell’s Thrush, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail and more. In the afternoon we’ll move onto Abra Patricia and we’ll concentrate on species we are missing. If any! We’ll spend the night again at Long-whiskered Owlet Lodge.

Day 14:

To-day we’ll retrace our route to Florida and on to Pedro Ruiz and Leymeybamba for the night. We'll make a couple of planned stops along the way, especially for the endemic Buff-bellied Tanager. We plan to be in the pretty Andean town of Leymeybamba before dusk. We have our first chance at Maranon Thrush. Others include Lafraneye’s Piculet, Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper. We have seen roosting Koepckes Screech Owls here. Night at Hotel La Casona in Leymeybamba. (B,L,D)

Day 15:

Early start for Abra Barro Negro. We'll slowly bird the remnant patches of cloud forest and farmlands here and make some planned stops for certain species, such as Coppery Metaltail (endemic) and Russset- mantled Softail (endemic). Other birds here include White-chinned Thistletail, Yellow-scarfed Tanager (endemic) the obscura race of Rufous Antpitta, Large-footed Tapaculo, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Shining Sunbeam, Collared Inca, Mountain Cacique, Purple-backed Thronbill, White-collared Jay, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta. With a picnic lunch we’ll stay out late for Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Yungas Pygmy Owl and Rufous-banded Owl. We will want to visit the Hummingbird feeders at the Leymeybamba Museum which has male Spatulatails attending and 12 other species including the amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird on the same feeder with Spatulatail!. . Our host is archaeologist Adriana Von Hagen and some of us may want to take some time off to visit the well laid out museum which holds the mummies and other artifacts discovered at the Laguna del Condor necropolis. Night Hotel La Casona. (B,L,D)

Day 16:

Dawn breakfast at a side canyon which is greta for Mountain Toucans and Condors. Later We'll drive over Barro Negro Pass and drop into the spectacular Maranon canyon. We should see the pretty Buff-bridled Inca-finch (endemic) in the open Bombax forest and we'll camp near a mango grove that holds a healthy population of Maranon Thrushes (endemic). Other birds to look out for on this day include - Puna Hawk, Andean Lapwing, Andean Flicker, Violet-throated Startfrontlet, Great Sapphirewing and Rufous-capped Antshrike, Baron’s Spinetail, Yellow-tailed Oriole Peruvian Pigeons (endemic) assemble in large groups in the evening. Night in camp. (B,L,D)

Day 17:

We'll spend the whole day birding the west side of the Maranon canyon. Initially birding the riverine and agricultural vegetation, we should see Peruvian Pigeon (endemic). In the Bombax woodland there should be Buff-bridled Inca-finch (endemic) and the endangered Yellow-faced Parrotlet (endemic). We'll slowly bird up the valley side to Limon, where Chestnut-backed Thornbird (endemic) and Gray-winged Inca-finch (endemic) are our targets. Buff-bellied Tanager (endemic) is here too. The afternoon we’ll devote to searching for Jelski’s Chat-tyrant (endemic) and commoner Andean species. In the afternoon we’ll continue to Celendin for the night. Night in Hotel at Celendin. (B,L,D)

Day 18:

Early morning birding in remnant humid forest and Polylepis scrub. On this road we'll make planned stops for some Andean species we may not have seen - Peruvian Sierra-finch, Shining Sunbeam and also stop on the high puna grasslands for Cinclodes, Canasteros, Pipits, Ground-tyrants and Sierra-finches, Rainbow Startfronlet, Black-crested Warbler, Maranon Tit-tyrant, Many-striped Canastero. We’ll make a special effort for the cajamarcae race of the Rufous Antpitta (a for sure split). In the Polylepis we’ll search for Black Metaltail, Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, Baron’s Spinetail, Striated Eartcreeper and Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail. This stretch of road is also one of the best places to see the very rare White-tailed Shrike-tyrant. In the afternoon we’ll stop at a pretty valley to look for Rufous-eared Brush-Finch and Plain-tailed warbling Finch. Night at our hotel in Cajamarca right on the historical main plaza. (B,L,D)

Day 19:

Early morning excursion for the endemic range restricted endemic Great Spinetail. Easier to see species are Buff-bridled Inca-Finch (endemic) White-winged Black Tyrant, Lesser Goldfinch and Fasciated Wren. Other birds we may see include the endemic Plain-tailed Warbling Finch Rufous-chested Tanager and Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant. After seeing the birds we’ll return to Cajamarca and spend the afternoon looking for the endemic and rare Gray-bellied Comet.. Another night in Cajamarca. (B,L,D).

Day 20:

TTransfer to the airport for flight to Lima – we have a few hours in the morning to look for species we may have missed. If time permits we’ll go to Abra Gavilan where we’ll make a top for the endemic Unicolored Tapaculo and we have seen Rufous-backed Inca Finch and Piura Hemispingus here Day use of a hotel in Lima and connecting flights home. B:L Transfer to the airport for flights to Lima and connecting flights home. (B,L)

Notes: This trip, by its very nature and the remoteness of some birding localities visited, necessitates some camping along the way (2 nights). Hotels in Lima, Trujillo, Tarapoto, Chiclayo and Cajamarca are very comfortable. In Jaen, Celendin Leymeybamba, and Olmos they are the best available and adequate. For those who may be put off by camping, please note we go to great lengths to make it as comfortable as possible. Personal tents on a double basis are top of the line Eureka Timberline Outfitters made in the U.S.A (singles by request).We bring along a screened dining tent with folding tables and stools where we eat and do the nightly bird list. We also take a cook tent where our team of cooks prepare all our food in camp and take care of pitching and striking camp. There is a latrine tent set up at all camps and hot water in bowls is available every day. You do no camping duties – our staff will take care of everything.

Departures 2016: August 19 – September 7

2016 Prices per person:
Prices are available upon request.