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MACHU PICCHU/MANU ROAD TOUR

Tour Description

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PERU
BIRDING TOUR
ANY TIME*

Duration:14 days, 13 nights
Group Size:2-6
Anytime Price:$3950
Group Price:$3700
Single Suppl:$525
Est #Species:475-525
Pace:Moderate
Difficulty:Moderate
* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.

DAY 1 - LIMA

Arrive at international airport in Lima where you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Night at Hostal Torreblanca.

DAY 2 - VILLA MARSHES, PUCUSANA, CUSCO

Morning birding at Villa Marshes located 25 min south of Lima. It's the only preserved natural area around Lima, and the bulrushes and tall grasses are home to some interesting species including Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, and Yellow-hooded Blackbird. A number of open water species such as White-cheeked Pintail, White-tufted Grebe, and Great Grebe are normally present. Several coastal gulls are also there, notably Brown-hooded Gull, Belcher's Gull (Band-tailed Gull), and Kelp Gull. Also sometimes present, though often hard to find, is the endemic Peruvian Thick-knee. The nearby coastal beaches attract various terns and shorebirds. From there continue south another half hour to the coastal fishing village of Pucusana. Pucusana is a more reliable place for Peruvian Thick-knee and is also a great place to see the sought-after Inca Tern, the endemic Surf Cinclodes found on the rocky shoreline, and various arid scrub species such as Peruvian Sheartail, Long-tailed Mockingbird, Collared Warbling-Finch, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and Parrot-billed Seedeater. Afternoon flight to Cusco. Night at Hostal Qosqo.

DAY 3 - AGUAS CALIENTES

Morning train to Aguas Calientes, arriving mid-day. After lunch, birding along the Urubamba River and a section of the Inca Trail outside town. The birding is along the busy road leading up to the ruins where one can see Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper on the river. Shrub habitat and trees along the river are good for Inca Flycatcher, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Sclater's Tyrannulet, Bolivian Tyrannulet, and Lemon-browed Flycatcher. Then a flat gravel and dirt side road leading to a section of the Inca Trail along the railroad tracks. The habitat is open secondary forest and thick understory along the embankment. Possible birds along the trail include Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-streaked Puffbird, Ocellated Piculet, Masked Fruiteater, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and White-eared Solitaire. Mixed tanager flocks that may include Rust-colored Tanager, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, and Silver-beaked Tanager are likely in flowering trees. Also possible is Fine-barred Piculet, which sometimes makes an appearance. The endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird is quite common and easily seen though one has to be careful to separate it from the very similar and also quite common White-bellied Hummingbird. Night at Inti Punku Inn.

DAY 4 - MACHU PICCHU & OLLANTAYTAMBO

Early morning take bus up to Machu Picchu. Explore the ruins and look for a few interesting birds found in the scrub nearby and at the top of the trail leading back down the mountain, especially Inca Wren which is best seen there. Also possible are White-tailed Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Blue-capped Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, and Black-backed Grosbeak along with other species. Then bird area outside Aguas Calientes again before lunch. After lunch, transfer by train to the Incan town of Ollantaytambo. Night at Ccpak Inka Ollanta Hotel.

DAY 5 - CARRIZALES, ABRA MALAGA, & HUAYPO LAKE

Pick up by our driver and early start for Carrizales and Abra Malaga, a high mountain pass reaching an altitude of over 14,000 ft above the pass. The Carrizales area is beyond the pass and offers good roadside birding just below tree line. Stunted cloud forest offers birds such as Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Red-crested Cotinga, Parodi's Hemispingus, Moustached Flowerpiercer, and Black-throated Flowerpiercer. Then return to the pass itself, where the habitat is open bush and Polylepis forest. An uphill walk of a few hundred meters through scrub and scrabble should produce the endangered Royal Cinclodes, an uncommon species amidst the more common Cream-winged Cinclodes (a recent split from Bar-winged Cinclodes) and the White-winged Cinclodes. Also usually present is Taczanowski's Ground-Tyrant among the rocks below the ridgeline. Continuing a short way farther up and then over the ridgeline leads to a trail into a patch of Polyepsis forest where one can typically find Blue-mantled Thornbill, Tawny Tit-Spinetail, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Junin Canastero, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, and Giant Conebill. Also possible is the secretive Puna Tapaculo. Checking the steep cliffs often reveals both Brown-bellied Swallow and Andean Swallow. And, it's always possible to detect an Andean Condor soaring overhead. Back at the pass other interesting species include Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch, and sometimes Slaty Finch. Rarely, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe can be spotted along the road going back downslope. A short stop near Peñas is the best place to find White-tufted Sunbeam and sometimes also yields Swallow-tailed Hummingbird.

After lunch in Ollantaytambo, transfer to Cusco with a stop at a new site to pick up Chestnut-bellied Mountain-Finch and an additional stop at Huaypo Lake en route. The open water and shoreline including reed beds and open fields at Huaypo Lake offer likely possibilities such as Puna Teal, Speckled Teal, Southern Pochard, Andean Ruddy Duck, White-tufted Grebe, and Spot-winged Pigeon. Night at Hostal Qosqo in Cusco.

DAY 6 - HUACARPAY LAKES, UPPER MANU ROAD

Depart early for Huacarpay Lakes. The lakes are at high elevation and surrounded by arid montane grassland and scrub. The area is heavily disturbed so water birds previously seen there are often absent (hence the visit to Huaypo Lake the previous day). Nevertheless, the area is still worth a visit. Marshy shores are home to Plumbeous Rail, Wren-like Rushbird, Yellow-winged Blackbird and the beautiful but rare Many-colored Rush-Tyrant. Scrub habitat along the road is often good for the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Chiguanco Thrush, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Band-tailed Sierra-Finch, White-winged Diuca-Finch, and Band-tailed Seedeater. It's also possible to find the spectacular Bearded Mountaineer, which feeds on the tubular yellow flowers of the wild Tree Tobacco growing in the outwash plains nearby. Flocks of Puna Ibis are usually present near the lakes or feeding in wet grassland along the upper Manu Road.

Stop at a restaurant in Paucartambo for lunch. Then continue driving above treeline to Wayqecha Field Station, located at about 10,000 ft in a scrub and alpine woodland zone of the high Andes. En route stop at Ajcanacu Pass, beginning of Manu Biosphere Reserve, to look for Creamy-crested Spinetail and other species. If time permits try for Puna Tapaculo and Diademed Tapaculo in the same area. On clear days Andean Condor may be soaring overhead nearly anywhere above the high mountain valleys. Continue downslope to San Pedro with birding stops en route. Night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

DAY 7 - SAN PEDRO AREA

Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge is one of the original lodges along Manu Road. It's located on the San Pedro River and includes a private forested reserve with an extensive network of trails.

All day bird the San Pedro area above and below the lodge. Among the possibilities are Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Barred Forest-Falcon, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Marcapata Spinetail, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Three-striped Hemispingus, Orange-throated Tanager, Yellow-throated Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Cuzco Brush-Finch, and Short-billed Chlorospingus. Sometimes seen along this stretch of road is the rare Greater Scythebill and the elusive Yungas Manakin. Sometimes a raucous flock of White-browed Jays makes an appearance. Crested Quetzal and Golden-headed Quetzal are possible as well. It seems every visit produces a surprising rarity. Cock-of-the-Rock can often be seen along the road. Night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

DAY 8 - LOWER MANU ROAD & AMAZONIA LODGE

Optional early visit to a lek if Cock-of-the-Rock not seen previous day. Then morning birding a short distance up and down Manu Road from lodge entrance looking for mixed flocks, providing another chance for Plushcap if not seen the previous day. Sometimes appearing is Amazonian Umbrellabird, which nests in the area. After breakfast, depart for the lowlands, birding all morning along the lower Manu Road. The road continues through forest for some distance until reaching some villages and eventually the town of Atalaya Manu on the Madre de Dios River. The zone between 800-1500m is of special interest because a tanager new to science has been seen but remains undescribed. Likely birds along the lower Manu Road include Versicolored Barbet, Lanceolated Monklet, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Round-tailed Manakin and Parodi's Hemispingus. Other possibilities include Speckle-faced Parrot, Chestnut-collared Swift, Russet Antshrike, White-browed Antbird, Variegated Bristle-Tyrant, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Masked Fruiteater, Violaceous Jay, Yellow-throated Tanager, Golden-collared Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Masked Tanager, Purple Honeycreeper, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Ashy-throated Chlorospingus, Dusky-green Oropendola, Purple-throated Euphonia, Golden-rumped Euphonia, and Blue-naped Chlorophonia.

Arrive at the river by mid-afternoon. From there take a 15-min boat ride upriver to Amazonia Lodge. Late that afternoon bird some trails through the extensive lowland forest around the lodge. Among the possibilities are Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Short-crested Flycatcher, Purplish Jay, Masked Crimson Tanager, and Orange-backed Troupial, Russet-backed Oropendola. Night at Amazonia Lodge.

DAYS 9-10 - AMAZONIA LODGE

Over 600 species have been recorded around Amazonia Lodge, and it's worth spending two full days birding there. Such high species diversity is a reflection of the many micro-habitats present within the rainforest around the lodge. Flocks of Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Military Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, and perhaps the rare Blue-headed Macaw are regularly seen overhead. Other parrots around the property include White-eyed Parakeet, Dusky-headed Parrot, and Blue-headed Parrot. An oxbow lake cut off from the river is home to bizarrely primitive Hoatzin's that may demonstrate their impressive displays. Extensive stands of bamboo within the forest are home to Bamboo Antshrike. Many species of antbirds are present, often in mixed species flocks following army ant swarms. The typical flock leader is Bluish-slate Antshrike, which is quite common. Species likely to be seen include Great Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Plain-winged Antshrike, White-shouldered Antshrike, White-eyed Antwren, Gray Antwren, Blackish Antbird, Black Antbird, White-browed Antbird, Silvered Antbird, Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Goeldi's Antbird, and quite possibly the strikingly colored Black-spotted Bare-eye. Along forest trails typical species include Blue-crowned Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, Black-fronted Nunbird, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Plain Softtail, Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner, Plain Tyrannulet, Pink-throated Becard, Fiery-capped Manakin, Golden-bellied Warbler, Turquoise Tanager, and Black-faced Dacnis. Rarities such as Black-capped Tinamou (heard much more often than seen), Buckley's Forest-Falcon, Red-billed Scythebill, Amazonian Antpitta, and Johannes's Tody-Tyrant are always possible. With special effort one can ferret out Rusty-belted Tapaculo, a secretive bird often seen if everyone is very quiet. Mid-day is a good time for watching hummingbirds at the feeders. Most notable is Rufous-crested Coquette, which usually has a territory behind the lodge and feeds among the butterfly bushes in the gardens. Other hummingbirds include Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Koepcke's Hermit, Needle-billed Hermit, Gould's Jewelfront, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire, and White-chinned Sapphire. Optional birding after dark could produce Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Great Potoo, and Long-tailed Potoo. Nights at Amazonia Lodge.

DAY 11 - MANU ROAD & WAYQECHA

Morning birding around the lodge. After lunch, take boat back to Atalaya town and then re-trace our route back upslope to Wayqecha Biological Station with some birding stops en route. Arrive late afternoon. Night at Wayqecha Biological Station.

DAY 12 - WAYQECHA & CUSCO

Morning bird along Manu Road above the lodge. In the forested ravine and among stunted trees along the road possible birds include Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan and mixed tanager flocks featuring Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, and Golden-collared Tanager. Possibilities along the road in alpine scrub include Peruvian Piedtail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, d'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant, Collared Jay, Blue-capped Tanager, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, and Black-faced Brush-Finch. Then transfer to Cusco. Night at Hostal Qosqo.

Morning free time to explore the city. Mid-day transfer to the airport for flight back to Lima. End of tour at the airport. Overnight flights home.

DAY 14 - ARRIVAL HOME

Overnight flights reach North America and connecting flights early this morning (not included in tour price).

 

TOUR NOTES

Hotel upgrades available in Lima, Cusco, and Aguas Calientes for additional charge. Air fare within Peru not included (about $400 RT).

 

ADDITIONAL INFO
(Not on Menu Above)

BIRDING LOCALES

 

Belcher's Gull - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours Cream-winged Cinclodes - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours White-browed Chat-Tyrant - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Hooded Mountain-Tanager - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours Barred Forest-Falcon - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Andean Cock-of-the-rock - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Versicolored Barbet - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Orange-backed Troupial - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours Rufous-crested Coquette - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Bluish-fronted Jacamar - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Slender-billed Miner - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours