Birding program – Manu National Park 08 days private service

Day 01: Cusco – Huacarpay – Acjanacu- Pillahuata – San Pedro
We depart from Cusco around 04:30 a.m. arriving at Lake Huarcarpay 30 minutes later. Here we take time and spend the entire day observing highland lake and marsh birds. The best is to follow the road that goes around the lake and start seeing most of the waterfowl typical of Andean wetlands including grebes, ducks, gallinules and coots. The wet grasslands in front of the marsh are good for shorebirds and Andean Negrito. We can look for occasional migrants such as the Hudsonian Godwit (rare) and Baird’s Sandpiper. The many- Coloured Rush-Tyrant and two endemic, the Rusty-fronted Canastero that can be seen around the ruins on the hillside above the Lake and a spectacular hummingbird, the Bearded Mountaineer.

We continue to the interesting tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as “Chullpas”. We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town and walk the surrounding area and semi-humid montane scrub where a Taczanowski’s Tinamou has been reported here. Common to see around are: White-rufted Sunbeam, Creamy-crested Spintail, Cinereous Conebill, Torrent Duck. Our vehicle wll take us up to Acjanacu pass with its elfin forest marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Birders stay the night here because it is possible to see White-browed chat-tyrant, the Chestnut-breasted mountain-finch, Puna Thistle tail, Paramo Pipit, Diademed Tapaculo, Puna Tapaculo, Masked flowerpiercer, Golden-colared Tanager, Drab hemispingus and small mixed flocks with among others. We walk down to Pillahuata site located in upper montane humid forest also known as the Coshñipata Valley where the bird species are quite different from Acjanacu. It’s possible to see many different species of birds such as the Hooded Tinamou, Stripe-faced Wood-Quail, Golden plumed parakeet, Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Gould’s Inca, Blue-banded Toucanet, Crimson –mantled Woodpecker, Sierran Elaenia, White-collared Jay, Mountain Cacique. It is the best simply to bird your way slowly along the road. There will be plenty of activity, specially at down, with several specialities to look for. After the first tunnel, we stop at the mixed bamboo patch on the left and try for Rusty-breasted Antpitta, and the endemic Red-and White Antpitta, which is often quite vocal in the morning. At the second tunnel the vegetation becomes more luxuriant, look for the Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager, Tawny-rumped tyrannuler, Band-tailed Fruiteater and the barred Fruiteater in the mixed flocks, as well as Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan.

One bird to look out for in mixed folcks is the vividly-colouder Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher and the same thing for the spectacular Greater Scythebill.

Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2,000 and 3,500 m.a.s.l., and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird from a platform. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange, and as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called Lek. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast spend the entire day birding walking on the road. The Manu road provides one of the best opportunities in Peru to bird upper tropical forest. Many of the most interesting and sought-after birds in the Manu road occur in this zone from about 900 – 1,700m.a.s.l. We have to concentrate on the good lower montane forest along the road, looking for mixed folcks of brilliant-spoted Hummingbirds. The Peruvian Piedtail is common to see. This day we spend all day birding and we hope to see Andean and White- eared solitaires, the Green Jay, the Blue-banded Toucanet, the Yungas Manakin, the astonishing Versicolored Barbet and arrange of tanager species. Overnight at Orquideas de San Pedro Lodge.

Day 02: San Pedro – Erika Lodge
As we continue our journey to lowlands, we stop in Patria where the cattle peasures and secondary forest are good for seedeaters and other open habitat species of birds as the Orange-breasted Falcon, Military macaw, green-fronted lancebill, golden-collared honeycreeper and others.

Atalaya overlooks is outstanding for viewing macaws. From Atalaya port, we board our covered, motorized canoe and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River until Erika Lodge, where we will have the opportunity to walk through the interesting trails. This lodge is situated in the transition zone of the Andean foothills and the lowland rainforest. It has many more species of hummingbirds then is normally present in a rainforest lodge.

Among 30 species of hummingbirds on their list is the endemic Rufus- webbed Brilliant. Here we find the Rufus –vented Ground Cuckoo, the gray-necked woddrail, Blackish rail and Rufus-sided cracked.

Close to a small lake there are Purple Gallinules, Hoatzins, Lesser kiskades and occasionally Pygmy Kingfishers and sun grebes. After lunch we follow an interesting trail, going up to the ridge at 1000 m.a.s.l. where we encounter mixed bird flocks. This higher area is also home of the emerald toucanet, ornate flycatcher, orange fronted plush crown and the uncommon tawny-faced gnat wren, umbrella bird among others.

We to board our boat, and after five minutes, we will arrive to a Parrot Lick “Collpa”, which is a wall of clay in the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the blue headed parrot, white-eyed parakeet, feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. After this we spend the day, as we bird the trails, remember that this site gets birds from the lowlands like the Amazonian Streaked-Antwren, as well as some species typical of high elevations.

Day 03: Erika –Boca Manu
We rise early in the morning, as the forest is awakened by the Red Howler monkey (Aloatta seniculus) declaring its territory. A morning walk before breakfast is a great way to catch wildlife in the pursuit of food, as the temperature is very pleasant at this time of day.

We board our boat and continue downstream the Alto Madre de Dios River and observe rives species of bird life such as the Rosette Spoonbill, Egrets, etc. The rarely seen Peruvian Recurvebill and Dusky-tailed Flatbill are seasonal and August and September seems to be a good time to see them. Overnight al Boca Manu Lodge.

Day 04: Boca Manu - Salvador Lake
After registering in the official tourist logbook at Limonal, the Park Rangers Headquarters we follow the Manu River until we arrive Salvador Lake, our base safari campsite (screened double rooms, dining room, bathrooms, radio communication is available). This canoe ride gives us the opportunity to observe the immensity of the rainforest and the diversity of birdlife, reptiles and mammals.

You will often see animals sunning themselves on beaches, or foraging for food in the trees lining the riverbanks. We arrive early in the afternoon and have lunch before setting off on a jungle trail. Our time is spent looking for wildlife inside the rainforest and on Salvador Oxbow Lake, until the sun goes down and we return to camp. We explore Salvador Lake by paddling quietly along on a catamaran, giving us the opportunity to observe unique species of birds, monkeys, caimans and with luck the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). This endangered species can be seen swimming, fishing, eating and playing.

The 20 minutes walk from the river to the lake takes you through a nice forest. The epigone trail around the lake has a good selection of bird species where we should be looking for the range-restricted black-faced Cotinga. Overnight in the safari campsite.

Day 05: Salvador – Otorongo Lakes
Very early we visit Salvador Lake because birding from the catamaran while been paddled around the lake makes for a very pleasant and memorable birding experience with all of the lake specialities possible:

Agami heron, Slender-billed Kite, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Long-crested Pygmy tyrant, Hawk-Eagle, Hairy-crested Ant bird, purple-throated Cotinga and many others. After relaxing we cross the river to walk an 8-km trail to another oxbow lake called Otorongo. A strategically located observation tower rises 15 meters above the lake and the jungle floor, giving us more chances to observe wildlife including the Giant Otter.

It is possible to see species of birds such as the Painted parakeet, Black-Capped Parakeet Mottled Owl, Lined Forest Falcon, Ihering’s Antwren, Manu Aitbird, and many others. Late in the afternoon we will use the catamaran and with the help of flashlights we can observe the black caimans rise from the depths of the lake and begin their search for prey. Back to Salvador before the sunset. Overnight in the safari campsite.

Day 06: Salvador – Boca Manu- Blanquillo Reserve
Once again we wake up early, enjoy a brief morning walk and eat breakfast, then pack up camp and go down stream the interesting Manu River. We arrive at Boca Manu midday, this village is situated a short distance from the confluence of the Manu and Alto Madre de Dios rivers and continue down and out of Manu National Park to Tambo Blanquillo Lodge, a paradise for bird watching enthusiasts. This is a great opportunity to view some magnificent humming birds like the White-necked Jacobin, Festive- coquette, and Golden-tailed Saphire sap some nectar of the flowers within the vicinity of our installations. It is very common during the mating season, to also observe the skillful Oropéndolas (Montezuma oropendola) craft their innovative nests located within the trees around the main dining room.

Day 07: Blanquillo - Erika Lodge
We will wake up before sunrise (at about 5:00 am) and head to the Macaw Clay Lick After a 15-minute boat ride and a 45- minute hike through a secondary forest, we will reach the Claylick.

A comfortable giant blind, located only 50 meters away from the Clay Lick enables you to have the best possible position for the show that will be displayed by the birds. The blind is located so close to the lick that you will not even need zoom on you cameras! As the sun rises an explosion of life and color will burst before our eyes as hundreds of parrots and dozens of Macaws eat clay in order to get their right PH balance leveled.

After this amazing, exhausting but unique experience we will return to the lodge and wait for our earlu lunch. This is a great opportunity to view some magnificent humming birds like the White-necked Jacobin, Festive- coquette, and Golden-tailed Saphire sap some nectar of the flowers within the vicinity of our installations. We pack and continue on the Madre de Dios and Alto Madre de Dios Rivers to get our Erika Lodge.

Day 08: Erika Lodge - Cusco
After have breakfast immediately we board our boat to Atalaya Port where the bus will drive us back to Cusco city; we have lunch on the way, arriving late in the evening. Transfer to the hotel in Cusco. END OF OUR SERVICES.


Guest comments

Excellent guides and staff. As a course instructor, I really appreciated their attention to detail, their professionalism and their warmth. I am happy to do this course again with this group. Gracias!!...

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