Photographer: Ian Merrill
A week at the comfortable Manu Wildlife Centre This trip has several major birding attractions - the Macaw lick in which hundreds of brightly colored macaws and other parrots congregate to eat the clay which is essential to their digestion making it certainly one of the world's great birding spectacles and the world’s only known Tapir lick where in the comfort of mattresses and mosquito nets you may watch , apart from Tapirs, small forest Parakeets and Parrotlets, Spix's Guans, Blue-throated Piping Guans and Razor-billed Curassows. Canopy towers enable access to the rainforest canopy and birds seldom seen from the rainforest floor. Spacious, floating catamarans ensure good looks at birds on ox-bow lakes.
Day 1: Arriving in Lima we either transfer to our hotel in Lima or arrive on overnight flights and connect to Cusco (IT IS A LONG DRIVE ON DAY 2 AND WE HIGHLY RECCOMEND YOU SPEND THE NIGHT BEFORE THIS IN CUSCO SO AS TO GET AN EARLY START NEXT DAY). B
Day 2: Early morning flight to Cusco and immediate departure with one of our vehicles and reliable drivers to Amazonia Lodge. It’s a spectacular drive thru the Andes and Cloud Forests. Here in the evening you will meet the rest of the group who have been birding the Cloud Forests. B:L:D
Day 3: Early morning birding near Amazonia Lodge in search of species we have missed. As the day begins to warm, we will head down the Alto Madre de Dios river in our motorized canoes to its confluence with the Manu River (about 4 hours), and then on for another two hours to the very comfortable Manu Wildlife Center, jointly owned by Manu Expeditions and the Peru Verde conservation group. This lodge facility is designed to take visitors, but there are usually biologists here conducting scientific research, often ornithologists. Accommodations are first class in bungalows with en-suite bath, hot water and with adjoining spacious dining and bar complexes. On the river journey, we will have the opportunity to see some of the typical riverside species such as Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Fasciated Tiger-heron, Orinoco Goose, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Tern. Flyovers will include many species of Macaws and Parrots, and this is our opportunity for some Bird of Prey observations. The river trip is a pleasure as we leave the last foothills and enter the Amazon proper. Our boats are roofed with comfortable padded bucket seats. We plan to arrive at the Manu Wildlife Center in the late afternoon. Night Manu Wildlife Center. B:L:D
Day 4 to 9: Six full days based at the Manu Wildlife Center. Situated just upriver from the Blanquillo Macaw Lick. There will be the opportunity on one morning to visit the Macaw lick and observe the spectacle of hundreds of Parrots and Macaws at close quarters from our blinds. Here we will see the beautiful Orange-cheeked Parrot, hundreds of Blue-headed Parrots as well as Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrots. Smaller visitors include White-eyed, Cobalt-winged and Dusky-cheeked parrotlets. The rest of the time will be spent birding the extensive trail systems which have been designed to visit different forest types. The area around this lodge has the most forest types of anywhere in the Manu area, and thus the highest bio-diversity - which means the most species of birds. Large stands of Bamboo hold many local and much sought after species, and coupled with the extensive Varzea, Terra Firme and Mature Transitional Floodplain Forest, this means a mind-boggling variety of bird-life. Although investigation on birds is in its early stages we expect this lodge area to hold more species of birds than anywhere else in the world and the bird list is already 585+. We will spend time at a canopy observation tower accessed by a spiral metal stairway watching canopy flocks which include Sclater’s Antwren, Chestmut-winged and Lineated Foliage-gleaners, Three-striped Flycatcher, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and a multitude of Tanagers, Dacnis and Honeycreepers. Some of the more interesting and unusual species we will be searching for in the Bamboo include - Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu Antbird (common here), Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-flycatcher, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Peruvian Recurvebill, Dusky-cheeked and Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaners, Ihring’s and Ornate Antwren, White-lined Antbird, Striated Antbird and more. We will certainly look for one of the 5 singing Rufous-fronted Antthrushes we have located on territory here. Some of the scarcer forest species we will be on the lookout for that we have seen here previously include: Bartlett’s Tinamou, Razor-billed Currasow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Sunbittern, Elusive Antpitta (2 territories) Pavonine Quetzal, Purus Jacamar, Striolated Puffbird, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Colared Puffbird, Ruddy Spinetail, Plain Softail, Striped Woodhaunter, Banded Antbird, Ash-throated Gnateater, White-throated Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Black-faced Cotinga, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-bellied Tody-tyrant, Royal Flycatcher, Musician Wren, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak to name but a few. We will also visit Ox-bow lakes in the area where we will see lakeside birds including Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Agami Heron, Greater Large-billed Seed-finch, Silvered and Band-tailed Antbirds, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Rufous-sided Crake, Gray-breasted Crake and we may be lucky and see one of the two Giant Otter families that live in the area. Night birding may produce Long-tailed, Great and Gray Potoo’s, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Spectacled Owl, Ocellated Poorwill and Silky-tailed Nightjar amongst others. A visit to the large mammal lick in the forest, apart from attracting Tapirs, Peccaries and maybe a Jaguar, also attracts Guans, Curassows, Chachalacas as well as Rose-fronted and Rock Parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlet. All nights at the Manu Wildlife Centre. B:L:D.
Day 10: Early start on our comfortable boats and our last look at early morning Parrot flocks. Our journey down the Madre de Dios River takes us past pristine forest until the town of Boca Colorado. It will be a great chance to see riverside birds and raptors. Leaving our boat we’ll take one hour ride in local transport to the Inambari River where our bus will be waiting on the other bank to take us, birding along the way, into the bustling frontier town of Puerto Maldonado where we’ll stay at our comfortable hotel. B:L:D
Day 11: Early morning birding around the airport and the road to Cusco. We should pick up a lot of new species in these few hours including seedeaters, Red-breasted Blackbird and White-tailed Kite. Other birds we’ll be on the lookout for include Grassland Sparrow, Gray-breasted Crake, Black-faced Tanager, Barred Antshrike, Crested Caracara, Lesser – Yellow-headed Vulture, Small–billed Tinamou, Rusty-margined and Sulphury Flycatchers etc. Point –tailed Palmcreeper is common and Black-banded Crake is a possibility. Morning Lan Peru Airbus 319 flight to Lima (or Cusco if joining post tour extensions) and connecting international flights. We’ll provide day use of a hotel in Lima for relaxing before your international flight or overnight if needed. B:
Does not include air Lima - Cusco & Puerto Maldonado – Lima but we will purchase these on request – the price depends on when we get your full name, deposit and passport numbers – you can check current prices at www.LAN.com, www.StarPeru.com