NORTH PERÚ MEGAS – BARBET, OWLET, WHITE MASKED ANTBIRD AND SPATULETAIL & MORE
Scarlet-banded BarbetPhotographer: Alex Durand
WWe first visited North Peru in the early 80’s when travelling with Dr Niels Krabbe who was researching the milestone book “Birds of the High Andes. Whilst many have copied Barry Walker’s pioneering trip we are still exploring. This trip makes a transect from Tarapoto in the Huallaga Valley to Abra Patricia and takes in some of the most enigmatic birds in Peru. On this trip we will look for Scarlet-banded Barbet, White-masked Antbird, Long-whiskered Owlet, Marvelous Spatuletail, Pale-billed Antpitta not to mention a host of other special birds to North Peru.
NO CAMPING ON THIS TRIP
Day 1: LIMA TO TARAPOTO
We’ll take a flight from Lima to Tarapoto arriving around noon. We'll head out birding with a picnic lunch for the afternoon to 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 Yellow-breasted), Boat-billed and Piratic Flycatchers, Buff-breasted Wren, Varzea Thrush, Ashy- headed Greenlet, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Red-eyed Vireo Night at a very nice local hotel set in a tropical garden B:L:D
Day 2: TARAPOTO TO FLOR DE CAFE
To day we head of to an isolated outlying ridge. Here, intrepid birding explorer friend Todd Mark discovered an accessible site for the almost legendary Scarlet-banded Barbet – we will have time to look around for the Barbet and do some afternoon birding on arrival as our camp cooks and helpers set up our shop in a local family run hotel. The rooms are fine and we’ll bring mosquito nets. We may want to look for Vermiculated Screech Owl in the evening. B:L:D
Day 3: FLOR DE CAFE
A Full day in the Barbet area. Although the Scarlet-banded Barbet is our main target we will also be looking for other interesting birds in the area. Great birds we have seen here include: Scaled, Fiery-throated and Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters, the Foothill race of Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Grey-tailed Piha, Rose-fronted Parakeet, Foothill and Slaty Antwren, Foothill Schiffornis, Short-tailed Antthrush, Ash-browed and Chestnut-throated Spinetails, Yellow-throated Spadebill and a multicolored variety of Tanagers. Andean Lanisoma has been seen here too as well as Roraiman Flycatcher and Jet, Yungas and Blue-rumped Manakin. Tangers abound including Blue-browed and Straw-backed. Night at our small hotel. B:BL:D
DAY 4: FLOR DE CAFE TO TARAPOTO
Some morning birding as our staff arranges all our gear and then we head straight off on the road to Tarapoto with some stops along the way. We'll stay at the same comfortable hotel with all amenities. Night at Tarapoto B:BL:D
Day 5: TARAPOTO TO YURIMAGUAS
This is a full days birding transfer to Yurimaguas on a paved road. This morning we'll leave early to visit an area mountain range known as “La Escalera” on the road to Yurimaguas. This is a newly paved road that ascends a ridge visible from east of Tarapoto. Here we have a chance of seeing Koepckeʼs Hermit, Rose-fronted Parakeet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, and Dotted Tanager among many others. The Hummingbird feeders here are the main reason we will visit this site This is one of the few localities in Peru where Plumbeous Euphonia can be found. Exploring on the way we'll arrive at our resort hotel with swimming pool and all for leisurely night, cold beer and a leisurely start next day for another exciting segment of the trip. Night in Yurimaguas. B:BL:D
DAY 6: YURIMAGUAS TO SAN LORENZO
Our small plane flight to San Lorenzo on the Maranon River will leave in the morning – what time – no one knows! However on arrival we'll immediately head out by local transport to a patch of forest where Fabrice Schmitt found a population of the enigmatic White-masked Antbird in 2013. Previously, to see this bird you had to be on expedition status to the Morona River, so this is really the first time this "lost" bird is available. The balance of the day will be spent birding the highly diverse forest. Night a rustic but clean hotel with en suite bathrooms B:BL:D
DAY 7: WHITE – MASKED ANTBIRD
Full Day in the area with priority being given to the Antbird. Of course we'll see much more as we look for it. This species likes army ants and we'll try and find a swarm where it will be for sure in attendance but if we do not it will also come into playback if in the mood. Also here are Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Black Bushbird, Three-striped Flycatcher, Lunulated Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser and a host of others. Night in our small hotel B:L:D
DAY 8: SAN LORENZO TO WANKANKI LODGE
Flight to Yurimaguas and then we head straight off on the road to Tarapoto and Moyobamba with some birding along the way and a stop at an Oilbird gorge we know where the birds are easily seen on their roosting ledges. Night at Wakanqui Lodge B:BL:D
DAY 9: WANKANKI LODGE
We may want to do some pre dawn Owling where we have regularly seen Rufous, Blackish and Spot-winged Nightjars, Black –banded and Tropical Screech Owls.. Here we can see the endemic Mishana Tyrannulet, Lesser Elaenia, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, Pale-breasted Spinetail, and surprisingly the newly described Varzea Thrush is here too! Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant and more. The valley near the lodge has some interesting species but we will have seen them at the Barbet Camp so our main afternoon birding here will be the Hummingbird feeders, which produce quite a show. The hummer garden is amazing: with many species possible there including White-chinned Sapphire, White-necked Jacobin, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Black-throated Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette and much much more. We may explore for the endemic Ash-throated Antwren and sometimes we can find Stygian Owl. Night at Wanquanki Lodge B:L:D
Day 10: WANKANKI LODGE TO ABRA PATRICIA AND OWLET LODGE
We'll bird our way to Abra patricia today. Our first stop should produce Point-tailed Palmcreeper, maybe Pale-eyed Blackbird, Black-billed seed-Finch and Cinereous-breasted Spinetail then we'll move onto the lower elevations of Abra Patricia and eventually arrive at the very birdy Owlet Lodge B:L:D
Day 11-13: OWLET LODGE AND ABRA PATRICIA
Three 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 Owlet Lodge, which has White-throated Screech Owl and Rufous-banded Owl in the garden. We may bump into mixed flocks with Blue-browed, Metallic-green and other Tanagers.
Exploring side trails we may see the new Lulu'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 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). Streak-headed Antbird, Rufous-vented Tapaculo (endemic), Golden-faced Tyrannulet, 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 will concentrate on a search for Long-whiskered Owlet and we will certainly be trying for this at least one or two nights, but we'll not ignore Cinnamon and White-throated Screech-Owl. 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 specialties 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-colored 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, Yellow-throated 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.
One day we'll leave early and dawn and breakfast will find us at the San Lorenzo trail (Anther San Lorenzo!) which is known to hold Pale-billed Antpitta & Rusty-tinged Antpitta as well as Russet-mantled Softtail. Patches of good cloud forest remain. Possibilities here that we have seen in the past include: Torrent Duck, Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Colared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Golden-headed Quetzal, Versicolored Barbet, Gray-breasted Mountain- toucan, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, White-tailed and White-banded Tyranulets, 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. Later we'll visit the Huembo Marvelous Spatuletail reserve and we'll give priority to Marvelous Spatuletail, which comes to the feeders along with Little Woodstar, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Andean Emerald, Bronzy Inca and White-bellied Woodstar amongst others. 2 Nights Owlet Lodge and last night in Tarapoto. B:L:D
Day 14: Some morning birding near Tarapoto and then to the airport for the noon flight to Lima and homeward connections. B.
IMPORTANT NOTES: Hotels in towns are comfortable and with en suite bathroom except the two nights looking for the Barbet where bathrooms and showers are shared. For those who may be put off by this adventurous trip please note we go to great lengths to make it as comfortable as possible with folding tables and chairs for field breakfasts and lunches, We also take a cook to prepare our meals in the field. Our staff will take care of everything.
The charter flight to San Lorenzo is not included and is complex so each participant will be asked to bring cash USD (around $300 USD) for this flight and the tour leader will organize all.
Does not include air Lima – Tarapoto – Lima but we will do this on request – the price depends on when we get your full name, deposit and passport numbers – you can check current prices at www.LATAM.com