Day 1. Birdwatching Puerto Maldonado - Heath River Lodge
Depending on when we leave Puerto Maldonado, we should have time to do some birding at Heath RIver Lodge in the afternoon. Habitat is floodplain Amazon rain forest with high diversity of rain forest birds.
Day 2. Birding Heath River Lodge-Puerto Juliaca.
First we shall visit the Macawlick close to the Lodge. Yellow-crowned Parrot, Blue-headed Parrot and Chestnut-fronted Macaws are the first to gather at the mud wall. Then come Mealy Parrots Dusky-headed Parakeets and Peach-fronted Parakeets. Finally large numbers of Red-and-Green Macaw start arriving together with individuals of Blue-and-Yellow Macaws. There are often other parrots around such as Orange-eared Parrot, Cobalt-winged and White-eyed Parakeet.
The show is over around 9 to 9.30 and we shall continue up river for four-five hours or so to our campsite. On the way we will see typical birds such as Yellow-billed and Large-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, American Wood-Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Black Hawk, Ringed, Green and Amazon Kingfisher, Drab Water-Tyrant, White-winged, White-banded and Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Capped Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Muscovy Duck, Sunbittern and overhead Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, King Vulture, Gray-headed Kite, and various species of Macaws, Parrots and Parakeets.
On the river stretch beyond Heath Wildlife Center is our best chance to spot a Jaguar. We had excellent views of a female resting on a log next to the river in May 2014.
Day 3-4. Birds and mammals on Pampa Juliaca.
Pampa Julica is the main section of two plots of total only 6,549 ha savanna on the Peruvian side of Heath River. On the Bolivian side the grassland habitat is much larger. The grassland is maintained by regular fires mostly started by the native Ese’eja communities. To get to the pampa we have to hike 3 km through good Amazonian rain forest with species such as Curl-crested Aracari, White-bellied Parrot, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Paradise Jacamar, Elegant Woodcreper, Black-faced Antbird, Pygmy Antwren, Chestnut-crested, Ruddy and Olive-backed Foliage-gleaners, Golden-crowned Spadebill, White-bellied Tody-Tyrant and Thrush-like Schiffornis are regularly recorded along the trail.
The grassland is what will attract most of our interest. We shall have two full days to explore it. Ocellated Crake, White-headed Woodpecker, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail Rufous-backed Antwren, Black-masked Finch and White-browed Blackbirds are quite common. Peach-fronted Parakeet and Red-shouldered Macaws fly over regularly. On our May 2014 expedition Alex Durand spotted a Maned Wolf. Pampas del Heath is one of the few places in Peru where one can see White-tailed Hawk.
The highest diversity will occur after recent fire, but the area always rewards with several species which are difficult in the remainder of Peru.
Day 5. Pampa Juliaca-Heath River Lodge.
We shall have yet another morning at Pampa Juliaca, before we continue down-river to Heath River Lodge.
Day 6. Birdwatching Heath River Lodge-Puerto Maldonado.
Either we do a pre-dawn hike through the forest to reach the Bolivian part of the savanna, or we bird on the trail nearby the lodge. In mid-morning we continue to Puerto Maldonado. End of tour. Either stay in Puerto Maldonado or take a comfortable sleeper nightbus to Cusco.