Day 1. Saturday. Cusco-ACCA Esperanza research station (2700m).
On the first flight of the day at 6.00 AM, you shall be flying from Lima to Cusco. Plan your arrival to Lima at the latest 3.40 AM if you travel light with hand luggage only and 3 AM if you are bringing suitcases. At your arrival in Cusco, you shall board our bus and be taken to Huacarpay lake to look or Bearded Mountaineer and other birds of the lake.
It will take a good five-six hours before we reach good forest, but there are many highland species that can be seen on the way such as Mountain Parakeet, Black-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Cinereous Ground-Tyrant and Spot-winged Pigeon.
Birding the temperate woodland beyond Tres Cruces, we will specifically look for Puna Thistletail and Diademed Tapaculo. Lower down we may find the endemic Red-and-White Antpitta. Yungas Pygmy-Owl and species like Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet, Hooded, Grass-Green and Scarlet-breasted Mountain-Tanager can be seen near Esperanza and the ACCA research station where we will spend the night. B. L. D.
Day 2. Sunday ACCA - Cock-of-the Rock Lodge
Further down we may be lucky with White-throated Antpitta, Crimson-backed Woodpecker, Blue-banded Toucanet, White-eared and Andean Solitaires, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Scaly-naped Parrot, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and many more. In the late afternoon we shall arrive to the Cock of the Rock lek. We will spend the night at the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.
Day 3. Monday. Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. The private reserve around the lodge holds a number of good birds such as Long-tailed Antbird, Dusky-Green Oropendula, Yungas Manakin, Black-billed Treehunter, Orange-eared Tanager, Versicolored Barbet and Black-and-Chestnut and Solitary Eagles. The permanent mixed species flock around the camp contains species like Yellow-rumped Antwren and Cinnamon-faced and Bolivian Tyrannulet. Other birds include Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Crested Quetzal, Uniform Antshrike and Golden-collared Tanager. At the lodge clearing there are feeders and blue vervain flowers where hummingbirds like Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Booted Raquet-tail and Wire-crested Thorntail. Peruvian Piedtail and Rufous-webbed Brilliants are rare but sometimes seen. There is also an apparently new form of Otus to look out for - something in between Black-and-White and Black-banded Owl – the same that is known from San Isidro in Ecuador.
Day 4. Tuesday. Cock-of-the Rock Lodge - Amazonia Lodge. Continued birding in the vicinity of Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the morning. Specifically, we shall be looking for a new soon to be described tanager that lives in the bamboo. In the afternoon we will continue to Pilcopata at 1000m and look for specialties such as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Peruvian Piedtail, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Black-streaked Puffbird, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet and Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher. The bamboo holds species like Ornate Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant.Sometimes Wholly Monkeys are seen along this stretch.
Beyond the frontier town of Pilcopata we cross some low hills reaching 1000m, with scenic views over the Alto Madre de Dios river, which also sometimes permit views of Military and Blue-headed Macaw and Wattled Guan. Other birds recorded on this stretch include Fine-barred Piculet, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Russet Antshrike, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Plum-throated and Spangled Cotingas, Yellow-billed Nunbird and Pheasant Cuckoo. In the late afternoon we cross the river to Amazonia Lodge.
Day 5. Wednesday. Amazonia Lodge.
At Amazonia Lodge we shall be checking out the blue vervain for hummingbirds. Rufous-crested Coquette is one of the specialties here. Special features at Amazonia Lodge include a good canopy tower up the ridge trail and the famous jeep-track, which is very good for crossing Tinamous (including Black-capped Tinamou). B. L. D.
Day 6. Thursday. Amazonia Lodge-Amazon Manu Lodge
At Amazonia lodge the specialties include Koepcke's Hermit, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta, Fiery-capped Manakin and many more. After breakfast we will travel down Alto Madre de Dios river to Boca Manu. In the afternoon we shall visit the nearby Cocha to try to see the resident Giant Otter family. There are also good birds nearby such as Rufous-fronted Antthrush and Pale-eyed Blackbird. By nightfall we reach Amazon Manu Lodge where we shall stay in very comfortable cabins with private bath and hot showers. This a very small lodge with only 4 cabins (and three more planned). There are two tapir clay licks nearby. Those that still have energy may do a night walk to the one of these. Sometimes Red-brocket dear and Ocelots are also seen near the lick. B. L. D.
Day 7. Friday. Amazon Manu Lodge.
Full day at the trails of Amazon ManuLodge. There is a great trail system at the camp which includes both terra firme and varzea like forest, heliconia thickets, aguajales (palm swamps) and extensive bamboo with all the specialists including Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Pavonine Cuckoo, Rufous-headed Woodpecker and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo. Monkeys are plentiful including Black Spider Monkey, Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarin. Pale-winged Trumpeters and Razor-billed Curassows are often seen. Night at Amazon Manu Lodge.
Day 8. Saturday. Macawlick, Cocha Camungo and Cocha Blanco.
Early morning start to reach the famous Macaw lick. One of the true natural wonders where Blue-headed and Mealy Parrots and White-eyed Parakeet later are replaced by large raucous Red-and-Green Macaws. The rest of the morning we will spend time at the tower of Cocha Camungo for canopy species and/or walk the trails. The trails are good for Banded Antbird, Semi-collared Puffbird, Pale-winged Trumpeter and Rufous-fronted Antthrush. In the afternoon we shall go to Cocha Blanquillo to try see the local Giant Otter colony and additional marsh birds. Night at Amazon Manu Lodge.
Day 9. Sunday. Cocha Camungo Tower and boat to Colorado and drive on to Puerto Maldonado. Break of dawn at the Canopy tower again with breakfast served 40 meters up in the air with a splendid view over the awakening Amazonian rain forest. Toucans, parrots, raptors, cotingas and woodpeckers are best appreciated from up here.
On the way to Puerto Maldonado we shall be doing some selective stops at Moriche Palmswamps for Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Sulphury Flycatcher, Puru's Jacamar, etc. There is good bamboo en route that can be checked out for Peruvian Recurvebill which is easily missed at heavily birded lodges. Also good savanna that will inevitably add many other species to your massive list.
Day 10. Monday. Puerto Maldonado-Lima.
This is mostly a travelday, but there should be possibilities for opportunistic birding near Puerto Maldonado in the morning and Lima along the coast depending on the time-table for the day. STOP PRESS: There is an active Harpy Eagle nest (2009) that can be visited before the flight to Lima (surcharge US$150 as donation to community and Harpy Eagle research). The birds should be able to see during most of 2010 as well.