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Puno department with Sandia and Abra Maruncunca

This trip gives you the Peruvian endemic Green-capped Tanager and an undescribed Thistletail. Furthermore Abra Maruncunca is the only accessible site in Peru for Scimitar-winged Piha. This may not seem much, but recent exploration in the border area to Bolivia have added several species to the Peruvian list that previously were considered Bolivian endemics, such as Yungas Tody-Tyrant, Yungas Antwren, “Pilòn Tyrannulet” (undescribed Phyllomyias), Black-capped Antwren and Bolivan Recurvebill. With frequent civil unrest in Bolivia, exploration in this part of Peru seems like a good alternative. We are sure there will be more discoveries here. For example during our 3 day speed recce of the localities we found a new species to Peru – Ochre-cheeked Spinetail. Imagine what will come up with some more time available.
During the recce trip it was conceived that far too much time was spent in the vehicle. Therefore, we have introduced two hiking days between Limbani and Sandia. This will ensure the highland specialties and relieve us of the dusty road trip. While we walk our driver will move the vehicle to the trail end. We only have to carry a day-pack and some lunch food.
The last days of the trip (available as an extension) will be spent going from Puno town to Tacna to sample puna specialties such as Puna Rhea, Titicaca Grebe, Golden-spotted Ground-Dove, Puna Canastero, Puna Miner, Puna Yellow-Finch, Ornate Tinamou, Darwin’s Nothura and several others. From Tacna it is only a stone-through away to Arica to get the rare and localized Chilean Woodstar. Arica is great for Pelagics so we would not miss out on the opportunity to do one here. On the way back to Peru and Arequipa we will visit the wetland at Mejia, do a short pelagic also from Mollendo (where the continental shelf is very close to shore) and do a trip up to Chiguata where some localized species such as White-throated Earthcreeper and Tamarugo conebill can be found.
Since the trip takes place at altitudes over 4000 meters for large periods we recommend that you take a few days in Lima or in Cusco to get used to the altitude. In Lima you may do a three day trip over Santa Eulalia and Ticlio/Marcapomacocha and in Cusco the Abra Malaga/Machu Picchu program or the altitude training trip to Abra Malaga connects very well with this trip.

No Departures for this Tour

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Puno department 10 days

Day 1. Juliaca-Limbani.

The trip starts at Juliaca at the arrival of the first plane. You may also connect from Cusco either with our vehicle 4 AM start or a day early taking the much recommended Cusco-Puno sightseeing bus. Ask us about details. It will take us most of the day to reach Limbani. On our way we will pass many wetland areas with species like Giant Coot, Andean Goose, Crested Duck and Silvery Grebes. Other birds of the Puna include Puna, Ochre-naped, Cinereous and White-fronted Ground-Tyrant as well as Puna and Common Miner. Our main target this afternoon will be looking for Short-tailed Finch and Scribble-tailed Canastero before reaching Limbani.

Day 2. Limbani.

Just below Limbani the undescribed Thistletail can be found, Its call is quite different from Puna Thistletail, why it is likely to be considered a good species when the taxon is described, The road start hitting some cloud forest around 2800 meters and we shall look out for Black-hooded Mountain Toucan. Light-crowned Spinetail is also a possibility here. We will camp slightly higher than Limbani at the village of Pahre.

Day 3. Pahre-Tiraca-Jarahuaña.

We will be able to get with the vehicle to around 3800m. Thenwe have to walk to the pass at 4200m before it is down hill to the lowest point of 2800m. After this the trail takes us up to our rendevouz with the vehicle in Tiraca village at 3000m. Thus most of the day is downhill and we have plenty of time to cover the 15 km we have to cover. The topographic map show forested areas along the trail at 3600m-3100m and also around the lowest point of 2800m. Though the forest probably is not very pristine – this is a densely populated area - walking this stretch beats the dusty and bumpy experience of 125 kilometers of dirt road and average speeds of 25 km/h.And who knows we may run across some surprises. For instance Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Large-tailed Dove, Black-winged Parrot (melanotis race), Black-hooded Sunbeam, Red-tailed Comet and Rusty-faced Antpitta have not been recorded in Peru but are recorded in Bolivia not too far away. When we arrive we shall be meeting up with the vehicle and move to nearby Jarahuaña for the night.

Day 4. Jarahuaña-Sandia.

Today's hike starts at 3600m and takes us up to 4400m and then down to the road at 4000m where the vehicle can meet up to transport us the remaining way to Sandia some 4 hours away. We hope to find some patches of Polylepis. A nearby lake queñuane contains the Quechua word for Polylepis so if we are lucky we could find Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant and Royal Cinclodes here. Grey-bellied Shrike-Tyrant as well as Short-tailed Finch and Scribble-tailed Canastero are also possibilities at these altitudes.
When we arrive in Sandia we shall find time to search for Green-capped Tanager just outside Sandia. Night at the municipal hotel in Sandia. A remarkable modern building for this frontier town.

Day 5. Abra Maruncunca

We shall make an early start to get to the pass at break of dawn. This is the place where we will look for the rare Scimitar-winged Piha. The patches of cloud forest is situated at just above 2000 meters. The flocks include birds like Pale-legged warbler ( flavovirens race), Black-eared Hemispingus , Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager (flavinuchus ssp with all blue rump),Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Andean Solitaire, Bolivian Tapaculo, White-winged Black-Tyrant and Yungas Manaki. Both the marcapatae race of Rufous-capped Antshrike and Variable Antshrike are here. In the late afternoon we will work ourselves past San Juan del Oro to the small village of Yuramayoc at 1200m where we will camp. The area is very good for Lyre-tailed Nightjar which we will look out for at dusk.

Day 6. Yuramayoc-Curva Alegre.

We will bird most of the morning on a trail on the other side of the river. Little Ground-Tyrant can be found on the road and along the track Ochre-cheeked Spintetail is not uncommon. This species was found for the first time in Peru in June 2005. Yungas Tody-Tyrant is also found along this trail, as well as Upland Antshrike, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Two-banded Warbler, Inca Jay, Plain Antvireo, and more. We will drive the remaining three hours to Curva Alegre in the afternoon checking out different patches of forest en route.

Day 7. Curva alegre – Lanza trail.

This trail continues to Bolivia. Bolivian Recurvebill, YUngas Tyrannulet (recently described Phyllomyias) and Yungas Antwren occur here. Naturally a lot of other good foothill species occur here. We shall look out for Yellow-rumped Antwren and Cock-of-the-Rock.

Day 8. Curva Alegre-San Juan del Oro to Yanahuaya.

Starting our back-tracking towards Juliaca. It is too far to do it all in one stretch so we have best to do some birding en route. We shall revisit some localites that we have past on the way to Curva Alegre.

Day 9. Yanahuaya-Sandia.

Behind Yanahuaya there is a dirt road going up to a mine at 2900m. It may be worth checking out if we have not been lucky with the Scimitar-winged Piha until now. We may instead decide we want to spend more time at Abra Maroncunca. Night in Sandia.

Day 10. Sandia-Juliaca.

Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch can be found just outside Sandia. We will then drive to Juliaca on a poor road. Titicaca Flightless Grebe can be found near Huancane. If there are afternoon flights scheduled those that need to can fly back to Lima. If not next morning (flight times have varied a lot from Juliaca in recent years.



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