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Sunday 9th September —
Wednesday 19th September 2018
Tapajós (or Amazonia) National Park Extension: Saturday 1st September — Sunday 9th September (9 days)
Leader: Eduardo Patrial
Group Size Limit: 8
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part. Mostly good accommodations on main tour (partly basic on extension)
A splendid new tour targeting numerous species we either have never seen on Birdquest tours or have seen only in the distant past. Indeed a few of the specialities have never been seen on any organized birding tour, ever!
This new Brazilian adventure begins in the hills of Carajás in southeastern Pará state. This spectacular and isolated Amazonian mountain range with summits of almost a thousand metres above sea level was once, millions of years ago, the starting point of the whole Amazon basin. The impressive variety of habitats found around here gather an impressive number of bird species, making Carajás National Forest one of the richest areas in the Amazon basin.
Our six full days here will provide a great experience, during which we shall be looking for several species restricted to the Xingu-Tocantins interfluvium, and many other localized and species of less limited distribution. Included in this fantastic cast are White-crested Guan, Chestnut-headed Chachalaca, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Jandaya, Pearly and Santarem Parakeets, Vulturine Parrot, Dot-eared Coquette, Manu, Wing-banded and Rufous-faced Antbirds, Black-bellied Gnateater, Snethlage’s Antpitta, Para Foliage-gleaner, Peruvian Recurvebill, Brigida’s Woodcreeper, White-tailed Cotinga, White Bellbird, Blackish Pewee, Black-chested Tyrant, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Opal-crowned Manakin and Para Gnatcatcher.
Following this outstanding Amazonian experience, we will finish the main tour collecting a few more endemics from a rarely-visited corner of northeast Brazil in the state of Maranhão. The town of Caxias is situated in between the Amazon Forest and the dry Caatinga of the northeast, a transitional area featuring a drier forest rich in palms, locally known as ‘Mata dos Cocais’. In addition, the surroundings of Caxias still offer some Cerrado habitats to explore. Three days here will give us the chance to locate some important, restricted-range birds, such as Kaempfer’s Woodpecker, a very rare and stunning species rediscovered only about ten years ago. Other important endemics we will be searching for here are Buff-browed Chachalaca, Moustached Woodcreeper, Hooded Gnateater and a new Myornis pygmy-tyrant.
The diversity of habitats in this area will also add some other great birds such as the endemic White-napped Jay, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Pectoral Antwren and Ash-throated Casiornis, Cerrado specialties like Curl-crested Jay, White-rumped Tanager and the amazing Coal-crested and Blue Finches, and some other rarities like Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Bearded Bellbird and Blackish-blue Seedeater.
During the optional pre-tour extension there will be the opportunity to visit the rarely-explored Tapajós (or Amazonia) National Park, situated on the west bank of the mighty Tapajós River in the southwest of the state of Pará.
From the remote town of Itutaiba we will drive about two hours along the river’s west bank to reach Tapajós (or Amazonia) National Park, where we will stay for six nights. This national park protects a huge area of pristine Amazonian forest between the rivers Madeira and Tapajós and holds several amazing range-restricted birds. The system of trails in the national park should allow us to find most of them, together with a huge number of more widespread species that comprise an extremely rich local avifauna.
Our efforts will be concentrated on finding treasures like White-crested Guan, Golden Parakeet, Vulturine and Bald Parrots, Kawall’s Amazon, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Tapajos Hermit, Brown-chested Barbet, Harlequin Antbird and, with luck, Pale-faced Bare-eye and Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper. A boat trip will take us to the east bank of Tapajós to look for the rare, enigmatic and threatened endemic Golden-crowned Manakin. Also on this side of the river we will be hoping to find some special targets that occur in the area between the Tapajós and Xingu Rivers such as Black-girdled Barbet, Bare-eyed Antbird and Alta Floresta Antpitta.
Day 1 The tour begins this morning at Marabá airport in the southeastern part of the state of Pará. From here we will drive the relatively short distance to the town of Parauapebas for a seven nights stay. This afternoon we will have time for some initial exploration of the wonderful Carajás National Forest.
Days 2-7 We will enjoy six full days birding the amazing hills of Carajás National Forest. Holding the largest iron ore reserves on the planet, the Carajás National Forest is run by Vale, the major mining company in Brazil and one of the biggest in the world. The iron outcrops are located on the top of the hills creating a peculiar stunted and dry habitat called ‘Canga’, where some Cerrado specialists and other open country bird species share the same area. The tall forests on the plateaus, foothills and valleys show a mega diverse Amazonia where huge and imposing Brazil Nut Trees decorate the vast landscape of Carajás.
Here we will look for some ultra-specialities such as Peruvian Recurvebill, Black-chested Tyrant and Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher.
In the supporting cast are a truly fine selection of species, including some great endemics. During our stay we will be looking for a great many species in these rich forests, but amongst them the following stand out: White-crested Guan, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Chestnut-headed Chachalaca, Harpy Eagle (we have a good chance of finding an active nest), Cryptic Forest-Falcon, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Marbled Wood-Quail, Hyacinth, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet and Red-and-green Macaws, Jandaya, Pearly and Santarem Parakeets, Red-fan and Vulturine Parrots, Hoatzin, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Silky-tailed Nightjar, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Dot-eared Coquette, Blue-cheeked and Great Jacamars, Striolated and Rufous-necked Puffbirds, White-throated and Waved Woodpeckers, Glossy Antshrike, Natterer’s Slaty-Antshrike, Manu, Wing-banded, Rufous-faced, Banded and Xingu Scale-backed Antbirds, Southern White-fringed Antwren, Variegated, Amazonian and Snethlage’s Antpittas, Black-faced Antthrush, Black-bellied and Chestnut-belted Gnateaters, Para Foliage-gleaner, Ruddy, Chestnut-throated, Cabanis’s and Ochre-cheeked Spinetails, Brigida’s Woodcreeper, Opal-crowned and Fiery-capped Manakins, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Spangled, Purple-breasted and White-tailed Cotingas, White Bellbird, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Sharpbill, Snethlage’s and Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrants, Slaty-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Blackish Pewee, White-napped Jay, Coraya Wren, Rose-breasted Chat, Para Gnatcatcher, Spotted Tanager and Red-billed Pied Tanager.
Day 8 This morning we return to Maraba airport and fly (probably indirectly via Brasilia) to Teresina and continue to the town of Caxias for a three nights stay, stopping for some birding along the way.
Days 9-10 To finish this fantastic trip we will cover the transitional habitats of eastern Maranhão state in search of a restricted group of endemics, in habitats that include the ‘Mata dos Cocais’ (dry palm forest), Cerrado and even areas of Caatinga. A major target in this interesting area is the superb and rare endemic Kaempfer’s Woodpecker, a species that favours the Guadua bamboo that grows in the ‘Mata dos Cocais’ and Cerrado. Other localized endemics we will be looking for include Buff-browed Chachalaca, the splendid Hooded Gnateater, Moustached Woodcreeper and a new Myiornis pygmy-tyrant.
The surroundings of Caxias offer varied habitats where we can also add a fine selection of more widely distributed species to our list, including Horned Screamer, Azure Gallinule, Crescent-chested and Caatinga Puffbirds, Pearly-breasted Cuckoo, Spotted Piculet, Planalto Slaty Antshrike, Rusty-backed and Pectoral Antwrens, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Bearded Bellbird, Ash-throated Casiornis, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, Curl-crested Jay, Black-faced and White-rumped Tanagers, Coal-crested and Blue Finches, Sooty Grassquit and Blackish-blue Seedeater.
Day 11 The tour ends this morning at Teresina airport.
Tapajós National Park Extension
Day 1 The extension begins this afternoon at Belém airport at the mouth of the mighty Amazon. We will spend the night in Belém.
Day 2 We will take a morning flight westwards to Itaituba, located not far south of the junction of the Amazon and the Rio Tapajós. From here we will head southwestwards to the remote Tapajós (or Amazonia) National Park for a six nights stay.
Days 3-7 During our five full days in the huge Tapajós (or Amazonia) National Park we will be looking for a fantastic array of birds, concentrating on those we are not able to see during the main tour, or less likely to see. These include Razor-billed Curassow, Black-faced and White-browed Hawks, Golden, Crimson-bellied, Golden-winged and White-winged Parakeets, Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet, White-bellied and Bald Parrots, Kawall’s Amazon, Crested Owl, Sand-colored Nighthawk, Rufous Potoo, Tapajos Hermit, Pavonine Quetzal, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, Chestnut-capped and Brown-banded Puffbirds, Brown-chested and Black-girdled Barbets, Saturnine, Fasciated, Spot-winged, Blackish-grey, Plain-winged and Amazonian Antshrikes, Ferruginous-backed, Southern Chestnut-tailed, Blackish, Silvered, White-browed, Black-faced, Band-tailed, Dot-backed, Spot-backed, Common Scale-backed, Harlequin and Bare-eyed Antbirds, Spix’s Warbling-Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Alta Floresta Antpitta, Speckled Spinetail, Long-billed, Uniform and Ocellated Woodcreepers, Tapajos Scythebill, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, the stunning Black-necked Red-Cotinga, White-browed Purpletuft, Flame-crested and Snow-capped Manakins, Cinnamon Neopipo (or Cinnamon Tyrant-Manakin) and Cinnamon-crested Spadebill.
More difficult specialities that we could find here include Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, Pale-faced Bare-eye (or Pale-faced Antbird) and Golden-crowned Manakin.
Additional species of interest include White-crested Guan, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Cryptic Forest-Falcon, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet and Red-and-green Macaws, Santarem Parakeet, Red-fan and Vulturine Parrots, Hoatzin, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Blue-cheeked and Great Jacamars, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Glossy Antshrike, Natterer’s Slaty-Antshrike, Wing-banded Antbird, the superb Black-bellied and Chestnut-belted Gnateaters, Amazonian Antpitta, Ruddy Spinetail, Spangled Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant, Rose-breasted Chat and many, many more.
Day 8 Today we will return to Itaituba and catch a flight back to Belém for an overnight stay. Depending on flight timings, there should be some time for birding at either Tapajós or Belém.
Day 9 This morning we will fly southwards to Marabá, where we join up with those arriving for the main tour. (This is Day 1 of the main tour.)
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels in Belém, Parauapebas and Caxias are of good standard. At Tapajós National Park we will stay at a simple pousada (guesthouse), the only accommodation in the area. Road transport is by minibus and roads are good.
Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are some moderate grade walks.
Climate: It is generally hot and humid. Periods of sunshine alternate with overcast spells and there is regular rainfall.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £3350, €3950, $4390 Marabá/Teresina. Tapajós National Park Extension: £2550, €3010, $3340 (starting at Belém).
Price includes all transportation (including all specified flights inside Brazil), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: £350, €414, $459. Extension: £200, €236, $262.
Deposit: £400, €480, $520. Extension: £300, €360, $390.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
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