Welcome to Birdquest

CENTRAL PERU

Sunday 11th November - Thursday 29th November 2018

EUSTACE BARNES

The critically endangered Junin Grebe (by tour participant Jono Irvine).

The critically endangered Junin Grebe (by tour participant Jono Irvine).

The Central Peruvian avifauna is relatively poorly known, for a country that has received so much attention of late, especially given the continuous stream of new taxa discovered in the region. So, the time is right to get on board and enjoy this fabulous tour. So, for this tour, first the stats; 505 species, 123/165 diamond rated species and 55 write-ins. The highest overall total recorded for this tour, but not one involving any ‘wader padding’ or random stop ‘rainforest padders’ or indeed a swathe of widespread cloud forest birds. This being due to heavy rains and ‘habitat modification’ at some sites. Time to reaffirm the mission statement and say that the tour was simply better than ever, our expectations far exceeded and although the future is bright for this dynamic tour, time is short for some species. A great trip and a great group.

Highlights A to Z.; outstanding views of Tawny-throated Dotterel with young and assorted furnarids on day 1, great moments with a pair of Lesser horned Owls at dawn, Russet-bellied Spinetail and Great Inca Finch on day 2, magical experiences with White-cheeked Cotinga and a family of Koepcke’s Screech Owls in the breathtaking scenery of the Cordillera Blanca on day 3, Ancash Tapaculo at our feet and walking amongst the gigantic Puya raimondii in Huascaran National Park on day 4, two mega sessions at Bosque Unchog with Bay-vented Cotinga, Golden-backed Mountain Tanager and Rufous-browed Hemispingus on days 5 and 7, Rufous-backed Inca-Finch and Junin Rail day 8, a spectacular morning at high altitude with the critically endangered Junin Grebe on day 9, Creamy-bellied Antwrens, Black and chestnut Eagle, a cooperative Lanceolated Monklet and Foothill Eleania day 10. Then Bosque Shollett was superb with a pair of Chestnut-crested Cotingas wowing the troops. At the beautiful Ulcumano lodge a Crested Quetzal made our day in those bromeliad festooned cloud forests and was a tour favourite. Moving on, the Satipo area was great. Barred Fruiteater was a tour favourite but the Junin Tapaculo, ‘Pasco’ Antpitta and weskei form of Marcapata Spinetail your leaders’ favourites. The Andamarca road gave us a spectacular day with Black-spectacled Brush-finch, ‘Mantaro’ Wren, a pair of Peruvian Treehunters and a male Purple-backed Thornbill at breakfast! That can’t be beaten! A session in the pajonal with Eye-ringed Thistletail and Fire-throated Metaltails all around us was also very memorable, White-bellied Cinclodes and Diademed Sandpiper Plovers at Marcapomacocha along with Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and Puna Tinamou made for a great morning but the pair of Rufous-breasted Warbling Finches the same day made the day exceptional. Not an easy day to follow in the future. Penguins in the surf, Tschudi’s Nightjars at a day roost and Slender-billed Finch en route to Paracas reads well. Our Islas Ballestas pelagic with Waved Albatrosses and a Markham’s Storm-Petrel gave us a suitable finale to a great trip. NO FEEDERS and NO SEMI-DOMESTICATED ANTPITTAS, this was birding, birding at its best.

Golden-backed Mountain Tanager, the big daddy of the mountain tanagers! (Eustace Barnes)

Golden-backed Mountain Tanager, the big daddy of the mountain tanagers! (Eustace Barnes)