Trip report: Northern Peru (September 2019) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Athanas. This was a set departure tour

When I first visited Northern Peru in 2002, I drove down from Ecuador in my own car with a couple of friends. It was pretty rough to say the least. There were no eco-lodges, and the hotels that did exist often left a lot to be desired. In some areas there was nothing at all and we ended up sleeping in the car. There were hardly any trails except for ones we made ourselves, and the roads were truly appalling back then. Feeders? Not a chance. All of that was still worth enduring to experience the superb birding and all those endemics. How things have changed since then! Northern Peru has had a tourism renaissance in the years since and now we can see the amazing birds of the region by staying in great eco-lodges and much-improved hotels with all the expected amenities, and many of them have feeders. Our 2019 tour went very smoothly with virtually no logistical challenges of any sort. Weather was superb with very little rain. In fact, I thought the weather in some ways was too good. Unusually hot and sunny weather in the cloudforest along the eastern slopes of the Andes led to below average mixed flock activity. However most of what we missed were relatively widespread and common species, and as a group we managed to see nearly all the possible endemics on the itinerary, with really only one fairly surprising miss on the last day. Some highlights were the nearly 60(!) hummingbirds including stunners like the unforgettable Marvelous Spatuletail, Rufous-crested Coquette, Royal Sunangel, and Gray-bellied Comet; five antpittas seen well, of which the hardest was the often difficult Pale-billed Antpitta, the cute Yellow-faced Parrotlet in record time, a Spotted Rail completely out in the open, close-up views of the enigmatic Long-whiskered Owlet, three species of inca-finches, Peruvian Plantcutter, and an amazing set of colorful tanagers like White-capped Tanager, Yellow-scarfed Tanager, and Black-bellied Tanager. (Click the link below to keep reading)

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