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Old Wednesday 30th August 2017, 21:00   #51
ovenbird43
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Hi everyone, just checking in with updated plans.

I haven't had much luck tracking down information about car rental from Tarapoto - I found contact information on yellowpages.com Peru, but didn't get responses to my emails and didn't want to make an international phone call. Besides, based on rates in other areas I'm estimating the cost would be $300-400 plus fuel, which I'd rather save. I compared trip costs with car rental and car camping vs. public transport with lodging, and the latter is far cheaper. So I'm electing to go with public transport, even though that means I'll have to skip some of the shorter stops, e.g. Oilbird cave, possibly Afluente. Here's my plan:

Oct 31: Morning flight to Tarapoto, transport to Moyobamba, pm visit to Waqanki and stay at nearby Seizo House
Nov 1: Full day at Waqanki, including trek for Ash-throated Antwren. Overnight at Seizo.
Nov 2: travel to FAN. Maybe stop at Afluente/Lanteria on the way to look for specialties there, hitch a ride or flag down a colectivo to continue to FAN. Overnight FAN, try for owlet.
Nov 3: Full day FAN, possibly arrange guided visits to nearby areas. Backup night to try for owlet.
Nov 4: travel to Pomocochas, pm visit to Huembo or the lake. Overnight in Pomacochas (haven't tracked down specifics yet but I know there are cheap options).
Nov 5: early morning start at San Lorenzo for Pale-billed Antpitta and others. Pm visit to Huembo or lake as needed. Overnight in Pomacochas.
Nov 6: revisit San Lorenzo if needed. Travel to Tarapoto.
Nov 7: morning at Escalera Cordillera, night flight to Lima.

Does anybody have specific recommendations for lodging in Tarapoto? For those who have done similar itineraries with public transport, does this sound like a reasonable plan?
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Old Thursday 31st August 2017, 20:53   #52
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...Can't help now but..gulp.. we're off on Monday, and will hopefully get round to hitting that area in a couple of weeks or so, so we'll let you know how badly we got on as soon as we can. Thanks for this thread Abby, I'm sure it'll help
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Old Friday 1st September 2017, 01:22   #53
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Hi everyone, just checking in with updated plans.

I haven't had much luck tracking down information about car rental from Tarapoto - I found contact information on yellowpages.com Peru, but didn't get responses to my emails and didn't want to make an international phone call. Besides, based on rates in other areas I'm estimating the cost would be $300-400 plus fuel, which I'd rather save. I compared trip costs with car rental and car camping vs. public transport with lodging, and the latter is far cheaper. So I'm electing to go with public transport, even though that means I'll have to skip some of the shorter stops, e.g. Oilbird cave, possibly Afluente. Here's my plan:

Oct 31: Morning flight to Tarapoto, transport to Moyobamba, pm visit to Waqanki and stay at nearby Seizo House
Nov 1: Full day at Waqanki, including trek for Ash-throated Antwren. Overnight at Seizo.
Nov 2: travel to FAN. Maybe stop at Afluente/Lanteria on the way to look for specialties there, hitch a ride or flag down a colectivo to continue to FAN. Overnight FAN, try for owlet.
Nov 3: Full day FAN, possibly arrange guided visits to nearby areas. Backup night to try for owlet.
Nov 4: travel to Pomocochas, pm visit to Huembo or the lake. Overnight in Pomacochas (haven't tracked down specifics yet but I know there are cheap options).
Nov 5: early morning start at San Lorenzo for Pale-billed Antpitta and others. Pm visit to Huembo or lake as needed. Overnight in Pomacochas.
Nov 6: revisit San Lorenzo if needed. Travel to Tarapoto.
Nov 7: morning at Escalera Cordillera, night flight to Lima.

Does anybody have specific recommendations for lodging in Tarapoto? For those who have done similar itineraries with public transport, does this sound like a reasonable plan?
Edit: I meant lodging in Pomacochas... plenty of options to choose from online in Tarapoto.
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Old Saturday 2nd September 2017, 02:41   #54
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...Can't help now but..gulp.. we're off on Monday, and will hopefully get round to hitting that area in a couple of weeks or so, so we'll let you know how badly we got on as soon as we can. Thanks for this thread Abby, I'm sure it'll help
Hi Larry,

Best of luck and I look forward to hearing how things go! I hope to run into you around Lima or Paracas in November!
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Old Saturday 2nd September 2017, 02:45   #55
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Also an update for those who were interested in hearing if I found out anything about car hire in Tarapoto. I did hear back via email from MTL car (contact info found via yellowpages.com), they do have cars available and the price quoted to me was 1200 soles (~370 USD) for an 8-day rental.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 18:02   #56
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Cajamarca and closing struggling to get much birding done, but managed Grey-bellied Comet this morning and Unicolored Tapaculo yesterday
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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 01:31   #57
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Just got to Moyabamba from the west. In Pomacochas easy to find cheap accom, we stayed at Lago Azul which was clean and had WiFi. Easy to get tuktuk to Huembo. Don't panic if you have to wait an hour for spatuletails, we had 3 males eventually, one with long wires. Didn't manage San Lorenzo (finding birding very tough with Ronnie so missing most sites). Really easy to get lifts along any stretch of the rd between pom and moyo. 2 nights at FAN well worth the price, but only heard the owlet. Both antpittas and cinnamon screech were amazing, and the other stuff. You're totally at the mercy of the rain for the owls, and other birding here.

Generally finding the birding harder than anywhere else I've been. Almost impossible to get onto anything interesting for more than a split second unless you use playback. Not my kind of thing. Never had so many unidentified birds! Didn't manage anywhere between FAN and Aguas Verde's, where we stayed at Eden, and went to Arena Blanca this morning. Hummers there were mind blowing. 14 spp in about 2 hours, and 3 spp of tinamous and the woodquails. Didn't have time to get away from the hummer zone!

That's it from your live action reporter, in the zone, on a hammock :)
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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 10:06   #58
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Just got to Moyabamba from the west. In Pomacochas easy to find cheap accom, we stayed at Lago Azul which was clean and had WiFi. Easy to get tuktuk to Huembo. Don't panic if you have to wait an hour for spatuletails, we had 3 males eventually, one with long wires. Didn't manage San Lorenzo (finding birding very tough with Ronnie so missing most sites). Really easy to get lifts along any stretch of the rd between pom and moyo. 2 nights at FAN well worth the price, but only heard the owlet. Both antpittas and cinnamon screech were amazing, and the other stuff. You're totally at the mercy of the rain for the owls, and other birding here.

Generally finding the birding harder than anywhere else I've been. Almost impossible to get onto anything interesting for more than a split second unless you use playback. Not my kind of thing. Never had so many unidentified birds! Didn't manage anywhere between FAN and Aguas Verde's, where we stayed at Eden, and went to Arena Blanca this morning. Hummers there were mind blowing. 14 spp in about 2 hours, and 3 spp of tinamous and the woodquails. Didn't have time to get away from the hummer zone!

That's it from your live action reporter, in the zone, on a hammock :)
Lucky you mate, I'm waiting for a knee replacement!

Did you take a camera, can we expect three months of ID assistance requests, hope so!

A
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 23:26   #59
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Just got to Moyabamba from the west. In Pomacochas easy to find cheap accom, we stayed at Lago Azul which was clean and had WiFi. Easy to get tuktuk to Huembo. Don't panic if you have to wait an hour for spatuletails, we had 3 males eventually, one with long wires. Didn't manage San Lorenzo (finding birding very tough with Ronnie so missing most sites). Really easy to get lifts along any stretch of the rd between pom and moyo. 2 nights at FAN well worth the price, but only heard the owlet. Both antpittas and cinnamon screech were amazing, and the other stuff. You're totally at the mercy of the rain for the owls, and other birding here.

Generally finding the birding harder than anywhere else I've been. Almost impossible to get onto anything interesting for more than a split second unless you use playback. Not my kind of thing. Never had so many unidentified birds! Didn't manage anywhere between FAN and Aguas Verde's, where we stayed at Eden, and went to Arena Blanca this morning. Hummers there were mind blowing. 14 spp in about 2 hours, and 3 spp of tinamous and the woodquails. Didn't have time to get away from the hummer zone!

That's it from your live action reporter, in the zone, on a hammock :)
Thanks for the update and gen Larry! Glad to hear it's easy to get lifts and to find a cheap room in Pomacochas. Will you be visiting Wakanki? I had written off Arena Blanca but maybe I'll take another look at visiting - I had figured there wasn't anything I couldn't see elsewhere or hadn't seen before but perhaps it'd be worthwhile anyway. I hope you and your family are enjoying the trip despite the difficult birding!
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 09:00   #60
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3 spp of tinamous
Larry, excellent updates - I thought we were lucky with 2spp (Cinereous, Little) - what is the third one?!

Good luck on the rest of the trip

cheers, alan
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 18:49   #61
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Larry, excellent updates - I thought we were lucky with 2spp (Cinereous, Little) - what is the third one?!

Good luck on the rest of the trip

cheers, alan
Brown.

At seizo now, well actually we've popped back to Moyabamba for a few hours (easy to do very cheap in tuktuk). I've so far only birded the trail upstream from Seizo, and a couple of the offshoot forest trails (all free), and did the waqanki hummer feeders this morning. Somehow I've only managed to find 8 out of what looks like about 100 possible lifers in the area, and each of those only once! Very quiet very slow birding. Unexpected highlight being my first Cerulean Warbler, also a male Fiery-capped Manakin. Please give me a mixed flock, or a trogon or a toucan or a jacamar...or some thing! I've never known anything like this silence and emptiness... Hopefully a bit of luck when I do the trail at Waqanki tomorrow
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 19:34   #62
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Brown.

At seizo now, well actually we've popped back to Moyabamba for a few hours (easy to do very cheap in tuktuk). I've so far only birded the trail upstream from Seizo, and a couple of the offshoot forest trails (all free), and did the waqanki hummer feeders this morning. Somehow I've only managed to find 8 out of what looks like about 100 possible lifers in the area, and each of those only once! Very quiet very slow birding. Unexpected highlight being my first Cerulean Warbler, also a male Fiery-capped Manakin. Please give me a mixed flock, or a trogon or a toucan or a jacamar...or some thing! I've never known anything like this silence and emptiness... Hopefully a bit of luck when I do the trail at Waqanki tomorrow
Try and see the Striped Manakin with the funny call on the 'zig'zag' trail at Waqanki (forks right off the main trail up the valley) - it's a split / new species, if you didn't know already. Absolute pain to see but easy to hear - we saw one well eventually..

cheers, a
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 00:19   #63
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Actually Al, I may well have been duffing with Brown Tinamou after all. Was the most stressful part of the trip so far, with Ronnie really wanting to be not in a hide and making lots of noise. Nearly trip cracking point for family sweetland!

Was aware of manakin, but still struggling with common stuff. Had better day today, including side trip to oilbirds. Bwaqanki again tomorrow.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 08:39   #64
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Actually Al, I may well have been duffing with Brown Tinamou after all. Was the most stressful part of the trip so far, with Ronnie really wanting to be not in a hide and making lots of noise. Nearly trip cracking point for family sweetland!

Was aware of manakin, but still struggling with common stuff. Had better day today, including side trip to oilbirds. Bwaqanki again tomorrow.
I spent 9 days at Seizo's and birding at Waqanqui back in 2008 and it could be a little hit-or-miss in terms of activity on a day-to-day basis, but when it was good it was amazing! I think it's really worth spending as much time there as you can. If you don't yet have 'Mishana' Tyrannulet (the birds here in San Martin are actually an undescribed, species-level taxon according to Bret Whitney et al in their description of Chico's Tyrannulet), it is much commoner along the road to Jepelacio that at Waqanqui itself. Just get any mototaxi to drop you off a few km past Seizo's and walk back.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 18:35   #65
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Heya Larry,

Waqanki is indeed a place that rewards a large time investment, but that can be hard to do with family of course! I spent 3-4 days there and did one massive day up the zig-zag trail, to the summit, down the other trail, and back out. Had ~150 species, really excellent birding. On the flip side Varzea Thrush in the gardens took me about 6 hrs of effort over three evenings and while I saw it, I didn't get luxurious walk away views...

However it shakes out, I hope you're enjoying, and I imagine you're still seeing plenty! I agree the east slope of the Andes is some of the hardest terrain to bird and it can be hit and miss and there are a LOT of hard species. The vast majority of my neotropical dips are from the Amazonian foothills and the Amazon proper. Once you get up to about 2000m I think things get easier.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 23:58   #66
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The place is certainly growing on me, especially after today's male Fiery-throated Fruiteater, not to mention the great food at seizo and the outdoor hot baths with overhanging aracaris! Got to move on tomorrow after another morning's birding though.
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Old Saturday 7th October 2017, 00:47   #67
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5 nights at seizo including 2 sumptuous meals each day cost 300 pounds for the family. Entry to reserve just 2 pound fifty a day. I could happily spend weeks here. Managed 20 lifers, missing all the specials, but enjoyed finding what I did see myself, without playback, as an antidote to FAN, where I was just the idiot with a guide!
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Old Saturday 7th October 2017, 08:35   #68
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Loving the updates Larry. Can't wait for my trip in less than 3 weeks time. We have only booked 2 nights at Siezo's but were thinking of a third and by the sounds of it we probably need it!
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Old Saturday 7th October 2017, 14:45   #69
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Loving the updates Larry. Can't wait for my trip in less than 3 weeks time. We have only booked 2 nights at Siezo's but were thinking of a third and by the sounds of it we probably need it!
I'm sure you'll be fine Simmo. I was just birding part time, and maybe there'll be more flocks and vox in a few weeks. I saw a fair few family groups and recently fledged juvs, so maybe not the best month right now. Saw heaps of more widespread easy birds outside the forest, just didn't do well in the forest. If you're after Sunbittern, I saw a pair on the stream c50m upstream of Seizo.

In Tarapoto now, and gonna do a morning at the site up the road tomorrow, so guess that's the end of that stretch. If there's any specific birds or anything (Simmo or Abby) I might be able to help with, feel free to ask. Mention a bird, and chances are I missed it! Still, think the trip list is on about 350 so far, with 87 lifers that I wouldn't have seen in Bristol.

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Old Monday 9th October 2017, 01:38   #70
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Took 3-wheeler up to the tunnel from Tarapoto for 30 soles (7 pound 50) arriving a bit late at 6.30. Walked down as far as the Koepke reserve at km 24.5 with N and R. Compared to trip reports v disappointing, nothing resembling a mixed flock, none of the 5 possible lifer toucan species etc etc etc. Did get two lifers though, one each of White-throated and Red-stained Woodpeckers, and dodgy views of the hermit.

At Koepke centre paid 10 pounds for the family to enter. Plenty of hummers at the feeders including Koepke's Hermits and Gould's Jewelfronts. Easy hitch back up over the hill to the waterfall at km c13 which was packed with visitors (Sunday), but had the most interesting birds! A pair of nesting Blackish Pewees over the stream near beginning of trail, unless I've lost it! Obviously all dark grey pewees, but with just size to go on they appeared smaller than the plenty of wood pewees I'd been seeing all day (rather than larger, as in Smoke-coloured). I was confident at the time, but wouldn't be first time fooled by size. So check them out guys, if they're still there, and see whether I've actually lost all sense of size, and they are in fact melanistic Tropical Kingbird's. You can see them by looking upstream from where you pay to enter. Also a Spot-winged Antbird inspite of the crowds. Easy hitch back to town for 10 soles.

Over and out
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Old Tuesday 10th October 2017, 18:42   #71
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Thanks for the continued updates, and good luck with the rest of your trip! Where did you stay in Tarapoto?

Unfortunately, after months of asking I finally received word that our funder will not reimburse my travel/registration for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting in Paracas, and being in a somewhat tight financial situation at the moment I decided to cancel that part of my trip. But I had my heart set on this journey through northern Peru and that part of the trip was always going to be on my dime anyway, so I will continue with that as planned. Too bad, was hoping to run into you and your family later on next month!
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2017, 13:58   #72
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Can't recommend Colibri, where we stayed in Tarapoto, in case their problem of staff stealing from rooms is not yet resolved!

Shame we won't meet up this time, hope your trip goes well. We down at Tingo Maria now, at a really birdy place called Villa de Jennifer that Nicky found in lonely planet. I've picked up 6 lifers in their grounds so far, including Musician Wren, Golden-collared Toucanet, and Chestnut-fronted Macaw.

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Old Wednesday 11th October 2017, 18:01   #73
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Musician Wren, nice!! Took me some 7 months at Tiputini until I finally encountered one of those amazing songsters!
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Old Thursday 12th October 2017, 13:54   #74
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Just had Blue-headed Macaws for breakfast :)
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Old Thursday 12th October 2017, 18:48   #75
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What do they taste like?
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