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Lima on a work trip

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Old Sunday 10th July 2016, 18:48   #1
Mysticete
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Lima on a work trip

Hey folks,

I was excited to find out that I was invited to a research related conference in Lima Peru, for the end of September. A huge honor for a relatively new researcher, but I admit the first thought (as someone who has never birded south of the US border) was OMG BIRDS

Anyway exact details are still vague. I will be staying in Lima for the conference, although I will be doing a likely very touristy visit to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu. I may also be visiting some desert areas around Ica.

I have a wealth of questions of course:

What's the best most up to date guide to get? Like I said I will be mostly around Lima and a little bit of Macchu Picchu, so I don't necessarily need a book stuff full of Amazonian and other farther afield birds?

First, I will be likely staying in the district of San Borja. Are there any good and safe parks I can visit for an hour or two in the morning before meetings start?

I don't have a lot of money but I am hoping to linger a couple of days after the conference for more dedicated birding. I know very little Spanish, will be probably traveling by myself, and I am neurotic enough to know that I should probably use a guide. This site seems to have some decent prices for day trips

http://www.perubirdingtours.com/tours.php?IDcat=29

Although still somewhat on the expensive side. Has anyone else used these folks before? Does anyone have any other recommendations for good and economical guides/companies?

And would it be better to do a combination of the Villa Marshes/Pucasana tour + Lomas de Lachay, or two days in Santa Eulalia? Both seem good. I am a family lister who is also into mammals, if that give you any idea of my interests. Santa Eulalia seems like it would give me more Andean specialities (and more species), but the day trips seem interesting as I could get a chance at coastal stuff such as South American Sea Lion and Inca Tern.

If anyone has any advice in general for birding this region, or any easy to access places somewhat farther afield that I could access for equivalent cost and access well for 3 days max, I would most appreciate it.
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Old Sunday 10th July 2016, 19:43   #2
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The field guide to get is Schulenberg et al, Birds of Peru (Helm). Do not get the one by Clements and Shany, although people should be willing to hand it over for free (in which case you save money to pay a bird guide).

I have no further tips on Peru... aiming to go there for the first time next year.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2016, 00:48   #3
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I visited Peru as part of a conference in 2011 and visited most of the sites you mention. I usually prefer birding and traveling independently, but in the interest of time I used Kolibri Expeditions for day trips to Lomas de Lochay and various wetlands, Santa Eulalia Canyon, and a pelagic. All were fantastic to it's hard to suggest one over the other. On a 1-day trip I didn't have the chance to see Diademed Plover at Santa Eulalia, that alone might tip it for me - as far as families I think you would have a chance at the same # of new families either way (e.g. seedsnipes, Furnariidae come to mind as possibilities in both places).

I used the Schulenberg et al guide, I quite liked it though I don't have any experience with the alternatives.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2016, 04:07   #4
Jim M.
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Congratulations on the invite! I took the Lomas de Lachay and Pucusana day tours in October last year and loved them. I took them after a 12 day tour in the Tambopata region of Amazonian Peru. I would offer the following advice:

– The revised (second edition; 2010) version of the Schulenberg guide is the one to get. But beware it is a fairly heavy tome because it does aim to include all the birds of Peru; just light enough to carry in the field. There aren't any appealing alternatives. I have posted a quick index Word document in the Peru forum.

– If you are keen to save money, you might want to check around at tour operators to see if anyone else has booked a tour for the same dates (or see if someone else at the convention might want to go with you). It is much cheaper if you are not the only person on the tour. My trips were an add-on to a Field Guides trip; and the guide was Pepe Rojas who gets rave reviews for his trips. He used to have his own company “Exploring the Wild” based in Lima, but I cannot find its website now. I have heard good things about Manu Expeditions, but I have not tried them myself. I have heard good and bad things about Kolibri Exps, and tried to contact them before my trip, but they never responded to my e-mails. A poster here a few years back complained about a bad experience with Peru Birding Tours on a multi-day trip, so I would be cautious in dealing with them.

– Not much in the way of mammals on either tour. Though we did get lucky and see a rare Marine Otter at Pucusana.

-- re: bird families, as Ovenbird says, seedsnipe is a good possibility--I saw Least at Lomas de Lachay; Penguins on the Pucusana trip, together with Multi-colored Rush Tyrant which John Boyd has placed in its own family. Furnarids and Thick-knees should be likely on either trip.

--Regarding Santa Eulalia, I was leery of a sudden transition to high altitude, among other things. And am happy with the choices I made.

Last edited by Jim M. : Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 04:20.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2016, 13:05   #5
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To add a comment to the altitude issues, I did Marcopomacocha as a day trip from Lima. I had so much trouble at the high altitude after driving up immediately from sea level that I couldn't keep my balance and we never got a chance to go for the seedsnipe. So be careful.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2016, 14:31   #6
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Thanks folks for the advice. I actually was considering the altitude problem...as I have only one day I certainly don't want to risk blowing it with crippling altitude sickness. It sounds like I should maybe stick to the lowlands.

The conference I am attending is not likely to have too many international folks who are also birders attending. Will try to see if anyone would be willing to share the trip, but I am still waiting for a response back after responding to the initial offer, and so my exact dates are a bit up in the air.
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Old Tuesday 12th July 2016, 18:16   #7
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You have just one day or a couple of days to add? If you have at least 2 days, I definitly would recommend to do the Santa Eulalia - Marcopomacocha round. Phantastic birds and phantastic scenery. Sea birds in Pucusana are also nice but don't beat this mountain birding imo. You can stay overnight half way up (e.g. in the village of Huachupampa), which helps acclimatisation. I head some headackes after passing the highest pass there, but it quickly passed when driving down to lower elevations again.

In Lima, you can have a morning visit to the El Olivar park in San Isidro (perhaps 30 min taxi ride from San Borja), very safe and will give you a good sample of the local birds. You can also have your Pisco Sour at the La Rosa Nautica at the beach of Miraflores one evening and see the Inca Terns there, as well as Gulls and Cormorants.

Pantanos de Villa can also be done for an early morning visit or evening visit, but you need to count at least an hour to get there. Best go to the beach there for migrants. I had a nice Sanderling flock there this march.

If you have half a day to spare in Cuzsco, go to the Huarcapay Lake, good for water bird and Puna birds in the drier area around.

Enjoy! Florian

Last edited by dalat : Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 18:19.
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Old Thursday 14th July 2016, 02:32   #8
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My fairly new approach (last couple of years) to planning a 'birding trip' seems to be paying off - I now just go off ebird and find out where all the tricky species are; then take location screenshots. From there I make song playlists for each area supplemented by xeno-canto.

My last few trips I didn't look at one trip report (I did download a few but didn't have the time to have more than a cursory read prior to going) and I've had about a 95% success rate. The sheer number of species in Peru is daunting but if it were me I'd still go with that approach.

You might find these links useful?

http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=c...1&continue.y=7

http://ebird.org/ebird/map/incter1?b...-0.037&gp=true

You could also try birding pal

http://birdingpal.org/Peru.htm
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Old Friday 15th July 2016, 08:27   #9
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For day trips I would splash out the cash for a driver/guide + car.

In order of pleasant birding + scenery around Lima, my shortlist would be:
1. Marcopomacochas / Ticlio
2. Santa Eulalia
3. deep sea pelagic
4. Bosque de Zarate
5. Lomas de Lachay
6. Pantanos de Villa

Ticlio and Marcopomacochas is something you can do in 1 day when taking the highway, but this would be something like a crazy day getting up early and rushing it a bit. In two days with Santa Eulalia included, you would have a really nice round trip, albeit a bit rushed as well (going up the Santa Eulalia valley takes some more time than the central highway)
I read that you are not to eager on risking altitude sickness, which is indeed something to consider. I went up in two days (first day halfway Santa Eulalia, after a night flight from Dallas to Lima, second day up at Marcopomacochas / Ticlio was hard with headache).

A deep sea pelagic from Lima delivers some quality seabirds and definitely is one of the top pelagic experiences worldwide.

Bosque de Zarate is much more accessible these days. It's not the prime birding area around Lima, but could be visited on the way up-or-down Marcopomacochas. It still takes some hours walking though, so best to have a full day here (and I guess you don't have thát much time).

Lomas is really nice birding. Not much species, but the endemics make up for the lack of diversity. And there are some nice families present (the Thick-knee, furnariids, least seed-snipe,...). On the way to Lomas you have some marshes and the chance to see the odd seabird.

Pantanos as Lomas (nice birds, e.g. Thick-knee, but also more variety in shorebirds, ducks,...)
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Old Wednesday 3rd August 2016, 19:06   #10
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For anyone wanting an excellent guide for Peru. Pepe Rojas is as good as you will ever get. A quality birder and a class act. We used him in 2008 and he made the trip outstanding. Not only is he an exceptional birder but a lovely person with many a fine story to tell. If you get the chance to meet him you will never forget him!
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Old Wednesday 3rd August 2016, 22:13   #11
Jeff hopkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arsenal Birder View Post
For anyone wanting an excellent guide for Peru. Pepe Rojas is as good as you will ever get. A quality birder and a class act. We used him in 2008 and he made the trip outstanding. Not only is he an exceptional birder but a lovely person with many a fine story to tell. If you get the chance to meet him you will never forget him!
Pepe works for Field Guides now, so I don't know how much personal guiding he does anymore. But I agree he's a spectacular guide.
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Old Sunday 7th August 2016, 08:15   #12
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– The revised (second edition; 2010) version of the Schulenberg guide is the one to get. But beware it is a fairly heavy tome because it does aim to include all the birds of Peru; just light enough to carry in the field. There aren't any appealing alternatives. I have posted a quick index Word document in the Peru forum.



How much of an improvement is this over the first edition, which I already own (it's taken 8 years to make a planned trip almost a reality)? Enough to justify rebuying? I would anyway also take the Tudor Passerines of South America in addition.

Cheers

Steve
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 12:13   #13
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I would not take any other guide to Peru than the Schulenberg guide. I fail to see the added value of the Tudor Passerines guide when you have the Peru guide (old or new).

One thing to take into account: the Schulenberg guide has not all the updates w/ regards to splits and lumps in taxonomy, so I would consider to add notes for any potential (or accepted) split.
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Old Tuesday 9th August 2016, 18:49   #14
Steve Keen
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Cheers Lieven, bit of luggage space saved.

And don't worry, my first edition is totally scrawled over with the latest updates!!
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