lunes, 19 de enero de 2015

Manu Jungle Trips in Manu National Park

Description of the Manu Biosphere Reserve and the Manu National Park: In 1977 the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO declared the Manu Biosphere Reserve (MBR) which includes the Manu National Park (MNP) as the core area. The original boundaries of the reserve included the entire Manu river basin and the left bank of the Alto Madre de Dios River. The total area encompasses 1,9 million hectares (19 000 km2) (Map 1).the reserve is located in South-Eastern Peru, in the provinces of The Manu National Park and Paucartambo, departments of Madre de Dios and Cusco, respectively.

Manu National Park (The Biosphere Reserve’s Core area) established in 1973 covers an area of 1,5 million hectares (15 000 km2), its largest portion lying in the Madre de ,Dios department and a smaller part in the department of Cuzco. The Amazon lowland tropical  Manu National Park rainforest in Madre de Dios is considered as the region in the world with the most wide-ranging biological diversity within protected areas, containing world-record numbers of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fish and plants. Map 1 : Manu Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO – 1977) Scale,500,OOO

Map 2 : Location of  Manu National Park

Cultural Features The Manu National Park encompasses the territory of the Quechua people in the highlands and different indigenous groups in the lowland. These cultural and racially mixed groups are an expression of the area’s cultural diversity. The Manu National Park includes territories with altitudes that exceed 4,000 m a. s. 1. A view of the Control Post in Acjanaco in the High Andean Grassland or “Puna The population in the Andean highlands includes the “Queros”, the most closely related to the Inca civilization. These people still maintain their ancient culture and customs and are considered a living vestige of the Inca Andean culture. These groups live in the higher part of the 34 apacho river basin, a transition area of the Manu National Park Given the tremendous cultural value of this area, its “formal” integration into the MBR has been proposed. The expansion of the MBR is therefore vitally important as an area for conserving a significant part of the Andean and Amazonian cultural heritage and this significance is considered of equal importance to the park’s biological value. Approximately 6 500 Andean peasants live in the south-west area near the park’s boundaries. The Alto Madre de Dios basin includes indigenous groups with different cultures and levels of contact; five native communities with land titles were identified, others have been acknowledged and are negotiating their land titles. However, there are some groups living in the most remote parts of the National Park and in the Las Piedras river basin, who have virtually no contact at all and whose survival habits are primitive.

The indigenous groups in the MBR and the transition areas include the “Machiguenga” (Matsiguenka), the most highly populated of the groups in the Alto Madre de, Dios and The Manu National Park river basins; the Huachipaeries and Amaracaeris concentrated in the upper Alto Madre de Dios river basin; the “Mashco Piros” within the Manu National Park area and the Piedras river basin; the “Yoras” or “Yaminahuas” near the headwaters of the Manu National Parkand others such as the “Amahuacas” with land near the headwaters of the Put-us and Piedras rivers. Indigenous groups such as the “Piros” also live in this area. The population of the Amazonian native groups inside the park includes Approximately 1000 people. Another 1000 people in the transition zone of the Alto Madre de Dios river are also lowland natives (APECO, 1994). The mixed race population who have settled in the Alto Madre de Dios are mainly outsiders from rural Andean areas such as Puno, Cuzco and Apurimac, who have not adapted their cultural customs to the environment The areas in which these people are most highly concentrated are the Blanco, Azul and Colorado river basins, where it is estimated there are about 10 000 people involved in gold mining

Natural Features. Biodiversity: The Manu National Park includes a whole range of habitats on the eastern slope of the Andes in Southeast Peru, extending from the “Puna” or “Paramo” in the highlands at 4 02Om to the tropical ram forest in the lowlands at 200 m.Three of the seven bio-geographic provinces identified in Peru (1975)-The Puna, the Yungas and the Amazonia provinces- are found within the park’s boundaries The Manu National Park contains the best sample of the “Amazon province in Peru protected within the National System of state-protected areas (SINAIWE) so far, and the best and largest sample of the protected “Yungas” province. On a national scale, this is equivalent to 2,6%; more than half of the protected “Puna” area at a national level is within this park’s boundaries. The Manu National Park includes the entire upper and middle drainage of the Manu River System and upper drainage of the tributaries on the left bank of the Alto Madre de Dios Specific climatological information on the park is still very limited. 

A nearby village at the base of the mountains, Quince Mil, registers over 10 m of annual rainfall, the highest in Peru (Terborch, 1990). Its name ‘Quince Mil’ (Fifteen Thousand) originates from the levels of rainfall recorded in the past. The combination of topographic, climatic and soil conditions creates a diversity of environments. According to the “Ecological Map of Peru” (ONERN, 1976) there are at least 13 different “life zones” within the park’s boundaries. The Madre de Dios region in Peru is possibly one of the richest areas in the world as far as biodiversity is concerned. Preliminary inventories and scientific studies of flora and fauna took place mainly in the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu (Terborch, 1983). A number of studies of birds (Robinson and Terborch, 1990) mammals (Janson and Emmons, 1990) and plants (Foster, 1990) have all stressed the biological wealth of Manu. Collections from the Manu river have produced 3 228 species, 1 382 general and 249 families. (Foster,1990). Scott, R. and Terborch, J. (1990) mention that the western Amazonia forest contains the richest and least disturbed bird communities in the regards the birds of four Neotropical forest sites -La Selva compared The Manu National Park other Amazon areas. Preliminary surveys by Lamas, G., Robbins, R. and Harvey, D (1991) in the Manu National Park.

CONSERVATION SIGNIFICANCE MANU NATIONAL PARK: The Manu National Park is one of the most important protected areas in the Amazon region and is considered the most important conservation area of Peru’s National System of Natural State-Protected Areas (SINANPE), besides being declared as a Biosphere Reserve in 1977, the Manu National Park was also declared a UNESCO “Natural World Heritage Site” in 1986, due to its outstanding natural value .Due to its numerous advantages for scientific research purposes, its biodiversity and the presence of several ethnic groups who still maintain their traditional knowhow and culture, The Manu National Park is outstanding among the world’s . The Manu National Park Dr. John Terborch (UNA-CEPID, 1986) who has been carrying out research studies in The Manu National Park since 1972, emphasized its scientific value, as follows: The incredible wealth of its flora and fauna remains untouched by civilization. The fauna includes more than 800 species of birds -more than any other park in the world. In addition, estimates reveal 200 species of mammals, including those in danger of extinction such as the grant river otter (Preronura brasilensis). 

This wealth provides unlimited Opportunities for biological studies. This is a natural environment guaranteed by a system of game wardens. Without an absolute control of furtive hunting, it would be impossible to contemplate establishing long term studies. Due to the lack of an adequate cannoli in the parks tropical there is no such other propitious place in the entire Amazon river basil. This is the only park in Latin America that includes the entire environments between the low tropical forest and the subalpine scrub land. This environmental diversity is very valuable for studying the factors that restrict the distribution of species The Manu National Park. It also provides the opportunity to gain a better understanding of natural, geological and biological processes in the different life zones on the Andean slopes. The park is appropriate as a control area for any type of environmental evaluation. The scientific appraisal of the effects of “development” on the wild animal population, the productivity of vegetation, soil fertility, the quality of water, the erosion rate, etc. could not be carried out without such control areas. The park is an ideal setting for basic studies on the productivity of economically important animals and plants. It is virtually the only place in this country in which monkeys and other large animals can be directly observed in their large natural habitat. Likewise, valuable ties such as cedar, “guano” and no longer exist in other places. 

There is a lack of basic studies on the natural regeneration of these and other economically important species The Manu National Park. It will be impossible to take advantage of these renewable resources (outside the protected area) until such studies are made. The Manu National Park contains the last good populations of certain species in danger of extinction,such as the grant otter Pteronura brasilensis, the black caiman Meianosuchus Niger and the “taricaya” Podocnemis unifilis. Although these three species play a very prominent role in the history of the Peruvian jungle The Manu National Park, because of their universal over-exploitation their contribution has dropped to virtually nothing. The same occurs with certain trees such as cedar Cedrela odorata and mahogany Swietenia macrophylla. In order to re-incorporate these species into the national economy, healthy large enough populations are required, not only for study purposes but also as sources of a new genetic material for re-introducing the species in areas where they have disappeared. In general, the tremendously wealthy flora and fauna in the park could serve as The Manu National Park national store of biotic resources. In many cases, due advantage has not been taken of these resources because of the lack of research work. 

As a result of the research efforts of over 10 years, Cocha Cashu has the largest ecological data base in the entire Amazon basin. This data base is tremendously useful to researchers and not only enhances the scientific value of the biological station, but of the entire The Manu National Park contains the entire Manu river basin and parts of certain tributaries of the Alto Madre de Dios river. Consequently, the watershed is not polluted in any way. Rivers of such purity no longer exist in many parts of the world, including the 48 states of the U.S.A.

The Manu National Park could therefore be used as a model for calculating the production of fish and for studies on the effects of pollution and erosion. The Manu National Park is one of the last places in the world where the customs and lifestyles of indigenous tribes have remained unchanged. Consequently, there are excellent opportunities for anthropological studies on the sustained use of environmental resources by human beings. There are also good opportunities for discovering new medicinal plants. A scientific knowledge of the natural history, anthropology and archaeological of The Manu National Park could make it much more appealing for tourism purposes.


Biosphere Reserves are designed to protect representative areas of ecological importance all over the world. The objectives of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program (MAB) include the protection of landscapes and nature, the sustainable use of natural resources, the promotion of scientific research and public awareness of environmental issues. It is intended that the Manu Biosphere Reserve (MBR) should serve to demonstrate how man can use natural resources in a sustainable manner.


Three large areas or zones are considered in the MBR.

1. The Core Area
2. The Buffer Area
3. The Transition Area (influence area, cooperation area, etc.).

According to the Manu National Park’s Master plan (UNA-CEPID, 1986) within
these three areas it is possible to locate specific areas or area associations, based on the following roles of The Manu National Park
A natural intangible area for preserving resources on site.
An experimental area used for experimental work and for developing models for
the sustained use of resources.
An application area for the rehabilitation or recovery of defaced areas.
Traditional use areas (cultural zone) for maintaining and developing traditional
use systems.

1) The Core Area of the Manu National Park :Given its characteristics  Manu National Park can easily be qualified as the core ofthe MBR, for the following reasons: .
* Its natural wild state.
* It represents three different bio-geographical provinces – Puna, Yungas,
* It is physically capable of maintaining, u its ecological processes as a natural
sample of perpetuity. * There are relatively minor conflicts regarding the use of the land within and outside the area, with facilities for an effective protection.
* It is public property.

2) The Buffer Zone

The Buffer Zone generally surrounds the core area. In the case of the MBR, this buffer zone is being set up gradually. One of the areas to be used as a screen to protect thelower course of the Manu river is The Manu National Park (257 000 ha) which actually has an extension proposal to protect an indigenous group without contact with the outside world known as the “Mashco Piro”.As a rule, such areas require a basically natural environment. In The Manu National Park Zone, scientific research and tourism activities predominate and other activities such as logging and the management of forestry resources and wildlife have been suspended. The Indigenous territory of the Mascho Piro (Pinken river) will continue totally closed to any kind of activities. Another area considered as a buffer zone is the “State Reserve for the Nahna- Kugapakoric indigenous population” in the North-eastern sector of the Park. An additional protected area established in the region (Pong0 Mainique) which includes the headwaters of the Ticupinia river in the Alto Urubamba river basin, would be added to this zone. 

The Manu National Park Other areas to be included as buffer zones in the eastern sector are indigenous Territories with no contact, pertaining to the Amahuaca groups in the Las Piedras river basin. In addition, there is a proposal to establish a protected area referred to as “Megantoni in the west. In view of the existence of indigenous groups who have no contact with the eastern sector of the Park bordering the Las Piedras river basin, it is also necessary to establish another Reserve for these groups, which could also serve as a Buffer Zone. The possibility of establishing this reserve is still being studied. The indigenous territories (Native Communities) established bordering the Park are good buffer zones on the basis of the stable, permanent and ancestral nature of the indigenous communities and their appropriate resources use pattern.In areas where it was impossible to award land titles to indigenous people or where the soil was not suitable for farming or forestry it is possible -to establish Communal Reserves or Protection Forest. 

Both are categories of protected areas which allow local inhabitants -including indigenous people, some use of forest extractive resources (medicinal plants, food, etc.) and wildlife, but not timber extraction or commercial logging. At least two proposals for the establishment of this kind of areas are under study currently. Besides, there ae another possible kind of buffer areas, like the so-called “private ecological Reserves” or private tourism areas, and right now there are two already set up: Pillahuata and Union in the forest known as “Bosque de Nube” or cloud forest. Finally, the establishment of new protected areas (protection forests) was proposed in order to protect the headwaters of river basins and steep areas, mainly the protection forests of Kosñipata Pantiacolla. 3) The Transition Area The core area and the buffer area are surrounded by a transition area, which is not strictly demarcated and comprises bio-geographical rather than political boundaries. As far as the MBR is concerned, the entire Alto Madre de Dios river basin was considered, from its origin in the snow-capped mountains, including the basins of the Mapacho, Yavero, Urubamba, Sepahua, Las Piedras, Los Amigos and Madre de Dios rivers, more or less as far as the Boca Colorado village (Map So far, the Alto Madre de Dios river basin has deserved special attention due to the fact that the headways of the tributaries on the left bank of this river form part of the core area and the pressure exercised in the Tono-Guadalupe sector by migrants from the Andean highlands is one of the greatest problems currently encountered in the Park. This is why conservation and development projects have concentrated on these areas and specific management areas have been defined.

THE AMAZON MANU NATIONAL PARK: A small, unremarkable peak called Quehuisha, in the Department of Arequipa is home to the headwaters of the immense Amazon River. It springs from permafrost in these high altitudes. From this source .of water, springs the Apacheta River, which in the valley joins a river with great volume, the Carhuasanta, which afterwards takes the name Loqueta. As it carries more and more water from successive tributaries there is another change of name to Challamayo and then Homillos until it becomes the Apurimac and then the Ucayali River. The plain widens and further ahead, when the Ucayali joins the Maranon, it gives birth to the magnificent river called Amazon. The Amazon then flows its full course of 7,100 km to the Atlantic ocean. There is a plunge in elevation in the Amazon system initially but once outside the Andes, it drops only about 1.5 cm/km (2 in/mi). 

The world’s longest river is the Nile, which just exceeds the Amazon. However, the Amazon carries by far the world’s largest volume of water, containing about 20% of the world’s sweet/fresh water. Once, the Amazon River flowed in the opposite direction, which meant that it drained into the Pacific Ocean near what is today the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The current belief is that the change to the present west-to-east course came about as recently as 15 million years ago. The cause of this profound alteration is thought to be the Andean uplift, which also affected patterns of biogeography throughout the Amazon Basin. At first the uplift of the Andes created a gigantic lake. This lake was bordered on the west by the newly arisen mountain chain and on the east by the extensive Guiana and Brazilian shields. Finally, the Amazon made its way to the Atlantic during the Pleistocene. It cut through its eastern barrier near Obidos, Brazil. The altered course of the river water eastward probably dispersed the many widespread trees that can be found along the river in Manu National Park

Manu National Park: The Hike in the Manu National Park covers extraordinary geography Manu encompasses series of distinct biologic spheres that range from Andean highlands of up to 4,020 m.a.s.l. (13,700 ft) to tropical lowlands of only 365 m.a.s.l. (1,200 ft) The Manu National Park Tour also includes a visit of the Lakes Salvador and Otorongo. The latter is a habitat to the world’s most endangered species For that reason, contact with people has to be minimized to provide them with safety and enable them long term conservation in manu national Park

Manu National Park: The flow dynamic of the river can become unstable (typically during the high water period) During this instability, it is possible that the river will cut a new channel. This effectively isolates a meander and creates an “oxbow lake”. When rivers are subject to a variable flood cycle, these oxbow lakes are common. An oxbow lake is a habitat of essentially standing water, providing yet another kind of riverine habitat, where water stagnates rather than flows rapidly. These lakes are plentifully stocked with fish and rich in nutrients. This enables them to give life to other kind of animals and plants. The most well-known inhabitants of the oxbow-lakes are the giant otters and the black caimans. Many bird species live only on the oxbow lakes: Green ibis, Purple gallinule, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Agami heron, Grakes, are a few examples In Manu National Park

Inside the Reserved Zone between Boca Manu village and Pakitza Park ranger station there are more .Than one dozen big oxbow lakes. Of these 6 are considered to be useful for tourism. These are (from Boca Manu to upstream): Juarez, Otorongo, , Salvador and Gallereta. The Salvador Lake itself is possibly a hundred years old. It is about 200 meters wide and about 4 kilometers long. View picture of the Manu National Park.

Site Map - Manu Jungle Trips

Site Map - Manu Jungle Trips

sábado, 16 de agosto de 2014

Manu Wildlife Center About the Birding Areas

Manu Wildlife Center About the Birding Areas Lowland rainforest—All of the lowland rainforest we'll bird lies in the remote Department of Madre de Dios, among the richest areas for birds in western Amazonia. Here we will visit a variety of habitats, from riverine sandbars and bamboo stands (of a giant species of the genus Guadua) to old oxbow lakes or cochas and well-drained terra firme forest. 

Manu Wildlife Center, on a high bank above the Rio Madre de Dios, is in a small clearing punctuated by some big, bromeliad-clad trees (where oropendulas, caciques, Chestnut-fronted Macaws, and occasionally Chestnut-eared Aracaris nest). The dawn chorus includes duetting Gray-necked Wood-Rails; the feeders, vervains, and heliconias in the gardens attract hermits and other hummingbirds; and Amazonian Pygmy-Owl calls from the clearing edge. It is a convenient two minutes from the lodge to the boat landing, our gateway to a number of alluring trails, especially to forest with big bamboo stands. This habitat supports such bamboo specialists as Pavonine Cuckoo (active after a rainy period), Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill, Peruvian Recurvebill (rare), Bamboo Antshrike, Ornate Antwren (rare), White-lined, 

Manu, Yellow-breasted Warbling-, and Striated antbirds, Dusky-tailed and Large-headed flatbills, and Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant (rare). The nearby Antthrush Trail is named for the very local Rufous-fronted Antthrush, endemic to southeastern Peru, for which the trail can be good, albeit increasingly scarce and more often heard than seen.

Besides the clearing at Manu Wildlife Center in manu national park, a grid network of trails passes through beautiful, tall transition forest as well as to moriche palms. Only fifteen minutes from the lodge is the canopy platform. Reached by a sturdy metal spiral staircase, the platform itself is about 100-feet up, within the spreading branches of an emergent Ceiba tree. On past tours here, we have had marvelous looks at everything from nesting Double-toothed Kites (in our tree!), a male Pavonine Quetzal that we called into view, and a long list of fruit-eating species (including both guans, both big toucans, Ivory-billed and Curl-crested aracaris, and Spangled and Purple-throated cotingas) to some incredibly-difficult-to-see-well-from-theground species that associate with mixed flocks, e.g., Sclaterʼs Antwren (in direct comparison with Pygmy Antwren!) and Chestnut-shouldered Antwren and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak.

Along other trails, huge fruiting fig trees (ojes) attract Blue-throated Piping- and Spixʼs guans in addition to impressive numbers of monkeys and the occasional Tayra. In fact, monkeys can be encountered throughout, from large mixed troops of bold Black Spiders, Red Howlers, Common Squirrel Monkeys, and Brown Capuchins to furtive Saddleback and ornate Emperor tamarins scurrying through the canopy. Dusk could bring a singing Ocellated Poorwill, Great Potoo, and Crested Owl, the latter often right from the clearing.

Trails along hilly ridges take us from the lodge through rich terra firme forest and to the interior ccollpa called the Tapir Lick. This gorgeous forest offers our best chances for such terra firme species as Bartlettʼs and Variegated tinamous, 

Blue-backed Manakin, and such “obligate” army ant followers as Sooty, White-throated, and Hairy-crested antbirds and the rare Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. The lick itself attracts shy forest species, from Black-capped and Red-crowned parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlet to curassows, guans, and the huge Brazilian Tapir in jungle.

Travel along the Madre de Dios is not only cool and relaxing, it offers good birding. Pied Lapwings, Collared Plovers, Large-billed Terns, and Sand-colored Nighthawks abound on the sandbars, punctuated occasionally by a Sunbittern or a family group of Horned Screamers or Orinoco Geese. Raptors perch on emergent dead branches, and here and there macaws are stationed in noble trees overhanging the riverbank. At any moment a Red Howler Monkey could quietly descend the red cut bank to drink from a calm backwater or a Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle could sail overhead. White Caimans bask at the edge on sunny days, and with lots of luck (and constant scanning) we could encounter even a Jaguar in manu national park.

Weʼll also visit two oxbow lakes, or cochas, where weʼll search the edges from a stable, floating catamaran platform. Possibilities here include Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Green Ibis, Horned Screamer, Muscovy Duck, close Hoatzins, Graybreasted Crake, Green-and-rufous and American Pygmy kingfishers, Purus Jacamar, Black-billed Seed-Finch, and Paleeyed Blackbird, as well as a playful troop of Giant Otters.

Overlooking the end of one of the cochas is the 150-foot-high Camungo canopy platform, also reached by sturdy metal staircase and offering dramatic views over cocha edge and nearby forest treetops. The platform itself, nestled among the branches of another giant Ceiba that emerges above the canopy, is big and steady, with good views in all directions. Itʼs the perfect place to scan the distant treetops for raptors, cotingas, toucans, tanagers, parrots, and puffbirds. Weʼve pulled Amazonian Pygmy-Owls, Curl-crested Aracaris, and Lemon-throated Barbets right into “our tree” here and marveled at the constant turnover of species that use all the canopy perches, including a seemingly constant parade of colorful tanagers.

But one of the areaʼs foremost features is relative proximity to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick. From our lodge, weʼre only 40 minutes by river from one of the most thrilling of avian phenomena—an active riverside ccollpa, where hundreds of psittacids of up to a dozen species come to ingest the minerals seeping from the clay cliff face (assuming weather and predators are not keeping them away). The Madre de Dios has recently changed course and our blind is currently located on an island just across a backwater from the ccollpa. At the Blanquillo lick, shortly after dawn, parrots gathering by the scores in the trees above the bank begin to peel off to line the vegetation overhanging the cliff. Then, as their confidence seems to grow, Blue-headed Parrots and other smaller psittacids fly down to the vertical clay face. All the while large Amazon parrots and dozens of macaws (usually Red-and-green but sometimes also Scarlet and Blue-and-yellow) are

building their numbers in the trees above. Ultimately, after much circling to investigate, they too begin to venture down onto the open bank to cling and consume a beakful or two of the mineral-rich clay, a vital but mysterious part of their diet, now thought to aid in digestion of certain toxic fruits. The constant coming and going of these colorful birds, their sudden eruptions from the bank to wheel in the soft morning light, the din of their incessant vocalizations all combine to produce an unforgettable effect. Indeed, for some it constitutes the highlight of the trip.

Manu Wildlife Center Peru with Manu Jungle Trips

We include here information for those interested in the 2012 Field Guides Manu Wildlife Center, Peru tour:
! a general introduction to the tour ! a description of the birding areas  to be visited on the tour ! an  abbreviated daily itinerary with  some indication of the nature of each  dayʼs birding outings Those who register for the tour will be  sent this additional material: ! an annotated list of the birds recorded on a previous yearʼs Field Guides trip to the area, with comments by guide(s) on notable species or sightings ! a detailed information bulletin with important logistical information and answers to questions regarding  accommodations, air arrangements,

clothing, currency, customs and immigration, documents, health precautions, and personal items ! a reference list ! a Field Guides checklist for  preparing for and keeping track of the  birds we see on the tour ! after the conclusion of the tour, a  list of birds seen on the tour Southeastern Peru is generally acknowledged as the most species-rich birding region on Earth. Manu Biosphere  Reserve, incorporating Manu National Park and a couple of contiguous conservation tracts, is a vast, spellbinding  wilderness (the size of Massachusetts!) that protects the entire watershed of the Rio Manu, a 200-mile long tributary of the  Rio Madre de Dios, itself a middle-weight Amazonian tributary winding eastward through lowland rainforest in the  Department of Madre de Dios. The Reserve and its buffer zone also protect much of the Department of Cusco's east slope Andean drainage from 14,000 feet in puna grasslands well above tree line down through temperate and subtropical cloud forest right down through the foothills to lowland rainforest. There are precious few places in South America where there is legal protection for a comparably rich transect of undisturbed forest on the diverse east slope of the Andes. 

This short tour is designed to focus on the incredibly rich lowland rainforest of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, thus complementing our MOUNTAINS OF MANU tour, which covers the upper levels of the Reserve. We have selected Manu Wildlife Center as our one-site base for its comfort level, its ease of access, its marvelous network of trails, its special viewing facilities, and its strategic location. With a wonderful grid system of trails and with covered 40-foot boats for river transport, the lodge offers us access to virtually all critical microhabitats within lowland Manu and hence to virtually al species regularly occurring in this rich lowland rainforest. Not only are we close (about 40 minutes) to the famous Blanquillo ccollpa, where hundreds of parrots and large Red-and-green Macaws gather almost daily to ingest the mineralrich clay, but a trail from the lodge buildings takes us (in about an hour) to a forest-interior mineral lick (with a blind) that attracts more secretive forest birds and mammals, occasionally including Brazilian Tapirs, to the same kinds of minerals. 

Another trail takes us from our lodgings to a well-constructed canopy platform (with spiral metal staircase) that offers eyeto-eye looks at numerous canopy specialties, from various toucans and cotingas to mixed-species flocks that move right through “our tree.” And twenty minutes downriver is a trail to yet another, even higher and larger, canopy platform (also accessed by a secure metal staircase) that offers incredible vistas and a different set of birds. Weʼll bird river sandbars,

hidden cocha lakes, some enormous stands of bamboo, transitional forest, and some wonderful tall terra firme forest. The official lodge bird list now stands at a whopping 580 species, among them an incredible number of classic Amazonian species and many regional specialties, including Orinoco Goose, Razor-billed Curassow, Starred Wood-Quail, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Blue-headed Macaw (rare), Amazonian Parrotlet (the “parrot without a name”, rare), Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Ocellated Poorwill, Purus and Bluish-fronted jacamars, Scarlet-hooded Barbet (rare), Curl-crested Aracari,

Rufous-headed Woodpecker (rare), Peruvian Recurvebill (rare), Sclaterʼs Antwren, Manu, White-lined, Goeldiʼs, Whitethroated, and Hairy-crested antbirds, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Ash-throated Gnateater (rare), Band-tailed Manakin,  White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant (rare), Dull-capped Attila, White-winged Shrike-Tanager, and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak. And thatʼs not to mention the long list of mammals, from Giant Otter and White-lipped Peccary to 13 species of primates and even the elusive Jaguar. Seeing many of these species takes time and patience; thatʼs why we are devoting eight days to the lowlands. Even so, we wonʼt see all of these in such a short time, but we can assure you of a trip full of wonderful views of hundreds of wonderful critters in a wilderness setting of impressive proportions.

To avoid last-minute surprises due to an unreliable air service to Boca Manu that often results in flight cancellations, we have elected to travel overland, then downriver, to reach Manu Wildlife Center. Last year our group enjoyed the diversion of habitats and the diversity of birds this detour enabled. This way, we may add Cock-of-the-rock to our list, and we have added some exciting surprises like Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Chestnutbreasted Mountain-Finch, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Bearded Mountaineer, Rusty-fronted Canastero, and Andean Tinamou (among many others) to the list of species, none of which we see at Manu Wildlife Center. From the port at Atalaya, weʼll travel by covered motorized dugout for about 7-8 hours down the Rio Alto Madre de Dios (weʼve never seen so many Fasciated Tiger-Herons—anywhere) and the Rio Madre de Dios (“Mother of God River”) to reach our lodge, set just back from the riverbank in a nicely planted clearing with tall rainforest immediately behind it. Manu Wildlife Center  offers substantial comfort for a remote Amazonian lodge, from cold drinks (and plenty of pure drinking water) to individual bungalows with private baths with flush toilets and hot water for showering in spacious tiled showers. The rooms are screened, but there are also individual mosquito nets for each bed. A lovely dining area (with tasty, varied, healthy food) and a separate bar and lounge area (with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages always available) are connected to all the bungalows by graveled walkways. Weʼll sleep to the sounds of the Amazon rainforest.

About the Physical Requirements & Pace: On our visit to one of the richest birding areas in the world, we will want to maximize the quality of our experience. In lowland Amazonia (where itʼs warm and humid), this means early starts that allow us to be in the field shortly after dawn, when activity is at its peak. On a typical day we'll start with an early breakfast (4:30 or 5:00) and bird along trails for the morning, returning to our lodge for lunch (12:30) and a break during the heat of the day, then going back out in the afternoon. This means that while we will usually be covering only two to four miles in a morning, you may be on your feet for six hours. There will be several exceptions—for example, the boat trip to visit the macaw lick. And some trails are accessed by boat to start them. Along the trails we'll typically move at a snail's pace, walking quietly, watching the ground for tinamous, listening for the slightest growl that could betray the presence of an 
army ant swarm with its attendant followers or a shower of petals or seeds from the canopy that could alert us to the presence of a flock of parrots or a troop of monkeys. We will use song playback to call in some fabulous skulkers that might otherwise go unseen. And, in the process, we'll do considerable standing around just watching. Trails that are muddy and/or hilly in places will be covered slowly. In a few situations, for instance to reach a ccollpa or tower early, we will move steadily along level trails at a pace of around two miles an hour for a half hour. Our fastest pace will likely be on the way back to lunch! The trails around MWC are excellent, but that does not mean that we will not regularly encounter tree falls or other new impediments that will require a small amount of agility, just as does getting in and out of the boat daily or crossing the wide log bridge with hand railing to the main trail network. The canopy towers will require knees that can handle 140 to 220 steps. This is the “rainforest” and rain can happen at any time, resulting in muddy trail conditions, so rubber boots are likely to be the main footwear weʼll use on most trails.

sábado, 21 de diciembre de 2013

Manu Blanquillo Clay Lick Tours with Manu Jungle Trips

Nature Peru – Blanquillo 7 days / 6 nights

An explosion of color and sound erupts as a large group of Red-and-Green and Scarlet Macaws (Ara chloroptera and Ara macaw) take to the air from a clay lick along a remote river in Manu National Park. While clustered along the river- bank busily ingesting clay, the macaws are especially vulnerable to predators. Because of their sheer numbers, however, usually at least one alert bird will spot an approaching ocelot, tayra (a large, tropical weasel), or eagle and sound the alarm. As soon as the alarm is heard, the macaws and other parrots literally explode away from the clay bank, shrieking in unison and taking to the air. Once the danger has passed, the birds gather again in the nearby trees, and then slowly begin another cautious descent to the clay.

Amazon Jungle – Blanquillo - 6 days /5 nights

A pair of nesting Blue-and-Yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna) perch upon a dead palm tree along the Manu River. The actual nest lies within the empty cavity of the palm, about 3 feet below the mated pair. Nesting sites for macaws are scarce and consequently held at a premium: Macaws will fight over sites and have even been seen to pull a competing macaw’s chicks from their nest, which they then take over. Macaws lay 1 to 3 eggs in November and these hatch in December, during the rainy season. The parents take turns feeding their young regurgitated fruits, seeds, and even clay from nearby clay licks. After 3 months, once fledged, the young macaws travel for a period of time with their parents, learning such complex information as the location of clay licks and the types and locations of fruits that they can eat. Living for as long as 40-60 years in captivity, they have not been studied long enough to know how many years they live in the wild. In any case, macaws do not begin breeding until they are at least 4 years old.

miércoles, 18 de diciembre de 2013


The struggle for light, and hence life, is one of the primordial battles waged by plants in the rainforest. A number of strategies are used to secure a position in the canopy, among them investing in a sturdy trunk, piggy-backing on other trees in the form of vines, or even strangling another tree to death.

The Strangler Fig at left (Ficus y psilophlebia) begins as a small seed defecated by a monkey or bat on the branch of a tree. There it sprouts and sends a slender root to the ground. The root soon swells and sends out other roots that wrap tightly about the tree, eventually overtopping and strangling it. After a pitched yet silent battle that can last more than 200 years, in the end only the Strangler Fig tree remains.

ORE THAN 20 YEARS OF BOTANICAL COLLECTING: have brought to light the occurrence of roughly 3,000 plant species within the boundaries of the Manu National Park. Although this number greatly exceeds the total number of plants found In most European countries, it offers only a suggestion of the vast botanical bounty that the park protects for posterity.

sábado, 23 de noviembre de 2013

Blanquillo – Rainforest Expedition 8D/7N

¡No te pierdas este mensaje de blog!
“Collpa” means in Quechua (mountain native) language salt of the earth. Also rainforest natives used it to designate certain areas used by animals indefinitely for a supplement of salts and minerals in their diet. These help against strong alkaloids and toxins that are contained in many rainforest’s plants and trees. During the Blanquillo – Rainforest Expedition, we visit one of the most famous “collpas” (that means clay-lick in English) – Collpa Blanquillo!! There you are given an opportunity to see a huge number of macaws (guacamayos), parrots and parakeets!!
We also enjoy being in a very close touch with the wild nature as we spend 2 nights in a jungle campsite!! In addition, we observe wildlife and lush vegetation of the Culture Zone of the Manu National Park, Blanco Lake (Cocha), Camungo Lake as well as the different biosphere on the way to Puerto Maldonado!!