Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
Red-fronted Macaw, Bolivian Endemic by Diego CalderonBOLIVIA!
with Diego Calderon

November 6 - 21, 2022


PLUS: Pre-tour, Barba Azul Nature Reserve for Blue-throated Macaw
November 2 - 6, 2022

PLUS: Post-tour, Apolo for the new "San Pedro" Tanager
November 21 - 27, 2022

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>    Registration Form (pdf)> 
Tour Registration, Terms, Cancellation Policies

BOLIVIA! Welcome to the birdiest landlocked country in the world! Approximately the size of France and Spain combined, this stunning country is remarkably diverse and ranks 6th in the world with more than 1430 species of birds. Depending on the taxonomy you use, Bolivia has 20 endemic bird species that are found nowhere else on earth. Add to that more than 100 range restricted species and near endemics and you’ve just scratched the surface of Bolivia’s avian riches.

Long known to avid birders as a MUST VISIT destination, we will be exploring this diverse,
bird-filled country with South America’s top guide, Diego Calderon.

Cream-backed Woodpecker (GN)We have designed this tour to offer the full Bolivia birding experience in three parts, a pre-tour extension for the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw in north-central Bolivia, the main 16 day tour visiting all of the top birding sites including the Red-fronted Macaw Ecolodge, and a special post tour extension to Apolo for the newly discovered "San Pedro" Tanager.

Just imagine adding species like Black-hooded Sunbeam, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Black-throated Thistletail, Berlepsch’s Canastero, Bolivian Recurvebill, Cliff Parakeet, Yungas Tody Tyrant, Bolivian Brushfinch, Bolivian Blackbird, Cochabamba Mountain Finch, Black-throated Thistletail, Unicolored Thrush, Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, and more to your life list. Endemics, near-endemics and specialties, such as Short-winged (Titicaca) Grebe, Red-tailed Comet and Hooded Mountain Toucan will be targeted among many others.

Cochabamba Mountain Finch (DC)       Red-tailed Comet (GN)
Photos: Red-fronted Macaw (DC), Cream-backed Woodpeckers (GN), Cochabamba Mountain Finch (DC), Red-tailed Comet (GN)

Join us for an unforgettable birding adventure in Bolivia!

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>     Registration Form (pdf)>     Tour Registration, Terms, Cancellation Policies>


Blue-throated Macaw (DC)Pre-tour Extension, November 2 - 6, 2022
Barba Azul Reserve/Blue-throated Macaw


ITINERARY
Day 1, November 2, 2022:

Plan on Arriving at Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (airport code: VVI) today for an overnight in the modern Camino Real Hotel in the city's elegant, secure and thriving business district. Night Santa Cruz. No meals are included today.


Days 2 & 3, November 3 & 4, 2022:
Today we take a charter flight to Trinidad, a bustling town in the Llanos de los Moxos in the department of Bení, sometimes referred to as “bountiful Bení” for its diverse woodlands, riparian forests, sprawling grasslands and palm savannahs. Continuing on to Barba Azul Nature Reserve, we will focus our efforts on finding the star of the Moxos, the Streamer-tailed Tyrant (SB)rare and critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw
(DC) . Thought to be extinct in the wild and known only from museum specimens and captive birds until the mid-1990s, conservation efforts have increased the wild population of these superb birds to 450.


We’ll search for the Blue-throated Macaw, also called Barba Azul and designated in 2014 as a natural patrimony of Bolivia, in the islands of palm trees that dot the expansive seasonally flooded savannah grasslands from our base at the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. This important Reserve protects 27,180 acres of important grassland, wetland, and “palm island” habitat and houses more than 250 species of birds and nearly 30 large mammal species including Giant Anteater, Pampas Cat, Puma, Maned Wolf, and Jaguar. The variety of habitats here are what make Bení bountiful with wetland habitats attracting hordes of water birds making for a spectacle reminiscent of Brazil’s Pantanal.


In our search for Blue-throated Macaw, we will also keep watch for myriad birds and specialties here including Streamer-tailed Tyrant
(SB), Crowned Eagle, Orinoco Goose, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Hudson’s Black-Tyrant, and Dark-throated Seedeater to name a few. Two nights BTM Reserve.

 


Day 4, November 5, 2022
Today we will return to Trinidad and spend some time birding the area noted by some as the “best birding city in the world”. Our time here will be spent well, especially looking for three Bení endemics. While we may be distracted by Chestnut-fronted Macaws roosting in the church steeple or Blue-and-yellow Macaws flying around the outskirts of the city, our objective near Trinidad is to try and see the endemic Unicolored Thrush, Bení Softtail (still recorded as Plain Softtail) and the Bení Grackle (still recorded as the Velvet-fronted Grackle). With luck, these birds can be found in the riparian forest of San Ramon. Night Trinidad.


Day 5, November 6, 2022
Today we return to Santa Cruz to meet the group arriving for the main tour.

Pre-tour Extension to the Barba Azul Nature Reserve/Blue-throated Macaw, Nov 2 - 6, 2022
Tour Price:  Provisionally $2995 pp/dbl $395 sgl from Santa Cruz, Bolivia
based on 8 passengers.
Included:
Group airport transfers, accommodations, domestic flight to Trinidad, Bolivia, Charter flight to BTM, ground transport in local vehicles.  Not included: International flight, luggage charges, passport/visa fees, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature. Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.


BOLIVIA MAIN TOUR, November 6 - 21, 2022

Toco Toucan (GN)Day 1, November 6, 2022
Plan on arriving this morning at Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (airport code: VVI). Many flights arrive in the morning and if everyone arrives by mid-day, we will do some afternoon birding and have an introduction to Bolivia’s avian treasures. Santa Cruz de la Sierra is a lowland city surrounded by native woodlands of acacia-like trees and other xerophytic vegetation (the Chiquitania region) and vast grassland plains and savannas reminiscent of the Brazilian cerrado. This diverse area offers several bird species endemic to and typical of this ecosystem such as Toco Toucan
(GN), White-wedged Piculet, Chotoy Spinetail, Chopi Blackbird, White Woodpecker, White-bellied Nothura, Red-winged Tinamou, Red-legged Seriema, Green-cheeked Parakeet, the near-endemic Bolivian Slaty Antshrike, and others. The botanical garden at Santa Cruz is a key sight for the Bolivian Slaty-Antshrike. Night Santa Cruz.


Day 2, November 7, 2022
This morning we will bird around Santa Cruz and Lomas de Arena Municipal Park. The Park was created to protect a small lake between sand dunes and several types of habitats are preserved in the area including savannah, dry forest, marshes and large water bodies. We will hope the park is accessible as high water levels sometimes impact access. More than 240 species of bird have been recorded in the park and the area has many easily seen and desired birds such as Comb Duck, Brazilian Duck, Burrowing Owl, White-eared Puffbird, White Woodpecker, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, and Chotoy Spinetail. It also offers some less common species like Toco Toucan and Red-Ringed Teal (GN)legged Seriema. Other species in the habitats around Santa Cruz include Small-billed Tinamou, Long-winged Harrier, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Thrush-like Wren, Masked Yellowthroat, Stripe-backed Antbird, Straneck’s (grey-crowned or monte) Tyrannulet, Blue-crowned Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, Buff-bellied Hermit, Red-billed Scythebill, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Stripe-backed and Mato Grosso Antbirds, Plush-crested Jay, Ringed Teal
(GN), and Whistling Heron.

From Santa Cruz, we start our drive towards the inter-Andean valleys, on the way passing through the lush tropical forest of the Bermejo canyon. We will seek out the species of the forest and canyon such as Bolivian White-crowned Tapaculo, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Military Macaw, Rufescent Screech Owl, Two-banded Warbler, Dusky-green Oropendola, and more.


Our accommodation is Refugio Los Volcanes, a wonderful lodge located in a mystical place on the edge of Amboro National Park. Situated at the intersection of three major South American biogeographic regions, its bird community presents a unique mixture of elements from southern Amazonia, the central Andes, and the Chaco. This results in a high diversity of species, largely a result of the variability of the forest, which ranges from completely deciduous on the driest slopes to nearly evergreen in a humid, south-facing canyon.

Blue-naped Chlorophonia (SB)Species possible at the southern edge of Amboro National Park include Andean Condor, King Vulture, Bolivian Recurvebill (rare), Slaty Gnateater, Bolivian Tapaculo, and Yungas Manakin. More common and widespread species include Blue-headed and Red-billed Parrots, Grey-rumped, Chestnut-collared Swifts, Sparkling Violetear, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-eared Puffbird, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Red-necked Woodpecker, Black-banded and Tschudi’s Woodcreepers, Plain Antvireo, White-backed Fire-eye, Sepia-capped and Slaty-capped Flycatchers, and White-necked Thrush. Mixed flocks may well produce Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Whitestart, Guira, Black-goggled, White-winged, and Saffron-crowned Tanagers, Blue-naped Chlorophonia (SB), and Thick-billed and Golden-rumped Euphonias. Higher elevation forests may produce the Short-tailed Antthrush. A beautiful crater lake, surrounded by dense reed beds, usually holds one or two family parties of Masked Duck. Night Refugio Los Volcanes.

 

Los Volcanes
Los Volcanes (Photo: Diego Calderon)


Plush-crested Jay (GN)Day 3, November 8, 2022
Today we have the full day to explore the area around Los Volcanes and Amboro National Park. Volcanes is a misnomer as there are no volcanoes here, just scenic valleys, sandstone mesas, and semi-humid forest of the Amazonian foothills. Once again the assortment of habitats offer a variety of species and we will be looking for everything from Two-banded Warbler, to Black-goggled Tanager, Dusky-green Oropendola, Plush-crested Jay (GN), Purplish Jay, Masked Duck, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, and many others. With more than 270 species logged in the surrounding area, we will have plenty to look for in and around the park.


Some species possible at the southern edge of Amboro National Park include Giant Antshrike, Bolivian Earthcreeper, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Blue-and-white Swallow and Blue-and-yellow Tanager as well as Blue-crowned Parakeet, White-fronted and Striped Woodpeckers, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, White-bellied Tyrannulet, Greater Wagtail-tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-tyrant, White-tipped Plantcutter, Ringed and Black-capped Warbling-finches, Grey-crested Finch, Red Pileated Finch and Golden-billed Saltator. Night Refugio Los Volcanes.

 


Band-tailed Fruiteater (DC)Day 4, November 9, 2022
Today we will explore all the dry valleys of Amboro between Samaipata and Saipina in search of some very special birds. Several Bolivian endemics can be found here and we hope to find Bolivian Earthcreeper, Bolivian Blackbird, and Cliff Parakeet. Other species include Dusky-legged Guan, Giant Antshrike, Grey-crested Finch, and both Chaco and White-eared Puffbirds, among others.


Star species here include a number of endemics such as Bolivian Warbling Finch, Light-crowned Spinetail, Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer, Trilling Tapaculo, hummingbirds such as Red-tailed Comet, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Scaled and Tyrian Metaltails, plus Bar-bellied and Montane Woodcreepers, Pearled Treerunner, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Montane Woodcreeper, Olive-crowned Crescentchest, White-throated Tyrannulet, Andean Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, Scarlet-bellied and Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanagers, Blue-backed Conebill, Rufous-naped Brushfinch, Buff-banded Tyrannulet, Bolivian Brushfinch, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, and Band-tailed Fruiteater (DC). At the end of the day, we will have arrived at our accommodation in Psada del Sol. Night Psada del Sol.

 


Days 5 & 6, November 10 & 11, 2022:
Tucuman Parrot (DC)This morning we drive to Quirusillas to bird the Tucuman Forest. There should be plenty of Andean Condors to see (Bolivia's national bird), and when we arrive in this unique, moist mountain forest surrounded by dry Andean Valley Habitat, we will look for the Tucuman Parrot
(DC). This area is the furthest northern point for the Tucuman Parrot and the area is quite remarkable. This humid mountain peak in the dry landscape holds the northern most remnants of Tucuman forest. It is famous for its “alder”, Podocarpus pine trees and hence the local name of this parrot - Loro Pinero (Alder Parrot).  Other species to see here include White-throated Antpitta, Golden-winged Cacique, Straw-backed Tanager, Short-tailed Antthrush, Raquet-tailed Puffleg, and White-throated Quail-dove.

In the afternoon, we will continue to the Red-fronted Macaw Preserve where we will spend some time looking for the endemic, critically endangered Red-fronted Macaw. Less than two feet long, what this bird lacks in size is made up for by its colorful plumage. Its bright red forehead and underwings are set off by a brilliant green body, orange epaulets, and blue wings and tail. Less than 3000 of these birds survive in the arid canyons of the central Bolivian Andes. While most macaws nest in tree holes, few trees exist here so this bird nests in cliff faces. We’ll be watching for birds flying overhead as well as scanning the cliff faces for perched birds. With luck, we hope to get good views of this unique bird. Red-fronted Macaw (DC)

 

We will stay on the reserve in the Red-fronted Macaw Ecolodge which helps protected the Macaw, with all proceeds go to the local communities and the protection of the Reserve. The general opinion of the Ecolodge is "fantastic". The lodge is situated across the river from a massive hard rock breeding cliff which serves as the most important breeding area for the Red-fronted Macaw (DC). Bolivian Cliff Parakeet (a different form of the Monk Parakeet), Mitred Parakeet, and Bolivia Blackbirds (endemic) are also found here and you'll soon see that this desert habitat holds a regional specific bird community, with such distinctive species as the White-eared Puffbird, Greater Wagtail Tyrant, White-tailed Plantcutter, Grey-crested Finch, Spot-fronted Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon, Ultramarine Grosbeak, and Cliff Flycatcher. During the Red-fronted Macaw breeding season (November- to early May) the macaws are constantly present, seen flying in pairs, families, and groups so we will be here at the perfect time! Two nights Red-fronted Macaw Ecolodge.


Watching Red-fronted Macaws!
Watching Red-fronted Macaws! (DC)


Days 7 - 11, November 12 - 16, 2022
Tawny-throated Dotterel (SB)Today we travel from Comarapa to passing through the famed Siberia cloud forest on our way to Cochabamba. As we rise in altitude, we’ll look for Black-throated Thistletail and Black-hooded Sunbeam in elfin forest patches as well as a variety of warbling finches on the high Andean plateau. Other species to look for here include Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, White-tipped Plantcutter, Great Pampa-Finch, Cinereous Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Tawny-throated Dotterel
(SB), Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Slender-billed Miner, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Creamy-breasted Canastero, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Rufous-webbed Bush-Tyrant, Brown-bellied Swallow, Rusty-browed Warbling Finch and Greenish Yellow-Finch.

The city of Cochabamba, in the center of the country at 2550 meters (8366 feet) above sea level, will be our base for the next few days to explore the slopes of Cerro Tunari, where several endemics occur, such as Cochabamba Mountain Finch and Bolivian Warbling Finch. There is so much to explore in the varied habitats around Cochabamba and over the next several days we will bird the forests of the Amazonia slope as well as the arid temperate scrub, Polylepis woodlands, and puna grasslands.


Andean Gull (JA)The Polylepis woodland habitat is unique and offers the gorgeous Red-tailed Comet and several Polylepis specialists including Tawny Tit-Spinetail, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, and Giant Conebill. Star species here include Black-hooded Sunbeam, Wedge-tailed Hillstar, Maquis (or Iquico) Canastero, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Cochabamba Mountain-Finch, Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, Bolivian Blackbird. Other species we may find include Rufous-sided Warbling Finch (relatively common), Maquis Canastero, Rock Earthcreeper, and Black-hooded Sierra-Finch.


Puna grasslands may yield Short-tailed Finch on the rockiest slopes, Puna Canastero and a variety of Ground Tyrant species in grassier areas. The beautiful mountain scenery is a picture in itself with images of Andean Gull (JA), Andean Goose, and Andean Lapwing.


The cloud forest and upper tropical foothills around Cochabamba hold several range-restricted species that are otherwise found only in the extreme southeast of Peru and are hard to get there, such as Hooded Mountain Toucan
(DC), Orange-browed Hemispingus, and Yungas Tody-Tyrant. We will also look for the endemic Yellow-rumped Antwren, White-eared Solitaire, Straw-backed Tanager, Blue-banded Toucanet, Crested Quetzal, and more.

 

Hooded mountain Toucan  Cochabamba Highlands.


We’ll spend time exploring the Chapare area, home of several exciting birds, including Rufous-faced Antpitta, Black-throated Thistletail, Trilling Tapaculo, White-eared Solitaire, the localized Hooded Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, Superciliaried and Orange-browed Hemispingus, Band-tailed Pigeon, Barred Antthrush, and Streaked Xenops among many others.


Chapare Road and the Yungas of Carrasco National Park offer areas reminiscent of La Siberia on the other side of the Reserve. We’ll be looking for Black-winged Parrot, Golden-headed Quetzal, Blue-banded Toucanet, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, and Hooded Mountain Tanager at higher elevation. As time allows, we have the lower elevations to look for Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail, Versicolored Barbet, Saffron-crowned, Straw-backed and Beryl-spangled Tanagers, White-eared Solitaire, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and Green Jay. Other specialties we may see here include Black-throated Thistletail, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Band-tailed Fruiteater (near-endemic), Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-eared Solitaire, the uncommon Straw-backed Tanager and Pale-footed Swallow as well as White-throated Antpitta. If we are lucky we may will find the remarkable Torrent Duck and the extraordinary Sword-billed Hummingbird. Nights Cochabamba.

 

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker  Sword-billed Woodpecker  Chestnut-crested Cotinga

Yungas habitat
Photos: Crimson-mantled Tanager (GN), Sword-billed Hummingbird (SB), Chestnut-crested Cotinga (SB), Yungas habitat (DC)



Day 12, November 17, 2022
Many-colored Rush-Tyrant (SB)This morning we’ll bird Lake Alalay, southeast of Cochabamba and another key birding site of the area. This large lake sits at 12,000 feet and plays host to a variety of waterfowl including White-tufted and Silvery Grebe, Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Teal, Puna Teal, Speckled Teal, Red Shoveler, White-cheeked Pintail, Puna Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Plumbeous Rail, Andean Duck, Andean Avocet, and Slate-colored Coot.


Reedbeds around the lake harbor Many-colored Rush-Tyrant (SB) and Wren-like Rushbird. Great Pampa-Finch and Grassland Yellow-Finch are good finds here and Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Rufous Hornero, Bay-winged Cowbird, Creamy-breasted Thrush, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Andean Negrito, and Yellow-winged Blackbird are all possible. Later in the day we board our flight to La Paz. Night La Paz.


Day 13, November 18, 2022
Grey-breasted Seedsnipe (SB)From La Paz we will explore two more sights: Lake Titicaca to the north and the Yungas valleys to the east across the Andes. This morning we will head northeast toward the lush cloud forest and foothills above Coroico town. We will drive through a spectacular Andean mountain road that has become a paradise for birders and look for species such as Rufous-bellied and Grey-breasted Seedsnipe (SB), Scribble-tailed Canastero, and Giant Coot, which are mostly restricted to the high passes of the mountains. We’ll also descend to the forest, where many species are possible, including mega mixed flocks of various more wide-spread tanagers, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteater, Versicolored Barbet, Upland Antshrike, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Hooded Mountain Toucan, Citrine Warbler, Glossy-black Thrush, Scarlet-bellied, Chestnut-bellied and Hooded Mountain Tanagers, and many more.


We will also explore the Andean bogs and stony slopes near La Cumbre pass (4,700 m), elfin forest and paramo habitat bordering Cotapata National Park. There is so much to see here including Scimitar-winged Piha, Diademed Tapaculo, Orange-browed Hemispingus along with an excellent variety of tanagers and flycatchers. Other birds in the mid and higher elevation side valleys include Scribble-tailed Canastero, Puna Tapaculo, Black-billed Shrike Tyrant, Puna, Ochre-naped and White-fronted Ground Tyrants, Short-tailed Finch (rare) and Black Siskin, Moustached Flowerpiercer, White-browed Conebill, Mountain Cacique and numerous hummingbirds. Other birds of these unique habitats include Golden-collared Tanager and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager (SB) Black-throated Thistletail, Pale-footed Swallow, Plum-crowned Parrot, Versicolored Barbet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Upland Antshrike, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Stripe-chested Antwren, tanagers and flycatchers galore. Night Coroico.


Day 14, November 19, 2022
We will depart early this morning to reach the best upper Yungas and high-elevation birding areas en-route back to La Paz. The scenery is again of the spectacular kind. The Yungas, near Unduavi, gives us our best chance at seeing Yungas (large-tailed) Doves, while Andean Guan, Yungas Pygmy Owl, Citrine Warbler, White-banded Tyrannulet and Blue-backed Conebill, Hooded Mountain and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager (SB) should all turn up. Further gems may consist of White-collared Jay, flocks of Southern Mountain Cacique, Scaled and Tyrian Metaltails, White-crested and Sierran Elaenias, the rare Three-striped Hemispingus, Barred Fruiteater or even Stripe-faced Wood Quail. There is also the chance to see Hooded Mountain Toucan. This mythical creature, which has led plenty a fine birder on a merry chase through the Andes is certainly not guaranteed, but this is one of the best places to find it. We expect to arrive in La Paz in the mid-afternoon, where a comfortable hotel and a good meal will get us ready for the last exciting days of the main tour. Night La Paz.


Day 15, November 20, 2022
Today we head to Sorata to look for the endemic and localized Berlepsch’s Canastero, Giant Coot and other high-Andes species including Huayco Tinamou, Ornate Tinamou, Black-winged Ground Dove, Golden-spotted Ground Dove, Scribble-tailed Canastero, White-winged Black Tyrant, Golden-billed Saltator, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Black-hooded Sunbeam. This day will also see us taking in the area around Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, located at 3800 meters (12,468 feet) with a depth of 281 meters (922 feet). Lake Titicaca is the home of the endangered, near-endemic, flightless Titicaca (Short-winged) Grebe. Ranging in size from 11-17 inches, this little grebe is unique in that is has lost its ability to fly. It spends its time in the shallower lake margins where we hope to get good views. We will also have a chance to see Andean Avocet, Chilean Flamingo, Puna Teal, Crested Duck, Yellow-billed Teal, and Many-colored Rush Tyrant here. Night La Paz.

 

Black-hooded Sunbeam   Titicaca Grebe

Lake Titicaca
Black-hooded Sunbeam, Titicaca Grebe, Lake Titicaca (all DC)


Day 16, November 21, 2022
Today we will say our goodbyes and transfer to La Paz/El Alto International Airport (Code: LPB) to connect with our international flights home or continue to Apolo for the San Pedro Tanager extension.


BOLIVIA Main 16 day Tour, November 6 - 21, 2022
Tour Price: Provisionally $6595 pp/dbl, $695 sgl
Note this tour begins in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and ends in La Paz, Bolivia. Price is based on 8 passengers.
Included:
Group airport transfers, accommodations, meals, transportation in passenger bus
Not Included:
International flight, luggage charges, passport/visa fees, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.  Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

Slaty Gnateater  CochabambaMountainFinch

Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager 
Slaty Gnateater, Cochabamba Mountain Finch, Rufous-bellied Mountain Tanager, Blue-banded Toucanet (all DC)


Post-tour Extension San Pedro Tanager, November 21 – 27, 2022

For those who want more adventure we have organized a very special extension to the Apolo-Atén area to look for the yet-to-be-described "San Pedro ” Tanager (DC). First found in the San Pedro area on the Manu road in Peru in 2000, this new species is known as San Pedro Tanager, but it has not been officially named yet. Our tour stages from the town of Apolo, Bolivia in the piedmont region of the high Andean plateau. Once an area of cerrado, Apolo sits on mostly scrub and cattle pasture but offers access to important habitats in Madidi National Park. The Machariapo Valley has isolated Inter-Andean dry montane forest (800 to 1300 m) within Madidi National Park where the San Pedro Tanager is found in Bolivia.

 

San  Pedro Tanager


Palkachupa (Apolo) CotingaThere are many other bird species here including Yungas Antwren, the threatened Military Macaw, and Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. The large rain shadow dry forest is a fairly unique ecosystem and offers many bird species more common to Chaco and dry forests south of Santa Cruz city like Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Rufous Casiornis, Black-capped Antwren, Black-bellied Antwren, and Saffron-billed Sparrow. But also because of its highland location the area shares species of Andean river valleys and middle montane forests like Yungas Manakin, Plain Antvireo, Pale-edged Flycatcher, White-winged Tanager, Two-banded and Golden-crowned Warbler.


Our multi-day tour allows time to track down the tanager.  We'll also look for Palkachupa (Apolo) Cotinga (DC) and Green-capped Tanager in the Bolivian Andean Cerrado and other birds in the Apolo Yungas such as Yellow-crested Tanager, Round-tailed Manakin, Red-stained Woodpecker, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Black-capped Antwren, Yungas Tyrannulet, Yungas Antwren, Bolivian Recurvebill, Inambari Woodcreeper, Ocellated Piculet, White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, and perhaps even Scimitar-winged Piha are all possible in the area.



ITINERARY

Day 1, November 21, 2022: Today we will set off for Charazani birding along the way and breaking up the long journey to Apolo. 
Day 2 – 5, November 22 – 25, 2022: This morning we will continue on to Apolo, Bolivia where we will spend 4 nights.
Our days will be spent searching for the "San Pedro" Tanager and other specialties.
Day 6, November 26, 2022: Return to La Paz.
Day 7, November 27, 2022: Transfer to La Paz/El Alto International Airport (Code: LPB) to connect with international flights out.

 

NOTE: As the "San Pedro" Tanager is an undescribed species, we would appreciate the tour participants adding their valuable information to eBird (sightings, voice recordings, photos and videos) but not post it to social media until the description of the bird is published.


Post-tour Extension to Apolo for the San Pedro tanager, November 21 - 27, 2022
Tour Price: Provisionally $1995 pp/dbl, $295 sgl from La Paz, Bolivia

Price based on a minimum of 8 passengers. 
Included: Group airport transfers, accommodations, meals, transport in local vehicles
Not Included:
International flight, luggage charges, passport/visa fees, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.  Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

 


TOUR CODE - What to expect
This tour involves a wide variety of terrain and conditions and a fair level of physical fitness is necessary to get the most out of your time in Bolivia. This is a full on birding tour with early starts and some long days. Some days we will have breakfast at 5 AM at the lodge and you can expect several mornings where we depart even earlier and have a picnic breakfast at our birding destination. Picnic lunches will be offered when we are in the field and sometimes we will have lunch at our lodging. There may be some time to rest after lunch but most of the time you'll want to take advantage of the great birding. If we are staying for several nights in the same lodging, there will be the opportunity to opt out of birding excursions if needed. This obviously won't be possible when we are moving between accommodation.

TRAVELING
There is a lot of ground to cover on this tour and there will be some long days. As we travel between birding areas, rides may be long and we have asked for and expect a comfortable bus for these journeys. Some days, the travel will be broken up with several birding stops along the road. Mountain roads can be windy and exhilarating and will no doubt offer their own unique excitement. Dusty roads can be an annoyance and face masks will come in handy in some spots.

 

ON THE BIRDING TRAIL
There is a moderate amount of walking, mostly on roads and good trails. In some of the higher elevations, the terrain can be somewhat uneven underfoot. Our strategy whenever possible will be to walk downhill with the bus following. There are a few steeper hikes but they are short. The few longer walks will be about two miles but most of the walks are shorter than that. Your guide will endeavor to describe the expected conditions ahead of each birding excursion.

 

ELEVATION
This tour covers a range of altitudes from the low elevations around Santa Cruz to maximum elevations around La Paz and Cochabamba around 15,000 feet. We start off low so that you can acclimate as we ascend. While most of the accommodation is below 8000 feet, we will be sleeping at 12,000 feet during our 3 night stay in La Paz. If you are prone to altitude sickness, you are advised to consult with your doctor and bring along a remedy.

 

EXPECTED WEATHER
Because of the varied terrain and elevations, you can expect a range of weather. Higher elevations are sure to be chilly and we expect morning temperatures in the 30s at the higher altitudes. In the lower areas, it can be hot (90s). Rain (even snow) is possible, so be prepared.

 

VEHICLES
Where it is practical we expect to have a comfortable bus. Your guides will occupy the front seats of the bus and we expect participants to rotate their seats on a daily basis moving from front to back in an equitable fashion. If you are prone to motion sickness, we ask that you be prepared with adequate medication for the duration of the tour so that everyone can rotate seats equally.

 

WHEN NATURE CALLS
Though all of our accommodations have modern bathroom facilities, we will struggle to find clean, comfortable public restrooms along the road. Gas station facilities are likely to be worse than a comfort stop in nature. Be prepared to use what nature offers.

 

OTHER CONCERNS
As with many parts of the world, incidences of political unrest can arise in Bolivia and if this happens, it could impact our tour. When issues arise, sometimes roads are blocked. Our local agent monitors the situation and will keep us informed about any potential issues and advise alternative travel routes. Flexibility and calm will be key if such situations arise and our itinerary could be impacted. The safety of our clients is paramount and we will amend our itinerary if necessary.

 

If you have any questions at all about this tour, please ask [email protected]

Leader: Diego Calderon, plus Steve Bird and Gina Nichol (with 8 or more clients).

BOLIVIA
November 6 - 21, 2022    Registration Form>     Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!
PLUS: Pre-tour Extension to the Barba Azul Nature Reserve/Blue-throated Macaw, November 2 - 6, 2022
PLUS: Post-tour Extension to Apolo for the new "San Pedro" Tanager, November 21 - 27, 2022


TOUR PRICES:  

  • Pre-tour Extension to the Barba Azul Nature Reserve/Blue-throated Macaw, Nov 2 - 6, 2022
    Tour Price:  Provisionally $2995 pp/dbl $395 sgl from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

  • Main 16 day Tour, November 6 - 21, 2022
    Tour Price: Provisionally $6595 pp/dbl, $695 sgl
    Note this tour begins in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and ends in La Paz, Bolivia

  • Post-tour Extension to Apolo for the San Pedro tanager, November 21 - 27, 2022
    Tour Price: Provisionally $1995 pp/dbl, $295 sgl from La Paz, Bolivia

Tour and extension prices are based on double occupancy and a minimum of 8 passengers. 
Prices are based on exchange rates at the time the tour was posted (**see note below).

Deposit: $1000.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Inclusions/Exclusions -- Please see above in tour descriptions.

RESERVATIONS: Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $1000 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 


Final payment is due by July 1, 2022. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). 

Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange at the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.


Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.


There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

 

TRIP INSURANCE:
Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more.

 

There are many trip insurers. Here are two options to consider:

CSA Travel Protection
CSA TRAVEL PROTECTION>
CSA offers coverage for pre-existing conditions if you purchase your policy before making your final payment for a tour.
Please be sure to use Sunrise Birding's producer code: 20201123
when purchasing your policy.
Insuremytrip
INSURE MY TRIP>
Insure My Trip is a web site that allows you to compare trip insurance plans
to find the right plan for you.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Insurance policy requirements vary and the timing of your purchase can affect coverage. Some insurance providers require that for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a policy must be purchased within 7-14 days of booking. Others, like CSA, offer policies that cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased prior to making your final payment for the tour.

  • Trip insurance policy premiums may be non-refundable, but they may be able to be amended or transferred. Check with your insurer. It is important to be sure that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate before you purchase trip insurance.

  • Pay attention to coverages provided by your policy. Be aware of the requirements of country or destination can change, so check often. Some policies are now offering Covid related coverages so check with your insurer.

  • US medical insurance plans (including Medicare) often do not provide coverage outside the US. The US State Department strongly advises Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Consult with your insurer prior to your trip to ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider directly or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Be sure to get and keep all documentation of any expenses incurred.

Photo credits:  SB=Steve Bird, DC=Diego Calderon, GN=Gina Nichol, JS=John Ashworth