Ballestas Islands Paracas and West Slope Specialties (2 Days)

An overnight tour from Lima that includes a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands with their enormous seabird colonies, plus a visit to the unique coastal fog vegetation hills and associated endemic birds

Scarlet-banded Barbet
DAY 1: LIMA TO CHINCHA Leaving Lima after breakfast our first stop will be a small nature reserve on the outskirts of Lima, Villa Marshes. Here we will see Andean Coot, Puna Ibis, Great and White-tufted Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, White-cheeked Pintail, Franklin's Gull, Gray-hooded Gull, Bay-winged and Variable Hawk. Wren-like Rushbird and Many-colored Rush tyrant are here along with Least Bittern. We will make selected stops along the way in agricultural areas particularly for Peruvian Thicknee, Peruvian Pipit, Short-tailed Field Tyrant and others. Other possibilities include a variety of Seedeaters including Drab (endemic), Parrot-billed and Chestnut-throated as well as Scrub Blackbird and Long-tailed Mockingbird. Arriving in Asia we’ll drive inland to an area of low coastal hills that are covered in a unique 'fog vegetation' (i.e. the sparse plant life obtains its moisture almost entirely from condensation in this almost rainless landscape). Bare desert on the way to the Lomas is home to the endemic Coastal Miner, whereas higher up in the hills we may find Grayish Miner and the endemic Thick-billed Miner. Other birds we may find on the green slopes of the Lomas are Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Variable Hawk, American Kestrel, Eared Dove, Croaking Ground-Dove, Oasis and Amazilia Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Peruvian Meadowlark. If we are fortunate we will even find the rare and nomadic Raimondi's Yellow-Finch in this area (mostly November to March). A short distance away amongst the sparse cacti and large boulders we shall look for the endemic Cactus Canastero. We continue on to our colonial period hotel – Hacienda San Jose. We may hear and look for Tschudi’s Nightjar here L.D
DAY 2: PARACAS TO LIMAAfter an early breakfast we will head to Paracas Bay and our boat trip. This 2-hour trip to the Ballestas islands will produce immense nesting colonies of Guanay Cormorants Peruvian Boobies and Inca Terns. Here we will also see colonies of South-American Sea-lions. Other targets here include the lovely Red-legged Cormorant, Blackish Oystercatcher, Peruvian Pelican, Gray Gull, the endemic Surf Cinclodes and Humboldt Penguin. Returning to shore we will explore the peninsular and see a variety of shorebirds, Chilean Flamingo, Elegant Tern and perhaps the endangered Peruvian Tern. After lunch we will head for Lima and drop you off at your Lima hotel. B:L