Our Inkaterra January 2014 Workshops

2014 has kicked off to a busy start here at Inkaterra with  several successful workshops for our local community, all with the aim of promoting sustainability and ecotourism here in Peru. So far, there have been events for our Inkaterra guides, the local children and for disabled people around the Machu Picchu area. You can read more about each of our events below.

Inkaterra Guide Birding Training

Birding at Inkaterra

Peru is renowned for its birdlife, and the area around Machu Picchu is particularly spectacular in birding terms. We are keen to promote the area as a birdwatching hotspot, and to really allow visitors to really test their binoculars, the Inkaterra Asociación organised a training course for local guides from both Cusco and Machu Picchu. The seminars were led by Manuel Bryce, Fernando Ángulo and Barry Walker, all experts on ecotourism, conservation and birdwatching. Held over four (very rainy) days, participants were taken on field excursions and attended lectures on guiding techniques, conservation ethics and virtual tools for birdwatching. The aim of the training course was to strengthen and empower the local guides to increase Machu Picchu’s presence on the global birdwatching stage, promoting it as the birdwatching destination.

Another session has already been arranged for March showing how committed the local guides are in these conservation projects.

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Finger-painting the Cloud Forest

As part of our commitment to social responsibility, the Inkaterra Asociación organised a creative finger painting workshop for disabled citizens from the region around Machu Picchu. In conjunction with OMAPED, the government office for the disabled, the workshop was held in the Ministry of Culture’s offices. Participants spent the day getting their hands dirty painting pictures of animals that live in and around the cloud forests of Machu Picchu.

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Ecotourism for Children

Our Inkaterra Asociación ran a series of children’s workshops during the summer vacations this January to educate children aged 5 to 12 on the importance of ecotourism and conservation. Through games, experiments and seminars the children were taught key messages on themes such as recycling, climate change and natural sciences, both locally in Peru and internationally. The workshops were run by our team of explorer guides, biologists, anthropologists and volunteers from the Inkaterra Asociación, and will help to raise awareness and respect to the local environment.

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We are proud to support local initiatives, and these are the first of many workshops and seminars that will take place for 2014. Stay tuned right here on our blog and on our social media channels for details on the other social initiatives that we will be running throughout the year.

Inkaterra Birdwatching Tours 2014

Peru is renowned for its bird life, being home to a total of 1836 species – that’s 20% of the world’s registered bird species. The changing ecosystems throughout the country, from tropical rainforests to the Andean mountains, makes  it  the perfect environment for both visiting migrators and endemic species.

To  celebrate Peru’s status as one of the best birdwatching countries in the world, Inkaterra Hotels is launching two birdwatching itineraries to showcase the best ornithological gems Peru has to offer.

On the first 2 night itinerary guests have the chance to spot some of the 207 registered species that live in the Cloud Forest surrounding the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Guided tours and walks will give keen birdwatchers some of the best opportunities to spot particularly elusive species, and the area surrounding the Inca Citadel is a favourite for the Inca Wren.

Inca Wren

Further to this, the gardens of the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel itself house the world’s largest collection of native orchid species, with 372 found within the gardens. Here hummingbirds, tanagears and the iconic Cock of the Rock can be found flitting around the picturesque setting.

The second bird-watching trip is a totally different experience, with three nights in the Amazon Rainforest of Southern Peru, in the Madre de Dios-Tambopata region. Here there are 540 bird species waiting to be discovered, together with other creatures like monkeys, three toed sloths, black caymans and the rare giant river otter.

Guided trails through the rainforest can help to reveal these natural treasures which are so often camouflaged against the surroundings. Staying at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and journeying across Lake Valencia, the Madre de Dios river or high above the treetops on the Inkaterra canopy walkway, guests have plenty of opportunity to spot the amazing birdlife for which theses forests are home.

Both these tours run over four days , which give ample opportunity to explore the area and catch a glimpse of some of those exclusive creatures. For more information and booking, take a look at our website at inkaterra.com

Birding Rally Challenge – Southern Peru – The Winners Are Crowned

After one of the closest competitions that we have seen, we are proud to announce that the winners of the final Birding Rally Challenge Southern Peru 2013 are the Field Guides from the USA, after spotting a grand total of 457 species. Just two species behind with 455, and tied for second place are Sunbird (UK) and Surbound (US).

Third place is awarded to the team from South Africa, Birding Ecotours, who counted 389 species. It has been an incredible Birding Rally Challenge for us to help host, and it is remarkable that the teams managed to identify 619 species, that is 7% of the world’s total species.

Green and White Hummingbird

Here is a breakdown of the Birding Rally Challenge results in full:

FIELD GUIDES (USA) – Total: 457

SUNBIRD (UK) – Total: 455

SURBOUND (USA) – Total: 455

BIRDING ECOTOURS (South Africa) – Total 389

AVIATUR (Colombia) – Total 350

Heptic Tanager

We would like to offer our congratulations to all the teams that have taken part. The support that they have lent to ecotourism and sustainable development in Peru is immeasurable. We look forward to seeing our friends again for the next Birding Rally Challenge  BRC – Nor Amazónica in May 2014.

The challenge has definitely intensified.

There is nothing like a bit of international rivalry between the UK and the USA teams!

Day 2 of The Birding Rally Challenge 2013

The teams in the 2013 BRC

The Birding Rally Challenge has set off to a flying start here in Peru. Already on our 2nd day, the UK Sunbird’s showed great promise coming in first place for their day 1 sightings, but have now been knocked off the top spot by US team Surbound. Combating a merciless sun, the teams did a great job on the Rally’s second day.

Our Founder and Chairman, Jose Koechlin, at the opening of the BRC 2013 with PromPeru

Our Chairman & CEO, José Koechlin, at the opening of the BRC 2013 with PromPeru

Both US teams, Surbound and Field guides were sent to Valencia Lake at the beginning of Day 2. Leader’s Surbound ticked off White-chested Swift’ and ‘Plain soft tail’ near Gamitana creek from their checklist, and a magnificent ‘Black Hawk Eagle’ perched low on the Madre de Dios riverside caught their eye. Meanwhile, Field Guides found a ‘Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant’, due to Dan Lane’s privileged sense for bird calls. A ‘Chimney Swift’ and an extremely hard-to-find ‘Sungrebe’ were Field Guides’ other picks.

Spotted at the BRC on day 2

The UK team Sunbird’s, now in second place, walked around the surroundings of Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, where they spotted a ‘Pavonine Cuckoo’ (very rare for the area) and the impressive long-beaked ‘Purus Jacamar’. On the same route, South African Birding Ecotours found two colourful species from the tropics; an ‘Ivory-billed Aracari’ and a ‘Curl-Crested Aracari’.

South Africa Birding Ecotours

Aviatur (Colombia team), led by Alba Milena Ayala –the first woman to participate at the rally– was the only one to travel by the Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion and Lake Sandoval route, where they spotted a ‘Long-billed woodcreeper’, a ‘White-throated Jacamar’ and an ‘Agami Heron’.

Spotted in action at the BRC

Barred Antshrike

It’s been a successful few days here in the Amazon for the beginning of the Birding Rally. Tomorrow see’s the last day at Tambopata, after which all teams will be heading to Puerto Maldonado. Check out the full itinerary for the rally here. Stay tuned for updates on both our Twitter and Facebook and right here on our blog, as well as on the official BirdingRally Challenge.com website.

The Rutland Birdfair

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Last weekend, bird fans from all over the UK flocked to the 25th Birdfair, held at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve from 16-18 August. Over the three days, 350 exhibitors and thousands of visitors were welcomed through its gates, including celebrities such as TV favourite Bill Oddie, to peruse the stands and enjoy an extensive program of lectures.

Guy Kirwan

Speaking at this year’s event was ornithologist Guy Kirwan, who participated in the inaugural Birding Rally Challenge in Peru last autumn. This multi-day bird spotting competition was organised by Inkaterra Association and brought together 24 of the world’s top birders in six international teams, who travelled from Tambopata in southern Peru, to the biodiverse cloud forest of Machu Picchu.

The BRC 2012

Guy gave an inspiring presentation about his experiences in Peru to an audience of over 100 keen birders. He spoke knowledgeably and enthusiastically about the birds that his UK team, ‘The Forest Falcons’, spotted in the Amazon Rainforest while staying at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica and Inkaterrra Hacienda Concepcion. He also included details about the Spectacled Bears that were spotted on the final day while the teams were staying at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.photo

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Over its 25 years, Birdfair has raised more than £3million to support international conservation initiatives, resulting in the establishment of many new national parks and reserves globally. www.birdfair.org.uk

The Birding Rally Challenge 2013

The Birders in action

This June brings the second Birding Rally Challenge to Peru. Peru is already well known to birders as a “must visit” destination – it has an almost unparalleled species diversity, on the richest continent for birds. In November 2012, Peru hosted the first Birding Rally Challenge, the only event of its kind in the world, for its non-stop modality, bringing together the most renowned birding teams from North America (e-birders and LSU), Great Britain (Forest Falcons), South Africa (Zululanders), Spain (Tramuntana) and Brazil (Ararajubas). The Rally is organised and run by the Inkaterra Association (ITA), Promperu and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR).

BRC Totals as of Day 3

The second Rally kicked off on Sunday 9th June with the teams arriving in Lima to an opening ceremony and press conference. The competition officially began on Tuesday in Lambayeque, with the teams waking up at 4am.

The BRC Route

This time, the Birding Rally Challenge covers Northern Peru, crossing the below landmarks:

Northern Peru Highlights

Timetable of events

Opening ceremony and press conference

Day 1: 11th June – Lambayeque

Day 2: 12th June – Lambayeque to Cajamarca

Day 3: 13th June – Cajamarca

Day 4: 14th June – Cajamarca to Leymebamba

Day 5: 15th June – Leymebamba to Amazonas

Day 6: 16th June – Amazonas

Day 7: 17th June – San Martin

Day 8: 18th June – Tarapoto

Cocktails and closing ceremony  

The birders in action at the BRC 2013

After three days, each team has already obtained incredible results. The highlight for many came on day 3 when Dan Lane of the e-birders spotted the Grey-Bellied comet in the Cañón Sangal region. Other top sightings include a Buff Bridled Inca Finch on the road to San Marcos, spotted by the UK’s Forest Falcons, a White Capped-Dipper near Chonta River, spotted by the Zululanders and the Tramuntana team saw the Great Horned Owl near Lake Sulluscocha. The current total numbers of different bird species spotted is at 315!

Grey Bellied Comet (Photo Ernesto Benavides)

Birding Highlights of Day 3

Catch up with all the latest updates from the Birding Rally Challenge by following @InkaterraHotels and @BirdingRallyPe on Twitter or follow hashtag #BirdingRallyChallenge.

8 days of adventure at the BRC 2013

A Successful Birding Rally Challenge

What a magnificent week it has been in Peru. The first Birding Rally Challenge was a great success with the winning team from Louisiana State University, nicknamed the ‘Tigrisomas’, identifying 493 species of birds! The challenge, co-organised by Promperu & the Inkaterra Association (ITA) saw six non-stop bird watching days across Lima, Puerto Maldona do, the Inter-Oceanic Highway and Machu Picchu. The UK team – The Forest Falcons – came a close second, narrowly missing out on being crowned the winners by just three species, finding 490 birds in total.

Birding Rally Challenge Results

The competition brought together six teams from five different countries, spotting 649 species of the 700 that can be found in the Tambopata Amazon reserve, all the way along to the iconic Machu Picchu in Cusco where the competition came to a close. Many of the birds that were spotted had never been seen by many members of the teams that were taking part, making it a truly unique experience for all.

On the Amazon River: A Birding Paradise

The event was a tremendous occasion for both Peru and Inkaterra to showcase a very unique experience that enabled visitors to see the vast wildlife that can be found in Peru. As mentioned in the recent article by El Comerico, leader Jordi Sargatell from the Tramuntana team said “Peru is the best country in which species can be seen so close you can almost touch them”.

So closes a very successful first Birding Rally Challenge, with the promise of another in the first half of 2013. Peruvian Vice Minister of Tourism announced another challenge will be on its way in the Northern lowlands of Peru next year.

The Birding Rally Challenge

Spotlight on: The Birding Rally Challenge

Inkaterra Associación (ITA), is proud to announce that they will be working alongside the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) & PROMPERU as co-organisers, to launch Peru’s first ever Birding Rally Challenge. With 1,836 species of birds (20 % of the world total), of which 120 are endemic, Peru possesses an astonishing ornithological diversity. Long-considered a birding paradise, Peru is now recognised worldwide with over 20,000 bird-watchers expected to visit Peru next year, generating an estimated $50 million USD in revenue.  We’re all very excited here at Inkaterra for this forthcoming Birding Rally Challenge.

Competitors and guests will have the privilege of staying at the Inkaterra properties across the competition. Commencing on November 29th at Tambopata, the competition will cover over 700km of Peru as they travel up the high Andes over the South Interoceanic Highway and finish at the biodiverse cloud forests of Machu Picchu.

Competitors will have the chance to see over 739 bird species in just one small geographical spot. This is the first competition that brings together the world top birders, with 4 ornithologists per team: eBirders –Cornell, and LSU-Louisiana Team, from USA; the Falcon Forest Team from UK; The Zululanders from Southafrica; the Tramuntana Birding Team from Spain; and the Ararajuba Team from Brazil.

Here is a detailed overview of the plan for the 6 day competition:

November 27th: Arrive in Lima

November 28th: Press Conference / Teams Introduction

November 29th: Transfer to Puerto Maldonado City – Madre de Dios

November 30th: DAY 1 – Tambopata / Valencia Lake

December 1st: DAY 2 – Tambopata / Sandoval Lake

December 2nd: DAY 3 – Tambopata / Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Trail Systeym

December 3rd: DAY 4 – South Interoceanic Highway, Machu Picchu Town

December 4th: DAY 5 -  Machu Picchu Citadel

December 5th: DAY 6 – Machu Picchu Surroundings / Award & Closing Ceremony

December 6th: Transfer to Lima / Press Conference

December 7th: Teams return to their countries

The competition consists in the registration of as many species of birds by sight or sound during the route (the responsible use of bird calls playback is allowed). The team that registers the largest number of species will be named the winner.

Stay tuned for more news of the fast approaching Birding Rally, and follow us on Twitter for live updates from the event.