“Manu Manu” (as Mork might have said…)

If Mork from Ork descended to Earth in a spaceship, I’d put my money on him checking out Manu before he headed to Boulder, Colorado, to hook up with Mindy and have a hit 70s sitcom. Why Manu? Because there’s a whole lot of life there! I’m sure you’ve all read several times about how western Amazonia has some of the highest biodiversity of terrestrial organisms anywhere on earth. There are now several lodges where you can see this diversity up close and personal, and the Manu area of southeastern Peru hosts some of the best.

From the cloudforests of the Andean slopes to the lowland rainforest with intermittent patches of Guadua bamboo, Manu encapsulates the phenomenon of ‘ridiculous biodiversity,’ and we run two separate tours into the Manu area: one, Mountains of Manu, that concentrates on the cloudforests and foothill forests along the Manu Road, and the second in which we spend about a week at the comfortable Manu Wildlife Center and explore the many different habitats available in the rich lowlands along the Madre de Dios River.

Just a few of the birding delights from our past Mountains of Manu and Manu Wildlife Center tours: Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Hoatzins, Paradise Tanager, Plum-throated Cotinga, Semicollared Puffbird, and Rufous-crested Coquettes (Photos by guides Dan Lane and Richard Webster and participants David & Judy Smith)

Consider your chances to see incredibly attractive tanagers, cotingas, toucans, and barbets from canopy platforms; to see tens of species moving through the understory or canopy of rain- or cloudforest in mixed-species foraging flocks; to see hundreds of parrots (including macaws) squabbling for the best positions at a clay lick. For that matter, you could see quetzals lazily cranking their heads around as they wonder how in the world everything was so GREEN where they live! Or a troop of Wooly Monkeys watching us (and, probably checking us off on their mental checklists) as intently as we watch them.

Now, if these possibilities make you think “huh, yeah, I can see myself doing that!” then ask yourself “why not now?” What else are you doing this summer that offers you these possibilities? Would it help if I added that this will be our last offer of the Manu Wildlife Center tour for a while? Or that the accommodations on both our Manu tours are very comfortable, offer fine food, and that there’d be zero chance that your office can call you to ask you for a favor while you’re on vacation? Come on down to Peru and join me on a visit to this incredible area! You and Mork will have something in common to discuss…should you ever meet!

Tour dates are July 2-14 and October 13-25 for Manu Wildlife Center and July 21-August 5 for Mountains of Manu. Come check out the ‘ridiculous biodiversity’ — and some fantastic birding — for yourself!