This site was first visited by a birding group from Kolibri Expeditions in search of Orange-throated Tanager Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron in Dec 2002 with big success. Since it has become popular as the only currently available site in Peru for this spectacular species - albeit many groups in 2005 and 2006 missed the tanager. There is however another nearby site that also hold the species according to local guide Jose Lirio, so it is recommended that one spend more time to sample different areas.
Orange-throated Tanager was found new to science in the end of the 60´s and led the way to the discovery of several new species - one per year since - in Peru. Close to a 100 birders have already made the way to this not too remote Awaruna village the last couple of years.
Kolibri Expeditions initiated an eco-tourism project in benefit of the village. A mandatory fee of 30 dollars per night (incl food) goes directly to the village and with the around 2000-3000 dollars already received the past years the village has been able to send two bright students to achieve higher education, as well as improving slowly but surely the infrastructure in the village to receive tourists. While things are still quite basic, you can be sure that the money you spend will be used very wisely.
Birdwise the site has more to give than just the star of the show. The rare Blackish Pewee has been seen by every group. Other good birds include Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Spangled Cotinga, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Purplish Jacamar, Pale-rumped Swift, Hairy-crested, White-plumed and Bicolored Antbirds.
To reach this site on the Marañon river - previous arrangements is mandatory. Please, contact any of the companies below for more information on how to book. Note that you don´t have to book a big tour with a commercial company to do the booking for Nuevo Salem. It is OK to go there independently. However, there are no short-cuts. You have to pay 30 dollars per night to stay there, and you have to use the services of the local awaruna eco-tourism promoter (30 dollars per day - minimum four days) who is the coordinator. He, Jose Lirio, has put his soul into finding a place for the Wetmorethraupis safe to visit. As former mayor candidate of Imazita in 2002 loosing by only a couple of votes and having spent all his private resources in this campaign, we feel it is important to give our support to him. It was also Lirio who set-up the visits to the former site at Peña Blanca -which is now off limits and right out dangerous to visit.
The road beyond Imazita continues to Saramiriza, which is planned to become an important port in the coming years. If this happens the road there is bound to improve and a bridge over Nieva river will be built. There is good habitat along this road still, including hill forest that may hold the Orange-throated Tanager and unexplored white-sand forests. Be aware that this is Awaruna country so it is wise to bring with you a local awaruna guide if you plan to do the road in various days.
Once in Saramiriza it is possible to hire a boat to travel down the Marañon river and up Morona river to Tierra Blanca where recently the White-masked Antbird was sensationally rediscovered by Jose Alvarez, Dan Lane, Thomas Valqui and others in an LSU expedtition in 2001 to study the white sand forests of this area.