The small village San Damian at 1600 m is reached from Huarmey by the coast in two-three hours. This is the nearest accomodation unless you want to camp in the village to be on the spot in the early morning. This is on the west, dry side of the mountains and from the village you need to climb uphill for about two hours until you reach the forest/scrub where the birds are. On the way up look for Peruvian Martins and Great Inca-Finch. Once up at the forest key birds includes Russet-bellied Spinetail and Piura Chat-Tyrant two rare and highly localized Peruvian endemics. Other birds to look for are Bay-crowned Brush-Finch, Black-necked Woodpecker, Great Inca-finch, Peruvian Sheartail, Bronze-tailed Comet and Peruvian Screech-Owl.
Doing a day-trip here you are only visiting the edge of an extensive woodland that holds deer, puma and Spectacled Bears according to the locals. It should be easy to arrange a guide in the village and even pack animals if you would like to explore these forests further.
It is possible to cross Cordillera Negra and continue to Huaraz driving through the village Aija. On the way there it is possible to add several west slope birds such as Peruvian Pygmy-Owl and Black-necked Woodpecker as well as Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.
Once past Aija on the way to Recuay on the main Lima-Huaraz road, you will pass some good stands of Chuquiragua bushes (Orange composite flowers and thorny bush). This is the best place to look for Green-headed Hillstar.
There are also some slopes with extensive ichu grassland. At this place a tinamou that in all aspects corresponded to what was known as Kalinowski's Tinamou. This taxon was invalidated by Krabbe and Schulenberg in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 125: 253-260 in 2005, and the birds in Ancash and La Libertad thought to be Kalinowski's Tinamou in fact better corresponds to the branickii subspecies of Ornate Tinamou. This case is far from closed since the Ancash and La Libertad birds are both larger, darker and with more rufous in the wing than birds in for instance Ayacucho and Junin. Maybe it is a cline within the variation of branickii or the birds in this region indeed should be considered a seperate taxon. Thomas Valqui is currently studying the relationships of these populations. Visitors are encourage to take photographs and get sound recordings of this form and from elsewhere in Peru and upload these on www.birding-peru.com
There are other routes crossing Cordillera Negra. Many of these can be impossible to pass in the rainy season including that of Aija.
One such route passes Pueblo Libre mentioned in the section of Cordillera Blanca. The route comes out at Nepeña, where Rufous Flycatcher, Peruvian Plantcutter and Baird's Flycatcher have been found in Prosopis woodland near the archeological site of Nepeña.