TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Ecuador and Galapagos

14 - 29 December 2000


Leaders:
Neil Arnold - Travelling Naturalist

Joep Hendriks - Mainland Ecuador

Daniel Jacome - Galapagos

Santiago Ramos - Captain - Beluga

Miguel Reyes - Driver

INTRODUCTION

Thank you for your very entertaining company throughout the holiday.

Thanks to the skill and hard work of David and Barbara we have a marine molluscs and a Galapagos plant list. I am sure the mollusc list is a first for The Travelling Naturalist!

I am most grateful to all those who made the holiday so memorable but especially to Daniel and Joep.

Best wishes

Neil Arnold

February 2001

THE DIARY

Thursday 14 December

Quito

Weather : Overcast, fine rain

Flight to Quito via Miami. We met Sue and Sacha at the hotel.

Friday 15 December

Quito

Weather : Galapagos - Calm, 0-4/8 cumulus, 28 C

We met Daniel in Quito.

Flight to the island of Baltra where we embarked on Beluga.

By mid-day we were anchored off North Seymour, a flat, well-vegetated island to the north of Baltra.

Even before we landed we were surrounded by seabirds. Brown Pelicans and boobies were plunge diving as Common Noddies swooped down to fish with scores of Audubon's Shearwaters. Elegant Swallow-tailed Gulls sat on the shore as small parties of sleek Red-billed Tropicbirds swept by. Overhead were Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds. Perhaps the most enchanting of the seabirds, though, were the diminutive Elliot's Storm-petrels fluttering over he surface of the sea within a few metres of the boat.

On landing our attention was immediately focused on the reptiles. Marine Iguana and Lava Lizards were commonplace whereas we only came across one pair of the larger Land Iguana.

As we walked the shore we discovered that Yellow Warbler, Sanderling and Turnstone were amazingly common.

Saturday 16 December

Rabida

Weather : 8/8 cu. dull. E 4-5. Sunny later 1-2/8 cu.

This tiny island seemed full of birds. This was to be our first attempt to get to grips with the Galapagos Finches. This was no easy task and a great deal of caution was exercised by us all, including Daniel. Eventually we managed to identify five species of finches. We also gained close sightings of Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Flycatcher and Galapagos Mockingbird. There was no doubt that we in the Galapagos Islands!

A period of leisurely beach combing enabled us to observe ghost crabs, urchins and starfish, as well as the more obvious Galapagos Sealions, Semipalmated Plover and two Wandering Tattler.

By 11.00 we were heading towards Puerto Egas on Santiago. At one point we sailed through a flock of some 1,200 Red-necked Phalarope, an amazing spectacle! We were also treated to a close encounter with both Elliot's and Wedge-rumped Storm-petrels.

Puerto Egas is dominated by a fine beach beyond which is a shallow lagoon. The afternoon was mainly devoted to watching waders and herons. It was particularly pleasant to be able to watch Great Blue Heron, Lava Heron and Yellow-crowned Night Heron at close range.

Further down the beach we came across typical black lava wave cut platforms. In a crevice in the platform we discovered a small group of resting Galapagos Fur Sealions. While we were there we also had fine views of two Galapagos Petrels flying close inshore.

We sailed to Genovesa overnight.

Sunday 17 December

Genovesa

Weather : 7/8 cu. dull. Warm, humid, calm. Sunny later.

We awoke to find ourselves at anchor in the flooded caldera of an ancient volcano. Our first sighting of the very local Red-footed Booby was of a group perched on the rigging of the ketch Andando which was anchored alongside. As we continued our watch a young Lava Gull flew past the Beluga. This was our first encounter with the rarest gull species in the World.

As we landed at Darwin Bay we almost tripped over a full adult Lava Gull eating the remains of a tropicbird. We couldn't have had a closer view.

The shore consisted of sandy creeks which penetrated the lava flats, beyond which was a tangle of mangrove. Consequently there was a great variety of habitats. The pools formed havens for waders, herons and yet more Lava Gulls. It was here that we saw two Willet, a scarce migrant. It was also fascinating to watch a variety of tropical fish swimming in the crystal clear water.

It was wonderful to be able to stand within a couple of metres of breeding frigatebirds and Blue-footed, Red-footed and Nazca Boobies. The vegetated areas also harboured Warbler, Large Ground, Sharp-beaked Ground, Cactus and Large Cactus Finches. The latter is represented by a race only found on Genovesa.

Later in the day we climbed Prince Philip's Steps onto the flat top of the wall of the caldera. Our main objective was a visit to the storm-petrel colony on the seaward side of the island. Here we watched the evening flight of Wedge-tailed Storm-petrels as they came into roost. Waiting for them was a Short-eared Owl.

Overnight we sailed to the tiny island of Bartolome off the east coast of Santiago.

Monday 18 December

Bartolome

Weather : 7/8 cu. dull, becoming 3/8 cu. Hot.

Bartolome is a rugged island on which many classic volcanic features are well displayed. The climb to the highest point of the island was well worth the effort as not only were we able to enjoy the immediate landscape as we gained height but at the top we had a fine view of many of the local islands.

As we returned to Beluga we hugged the shore, giving us the opportunity to enjoy at least five Galapagos Penguins showing off their swimming skills.

Later we returned to an area of the island which was well vegetated. Here on a beautiful sandy beach we were able to watch Spotted Sting-rays and White-tipped Sharks in the shallows, Green Turtles in the surf and, further out to sea, Manta Rays leaping clear of the waves.

After lunch we sailed to Cerro Dragon on the west coast of Santa Cruz.

Once again we landed on a rocky outcrop next to a fine sandy beach beyond which was an extensive lagoon.

The lagoon was the major attraction as it held a small flock of Greater Flamingoes, Black-necked Stilts and a scattering of other waders. Beyond the lagoon the landscape was dry and dusty. Here we were to find a fine male Land Iguana.

By 19.00 we were sailing into Puerto Ayora on the southern shore of the island.

Tuesday 19 December

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

Weather : Total cloud cover, dull, humid. Dry. Sunny later in the afternoon.

Most of the morning was spent at the Charles Darwin Research Station where we had a brief insight into their work before visiting the Giant Tortoise breeding centre. Here we saw a number of captive tortoise including 'Lonesome George', the only remaining example of the Espanola race.

In the afternoon we drove to the Giant Tortoise Reserve in the Highlands.

The reserve abounded with finches on its part and indecision on ours. Eventually we found Large Tree Finches, but the Woodpecker Finch completely eluded us.

Several Giant Tortoises were seen in the woodland and several more in the mud at the edges of the local pond.

The pond also held a good variety of water birds including White-cheeked Pintail, Blue-winged Teal and Moorhen. After a while we also saw three adult and two juvenile American Purple Gallinule, a species seldom recorded in the islands. Eventually as it became dusky we discovered two Paint-billed Crakes.

As we drove away from the sight we spotted a fine male Vermilion Flycatcher.

During the afternoon we also visited two 'pit craters' and a fine lava tunnel.

Overnight we sailed to Floreana.

Wednesday 20 December

Floreana

Weather : Overcast, dull. Sunny spells. Calm.

Our first port of call was Green Beach, Punta Cormorant. Here there was another fine beach and another lagoon. The lagoon was host to a flock of White-cheeked Pintail, Greater Flamingoes, stilts and yet more waders.

A walk on the beach with Barbara and David was a revelation as they showed us the marine life of the rock pools.

By mid-day we were posting our cards in the containers at Post Office Bay, hoping that some fellow-traveller might deliver them for us.

Nearby, on yet another beautiful sandy beach we encountered the only Grey Plover and Laughing Gulls of the trip.

In the latter part of the afternoon we visited Puerto Valasco Ibarra. Here we boarded our transport to the Highlands.

Almost as soon as we entered the wooded area of the Giant Tortoise Reserve we discovered a number of Medium Tree Finches, a species confined to this small area.

Whilst exploring the Pirate Caves at the summit we were shown a Dark-billed Cuckoo.

Overnight we sailed to Espanola.

Thursday 21 December

Espanola

Weather : Overcast, cool. Sunny afternoon.

We awoke at Punta Suarez.

Before long we were greeted ashore by the florid local race of Marine Iguana and by very tame Hood Mockingbirds.

We were soon sitting on the cliff edge surrounded by boobies and marvelling at the effortless grace displayed by Waved Albatross as they flew above our heads. Further out to sea many more were fishing. The whole area was alive with seabirds in there thousands.

As we made our way back to the landing stage we came across the local race of the Large Cactus Finch.

The latter part of the day was spent lazing on Gardner Beach. Mind you we were thoroughly 'out-lazed' by the local sealions!

The day ended with a fine Christmas Dinner.

Overnight we sailed to Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz.

Friday 22 December

Black Turtle Cove

Weather : 8/8 cu, dull, a high swell. Quito : Sun, 23 C.

We were up bright and early only to find that the heavy swell made our boat trip into the cove impossible.

Having sailed to Baltra we flew to Quito where we said goodbye to Daniel and hello to Joep.

We were lucky enough on our drive to La Cienega to photograph Cotopaxi in bright sunlight.

La Cienega is a fine fifteenth-century country house, now a hotel. We arrived just in time to marvel at the fine architecture and neat, formal gardens before nightfall.

Saturday 23 December

La Cienega

Weather : 8/8 cu, dull. Cold, rain showers and local wind force 5 - Cotopaxi

An early morning walk in the gardens gave us views of Giant Hummingbirds, Blue and Yellow Tanager, Cinereous Conebill, Black-backed Grosbeak and several other species of song birds.

Almost as soon as we had entered the Cotopaxi National Park an Andean Fox ran across the road in front of the bus. It was carrying part of the leg of a deer, which it proceeded to bury in a bank before walking quietly away. Soon afterwards we saw a small herd of White-tailed Deer and a considerable number of 'Wild Horses'.

As we approached the upland lake we sighted Andean Lapwing and Andean Gulls. On the water were Andean and Blue-winged Teal, Lesser and greater Yellowlegs and Andean Coot

As we watched the nearby ridges both Variable Hawks and Carunculated Caracara made an appearance.

Despite the unpleasant conditions we eventually saw Grasswrens in the dense rushes surrounding the pond.

Once on the high paramo we were constantly coming across various species of ground tyrants, cinclodes, sierra finches, bush chats and chat tyrants, all species well adapted to these wild highlands.

We climbed to 3870 m., parked the bus and walked a steep sided gorge. It was here that we eventually saw the fine Tawny Antpitta that had been driving us mad with its persistent calls. As we returned to the bus a huge Great Horned Owl swooped down on a Brazillian Hare. The hare escaped and the owl returned to its perch on the wall of the gorge where it sat quietly, allowing us wonderful views.

By 14.00 we were on our way to Papallacta.

As we approached the summit of the Papallacta Pass we stopped and scanned the mountain peaks. There, in the thermals, were six Andean Condors, two Black-chested Eagles and two Variable Hawks. Nearby were Turkey and Black Vultures, American Kestrels and Carunculated Caracaras. Just to remind us that we were in the mountains we were also joined by White-collared Swifts.

As we drove the old road to the summit we encountered Black-billed Shrike Tyrants, Red-crested Cotingas and Andean Tit-spinetails.

We spent the night at La Posada Hostal de Montana, Papallacta.

Sunday 24 December

Papallacta

Weather : 8/8 cu, rain in the morning. Clear spells and showers in the afternoon.

An early morning walk around the hotel gardens produced sightings of two hummingbirds : Viridian Metaltail and Shining Sunbeam.

Soon we descended into the valley of the River Cosanga.

The rain made watching difficult but we did manage to find Spotted Sandpiper, Torrent Tyrannulet, Black Phoebe and Osprey en route.

We arrived at Cabanas San Isidro at coffee time. As we drank our coffee, whilst sitting in the porch we were able to watch seven species of hummingbirds feeding at sugar feeders. The excitement was tangible.

After lunch we took advantage of a break in the weather to walk along the approach road to the lodge. We were able to familiarize ourselves with a few of the local forest bird species.

Later in the afternoon we braved the rain whilst walking deep into the forest. We were rewarded by a distant view of a Wattled Guan and rather closer views of the wonderfully flamboyant Flame-faced Tanager and Golden -headed Quetzal. Eventually we heard the calls of the Andean Cock of the Rock. Stealthily we crept along the trail towards the source of the calls and there above our heads was the startlingly orange male singing to the somewhat drab female. This was a wonderful experience.

Monday 25 December Christmas Day

San Isidro

Weather : 8/8 cu, dull, still.

The early morning and late evening walks on the road bisecting the forest were enchanting. The forest was alive with flycatchers, warblers, wrens, vireos, thrushes and representatives of many other bird families. The highlights included Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, Long-tailed Antbird, Emerald Toucanet and a stunning Bat Falcon.

After lunch we visited the roadbridge at Cosanga. We revelled in the antics of three Torrent Ducks, a pair on one side of the bridge and a duck on the other. The river was in spate but this didn't seem to trouble the ducks as they dived for food amongst the submerged boulders.

We enjoyed an excellent Christmas dinner.

Tuesday 26 December

San Isidro

Weather : 8/8 cu, dull,dry,still.

As we prepared to leave for the day a Summer Tanager alighted on the telephone wires over the bus. It must have been a good omen.

We were to spend the day in the Gran Sumaco National Park, concentrating on the Loreto Road.

By 07.30 we were walking the Loreto Road. Once again we were attending a play with many players, there were birds from many families to be seen. The highlights included Russet Antshrike, Lined Antshrike, Scarlet Backed and Little Woodpeckers, Cliff Flycatcher and the highly coloured Lettered Aracari.

Birds of prey were also plentiful. They included Swallow-tailed Kite, Roadside, Broad-winged and Short-tailed Hawks.

Scanning the River Hollis from the road bridge really paid off. Here the river is full of huge boulders and has broad rock platforms on either side. These platforms are studded with shallow pools of water. Initially Black Phoebes and Torrent Tyrannulets were the only obvious river birds. On closer inspection a large rail-like bird was noted. Once it emerged from the rocks though it was obviously a Sun Bittern. Having had wonderful views of this bird as it fed in the shallow pools, we then watched as it was joined by its mate. They then proceded to fly to a perch showing off their wonderfully colourful 'sunburst' wings. Later a Fasciated Tiger Heron joined the fray. This too gave us a great display.

The day ended with another impressive performance by a male Torrent Duck on the River Cosanga.

Wednesday 27 December

San Isidro

Weather : Showers. Humid.

A brief walk on the Los Guacamayos trail was fascinating, especially as it yielded many new plant species. The birdwatching was difficult on this narrow trail.

The drive to Quito brought us into contact with Torrent Duck once again and then at Papallacta with Yellow-billed Pintail, Black-chested eagle and Variable Hawks. The Papallacta Pass also held Red-rumped Bush-tyrant and Plain -coloured Seedeater.

We reached Quito in time to go shopping.

After another great meal Barbara, David and I said goodbye to Sue and Sacha who were returning to South Africa.

Thursday 28 December

Quito

Weather : Fine

David, Barbara, Joep and I made our way to Quito Airport. We emerged from the chaos with tickets for a flight to Miami; not the right flight, but who cared!

At Miami we discovered that our transatlantic flight had been cancelled due to snow in London!

We eventually arrived at Heathrow (having set out from Gatwick!) via Munich!

I hope Sacha and Sue had a better journey.

Neil Arnold

February 2001

BIRDS - GALAPAGOS

Key

(000) Total number of individuals

(B) Bartolome

(E) Espanola

(F) Floreana

(G) Genovesa

(N) North Seymour

(PA) Puerto Ayora - Santa Cruz

(PE) Puerto Egas - Santiago

(R) Rabida

(S) Santiago

(SC) Santa Cruz

PENGUINS Spheniscidae

Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus (B) (8)

ALBATROSSES Diomedeidae

Waved Albatross Diomedea irrorata (E) (ca 30)

PETRELS & SHEARWATERS Procellariidae

Dark-rumped (Galapagos) Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia Two noted offshore Puerto Egas.

Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri Widespread and numerous

STORM-PETRELS Hydrobatidae

Elliott's Storm-Petrel Oceanites gracilis Widespread (ca 80)

Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma tethys Widespread. Very numerous (G)

TROPICBIRDS Phaethontidae

Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus (N), (G), (F), Numerous (E)

BOOBIES & GANNETS Sulidae

Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii Noted throughout the islands

Nazca Booby Sula granti Seen on all the islands. A recent taxonomic split from Masked Booby

Red-footed Booby Sula sula Common breeder (G)

PELICANS Pelicanidae

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis All islands (70 +)

FRIGATEBIRDS Fregatidae

Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens Common on the inner islands

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor Common breeder on the outer islands

HERONS & BITTERNS Ardeidae

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Isolated records (6)

Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis Only common on (SC)

Lava (Galapagos) Heron Butorides sundevalli On every island (28)

Yellow-crowned Night-heron Nyctanassa violacea Scattered records (1O)

FLAMINGOES Phoenicoptridae

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Fine at Cerro Dragon (SC) and eleven at Green Beach (F)

WILDFOWL Anatidae

White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis In shallow pools (28)

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors A female at the inland Tortoise Reserve on (SC)

HAWKS Accipitridae

Galapagos Hawk Buteo galapagoensis Single birds on (R) and (S). A pair on (G)

RAILS & COOTS Rallidae

Paint-billed Crake Neocrex erythrops Two on the Tortoise Reserve (SC)

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Twenty-two, Tortoise Reserve (SC)

OYSTERCATCHERS Haematopodidae

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus Isolated coastal records (8)

AVOCETS AND STILTS Recurvirostridae

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Two (SC) and three (F)

PLOVERS Charadriidae

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola One (F)

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus On most islands

SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Widespread (20)

Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus Common on rocky shores (14)

Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus Two (G)

(Ruddy) Turnstone Arenaria interpres One of the commonest migrant wader (44)

Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus At least 1200 at sea en route to Puerto Egas (SC). Almost thirty en route to Cerro Dragaon (SC)

Sanderling Calidris alba The commonest migrant wader (48)

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Three small flocks (S), (SC), (F)

GULLS Laridae

Lava Gull Larus fuliginosus Seven (G). Excellent views of this highly endangered gull.

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla Three first winterbirds and a non-breeding adult (F)

Swallow-tailed Gull Larus furcatus Breeding (N), (G), (F) and (E)

TERNS Sternidae

Brown (Common) Noddy Anous stolidus Numerous and widespread, often with shearwaters (ca 130)

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Only at (PA)

Galapagos Dove Zenaida galapagoensis Very widespread

ANIS Crotophagidae

Smooth-Billed Ani Crotophaga ani Flocks on (S), (SC) and (F)

NEW WORLD CUCKOOS Coccyzidae

Dark-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus melacoryphus A single bird (F)

TYPICAL OWLS Strigidae

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus One (G) and one (SC)

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Tyrannidae

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus Only noted on (S), (SC) and (F) (4)

Galapagos Flycatcher Myiarchus magnirostris On (R) (S), (SC) and (F) (17)

MOCKINGBIRDS Mimidae

Galapagos Mockingbird Nesomimus parvulus Widespread

Hood Mockingbird Nesomimus macdonaldi Common on (E)

BUNTINGS Emberizidae

Large Ground-Finch Geospiza magnirostris On (R), (G) and (SC)

Medium Ground-Finch Geospiza fortis On (R), (S), (SC), (F)

Small Ground-Finch Geospiza fuliginosa On (S), (SC), (F), (E)

Sharp-beaked Ground-Finch Geospiza difficilis Three records (G)

Small Cactus-Finch Geospiza scandens Only on (R) and (F)

Large Cactus-Finch Geospiza conirostris One (G) (propinqua) and two (E)

Vegetarian Finch Camarhynchus crassirostris On (R), (SC) and (F)

Large Tree-Finch Camarhynchus psittacula Only on (SC)

Medium Tree-Finch Camarhynchus pauper Confined to the Highlands (F)

Small Tree-Finch Camarhynchus parvulus On (R), (SC) and (F)

Warbler Finch Certhidea olivacea On (G) and (E)

NEW WORLD WARBLERS Parulidae

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia A very common migrant

MAMMALS

Galapagos Sea Lion Zalophus californianus

Galapagos Fur Sea Lion Arctocephalus galapagoensis

Dolphin sp.

Black Rat Rattus rattus

REPTILES

Lava Lizard Microlophus sp.

Marine Iguana Amblyrhynchus cristatus

Galapagos Land Iguana Conolophus subcristatus

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Geochelone elephantopus

Pacific Green Turtle Chelonia mydas

FISH

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Whitetip Shark Triaenodon obesus

Marbled Ray Taeniura mayeri

Diamond Sting Ray Dasyatis brevis

Manta Ray Manta hamiltoni

Milkfish Chanos chanos

Silver Mullet Mugil galapagensis

Yellow-tailed Mullet Mugil cephalus rammelsbergi

Panamic Sergeant Major Abudefduf troschelii

Yellow-tailed Damsel Stagastes arcifrons

White-tailed Damsel Stagastes Laucorus beebii

Rainbow Wrasse Thalassoma lucasanum

Streamer Hugfish Bodianus diplotaenia

Bluechin Parrotfish Scarus ghobdan

Four-eyed Blenny Dialommus Fuscus

Yellow-bellied Triggerfish Sufflamen verres

Peruvian Grunt A nisotremus scapularis

INSECTS

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus

Galapagos Green-eyed Horsefly Tabanus vittiger

Galapagos Carpenter Bee Xylocopa darwini

Yellow Paper Wasp Polistes versicolor

Cottony Cushion Scale Icerya purchasi

Spot-winged Glider Pantava hymenaea

Large Painted Locust Schistocerca melanocera

Small Painted Locust Schistocerca literosa

BIRDS - MAINLAND ECUADOR

Key

(C) Cotopaxi area

(L) Loreto Road

(P) Papallacta area

(S) San Isidro Area

HERONS & BITTERNS Ardeidae

American Great White Egret Casmerodius albus One on the airfield Guyaquil

Fasciated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma fasciatum One on the Rio Hollin (L)

WILDFOWL Anatidae

Torrent Duck Merganetta armata Sightings of pairs and simple birds on the Rio Cosanga (S)

Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris Twelve (C)

Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica Thirteen (P)

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors Nine (C)

AMERICAN VULTURES Catharidae

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura (P),(L)

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus (C), (P), (L)

Andean Condor Vultur gryphus Two adults and four immature birds (P)

OSPREY Pandionidae

Osprey Pandion haliaetus One, Rio Cosanga (S)

HAWKS Accipitridae

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus Three (L)

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus Two(P)23rd, two (P) 27th

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Common (S) and (L)

Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus At (S) and (L)

Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus One (L)

Puna (Variable) Hawk Buteo poecilochrous Two (C), two (P) 23rd; one (P) 27th

Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus

FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconidae

Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatus At(C) and (P)

American Kestrel Falco sparverius Widespread

GUANS & CHACHALACAS Cracidae

Wattled Guan Aburria aburri Distant sightings (S)

RAILS & COOTS Rallidae

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Slate-coloured (Andean) Coot Fulica ardesiaca Twenty-two (C)

SUNBITTERN Eurypygidae

Sunbittern Eurypyga helias Two wonderfully demonstrative birds Rio Hollin (L)

PLOVERS Charadriidae

Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens Twenty-five birds (C)

SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca Two (C)

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes One (C)

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Scattered records, Rio Cosanga (S)

GULLS Laridae

Andean Gull Larus serranus Seven (C), scattered records (P)

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia In towns

Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata Only (S)

Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea Only (L)

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata (C) and (P)

PARROTS Psittacidae

Speckle-faced (White-capped) Parrot Pionus tumultuosus Only at (S)

ANIS Crotophagidae

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Only (L)

NEW WORLD CUCKOOS Coccyzidae

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Two (L)

TYPICAL OWLS Strigidae

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus One (C)

Rufous-banded Owl Ciccaba albitarsis Two (S)

SWIFTS Apodidae

Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila Brief views (C), (S)

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris Good views (P), (S)

Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris Only (L)

HUMMINGBIRDS Trochilidae

Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans (P), (S), (L)

Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata One (L)

Speckled Hummingbird Adelomyia melanogenys Common (S)

Fawn-breasted Brilliant Heliodoxa rubinoides (S)

Ecuadorian Hillstar Oreotrochilus chimborazo (C)

Giant Hummingbird Patagona gigas (C)

Shining Sunbeam Aglaeactis cupripennis (P)

Bronzy Inca Coeligena coeligena A few (S)

Collared Inca Coeligena torquata Common (S)

Chestnut-breasted Coronet Boissonneaua matthewsii (S)

Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae (C)

Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami (P)

Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi (S)

Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris One (L)

TROGONS Trogonidae

Crested Quetzal Pharomachrus antisianus A female (S)

Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps Three (S)

NEW WORLD BARBETS Capitonidae

Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii Several (L)

TOUCANS Ramphastidae

Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus Only (S)

Lettered Aracari Pteroglossus inscriptus Two (L)

WOODPECKERS Picidae

Scarlet-backed Woodpecker Venilornis callonotus One (L)

Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus One (L)

WOODCREEPERS Dendrocolaptidae

Montane Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger Common (C)

Olive-backed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus triangularis Only at (S)

OVENBIRDS Furnariidae

Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus Common (C), (P)

Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior Common (C)

Andean Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura andicola Common (C), (P)

Rufous Spinetail Synallaxis unirufa Only (S)

Streaked Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii (S)

Montane Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia striaticollis Common (S)

TYPICAL ANTBIRDS Thamnophilidae

Lined Antshrike Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus Male (L)

Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus Several (L)

Long-tailed Antbird Drymophila caudata Only (S)

ANTTHRUSHES & ANTPITTAS Formicariidae

Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis Heard (C) and (P). Seen (C)

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Tyrannidae

Ashy-headed Tyrannulet Phyllomyias cinereiceps (S)

White-tailed Tyrannulet Mecocerculus poecilocercus (S)

Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea On very fast stretches of river

Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus (L)

Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Leptopogon rufipectus (S)

Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant Poecilotriccus ruficeps Very handsome (S)

Handsome Flycatcher Myiophobus pulcher Only (S)

Cinnamon Flycatcher Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea (S)

Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus borealis (S)

Smoke-colored Pewee Contopus fumigatus (S) and (L)

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans On fast flowing rivers

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus A pair (C)

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant Octhoeca fumicolor (C) and (P)

Red-rumped Bush-tyrant Cnemarchus erythropygius Two (P)

Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant Myiotheretes striaticollis One (S)

Smoky Bush-tyrant Myiotheretes fumigatus (S)

Black-billed Shrike-tyrant Agriornis montana One (P)

Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola maculirostris Only (C)

Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola alpina Several (C)

Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea (L)

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua Only (L)

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Only (L)

Crowned Slaty Flycatcher Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristata One (L)

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Only (S), (L)

COTINGAS Cotingidae

Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata Several (P)

Green-and-black Fruiteater Pipreola riefferii Two (S)

Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruviana A pair (S)

SWALLOWS Hirundinidae

Brown-chested Martin Phaeoprogne tapera (L)

Brown-bellied Swallow Notiochelidon murina Widespread

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Near rivers

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis (L)

WRENS Troglodytidae

Rufous Wren Cinnycerthia unirufa (S)

Sedge (Grass) Wren Cistothorus platensis Two at least (C)

House Wren Troglodytes aedon (S)

Gray-breasted Wood-wren Henicorhina leucophrys (S)

THRUSHES Turdidae

Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus One (L)

Pale-eyed Thrush Platycichla leucops Two (S)

Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco (C)

Great Thrush Turdus fuscater Common at altitude

Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus (S)

Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis (S), (L)

JAYS & CROWS Corvidae

White-collared Jay Cyanolyca viridicyana One, possibly of this species seen whilst we descended into the Cosanga Valley

Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas Common (S), (L)

BUNTINGS Emberizidae

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Widespread

Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor (C), (P)

Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus (C)

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina (L)

Chestnut-bellied Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris

Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis (L)

Plain-coloured Seedeater Catamenia inornata (P)

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus (L)

Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides (C)

Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana (L)

Common Bush-tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus (S)

Yellow-throated Bush-tanager Chlorospingus flavigularis Only (L)

Black-capped Hemispingus Hemispingus atropileus (S)

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra (S)

Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo (L)

Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus (L)

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum (L)

Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster (S), (L)

Orange-eared Tanager Chlorochrysa calliparaea (L)

Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis (L)

Green-and-gold Tanager Tangara schrankii (L)

Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala Only (S)

Flame-faced Tanager Tangara parzudakii Only (S)

Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata (L)

Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola (L)

Golden-naped Tanager Tangara ruficervix Only (S)

Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis (S) and (L)

Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis (S)

Blue-and-black Tanager Tangara vassorii (S)

White-sided Flowerpiercer Diglossa albilatera (S)

Black Flowerpiercer Diglossa humeralis Common (C)

Deep-blue Flowerpiercer Diglossopis glauca (S), (L)

Bluish Flowerpiercer Diglossopis caerulescens Common (S)

Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossopis cyanea (S)

BANANAQUIT Coerebidae

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Only (L)

NEW WORLD WARBLERS Parulidae

Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea One (L)

Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi One (L)

Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca Common (S), (L)

Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis Fairly common (S), (L)

Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus (S)

Spectacled Redstart Myioborus melanocephalus Common (P), (S), (L)

Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus (S)

Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus (S)

Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinerium Common (C)

VIREOS Vireonidae

Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus (L)

Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys (S)

FINCHES Fringillidae

Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanicus Only (C)

Olivaceous Siskin Carduelis olivacea Brief views (S)

TROUPIALS AND ALLIES Icteridae

Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons Common (S), (L)

Subtropical (Scarlet-rumped) Cacique Cacicus uropygialis In flocks (S)

Mountain Cacique Cacicus chrysonotus Small groups (S)

MAMMALS - MAINLAND ECUADOR

Andean Fox One (C)

Brazilian Rabbit One (C)

Llama Five (C)

Squirrel sp Several (S), (L)

White-tailed Deer Six (C)

"Wild Horses" Were also seen (C)


© The Travelling Naturalist 2001