TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
11 - 27 July 2002
Mike Read - The Travelling Naturalist
Juan Carlos Calvachi (12th - 18th and 22nd - 24th)
Oscar (19th - 21st)
Edison Buenaño (25th)
Eladio Ortiz (driver)
Thursday 11th July
After meeting up in good time at Heathrow we enjoyed a pleasant Atlantic crossing and just to make us feel at home, it was raining as we landed at Miami! After we left the plane, the fun began. We had been told we should fill in immigration cards, ......... and we had also been told we did not need to. We did. It seemed that this decision was correct because when we reached the transit lounge that we had been sent to, we were told to go through immigration. We did; but we did not need the green card because we went through the 'ITI channel' (International to International). We were then sent back to the transit lounge we had previously been refused entry to!
And the fiasco that saw us, and about 20 other people, being led through deserted secure corridors reminded us of a Faulty Towers sketch. We did eventually get our tickets back just in time to board the Quito flight.
The flight to Quito made good time and we landed ahead of schedule. Here, the immigration formalities were completed much more quickly and efficiently than at Miami and we were then taken to the Hotel Alameda where we soon headed for our rooms for a well-earned nights' sleep.
Friday 12th July
After a 7 a.m. breakfast, we were collected by our driver Eladio and as we headed towards Pasochoa, to the South of Quito, we collected our local guide Juan-Carlos. Close to the edge of the city we glimpsed two American Black Vultures and then we saw virtually nothing during the rest of the journey except a couple of Great Thrushes as we drove the narrow, cobbled road up the hill to our destination and a group of Brown-bellied Swallows flew low over the final fields before we turned in to the car park at Pasochoa. As we disembark from the bus, we hear an Azara's Spinetail calling from nearby bushes and despite hearing a few more during the day, we do not see one of them.
After paying the entrance fee, we began a very gentle walk up the hill towards the 'yellow trail' and were very soon pausing to look at our first hummingbird, a Tyrian Metaltail. Frequent pauses to 'look at birds' were necessary for some as we tried to cope with the effects of walking at over 10,000 feet. And there were plenty of birds to see. More Tyrian Metaltails appeared while we were in the open areas and these vied for our attention with other hummers including Black-tailed Trainbearers and a Sapphire-vented Puffleg which perched at the perfect angle to show all the attributes which gave it its name.
A couple more Black Vultures circled over a nearby hill with a Variable Hawk above them. The hawk flew past more closely later on. From the nearby trees a White-crested Elaenia was hawking for insects, a Red-crested Cotinga perched on top of a dead tree while an Andean Guan called from the depths of the vegetation. The most vociferous of the birds had to be the Plain-tailed Wrens which seemed to be calling almost everywhere however it was not until near the end of our walk that we actually saw some. Other species seen here included Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, three Rufous-naped Brush-Finches, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanagers, Black-crested Warbler and numerous Spectacled Whitestarts.
Many of these species were so bright and colourful that each vied for attention in their own right but surely the 'bird of the day' here had to be the Sword-billed Hummingbirds that, like many of the species, we saw both before and after our picnic lunch. To finish our birding here, we walked a little distance down the road where we added Eared Dove to the list and saw many more Rufous-collared Sparrows.
We then drove the rest of the way to La Cienega for a well-earned rest before dinner.
Saturday 13th July
Before breakfast we took a walk around the hotel grounds and found a few new birds. These included Cinereous Conebills and Grass Wrens which hardly merited a second glance because of the more brightly plumaged species like Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Sparkling Violetear and Vermilion Flycatcher.
After breakfast we leave for Cotopaxi and after paying the entrance fee, we drove up through the clouds to reach the high Paramo grassland. Here we saw a Stout-billed Cinclodes feeding close to three or four Paramo Ground-tyrants. We moved on to the shallow lake area (situated at 12,300 feet) and were immediately seeing more 'local' species. Andean Lapwings strutted and paused as they wandered the grassy areas and the lakeside in search of food. On the lake itself, Andean Gulls were breeding and some had small young. Swimming about on the lake were many Andean Coots, at least four Andean Teals and a male and two female Andean Ruddy Ducks.
A walk along the side of the lake had us looking at a few birds of the scrub on the rising ground nearby. These included Bar-winged Cinclodes, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant. Then Juan Carlos told us to watch as he walked out into the area of marshy ground. As he set off, a pair of Carunculated Caracaras flew overhead and took our attention briefly but we did not miss the Noble Snipe that he flushed a few minutes later. As we began our walk back towards the minibus, a female Ecuadorian Hillstar surprised everyone by flying down on to the ground and feeding from crocus-like flowers.
As we drove towards another area, the same flowers were widespread and there were many other species in bloom too. Another Carunculated Caracara strode about on the ground searching for something to eat. As we arrived at an area of small valleys, a Variable Hawk flew past. Ecuadorian Hillstars were the best birds during another short walk with one male taking prolonged rests in between bouts of feeding. Luckily we found two of his resting places and everyone was able to get excellent views.
We drove up to the high car park for quick views (in a very cold wind) before departing for a slightly late lunch to the south of La Cienega. After this we returned to near the Cotopaxi turning and followed a back road. Our aim was to find some blooming Agave plants and sure enough, there on the first one was a female Giant Hummingbird feeding. There was a male not far away and in a field of maize, a couple of Black-backed Grosbeaks put in occasional appearances.
As we arrived back at La Cienega a little early, we walked around the grounds and were soon seeing more good birds. These included a Broad-winged Hawk, which circled overhead, and a pair of American Kestrels one of which flew over our heads with a lizard in its beak. We also saw a Blue-and-yellow Tanager again and glimpsed 2 species of hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear and Black-tailed Trainbearer to complete the day.
Sunday 14th July
After an early breakfast, we left towards Quito and drove through mist/low cloud, which was with us for over half the journey. We narrowly missed a vehicle that suddenly loomed out of the gloom; a vehicle that had obviously been involved in an earlier collision and was now stranded in the middle of the road. We went to visit Juan Carlos's home and B&B style accommodation where the birding was excellent. Superbly plumaged Vermilion Flycatchers indulged in display flights while Sparkling Violetears disputed various flowering 'bottle brush' trees. There were two other species of hummers present namely Black-tailed Trainbearer and Western Emerald. Other birds of note included Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch, Black-and-white Seedeater, Southern Yellow Grosbeak and Rusty Flowerpiercer.
Then, in greatly improved weather, we set off for Papallacta Pass. Perhaps halfway up, we paused for a short walk along a track where the only birds of interest were a couple of Giant Hummingbirds.
We then drove up to the pass and on up towards the radio masts in Cayambe Coco National Park. On the way in, we had good views of a Tawny Antpitta and an Andean Tit-Spinetail. At the masts we were well up in the clouds and there was a strong wind blowing but despite this, we set off in search of Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. We had hardly walked 100 yards when a pair was sighted and we enjoyed good views (when the cloud density would allow!) and Mike even managed some photography. We drove part of the way back down and paused for lunch where we were entertained by frequent sightings of three or four Carunculated Caracaras and we also saw an Ecuadorian Hillstar. We then walked some distance down the hill seeing another high altitude species of hummingbird as we went a Blue-mantled Thornbill.
We then drove a mile or two down the hill beyond the Papallacta Pass and went for a short walk through a wooded area and out to overlook a lake. On the lake itself were seven Andean Ruddy Ducks and in the surrounding bushes we found about eight Black-backed Bush-Tanagers, and a few other birds. We walked back to the road and then began another search through the trees. A group of birds were passing through and these included some more Black-backed Bush-Tanagers, many Spectacled Whitestarts, a Pearl Treerunner and a Giant Conebill, the latter being the main bird we had been after at this location.
Further down we took another walk beside a lake and were immediately seeing a group of 30 Yellow-billed Pintails. More Spectacled Whitestarts were in the bushes and another two species of hummingbird put in all too brief appearances. They were Buff-winged Starfrontlet and a Shining Sunbeam. Once past the town of Papallacta itself, a flock of birds were passing through the trees and so we paused to see what species it contained. There were a couple of Buff-breasted and a Lacrimous Mountain-Tanager, two Black-crested Warblers, many more Spectacled Whitestarts, a Superciliaried Hemispingus and two Blue-backed Conebills.
We then completed our journey to our overnight accommodation, Guango Lodge. Here, the hummingbird feeders were alive with birds and often they would dash between us as we stood watching them at very close quarters. The species included lots of Tyrian Metaltails, Tourmaline Sunangels and Collared Incas, a male Long-tailed Sylph and a Glowing Puffleg. This was quite a spectacular ending to the days' birding.
Monday 15th July
We began the day with a pre breakfast walk which proved superb for birds, Among the many species we saw were a Roadside Hawk, five Speckle-faced Parrots flying past, Montane and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Turquoise Jays, Pale-naped and Slaty Brush-Finches, a couple of species of Hemispingus, Hooded and Lacrimose Mountain-Tanagers, Fawn-breasted and Blue-and-black Tanagers and Plush-capped Finch. There were also similar species of hummingbird recorded as yesterday with the additions of Mountain Avocetbill and a couple of White-bellied Woodstars. After breakfast we spent a little time watching the hummingbird feeders during which we heard one call from a Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan.
We left and headed eastwards down the Papallacta Valley and made a stop when an Inca Jay was spotted. Needless to say we added more species to our list including Saffron-crowned and Black-capped Tanagers, Masked and White-sided Flowerpiercers and a female Glossy-black Thrush.
After a stop in Baeza, we then drove south towards San Isidro. At a point where we had a good view of the river, we stopped to search for birds and to have lunch. The first birds we saw were numerous Russet-backed Oropendolas and perhaps half a dozen Subtropical Caciques and three or four Tropical Kingbirds. After much searching, we also managed to find and get everyone to see one of the prized birds of the Andes, a Torrent Duck.
Afterwards, we drove up a side track and did a little birding there. Where a stream crossed the road we found a Torrent Tyrannulet which gave good views. But then we had to call up Eladio to drive us across the stream! A White-rumped Hawk circled around over the next ridge and was briefly mobbed by a few passing White-collared Swifts. By a roadside pool there were a number of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies in this warm and now sunny afternoon and at this same location a group of Northern Mountain-Caciques. A little further on we managed to find both Black-eared and Oleaginous Hemispingus and we heard Azara's Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Euphonia. But now it seemed that the birds were having a siesta and so we headed on to San Isidro.
Once we had briefly settled in to our rooms, we stood overlooking the rain forest where, in the distance we could see many Speckle-faced Parrots; there were probably over 70 present. In the near bushes, a Slate-throated Whitestart was feeding as were three species of tanager: Blue-grey, Common and Fawn-breasted. A tapping sound alerted us to the presence of a Smokey-brown Woodpecker which was excavating a nest hole in a dead tree while a little higher up some Blue-and-white Swallows were about to occupy the woodpecker's previous years nest holes in which to raise their own families.
At the main lodge, we sat and watched the hummers coming to the feeders. Some like Collared Inca and Long-tailed Sylph we had already become familiar with but there were new ones too. These were Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Bronzy Inca and Speckled Hummingbird. As we went to dinner, there was a Rufous-bellied Nighthawk flying around.
Tuesday 16th July
After a leisurely 6.15 breakfast we set off for a walk along the road. Thankfully the overnight rain had almost stopped as we left and we only had a couple of light showers during a full mornings walking. We began with a Band-tailed Pigeon just a short distance from the entrance and then just around the first corner we added Inca Jay, Subtropical Cacique and Northern Mountain-Cacique.
A little further on we encountered a flock of birds moving through the treetops. Among them were Bluish Flowerpiercer, Beryl-spangled, and Saffron-crowned Tanagers as well as Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager. Next were a couple of Emerald Toucanets and these were closely followed by some Andean Solitaires that were feeding on berries. Juan Carlos managed to call a Slate-crowned Antpita within brief viewing distance before we had a little time with virtually nothing.
Later, there was a Long-tailed Antbird calling from deep within some bamboo and then a Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant hopped in to view. Nearby we saw the first of four Red-tailed Squirrels, which meant that we had started our mammal list. As the rain had now stopped for some time, a few more birds were beginning to emerge and this included a pair of Olivaceous Siskins which perched on the top of a cecropia tree to preen and dry off.
Another patch of bamboo held a Chestnut-crowned Antpita though we never did see it. Just before we reached a more open area, a juvenile male Masked Trogon responded to a whistled imitation of its song. Out in the clearing were White-tailed Tyrannulet, Masked Flowerpiercer and a female Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia but the latter bird flew off before everyone could get a view of it. Still further on and we saw a few more species before turning back. Those added were Unicoloured Tapaculo, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet and Sickle-winged Guan. At the furthest point of our walk one or two of the group managed to glimpse a Powerful Woodpecker and we all heard a Crimson-naped Woodpecker.
Not long after we set off back we encountered two more Emerald Toucanets and a Squirrel Cuckoo, a group of Southern Rough-winged Swallows flew past and finally we had excellent views of a male Powerful Woodpecker.
Back at the lodge there were the same species of hummingbirds at the feeders and added to this was a female White-sided Flowerpiercer. We all then took a break for a little over an hour before walking out on the 'yellow trail'. Here the going was decidedly muddy and slippery under foot. Birding was difficult too and during the 3-hour walk we only managed a few sightings and song/call contacts. The species seen were Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Grey-breasted Wood-Wren and Powerful Woodpecker. With the latter species, we heard the male giving his double knock contact note while the female flew in to a tree not far from us. We also heard Rufous-vented Tapaculo and some Inca Jays. As we neared the end of the trail, a small flock of birds passed through the tree tops high above us but the light was so poor that we failed to identify the species involved.
After dinner we spent a little time trying to see owls though in the end we only managed to hear a distant Rufous-banded Owl to complete the day,
Wednesday 17th July
We woke to rain and by the time we finished breakfast it was still raining. We decided to postpone our first outing until 8 a.m. and while some rested, others looked through the insect collection.
As the rain had stopped (well, almost) we began a walk along the road. We noted five species, including Pearled Treerunner and Black-crowned Warbler, before heavy rain set in and we decided that watching the hummingbird feeders would be a good option. We saw the usual six species (Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Bronzy and Collared Incas, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Long-tailed Sylph and Speckled Hummingbird) before we decided to venture out to the shelter/bandstand.
From here we could watch another feeder and in a short space of time, had seen the same six species. Soon a flock of birds was moving through the treetops and it contained a number of Tanagers including Flame-faced, Saffron-crowned, Blue-grey, Black-capped, Blue-necked and Fawn-breasted. A White-bellied Antpitta was calling from the depths of the vegetation but despite good imitations of its song, it never did show itself. More conscious by far were Golden-crowned and Pale-edged Flycatchers, a number of Masked Flowerpiercers and a Brown-capped Vireo. Perhaps most noticeable of all (because of its size and colour?) was the Crimson-mantled Woodpecker that hopped from branch to branch just a short distance from us.
As the rain had eased, we decided to try another walk again making a right turn at the end of the San Isidro drive. Almost immediately we were in among the birds including some that we had already seen from the shelter. New species included Saffron Tanager, Handsome Flycatcher, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Spotted Barbtail, Andean Solitaire and Green-and-black Fruiteater. 'Tree creeping' species were represented by Olive-backed and Montane Woodcreepers.
Once again the rain had set in so we headed back to the main building looking wet, bedraggled and hungry. It worked! We had a slightly early lunch and, by the time we finished and then rested for a short while, the rain had eased once more.
Time for walk attempt number three! This time we headed left at the end of the drive and despite occasional drizzle to begin with, it mostly stayed fine. A Russet-crowned Warbler was the first bird we saw and a little further on a Mountain Wren vied for attention with a Brown-capped Vireo. Blue-grey and Beryl-spangled Tanagers fed in the treetops when a Red-billed Parrot flew past. Mountain and Subtropical Caciques were their usual noisy selves and they were quite numerous. When we reached a clearing there seemed to be quite a procession of them passing. It was not until we were perhaps half way back to San Isidro that we saw the prized bird of the afternoon, a Crested Quetzal. A fine male bird came in response to Juan Carlos's whistled call and it sat in full view for a short time before moving off again. To complete the walk, we managed at long last to see an Azara's Spinetail. The views were brief but up until now we had only heard them calling! And while we were watching this skulker, three Barred Parakeets flew over calling noisily.
Thursday 18th July
The day began early with a 5 a.m. breakfast. Soon we were on our way south and then east towards Guamani. A short distance after the town of Narupa we stopped for a walk along the Loretta road. We set off in light rain, which soon eased to drizzle, and then it stopped completely.
There were masses of new birds to be seen and the first of these proved very elusive though in the end, everyone managed to at least glimpse one of the Dark-breasted Spinetails and Lined Antshrikes present. A Spot-breasted Woodpecker was easier to see as it climbed a nearby tree and a Lesser Seed-finch showed well despite its diminutive size. Common Tody-Flycatcher and Golden-faced Tyrannulet were also seen early on.
Further on we saw a number of Tanagers which included Palm, Blue-necked, Silver-beaked, White-lined and Magpie Tanagers. A Yellow-tufted Woodpecker appeared briefly and was soon on its way while overhead were our first Southern Rough-winged Swallows and Grey-rumped Swifts. There were many noisy Russet-backed Oropendolas passing through the area while a number of White-eyed Parakeets were resting and preening in some middle-distance trees. A Thick-billed Euphonia proved very elusive and was only seen by a coupe of the group and members of the 'flycatcher' family featured with Tropical and White-throated Kingbirds. Other birds of note during this walk included Greyish Saltator, Olivaceous Greenlet, Roadside Hawk and Slender-billed Xenops.
We then drove some distance further along the road and made a second stop for another walk. This time Eladio drove further down the road and waited for us rather than following along behind. Did he have a long wait?! We walked less than 20 yards and were immediately seeing birds. Once again, superb, bright coloured Tanagers featured heavily with the magnificent, Paradise Tanager being one of the first ones we saw. There were many other superb members of the family including Blue-necked, White-shouldered, Bay-headed, Green-and-gold, Orange-eared and Golden Tanagers and Yellow-throated Bush-Tanagers. All were feeding among a couple of berry bearing bushes. Yellow-bellied and Black-faced Dachnis (or should that be dachnises, or even dachnii?) were also feeding while a couple of Masked Tityras sat in a tree just above us. Perhaps these latter birds were fearful of moving because of the Black Caracara flying overhead. Other birds here included Crimson-crested Woodpeckers and Ocellated Woodcreepers each investigating the trunks of trees while also among the berry feeders were a number of Golden-eyed Flowerpiercers plus female Red-headed Barbets and Orange-bellied Euphonias.
As we walked on down the hill to meet Eladio, we spotted 4 Swallow-tailed Kites circling over a nearby wooded hill. They looked magnificent as they circled, turned and dived. So we decided on a round of cool drinks from the local cafe to celebrate. While we sat there admiring the views, a Golden-tailed Sapphire fed from nearby flowers.
It was now time to eat our picnic lunch and so we stood on a bridge over the River Hollin and from here we were able to identify Blue-and-white Swallows (nesting in the bridge) and a Torrent Tyrannulet that perched on a riverside log.
By 12.30 we were heading for Quito but Juan Carlos had one final stop in store for us. At a point where we had excellent views over the forest, we paused to view 3 Cliff Flycatchers. As per usual, a stop for one species usually produces more and on this occasion, the 'extras' were 2 female Honeycreepers and a male Booted Racketail.
This completed our day's watching and we made the journey back to Quito without any problems.
Friday 19th July
The day began in a fairly leisurely fashion with a 7.30 breakfast and some spare time before we were picked up at 10.15 to go to the airport for our flight to Coca. Due to problems at Coca, we were delayed a little and did not fly until a little after noon. Unfortunately, for much of the flight we were above the clouds and so could not see the Andes.
Soon we landed and were met by the Sacha Lodge guides and after a short lorry/bus drive, we were boarding our boat for the 2 hour journey along the Napo River.
Birds were decidedly few and far between throughout the two hour river journey though White-winged Swallows were regular. We also saw occasional Turkey Vultures and Greater Yellow-headed Vultures and a pair of Yellow-billed Terns.
As we landed a flock of Brown-chested Swallows took off from a riverside tree. Here we were met by our local guide Oscar and immediately things began to look up as his knowing eyes began to see things that we would have missed. We watched from the 'landing tower' while others headed on towards Sacha Lodge itself. The birds we saw here included a noisy Great Kiskadee, a pair of Swallow-winged Puffbirds, a Southern Lapwing that was escorting three chicks around its territory, a Great Saltator that perched all too briefly in a nearby tree, a colourful Scarlet-crowned Barbet, an Undulated Tinamou that remained motionless for ages and some Crested Oropendolas that flew past.
As we began the walk to the lake there was plenty more to slow our progress. A Streaked Flycatcher perched high in a tree and hawked for insects, as did a Social Flycatcher while three Black-fronted Nunbirds gave much better views. A Great Potoo sat high up in a tree looking just like a branch and we heard a Black-banded Woodcreeper. We then had the dubious pleasure of our first dug-out canoe ride (they are not the most stable of vessels!) across the lake to Sacha Lodge itself. As we went we had a Bare-necked Fruit-Crow fly overhead and a Lesser Kiskadee perched on lakeside bushes. To end the journey, we heard the distinctive and loud calls of a White-throated Toucan ringing out around the forest.
We were then given plenty of time to settle in to our respective lodges before dinner and a rather warm night's sleep.
Saturday 20th July
Following an early breakfast, we are into the dugout canoes by 6am and are crossing the lake. The first bird we saw was a Plumbeous Antbird close to the waters edge and nearby a White-throated Toucan is calling. Much further away, Howler Monkeys greet the new dawn with an unmistakable dawn chorus and a couple of Cobalt-winged Parakeets dash overhead. As we walk towards the Napo River a Yellow-tufted Woodpecker is clearly visible in a dead treetop.
We sped along the Napo River in order to reach our first destination in good time. Birds seen (sometimes only glimpsed) in passing including Ringed Kingfisher, Striated Heron, White-winged and White-banded Swallows, Pale-vented Pigeon, Mealy Parrot and a good number of more common species. On reaching our destination, it was only a short walk from the riverbank to a hide overlooking a parrot lick. At first the birds were a little shy but once the first few were down, many more followed. There were five species to be seen in all, namely Dusky-headed Parakeet (the most numerous), Blue-headed, Yellow-crowned and Mealy Parrots (the latter were large and almost comical looking), and a couple of Cobalt-winged Parakeets. We spent over an hour here before the birds moved off and we did likewise.
Moving back up the Napo River at a more leisurely pace enabled us to see more species than our earlier journey. On a mud bank, a couple of Greater Yellowlegs fed, on its sandy top were at least 10 Collared Plovers and large branches washed up there held flocks of Brown-chested Martins and Bank Swallows (our Sand Martins). Ahead of us a Large-billed Tern was flying around looking for catchable fish while high overhead a flock of three Plumbeous Kites and 15-20 Swallow-tailed Kites were circling.
We landed and began a walk into the forest along a narrow, undulating muddy trail and the only bird we saw as we went was a Purplish Jacamar. As we neared our destination an increasing noise greeted us. At first it was difficult to distinguish the source of the sound; it might have even been very loud cicadas. However, we reached another hide (this time at an early stage of construction) and immediately we saw large numbers, not of cicadas, but Cobalt-winged Parakeets. There were hundreds, probably thousands of them and once they settled, they all began to descend to drink and bathe. Oscar heard a couple of Scarlet Macaws but only some of us managed a brief glimpse before they flew off. Among the growing numbers of Cobalt-winged Parakeets were a couple of Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets. A Short-tailed Hawk and a couple of King Vultures passed high overhead without causing the slightest trouble to the Parakeets but suddenly, some unseen predator must have arrived or dashed through the area because all the Parakeets took to the air in a cobalt-coloured haze. Such was their panic to flee the area that many headed straight for us; only the bravest stood still÷÷ I ducked!!
After eating our picnic lunches; we strolled back to the river in the increasing heat - we did not hurry despite the on-set of rain. Heading along the river many of the birds were now taking a siesta but we still saw another Ringed Kingfisher (complete with recently caught large fish), a couple of Yellow-billed Terns and a Giant Cowbird.
We paused for a while in the tower by the landing point and saw a couple more Swallow-winged Puffbirds, a couple of Southern Lapwings and in a tree about 100 yards away, there was a huge flock of Brown-chested Martins. A small brownish woodpecker-like bird caused a little confusion. Not for Oscar, our guide, he named it immediately. But when you take his very broad local accent and the fact that none of us had heard of the Lafresnaye's Piculet, the interpretations of what he said were somewhat varied. My favourite was the 'Half past nine pick-me-up'!!
A couple of male Purple Honeycreepers added a nice splash of colour to our birding here, as did a male Scarlet-crowned Barbet and an Orange-fronted Plushcrown. During the walk back to the lake, the Yellow-tufted Woodpecker was again present in the dead tree, a Cinereous Tinamou was calling and roosting in the trees were a Slender-billed Kite and a Spectacled Owl. Most exciting of all during this walk were the monkeys, as we saw at least 15 Common Squirrel Monkeys and five or more White-faced Capuchins.
As we crossed the lake, we saw a group of four or five Hoatzins and two of these birds approached the lakeside bar and swimming area a little later. Those who went for a cooling swim were assured the water was safe÷. despite the massed Piranhas in the water÷. I just had a beer and watched the birds including a White-throated Toucan that was now calling the 'last post' as the sun dipped to the horizon.
Sunday 21st July
After another early breakfast, we crossed the lake towards the tower and steadily made our way through a specially cleared waterway. A Dot-backed Antbird responded well to Oscar's whistle and gave us good views and a Green-and-rufous Kingfisher kept flying ahead of us while two Purple-throated Fruitcrows were also seen. While some were pleased to be out of the dugout canoe, ahead lay a 40-meter climb up the Sacha Tower! As it was really solid and built around one of the largest trees in the vicinity, no-one really minded and once at the top of the tower, a Slender-footed Tyrannulet was busy nest building and continued throughout our stay. A Guilded Barbet was good to see fairly closely and in the distance, a pair of Black-headed Parrots perched on a treetop. A Fork-tailed Woodnymph hovered around flowers just above us as two species of Honeycreeper fed nearby - Green and Purple.
A little later - after a whole three-minute lull of finding nothing new - it was difficult to decide which of the two Cotingas we saw in quick succession were our favourite, Plum-throated or Spangled. There were also some colourful Tanagers to be seen including Palm, Masked, Crimson, Paradise, Opal-crowned and Opal-rumped. Deep in the forest, Speckled Chachalacas called while the treetops around had a regular procession of birds, such as Maroon-tailed Parakeets, Many-banded and Ivory-billed Aracraris, Great Jacamar and at least eight White-throated Toucans. There was also something that Oscar described as 'the one we saw yesterday' but we never did discover what it was - though it was about half past nine when we saw it!
Despite having heard Red Howler Monkeys earlier in the day, it was not until about half way through our three-hour stay in the tower that we saw any. A group of at least fiveadults took up residence in the top of a tree. The group, including a small youngster, had presumably been feeding earlier in the day but now it was rest time. They left their lofty perch only a few minutes before we left ours. Another mammal we saw as a Three-toed Sloth but despite its relative stillness, we could only see a few little bits of it; most frustrating!
As time passed, the small bird activity seemed a little less hectic but now was the time for raptors. First a Sender-billed Kite perched in a tree and then overhead were first two, then four King Vultures and these were soon followed by a couple of Black Caracaras. In all, we saw about 50 species during our three hours in the tower, many of them new to us. We all decided to take the walking route back to the Lodge. It was quite hot and steamy by now - and the bird activity had dried up completely. However, we did see a number of magnificent trees, including many with huge buttressed roots.
A rest was definitely welcome and it was not until mid afternoon that we had our next outing and this was to the butterfly house just 100 yards or so away. Inside, it was even hotter than outside so our visit here was somewhat curtailed, though full of interest.
We then left for a late afternoon walk seeing at lest five Ivory-billed Aracaris at close range as we assembled for departure. Birds were a little on the quiet side except for one species that is; the Screaming Piha. Their call has to be one of THE sounds of Amazonia and the noise they make is reflected in their name. However, they are dull and boring birds to look at! We also heard Rusty-vented Tapaculo and Black-faced Ant-Thrush though unlike the Piha, we did not see these species.
As dusk began to creep through the dense forest, we paused to take a drink. While standing in this small clearing Oscar's son (confusingly called Oscar) found us a group of Marbled Wood Quails, which were climbing up through a tree and going to roost. We saw a few more species before it became too dark to bird watch and so, with torches (flashlights) to pick our way back to the Lodge, we stumbled along the sometimes slippery trail.
Our crepuscular wanderings were rewarded when we saw three or four Night Monkeys that had obviously just left their daytime 'roost' to head out feeding and live up to their names. We, however, were destined for greater things, a beer and dinner back at the Lodge!
Monday 22nd July
Today we had something of a lie-in compared to the last two days, as we were not woken until 6.30! After breakfast we boarded the canoes and headed across the lake for the last time. The walk to the Napo River was relatively birdless though we did see the usual Russet-backed Oropendolas, a Buff-throated Woodcreeper and a small group of Squirrel Monkeys. After a brief pause we boarded the boat and headed for Coca. This proved to be an entertaining journey not least because the level of the river had dropped considerably and we 'encountered' one or two sandbanks that were now much closer to the surface.
We saw a number of birds and among them were a Striated Heron, 5 Yellow-billed and a single Large-billed Tern and at one point there was a circling flock of about 30 Plumbeous Kites and at least five Swallow-tailed Kites.
The flight back to Quito was uneventful though there were great views to Cotopaxi and other peaks in the area. At the airport we were met by our trusty guide Juan Carlos, and driver Eladio. After collecting our 'spare' luggage from the Hotel Alameda, we were on our way to Tandayapa, approximately 1½ hours drive north of Quito. On the way we stopped for a while overlooking an extinct (or so we hoped!) volcano crater to eat our final lunch of the day (we had already had a sandwich on the boat and another on the plane).
At Tandayapa we were enthralled by the number of hummingbirds coming to the feeders; we counted 16 species some of which were entirely new to us (see species accounts). Then we decided on a late afternoon walk to search for various species including one rather spectacular crepuscular bird. As we walked to the vehicle, we saw a couple of Golden-crowned Flycatchers and then on the side road beyond the village of Tandayapa, we encountered a flock of birds feeding in a berry-bearing tree. These included three Thick-billed and a single Orange-bellied Euphonia, Golden and Golden-naped Tanagers and an Andean Solitaire. A Tawny-bellied Hermit and an Immaculate Antbird were also seen but then as dusk began to fall, expectations began to rise as we heard the calls of Lyre-tailed Nightjar. Eventually, in fast fading light, three males flew past and these were almost immediately followed by another. We lingered for another 10 to 15 minutes with a few more sightings, including one that passed at very close range before returning to Tandayapa Bird Lodge for dinner, the bird list and a nights sleep.
Tuesday 23rd July
After a 5.30 breakfast, we headed for Los Bancos. Before reaching the main road we had seen a number of White-tipped Doves. As we sped along, JC saw a Golden-headed Quetzal perched on roadside wires and as we stopped to watch this bird, we also saw a Plumbeous Pigeon.
We then turned in the town on to the 'Los Bancos Road', drove a short distance and began a walk. Almost immediately four Bronze-winged Parrots flew over and at the same time we found a 'flock' that contained many Tanager species that we had seen before but new ones were Moss-backed, Fawn-breasted, Silver-throated, Rufous-throated and Lemon-rumped Tanagers. A presumed pair of Pale-mandibled Araçaris performed well and gave excellent views at fairly close range and we saw many more during the walk. Overhead were a few White-collared and Chestnut-collared Swifts and later we added Southern Rough-winged and White-thighed Swallows.
There were many Tropical Kingbirds about but among them were a couple of Snowy-throated Kingbirds so they proved to be worth looking at. Hummers seen during the walk included Green-crowned Brilliant and Purple-crowned Fairy. A Squirrel Cuckoo performed well as did a pair of Choco Toucans which, though distant, gave excellent 'scope views. Among the trees and bushes, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Wedge-billed Woodcreepers and Slaty Spinetail were all seeking food in their own distinctive ways and a Rufous Motmot gave tantalisingly brief views before disappearing completely.
Further along, an Ornate Flycatcher was relatively co-operative but the Variable Seedeater unfortunately disappeared before everyone cold see it and it was at this point that we also glimpsed a Wedge-billed Hummingbird and a White-whiskered Hermit. On the way back towards the minibus, we paused among some more mature trees and it was here that we added Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted Woodcreeper, Red-headed Barbet and a Smokey-brown Woodpecker but perhaps the most prized birds of the morning were the pair of Guayaquil Woodpeckers that gave us excellent views. A Black-crowned Tityra and a group of Smooth-billed Anis completed the mornings watching.
We visited Mindo Lindo for lunch and sat watching the hummingbird feeders. The new species here were Empress Brilliant and Velvet-purple Coronet but others included Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Booted Racketail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Violetear and Purple-bibbed Whitetip.
Later, we drove in to Mindo and along one of the side streets; a couple of Pacific (formerly Pale-legged) Horneros were walking along the paved surface. We wandered around a private orchid collection and were introduced to each of the blooming species by the proud owner. A coffee stop was now in order and we visited another establishment in Mindo where there were a range of hummingbird feeders and here we added White-necked Jacobin, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Green-crowned Brilliant and White-whiskered Hermit to the growing list of hummingbirds.
This effectively brought our outing for the day to a close and we made our way back to Tandayapa Bird Lodge where, needless to say, we watched just a few more hummingbirds at the feeders. This brought the number of hummer species to 24 for the day!
Wednesday 24th July
We began the day by visiting the 'upper' platform to overlook some prime Tandayapa forest. Quite early on we saw 2 brightly coloured birds fly along between the trees on the opposite side of the valley and land in a cecropia tree. Telescope views revealed they were one adult male and one juvenile male Cock-of-the-Rock. Shortly after this, a group of about 20 Red-billed Parrots landed in trees opposite us, a Sickle-winged Guan fed in a tree along the valley and an Andean Solitaire sang nearby. Later from the lower platform there were two more Guans to be seen at close quarters and a pair of Golden-crowned Flycatchers were building their nest beneath the canopy roof. Other species seen here included White-throated Hawk, White-collared Swifts, Plumbeous Pigeons and a Thick-billed Euphonia.
After breakfast, we walked the Potoo Trail and here we saw plenty of species though typically, some were rather elusive. A Nariño Tapaculo and two Spotted Woodcreepers were among the first to be seen. Further along the trail we added Powerful Woodpecker and then we were able to look down on a displaying group of Golden-winged Manakins, which had obviously been displaying on a log and were reluctant to leave. In the distance we could hear Toucan Barbets and Golden-headed Quetzal calling but neither responded to attempts to entice them in.
We began to descend towards the waterfall area and happened upon two Crimson-rumped Toucanets and then found a Striped Tree-hunter. A Lineated Foliage-Gleaner was difficult to see but everyone got on to it in the end though an Olive-striped Flycatcher was only seen very briefly by one or two of the group. The colourful Tanagers were represented by Blue-winged, Mountain, Beryl-spangled, Golden and Metallic-green varieties. Fawn-breasted Brilliant and Tawny-bellied Hermit were two good hummingbirds to see and the walk ended with difficult views of a pair of Crested Quetzals.
We were much more lazy in the afternoon and mostly stayed close to Tandayapa Lodge where the massed hummers provided a fabulous spectacle. We also strolled to the lower platform again and here we saw a few more Tanagers namely Blue-capped, Golden, Golden-naped and again, Metallic-green. All were seen well, as was a Great Thrush, a species we had not seen for a few days. To complete the day we returned to watching the great variety of hummingbirds and were surprised to receive a visit from a pair of Masked Trogons that were admired by everyone.
Thursday 25th July
Eladio, our driver, arrived early after a day of freedom from us (!) and 7a.m. we were leaving Tandayapa to head up the hill towards Bellavista Lodge. Our guide Juan Carlos had had to head off for a prior engagement and he had been replaced by Edison Buenaño for our last days' birding,
The intention was to watch for birds on the way to Bellavista and perhaps beyond, and then, after a walk on some of the Bellavista trails, we would descend to a private residence to eat our picnic lunch and watch the hummers at the feeders there. Well the best laid plans .............. don't always go as they should. By 7.30 a.m. we were 'parked' on the roadside and starting to change a punctured tyre. Wheel nuts were undone, the vehicle was jacked up and only then did we discover that the spare was also punctured!! On this very quiet road there was little hope of a passing vehicle coming to our aid when a pack-horse and its owner came down the hill towards us. Needless to say the horse was pressed in to service (with the owner's full co-operation) and soon Eladio was heading for the village of Tandayapa promising to return as soon as he could. We set off up the hill, in gathering warmth and sunshine, determined to see as much as we could.
We soon started to see some of the more common species of the area like Red-billed Parrot and Plumbeous Pigeon. We also managed to see a Flavescent Flycatcher, though we had heard one earlier in the tour, and Yellow-bellied Seedhunter which was new. Other species included Brown-capped Vireo, Russet-crowned Warbler and Black-crested Warbler.
However, the best was yet to come because as we watched our first Grass-green Tanager, a Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan flew into some roadside trees and offered really good, though brief views. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all came in the shape of a roosting, male Swallow-tailed Nightjar, a fine comparison to its Lyre-tailed relative we had seen a couple of evenings earlier.
By the time we reached Bellavista it was really quite hot and so refreshing drinks were called for. As we sat there, we were able to watch many Buff-tailed Coronets and Speckled Hummingbirds coming to the feeders along with a few Gorgeted Sunangels. By now, Eladio had returned with repaired tyres and drove up to meet us though we did spend some time walking a short distance along one of the trails before we left. Here we saw another four Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans, a couple of Turquoise Jays and we heard an Ocellated Tapaculo.
We then moved a short way down the hill to a place known as Tony's. Here we ate our picnic lunches and again watched numerous hummingbird feeders where we had the briefest of visits from a Wedge-billed Hummer amongst other species. But the prized species restricted itself to feeding from the clumps of small, purple flowers; and the species? : Green-tailed Trainbearer; there was a male and two females present.
It was now time to depart for Quito as some members of the group wanted to spend some time shopping before packing in readiness for the following day's departure. As we neared the city there were fine views to Cotopaxi but there was no time to stop and admire, there was shopping to be done! That evening we went to La Ronda, a fine Ecuadorian restaurant for a superb evening meal to celebrate the end of the tour.
Friday 26th July
Today was the day to be heading homewards or onwards and so after an early breakfast, Diane, Bri and Gerry were collected at 05.30 and taken to the international airport while Carol, Charles and Mike headed for the national airport to fly to Baltra in Galapagos for a new adventure. After wishing each other 'bon voyage', we parted on the steps of the Hotel Alameda.
Cinereous Tinamou heard on 20th & 21st near Sacha Lodge
Undulated Tinamou seen on 19th and 20th close to the Napo River landing point for Sacha Lodge
American Great White Egret just a single sighting from the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Snowy Egret single birds seen on 19th and 20th along the Napo River
Striated Heron seen on 20th and 22nd along the Napo River
Torrent Duck A female seen on the Quijos River on 15th
Andean Teal At least 4 on Cotopaxi on 13th
Yellow-billed Pintail 30 near Papallacta on 14th
Andean Ruddy-Duck 3 Cotopaxi on 13th, 7 near Papallacta on 14th
Turkey Vulture seen in small numbers on 6 days
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture good numbers seen on the way to and from Sacha Lodge and also on the 2 days we were staying there.
American Black Vulture 5 on 12th near Quito and at Pasachoa, 2 near Quito on 14th then seen on 21st, 22nd and 23rd
King Vulture 2 flew over the first parrot stop on 20th and then we saw 4 together from the tower the following day
American Swallow-tailed Kite 4 well seen near the Hollin River on 18th then we saw a flock of about 15 on 20th near Sacha and smaller numbers on the way to Coca on 22nd
Slender-billed Kite singles at Sacha Lodge on 20th and 21st
Plumbeous Kite 3 close to Sacha Lodge on 20th and a spiralling flock of about 30 as we went to Coca on 22nd
Plain-breasted Hawk a single sighting of one with prey near Bellavista on 25th
Roadside Hawk 2 at Guango Lodge on 15th, 1 at San Isidro on 16th and then recorded on 5 other days
Broad-winged Hawk 1 at La Cienega on13th
Short-tailed Hawk singles on 20th and 21st near Sacha Lodge
Puna (Variable) Hawk singles seen on 12th, 13th, 14th
White-throated Hawk a single bird seen at Tandayapa on 24th
White-rumped Hawk 2 seen after lunch on 15th
Black Caracara 2 on 18th on the way to Quito from San Isidro and a further 2 from the Sacha tower on 21st
Carunculated Caracara 3 on Cotopaxi on 13th, 3 or 4 during lunch above the Papallacta Pass on 14th
Collared Forest-falcon Heard after lunch on 15th
American Kestrel 3 at La Cienega on 13th, 2 over Juan Carlos's garden on 14th
Andean Guan Heard at Pasachoa on 12th
Sickle-winged Guan One seen along the road from San Isidro on 16th and then 3 at Tandayapa on 24th
Marbled-wood Quail at least 4 seen going to roost late on 21st near Sacha Lodge
Speckled Chachalaca Heard from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe 2 seen and others heard above Papallacta Pass on 14th
Slate-coloured (Andean) Coot At least 10 seen on the lake on Cotopaxi on 13th
Blackish Rail A bird, probably of this species, was seen to cross the Loretta Road on 18th
Andean Lapwing About 15 seen on the Paramo grassland on Cotopaxi on 13th
Southern Lapwing A parent bird had 3 chicks close to the Sacha landing point on 19th though the following day this had changed to 2 parents being in charge of just a single chick
Collared Plover About 15 seen on sand banks in the Napo River on 20th and then a couple seen on the way to Coca on 22nd
Greater Yellowlegs 2 seen along the Napo River on 20th
Noble Snipe 1 seen on Cotopaxi on 13th
Andean Gull 20 or more on Cotopaxi on 13th included some small young
Large-billed Tern 1 on 20th and another seen on 22nd along the Napo River
Yellow-billed (Amazon) Tern 3 on 19th, 2 on 20th and 4 on 22nd along the Napo River
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Seen in various urban areas on 3 days
Band-tailed Pigeon 2 along the road from San Isidro on 16th and then many at Tandayapa on 24th & 25th
Plumbeous Pigeon First heard on 23rd then seen in good numbers on 24th & 25th at Tandayapa
Ruddy Pigeon Just a couple seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Pale-vented Pigeon 5 seen along the Napo River on 20th
White-tipped Dove About 20 seen on 12th on the way to and at La Cienega then not seen until 23rd & 24th near Tandayapa
Eared Dove Commonly seen on 12th, 13th and 14th close to La Cienega
Scarlet Macaw A single bird seen to fly away from the second 'parrot' location on 20th
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Just a handful seen at the parrot lick and then hundreds at the second location both on 20th. At the latter site, it was quite incredible to have dozens hurtling towards you when there was a severe alarm among the flock
Dusky-headed Parakeet Hundreds seen at the first parrot lick on 20th and also seen around the area that day
White-eyed Parakeets About two dozen seen along the Loretta road on 8th
Maroon-tailed Parakeet 3 seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st then seen on 23rd along the Los Bancos Road
Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet Just a couple seen at lunch time on 20th
Black-headed Parrot 2 well seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Blue-headed Parrot Just seen at the parrot lick on 20th in small numbers
Red-billed Parrot Seen on 17th at San Isidro, on 22nd at Tandayapa and then seen in good numbers in the same area on 24th and 25th
Speckle-faced (White-capped) Parrot 5 flew over Guango Lodge on 15th and many groups totalling at last 70 birds seen at San Isidro later that day, at least 30 at San Isidro on 16th and also seen there on 17th
Bronze-winged Parrot At least 10 seen on 23rd along the Los Bancos Road
Yellow-crowned Parrot About 40 seen at the parrot lick on 20th
Mealy Parrot Just a few seen at the parrot lick on 20th
Barred Parakeet A group of 7 flew over San Isidro on 15th then 3 there on 17th
Hoatzin 4 at Sacha on 20th were the only ones seen
Greater Ani Half a dozen seen along the Napo River on 20th
Smooth-billed Ani Seen on 4 days
Squirrel Cuckoo 1 seen briefly along the road from San Isidro on 16th then 4 on the Los Bancos Road on 23rd and finally 1 at Tandayapa on 24th
Rufous-banded Owl Heard after dinner on 16th then one seen the following evening at San Isidro
Spectacled Owl Just a single, day-roosting bird seen at Sacha Lodge on 20th
Great Potoo Just a single sighting as we approached Sacha Lodge on 19th
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk 1 possibly 2 seen at dusk and just after on 15th
Lyre-tailed Nightjar At least 4 adult males seen at Tandayapa late on 22nd
Swallow-tailed Nightjar Just a single, day-roosting male seen on 25th near Bellavista
Chestnut-collared Swift Seen over the Los Bancos Road on 23rd
White-collared Swift A small group seen to mob a White-tailed Hawk as they went past on the afternoon of 15th, then not seen again until 23rd over the Los Bancos Road on 23rd and near Bellavista on 25th
Gray-rumped Swift 20 along the Loretta Road on 18th
White-whiskered Hermit 3 seen at Mindo Lindo on 23rd
Tawny-bellied Hermit Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 3 successive days from 22nd
Wedge-billed Hummingbird Seen very briefly on 23rd along the Los Bancos road and then at Tony's on 25th
Green-fronted Lancebill Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
White-necked Jacobin 5 at Mindo on 23rd
Brown Violet-ear Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Green Violet-ear Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Sparkling Violet-ear 1 at La Cienega on 13th, then seen in Juan Carlos's garden and at Guango Lodge the following day. Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Green-crowned Woodnymph 3 at Mindo on 23rd
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Just a single sighting at the Sacha Tower on 21st
Andean Emerald Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 3 successive days from 22nd
Western Emerald 4 at Guango Lodge on 14th then seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Glittering-throated Emerald Just a single sighting on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Golden-tailed Sapphire Singles seen along the Loretta road on 18th and from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Speckled Hummingbird Seen at San Isidro on 15th, 16th and 17th and then at Tony's on 25th
Booted Racket-tail A single bird along the Loretta road on 18th then seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Purple-bibbed Whitetip Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Fawn-breasted Brilliant Seen at San Isidro on 15th, 16th and then seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Green-crowned Brilliant 3 at Mindo on 23rd
Empress Brilliant 3 at Mindo Lindo on 23rd
Ecuadorian Hillstar 6 on the slopes of Cotopaxi on 13th, 1 above Papallacta Pass on 14th
Sword-billed Hummingbird 2 perhaps 3 seen at Pasachoa on 12th
Giant Hummingbird A male and a female seen on the lower slopes of Cotopaxi on 13th, 1 seen on the way to Papallacta Pass on 14th
Shining Sunbeam 1 seen briefly beside the lake after Papallacta Pass on 14th
Mountain Avocetbill 1 during the pre breakfast walk at Guango Lodge on 14th
Bronzy Inca Seen at San Isidro on 15th, 16th and 17th
Brown Inca Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Collared Inca Seen at Guango Lodge on 14th and 15th and at San Isidro on 15th, 16th, 17th then singles seen at Tandayapa on 3 successive days from 23rd
Buff-winged Starfrontlet 1 beside the lake after Papallacta Pass on 14th
Buff-tailed Coronet Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Chestnut-breasted Coronet Seen at San Isidro on 15th, 16th and 17th
Velvet-purple Coronet Perhaps 6 seen at Mindo Lindo on 23rd
Sapphire-vented Puffleg 2 at Pasachoa on 12th
Glowing Puffleg Seen at Guango Lodge on 14th and 15th
Tourmaline Sunangel Seen at Guango Lodge on 14th and 15th
Gorgeted Sunangel 3 seen at Bellavista on 25th
Black-tailed Trainbearer Seen at Pasachoa on 12th and at La Cienega later the same day. Also seen at the latter location on 13th and in Juan Carlos's garden on 14th
Green-tailed Trainbearer A male and 2 females seen at Tony's on 25th
Blue-mantled Thornbill 1 seen above the Papallacta Pass on 14th
Tyrian Metaltail At least 5 at Pasachoa on 12th and also seen at Guango Lodge on 14th and 15th
Long-tailed Sylph 1 in Juan Carlos's garden on 14th then seen at Guango Lodge later that day. Also seen at Guango on 15th and at San Isidro on 15th, 16th, 17th
Violet-tailed Sylph Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
Purple-throated Woodstar Seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 4 successive days from 22nd
White-bellied Woodstar At least 2 seen at Guango Lodge on 14th then seen at Tandayapa and in the surrounding areas on 3 successive days from 22nd
Crested Quetzal 1 male seen close to San Isidro on 17th then 2 near Tandayapa on 24th
Golden-headed Quetzal 1 near Los Bancos on 23rd and another at Tandayapa on 24th
Masked Trogon 3 seen close to San Isidro on 16th then a male at Tandayapa on 23rd and a pair there the following day
Violaceous Trogon 1 seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Collared Trogon Heard calling along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Ringed Kingfisher 3 along the Napo River on 20th
Amazon Kingfisher A single bird seen along the Napo River on 19th
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher 2 seen on the way to the Sacha Tower on 21st
Rufous Motmot An elusive individual seen along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
White-eared Jacamar Just a single bird near Sacha Lodge on 19th
Purplish Jacamar Singles seen near Sacha Lodge on 20th & 21st
Great Jacamar A single bird seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Black-fronted Nunbird 3 on the way to Sacha Lodge on 19th & 20th
Yellow-billed Nunbird 2 from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Swallow-wing (Puffbird) A pair seen close to Sacha Lodge on 19th, 20th and 22nd
Scarlet-crowned Barbet 3 seen near Sacha on 19th and another there the following day
Gilded Barbet Seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Red-headed Barbet A female seen along the Loretta Road on 18th then 2 on the Los Bancos road on 23rd and finally one at Tandayapa on 24th
Lemon-throated Barbet Seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Toucan Barbet Heard at Tandayapa on 24th then a pair seen and others heard near Bellavista on 25th
Emerald Toucanet At least 4 close to San Isidro on 16th
Crimson-rumped Toucanet 3 at Tandayapa on 24th
Ivory-billed Aracari About 6 seen at Sacha on 21st
Many-banded Aracari 3 from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Pale-mandibilled Aracari About a dozen seen along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan 1 heard at Guango Lodge on 15th
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan 5 seen at Bellavista on 25th
White-throated Toucan heard on 19th & 20th then 1 seen calling at sunset on the latter day. On 21st we saw about 8 from the tower and we heard them calling as we left on 22nd, all at Sacha Lodge
Choco Toucan 2 well seen along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Powerful Woodpecker Super views of a male along the road from San Isidro and then a pair along the yellow trail both on 16th and then a single bird at Tandayapa on 24th
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker 2 on 18th along the Loretta road and another 2 near Sacha Lodge on 20th
Smoky-brown Woodpecker A female seen to be excavating a nest in a dead tree 100 yards from where they were doing the same 2 years ago - San Isidro, 15th-17th
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Heard close to San Isidro on 16th and then at least 2 seen there on 17th then 1 along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Crimson-crested Woodpecker 2 along the Loretta road on 18th and 1 near Sacha on 20th
Guayaquil Woodpecker Perhaps as many as 4 along the Los Bancos road on 23rd
Lafresnaye's Piculet A single bird seen as we approached Sacha Lodge on 20th
Spot-breasted Woodpecker 2 beside the Loretta road on 18th
Tyranine Woodcreeper A single bird seen near San Isidro on 16th
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper 1 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Strong-billed Woodcreeper 3 on 15th at Guango Lodge, 3 at San Isidro on 16th
Black-banded woodcreeper 2 near Sacha Lodge on 19th
Straight-billed Woodcreeper 1 near Sacha Lodge on 20th
Buff-throated Woodcreeper on 21st and another on 22nd near Sacha Lodge
Ocellated Woodcreeper 1 along the Loretta road on 18th
Montane Woodcreeper 4 at Guango Lodge and en route to San Isidro on 15th, 4 at San Isidro itself on 16th and also there on 17th then 2 at Tandayapa on 24th
Spotted Woodcreeper 2 on 23rd and 1 on 24th at Tandayapa
Olive-backed Woodcreeper 3 on 17th at San Isidro
Bar-winged Cinclodes At least 3 on Cotopaxi on 13th
Stout-billed Cinclodes At least 3 on Cotopaxi on 13th and 1 at the Papallacta pass on 14th
Pacific Hornero (formerly Pale-legged Hornero) 2 in Mindo on23rd
Red-faced Spinetail 3 near Los Bancos on 23rd
Slaty Spinetail 1 at Tandayapa on 23rd
Andean Tit-Spinetail 2 near Papallacta on 14th
Azara's Spinetail Heard on 2th,15th and 16th and finally seen on 17th at San Isidro then heard again on 25th near Bellavista
Many-striped Canastero 2 on Cotopaxi on 13th and 1 above the Papallacta Pass on 14th
Pearled Treerunner Seen on 14th near Papallacta, on 16th and 17th at San Isidro
Spotted Barbtail 1 at San Isidro on 17th
Orange-fronted Plushcrown 2 near Sacha Lodge on 20th
Streaked Tuftedcheek 1 at San Isidro on 16th and 2 there the following day
Chestnut-winged Hookbill 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Heard on 23rd and seen on 24th at Tandayapa
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner 4 near Los Bancos on 23rd
Striped Treehunter 1 on 24th at Tandayapa
Slender-billed Xenops 1 along the Loretta road on 18th
Lined Antshrike 2 seen and others heard along the Loretta road on 18th
Fasciated Antshrike Just a single bird on 21st on the way to the Sacha Tower
Spot-winged Antshrike Just a single bird on 21st on the way to the Sacha Tower
Slaty Antwren 1 at Tandayapa on 24th
Long-tailed Antbird 2 seen at San Isidro on 16th and heard there on 15th and 17th
Plumbeous Antbird 1 seen and another heard on 20th at Sacha
Immaculate Antbird Seen on 22nd and 24th at Tandayapa
Dot-backed Antbird 1 on the way to the Sacha Tower on 21st
Black-faced Antthrush Heard near Sacha on 21st
Rufous-breasted Antthrush Heard at Tandayapa on 24th
Slate-crowned Antpitta 1 seen plus others heard on 16th at San Isidro
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Heard at San Isidro on 16th
White-bellied Antpitta Heard at San Isidro on 17th
Tawny Antpitta Heard on Cotopaxi on 13th then 2 well seen near Papallacta Pass on 14th
Ash-coloured Tapaculo Heard at San Isidro on 17th
Narino Tapaculo 1on 24th at Tandayapa
Unicolored Tapaculo 1 at San Isidro on 16th
Rusty-belted Tapaculo Heard near Sacha Lodge on 21st
Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo Heard at San Isidro on 16th
Ocellated Tapaculo Heard at Bellavista on 25th
Ash-coloured Tapaculo Heard on 16th at San Isidro
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Seen on 18th along the Loretta road and then at least 4 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Gray Elaenia 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower
White-crested Elaenia 4 or 5 at Pasachoa on 12th
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Heard on 14th at Juan Carlos's home
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet 2 near Sacha Lodge on 20th
Slender-footed Tyrannulet A pair were nest building next to the Sacha Tower on 21st
White-throated Tyrannulet 4 on 14th at Juan Carlos's house
White-tailed Tyrannulet 2 on 16th and 3 on 17th at San Isidro then 1 at Bellavista on 25th
White-banded Tyrannulet Seen at Pasochoa on 12th and at Guango on 14th and 15tht
Torrent Tyrannulet 2 before San Isidro on 15th and 1 along the Loretta road on 18th
Streak-necked Flycatcher 1 on 17th at San Isidro
Olive-striped Flycatcher 1 on 24th at Tandayapa
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher Heard on 15th & 16th and seen on 17th at San Isidro
Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant 1 on 16th at San Isidro
Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant At least 2 on 16th at San Isidro
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher Seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Common Tody-Flycatcher 2 on 18th along the Loretta road
Tufted Tit-Tyrant 2 on 13th on Cotopaxi and another 2 the following day at Papallacta Pass
Flavescent Flycatcher Heard on 16th at San Isidro and seen on 25th near Bellavista
Handsome Flycatcher 1 on 17th at San Isidro
Ornate Flycatcher 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Cinnamon Flycatcher Seen on 3 successive days, from 15th, at Guango Lodge and San Isidro
Smoke-coloured Pewee Seen on 3 successive days at San Isidro from 15th and then on 23rd & 24th near Los Bancos and at Tandayapa respectively
Black Phoebe 2 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Vermilion Flycatcher a male on 13th at La Cienega and then about 6 the following day in Juan Carlos's garden
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant 3 or 4 on 13th on Cotopaxi
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant 3 on 12th at Pasachoa and 2 on 15th at Guango
Smoky Bush-Tyrant 2 on 12th at Pasachoa
Paramo Ground-Tyrant 4 or 5 on Cotopaxi on 13th
Cliff Flycatcher 3 along the Loretta road on 18th
Bright-rumped Attila 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower
Sulphury Flycatcher 1 from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Great Kiskadee Seen on 19th, 20th and 22nd at or near Sacha Lodge
Lesser Kiskadee Seen on 19th and 20th at or near Sacha Lodge
Pale-edged Flycatcher 1 glimpsed on 17th at San Isidro
Social Flycatcher Seen on 3 successive days from 18th on the Loretta road and at Sacha Lodge
Gray-capped Flycatcher Seen on 21st from the Sacha Tower
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 1 on 17th at San Isidro, 3 at Tandayapa on 22nd and 4 there on 24th
Streaked Flycatcher 1 on 19th at Sacha Lodge
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower
White-throated Kingbird 2 on 18th along the Loretta road
Tropical Kingbird Commonly seen on 9 successive days from 15th
Snowy-throated Kingbird 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
White-winged Becard 1 on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Black-capped Becard A pair seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Pink-throated Becard A female seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Masked Tityra 3 along the Loretta road on 18th
Black-crowned Tityra 3 near Los Bancos on 23rd
Three-striped Warbler 3 on 24th at Tandayapa
Golden-winged Manakin 3 at Tandayapa on 24th
Red-crested Cotinga 5 at Pasachoa on 12th
Plum-throated Cotinga 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower
Spangled Cotinga 2 from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Green-and-black Fruiteater 2 on 17th at San Isidro
Screaming Piha Seen (and definitely heard!) on 21st at Sacha Lodge and also heard there the following day
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Seen during the canoe trip to the Sacha Tower on 21st (missed during the call-overs but found in my notes afterwards- Mike)
Bare-necked Fruitcrow 2 on 19th, 20th & 21st near Sacha Lodge
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock About 5 seen at Tandayapa on 24th
White-winged Swallow Seen on 4 consecutive days in Amazonia from 19th
Brown-chested Martin Seen on 4 consecutive days in Amazonia from 19th
Brown-bellied Swallow Seen on the first 6 days of the tour in various locations
Blue-and-white Swallow Seen on the first 7 days of the tour in various locations and then on 25th at Bellavista
White-banded Swallow 8 seen along the Napo River on 20th and also many seen there as we went to Coca on 22nd
White-thighed Swallow 8 seen near Los Bancos on 23rd
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Seen on 18th along the Loretta road and then on 23rd and 24th at Tandayapa
Bank Swallow Just a few seen along the Napo River on 20th
Bay Wren Heard on 23rd near Los Bancos
Plain-tailed Wren 3 seen and many more heard at Pasachoa on 12th then heard on 15th at Guango and near Bellavista on 25th
Mountain Wren Noted on 15th, 16th and 17th at San Isidro
Grass Wren Heard on 12th and 14th and seen on Cotopaxi on 13th
House Wren Seen on 19th and 20th near Sacha
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Noted at San Isidro on 15th - 17th and at Tandayapa on 24th & 25th
Andean Solitaire 6 on 16th and 2 on 17th at San Isidro and then heard on 22nd and 24th at Tandayapa
Chiguanco Thrush Just a single bird seen at La Cienega on 13th
Great Thrush Commonly seen on 5 days from 12th then not again until there was a single bird at Tandayapa on 24th
Glossy-black Thrush A female on 15th at Guango and one bird at Tandayapa on 24th
Black-billed Thrush 1 on 18th along the Loretta road then 1 on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Chestnut-bellied Thrush 1 on 18thalong the Loretta road
Ecuadorian Thrush 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat 3 seen near Los Bancos on 23rd
Turquoise Jay 6 at Guango Lodge on 15th and also seen at Bellavista on 25th
Violaceous Jay Heard from the Sacha Tower on 20th
Inca Jay (formerly grouped with Green Jay) Seen on 3 days from 15th at San Isidro
Black-striped Sparrow Heard on 23rd near Los Bancos
Rufous-collared Sparrow Commonly seen on the first 8days then not again until 23rd & 24th near Tandayapa
Yellow-browed Sparrow 2 along the Loretta road on 18th
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch 4 or 5 on 13th and 2 on 14th at La Cienega
Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch 3 on 14th near Papallacta Pass
Variable Seedeater Just 2 seen briefly on 23rd near Los Bancos
Black-and-White Seedeater 3 on 14th at Juan Carlos's home
Yellow-bellied Seedeater 2 on 25th on the way to Bellavista
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater 6 along the Los Bancos road on 18th
Lesser Seed-Finch 3 along the Loretta road on 18th
Plain-coloured Seedeater Seen on each of the first 3 days only
Pale-naped Brush-Finch 1 on 14th and 2 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Rufous-naped Brush-Finch 3 at Pasachoa on 12th
Tricoloured Brush-Finch 1 on 23rd at Mindo
Slaty Brush-Finch 4 on 14th at Guango Lodge and seen there the following morning
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Heard on 24th at Tandayapa
Red-capped Cardinal 1 on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Black-backed Grosbeak 1 on 12th at Pasachoa and 2 the following day at La Cienega
Southern Yellow-Grosbeak 6 on 14th at Juan Carlos's home
Plushcap (Finch) 1 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Buff-throated Saltator 1 on 21st from the Sacha Tower and 3 near Los Bancos on 23rd
Black-winged Saltator 1 on 23rd near Los Bancos and 2 on 24th at Tandayapa
Grayish Saltator 3 along the Loretta road on 18th, 2 on 19th and 1 on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Magpie Tanager 4 along the Loretta road on 18th and 2 on 20th near Sacha Lodge.
Grass-green Tanager 2 seen briefly near Bellavista on 25th
Common Bush-tanager 1 on 15th and at least 6 on 17th at San Isidro
Yellow-throated Bush-tanager 3 on 18th along the Loretta road
Black-backed Bush-Tanager 8 on 14th at Guango Lodge
Black-capped Hemispingus 6 on 15th at San Isidro
Superciliaried Hemispingus 2 on 12th at Pasachoa, 2 at Guango Lodge on 14th and again on 15th
Oleaginous Hemispingus 2 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Black-eared Hemispingus 2 on 15th and 1 on 16th at San Isidro
White-shouldered Tanager 1 on 18th along the Loretta road
Silver-beaked Tanager Common on 18th along the Loretta road
Lemon-rumped Tanager At least 4 on 24th near Los Bancos and 3 at Tandayapa the following day
Blue-grey Tanager Seen on at least 7 days; a common species
Palm Tanager 6 on 18th, 1 on 21st and 3 on 23rd
Blue-capped Tanager 1 on 24th and 2 on 25th near Tandayapa
Blue-and-yellow Tanager 2 on 13th at La Cienega
Moss-backed Tanager At least 3 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Hooded Mountain-Tanager 4 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager 6 on 12th at Pasachoa and 2 on 14th at Guango Lodge
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 2 on 14thand again on 5th at Guango Lodge
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 6 on 16th and again on 17th at San Isidro then at least 5 at Tandayapa on 24th
Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager 2 on 12th at Pasachoa and 2 at Guango Lodge on 14th
Orange-crowned Euphonia At least 4 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Thick-billed Euphonia 1 on 18th along the Loretta road then up to 3 on 22nd, 23rd and 24th near Tandayapa
White-lored Euphonia Just a single bird on 21st from the Sacha Tower
Orange-bellied Euphonia 4 on 18th along the Loretta road, then on 4 consecutive days from 22nd near or at Tandayapa
Orange-eared Tanager 4 on 18th along the Loretta road
Opal-rumped Tanager Seen on 21st from the Sacha tower
Opal-crowned Tanager Seen on 21st from the Sacha tower
Paradise Tanager 4 or 5 along the Loretta road on 18th and then again at the Sacha Tower on 21st
Turquoise Tanager Just seen from the Sacha tower on 21st
Green-and-gold Tanager 3 on 18th along the Loretta road
Fawn-breasted Tanager Just 1 seen on 23rd near Los Bancos
Golden Tanager 1 on 18th along the Loretta road then seen on 4 consecutive days from 22nd near Tandayapa
Silver-throated Tanager 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Saffron-crowned Tanager Seen on 15th, 16th & 17th at San Isidro
Flame-faced Tanager 3 on 16th and 6 on 17th at San Isidro and finally 1 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Rufous-throated Tanager At least 10 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Bay-headed Tanager 2 on 18th along the Loretta road and another 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Golden-naped Tanager 1 on 22nd and 3 on 24th at Tandayapa
Blue-necked Tanager 2 on 17th at San Isidro, 6 on 18th along the Loretta road and also seen on 23rdnear Los Bancos
Metallic-green Tanager 2 on 24th at Tandayapa
Beryl-spangled Tanager Seen on 16th and 17th at San Isidro, on 24th at Tandayapa and on 25th at Bellavista
Blue-and-black Tanager Just 1 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Black-capped Tanager Seen on 15th, 16th and 17th at San Isidro and then on 24th at Tandayapa
Grey-hooded Bush-Tanager At least 3 on 15th at Guango Lodge
Black-faced Dacnis 2 on 18th along the Loretta road and also seen on 21st from the Sacha tower
Yellow-bellied Dacnis 2 on 18th along the Loretta road and also seen on 21st from the Sacha tower
Green Honeycreeper A pair seen from the Sacha tower on 21st
Purple Honeycreeper 2 on 18th along the Loretta road and then seen on 20th and 21st near Sacha Lodge
White-sided Flowerpiercer Singles seen at San Isidro on 15th & 16th then 2 at Tandayapa on 23rd and a pair at Tony's on 25th
Black Flowerpiercer Seen on 12th, 13th and 14th at La Cienega
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer (formerly Deep-blue Flowerpiercer) 2 on 18th along the Loretta road
Bluish Flowerpiercer 2 on 16th and 4 on 17th at San Isidro
Masked Flowerpiercer Seen on 15th, 16th and 17th at San Isidro
Rusty Flowerpiercer A nesting female seen at Juan Carlos's home on 14th
Swallow-Tanager 2 on 23rd near Los Bancos
Bananaquit 4 along the Loretta road on 18th then seen on 3 days from 22nd at Tandayapa
Tropical Parula 6 on 23rd near Los Bancos and 2 at Tandayapa the following day
Slate-throated Whitestart Seen on 15th, 16th & 17th at San Isidro and then on 23rd and 24th at Tandayapa
Spectacled Whitestart Numerous on 12th, 14th, 15th & 16th then not seen again
Black-crested Warbler 2 on 12th, 14th, 15th & 16th then not seen again until 25th when there was one near Bellavista
Russet-crowned Warbler Seen on 15th, 16th and 17th at San Isidro and then seen at Bellavista on 25th
Giant Conebill A single bird was well seen near Papallacta Pass on 14th
Cinereous Conebill 5 or 6 seen on 13th and again on 14th at La Cienega
Blue-backed Conebill Only noted on 14th at Guango Lodge
Capped Conebill 4 on 15th and 2 on 17th at San Isidro
Brown-capped Vireo 1 on 16th and 2 on 17th at San Isidro
Olivaceous Greenlet Heard on 18th along the Loretta road
Saffron Finch 2 in Juan Carlos's garden on 14th
Hooded Siskin 2 on 13th at La Cienega and at least 6 at Juan Carlos's home the following day
Olivaceous Siskin Seen on 16th and 17th at San Isidro
Crested Oropendola 2 on 19th at Sacha Lodge where we also saw some on 21st
Russet-backed Oropendola Commonly seen at San Isidro and Sacha Lodge
Yellow-rumped Cacique Seen on 3 days at Sacha Lodge
Subtropical (Scarlet-rumped) Cacique Seen on 15th, 16th and 17th at or near San Isidro
Mountain Cacique Seen on 15th, 16th and 17th at or near San Isidro
Oriole Blackbird Just 2 seen on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Giant Cowbird Just 4 seen on 20th near Sacha Lodge
Shining Cowbird A single bird was seen on 20th along the Napo River from Sacha Lodge
Red Howler Monkey Heard early in the mornings on 20th and 22nd but at least 5 seen from the tower on 21st, all at Sacha
White-fronted Cappuchin Monkey At least 5 seen between the Napo River and the Sacha Lake on 20th as we returned from the 'parrot outing'
Common Squirrel Monkey At least 15 seen between the Napo River and the Sacha Lake on 20th and a further 5 there as we left on 22nd
Night Monkey At least 3 seen on 21st as we returned from our late afternoon walk at Sacha Lodge
Three-toed Sloth 1 poorly seen from the Sacha Tower on 21st
Red-tailed Squirrel 4 on 16th and 6 on 17th at San Isidro and then 3 on 23rd near Los Bancos and 1 at Tandayapa on 24th
With nearly 400 species of birds recorded during the tour and also 6 species of mammals, this was a tour that, as guide (well assistant guide really) and 'general secretary', it was a tour that was difficult to keep up with. Many mornings necessarily began quite early as the birds here in the Tropics soon complete their early morning activities quite early and just plainly stop showing themselves. Any late rising hawks would clearly go hungry for some time!
Our local guides Juan Carlos, Oscar and Edison did exceptionally well for us and certainly knew all the sounds and also where to find everything. Of course, when I say "everything" we have to bear in mind that despite identifying nearly 400 species of birds, we saw less than ¼ of the species available in mainland Ecuador so Diane and Bri, Carol and Charles and also Gerry, you still have over 1000 species to see in Ecuador. Perhaps you will join another Travelling Naturalist tour to this lovely equatorial country. Or perhaps you would prefer 'pastures new' with us. Whichever option you choose, thank you for the pleasure of your company during this tour and I/we look forward to the great pleasure of your company the next time.
just passing Wexford on the flight home