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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Ecuador, April 13 - May 12, 2008,
Visited sites (chronologically): Calicali, El Pahuma, Tandayapa valley (Alambi feeders and the nearby Teleferico), Puerto Quito, Rio Silanche, Milpe, the Magic Birding Circuit, Aldea Salamandra, Mirador Rio Blanco in Los Bancos, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma, Mindo Loma, Angel Paz, Bellavista, Cabanas El Chef at Mindo (all NW); Loja-Zamora road, La Fragrancia, Rio Bombuscaro, Cabanas Ecologicas Copalinga, Tapichalaca, Yangana pass (around Podocarpus NP, S); Cabanas Yankuam, Shaime, Nangaritza (Cordillera del Condor, SE); Huashapamba (near Saraguro, S); El Cajas, Yunguilla (both near Cuenca, S); Papallacta pass, Guango Lodge (E slope, N); Gareno Lodge (Amazonia, mid-E); Antisana (high Andes just east of Quito).
Participants: Remco Hofland (all 4 weeks) and Guido Keijl (2nd to 4th week) from The Netherlands and Gladys Flores from Ecuador (1st week only).
Introduction: Having started a course in Spanish in late 2007, I figured a trip to Ecuador would enhance my skills. Apart from that, I had always wanted to go birding in the Andes, and the combination worked out fine. My first week I spent in the company of Gladys Flores, the very likeable and competent director of the Ruminahui Language School based in Atahualpa (also offering classes in Quito and on location, as I did). Gladys and I stayed at Puerto Quito (2 nights) and at the Mirador Rio Blanco in Los Bancos (4 nights). As Gladys also likes birdwatching, we spent the mornings birding, while the afternoon was for classes (4 hrs daily). For the classes I paid 7 USD an hr plus her expenses. http://www.spanish-school-ecuador.com/public/en/index.html is her website.
NOTE that I aimed at birding mainly in the high Andes and around the Podocarpus NP in the south. For my Spanish classes I looked for an area to get used to Ecuadorian birding, while seeing several hummers and tanagers in the process (the lowland NW sites). These were complemented by sites with birds I also wanted to see, like Torrent Duck (failed at NW sites), Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and antpittas (Angel Paz), Oilbird (hence the visit to Cabanas Yankuam, prior to the trip the only place I could find on the Net that guaranteed the species), Sword-billed Hummer (Guango Lodge), Rufous Potoo and Crested Owl (Gareno Lodge) and Andean Condor (Antisana). My trip was therefore (as always) more a chase after personal favorites than an attempt to a thorough clean-up of a certain Ecuadorian region.
Highlights incl Andean Condor, Crested Owl, Oilbird, Rufous Potoo, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, 64 hummers incl. Spangled Cocquette, Wire-crested and Green Thorntail, Black-throated Brilliant, Sword-billed and Giant Hummingbird, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Violet-throated Metaltail and Royal Sunangel; 6 jacamars incl. White-eared, Coppery-chested and Great; White-plumed and Hairy-crested Antbird, 6 antpittas incl Slate-crowned, Yellow-breasted and Jocotoco, White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Purple-throated Cotinga, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Pale-headed Brushfinch, 80 tanagers incl. Blue-whiskered, Grey-and-gold, Silver-backed, Orange-throated, Opal-rumped and Plushcap. Personal top-3 (RH): Torrent Duck, Yellow-browed Antbird, Ocellated Tapaculo.
Trip Totals: On this trip I saw c. 390 lifers, bringing my total for the world to c. 3770. My total of birds seen this trip was 534. I heard an additional 38 species, while my travel companion Guido saw 5 birds I didn't see (that would have been new). These were Maroon-chested Ground-Dove, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher and Golden-crowned Spadebill.
Most noticeable dips: Black-and-chestnut Eagle and Ornate Hawk-Eagle were both missed, despite visiting their respective nesting sites. Neither Maria nor Susana, Angel Paz's famous Giant and Moustached Antpittas, showed up on the day we visited, while his Rufous-bellied Nighthawks were also not at home. We were unable to locate Giant Conebill at Cajas' Polylepis woods (and did not have the time to try at Papallacta). Undoubtedly because of the horrendous weather (windforce 8, fog, severe cold and rain) we failed to find the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe at Papallacta pass. We were searching frantically for any Sicklebill, to no avail. Finally, we would have loved to see White-capped Tanager, but failed to find it at Tapichalaca, Yangana pass and Huashapamba.
Most annoying birds: the Grey-tailed Piha that was calling on and off close to the Yankuam muddy new road but wouldn't come into tape even though I tried for 1.5 hr! Runners-up were both Band-bellied Owls that were calling loudly (but never showed) at our accommodation at Cabanas Ecologicas Copalinga and Cabanas Yankuam, respectively!
Preparation: All sites mentioned above (with the exception of the Magic Birding Circuit and Yangana pass) are dealt with either in A guide to Birdwatching in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Heijnen et al, 1996), Frank Rheindt (2001) or Roger Ahlmann (2003). Heijnen and Ahlmann contain maps; Rheindt comments on those of Heijnen on occasions. The independent tripreports by Ahlmann and Rheindt are found at www.travellingbirder.com.
From www.xeno-canto.com I downloaded c. 1150 birdsounds on my I-pod (taking c. 6 hrs), where available from Ecuador and if not, from the nearest locations and/or (sub)species involved. Especially the sounds posted by Nick Athanas were of very good quality, while he also mostly posted song as well as calls of a bird.
Apart from these, I also downloaded the relevant species from:
Songs of the Antbirds (3 cd's by Phyllis R. Isler and Bret M. Whitney, 2002);
The Birds of Northwest Ecuador, vol 1: the upper foothills and subtropics (3 cd's by John V. Moore, Paul Coopmans, Robert S. Ridgely and Mitch Lysinger, 1999) and
Birds of the Ecuadorian Highlands (4 cd's by Niels Krabbe, John V. Moore, Paul Coopmans, Mitch Lysinger and Robert S. Ridgely, 2001).
It turned out that few birds responded to tape*, and the sounds were mainly used for reference.
* Noticeable exceptions were White-throated Crake (the Magic Birding Circuit, Milpe), Ocellated and Spillmann's Tapaculo (Bellavista Biostation), Rufous Antpitta (Huashapamba), Foothill Elaenia (Shaime) and most antshrikes and antbirds. Playing the local pygmy-owl usually resulted in attracting a bunch of small passerines and hummers and occasionally, attracted the local pygmy-owl itself (i.e. Cloud-forest PO at Mindo Loma and Andean PO at Yangana pass).
NOTE that a DVD is also available on Birds of Ecuador, that includes sounds and photographs (Niels Krabbe and Jonas Nilsson, 2003).
Acknowledgements: Peter Maaskant is thanked for his thorough advice on sites and species, Diederik Kok for recommending taking Spanish classes with Gladys Flores. Dusan Brinkhuizen, a starting Dutch bird guide to Ecuador (email: email@example.com), was kind enough to accompany me on my first 1.5 day, showing me several sites and birds, while also giving valuable advice on countless others. He is much recommended. Patricio Espinel, the (current) owner of Mirador Rio Blanco was tireless in arranging access to sites such as Mango Loma and Angel Paz; he also gave us a great tour of his hometown Cuenca when we were there.
Visa: None necessary for Dutch residents.
Money: Ecuador uses the US dollar (USD). Because of the instability of the USD in spring 2008 this was a relatively cheap trip - for the 4.5 weeks I spent c. 2100 USD (c. 1250 EUR)(excl international flight).
Travel arrangements: (International flight) KLM took us to Quito, with stopovers in Bonaire and Guayaquil, taking 15.5 hr. The cost was 1000 EUR (as the flight was booked rather late; it can be as cheap as 700 EUR).
(Domestic flights) We flew from Quito to Loja with TAME (86 USD), and from Cuenca to Quito with AeroGal (64 USD). Flights were arranged on site, the former by just going to the Quito Mariscal Sucre airport, where we were waitlisted for the 16.30 flight and got on; the latter was booked through a travel agency in Cuenca the day before departure.
All other transport was by local bus or taxi, which were both good value for money.
Literature: taken on the trip were
* The Birds of Ecuador, Vol II, Helm Field Guides, 2001. By Robert Ridgely and Paul J. Greenfield. Indispensable, a very good field guide. The only minus is that size of the birdss is not mentioned with the plates (while others undoubtedly also prefer maps with the plates). I did not buy or take the Vol I (Status and distribution) but that is no doubt a useful reference as well.
* Field Guide Birds of South America, Non-Passerines: From Rheas to woodpeckers, Collins, 2006. By Jorge R. Rodriguez Mata, Fransisco Erize and Maurice Rumboll. A good extra reference on more difficult groups, most noticeably raptors and hummingbirds.
* Birds of Northern South America: An identification guide: vol 2, Plates and maps, Helm Field Guides, 2006. By Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner and Miguel Lentino. This book was taken by Guido. Not bad, but definitely not as good as The Birds of Ecuador. "Northern South America" depicts all (sub)species occurring in the vast area it covers, therefore giving much more information than needed for Ecuador alone. Its plates are also less good than in The Birds of Ecuador, and are sometimes plain wrong.
* Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, 7th edition, August 2006. Not necessary for (independent) birders, as all logistic travel information can be found in birder's reports, but nevertheless a good reference for those interested in the country.
Copies were taken on the relevant sites dealt with in
* A guide to Bird-watching in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Biosphere Publications, 1996. By Brinley J. Best, Tom Heijnen and Robert S.R. Williams.
* Ecuador, independent tripreport by Roger Ahlmann, 2003.
Dusan Brinkhuizen a Dutch starting bird guide living in Ecuador, accompanied me on my first 1.5 days. He was very well informed about sites, sounds and splits and comes highly recommended. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see his great pics from Ecuador on www.surfbirds.com.
Vinicio Perez (email: email@example.com; cell phone 099476867; home phone Mindo 3900444) was our guide for a day at Bellavista. Like most topguides, he charges a hefty 180 USD a day; this includes the use of his large 4WD car. Our target for the day was Ocellated Tapaculo and sure enough he managed to show it to us. With him we also saw a number of birds not seen again on the trip (Barred Hawk, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Flavescent Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Streaked Tuftedcheek and Capped Conebill). We also tried for Tanager Finch but it was not responsive. Vinicios MO was to drive slowly, listening for sounds, occasionally stopping at sites that had proved fruitful in the past. He did not seem inclined to walk trails much.
Catherine Vits, one of the owners of Copalinga lodge, accompanied us on a trip to La Fragrancia (northern Podocarpus). She is not a bird guide as such, but is nevertheless very experienced with local bird calls, especially those occurring around Copalinga / Rio Bombuscaro (incl hummers).
Fredrik Lennart Ahlman is the guide for the Cabanas Yankuam area, found about 4 hrs east of Zamora (NE Podocarpus, S Ecuador). The area is good for specialties like Orange-throated Tanager, Royal Sunangel, Blackish Pewee, White-plumed Antbird, Foothill Elaenia and Oilbird, which we all saw. Fredrik is very knowledgeable around the area and we definitely recommend visiting this site, even though it takes some effort to reach. Fredrik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; cell phone 099470740; home phones 072606147 or 072605739.
Enrique Calle is the very friendly caretaker of the Jocotoco reserve of Yunguilla, where the critically endangered Pale-headed Brushfinch can be seen easily. This site is found about two hrs (southwest) by bus from Cuenca. Enrique can be reached at 2262305 (NOTE that there is an extra '2', as opposed to Ahlmann (2003), or at email@example.com. Enrique does not speak any English. What he's telling you over the phone is to meet him at 'La Y de La Union', which is the turn-off (Y) next to the roadside 'monument' with horses as indicated by Ahlmann (2003). The village here is called 'La Union'. Enrique recommended staying at 'Sol y Agua', a set of bungalows about 12 kms past 'La Y de La Union' but for birders staying at the hosteria indicated by Ahlmann (2003) is probably more convenient.
Alex is the caretaker of Guango Lodge and was, despite his limited English, very helpful. He accompanied us to Papallacta pass one morning and was tireless in his search for Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, despite the horrendous weather.
Rodolfo Aquinola (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) was our guide while at Gareno Lodge; apparently he also guides other areas in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Although his English is limited he comes highly recommended, as he was very knowledgeable on sites and sounds and tireless in finding the birds we wanted to see.
Mauricio, the driver accompanying us on our day-trip into Antisana, was more a guide than a driver. He knew the sites and birds well, also by call, and when done at Antisana we spent most of the afternoon at several scrub sites around Quito he knew were good for Blue-and-yellow and Scrub Tanager (seeing the former, only hearing the latter). We contacted Mauricio through Carmen at 093581250.
During this trip we met a variety of other - top - bird guides, such as Edison Buenano, Alejandro Solano and the famous Lelis Navarete (characterized by several as 'the best guide in South America'). What struck me was that they had no difficulty with sharing site information - resulting in us bothering Alejandro for the phone number of the owners of Mango Loma (a northwestern site for Long-wattled Umbrellabird and Banded Ground-Cuckoo), or me twitching the Copalinga Spangled Coquette Lelis refound, (me) dressed in nothing but a towel and glasses. (After that twitch it showed more often fortunately :-).
LODGES AND HOTELS USED (some are also mentioned in the Sites visited section):
El Jardin, Puerto Quito: is a beautiful quiet place located c. 5 kms outside of Puerto Quito. After the apparent downfall of Aldea Salamandra, our intended place to stay during the Spanish classes, Gladys picked 'El Jardin'. Had I not been a birder, I would have loved staying in this rustic place with sturdy wooden cabins, rosebushes and other flowers everywhere, simple but tasty food and a bunch of nice birds on the grounds. However, it is located a bit too far from real birding gems like Rio Silanche and Feliz Quiroz's ("4 Rios") - at least when one does not have its own transport and has to rely on taxis every morning, like I had to.
You can get to 'El Jardin' by following the main road through Puerto Quito west and then turn right (north) onto a wide unsurfaced road c. 500 m outside of town. Follow this road for c. 6 kms and then turn (I think left). As far as I've seen the place is not signposted. The habitat here is mainly meadows with quite some trees and here and there patches of remnant forest are visible. One such patch is found right opposite the central dining area of 'El Jardin' and displaying Purple-throated Fruitcrows I heard and saw from there indicate there could be more goodies there. I could, however, not find an entrance to the patch and the owners insisted there were no trails. On one morning I tried following a stream into the patch but this failed. Birds seen and heard at 'El Jardin' grounds included Rufous Motmot (common, with 3 seen and 5 more heard without using tape), Orange-fronted Barbet, Pacific Parrotlet (perched next to the dining area), Black-cheeked Woodpecker (excavating nesthole), Pacific Antwren and Common Tody-Flycatcher. A walk in the nearby fields-and-hedges produced little other than calling Little Tinamous heard, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, House Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Yellow-bellied and Variable Seedeater. With some more exploration I guess Black-tipped Cotinga could be possible in the general area.
I paid 80 USD for a two-night stay (one with three, one with two people), 5 dinners, 2 lunches and 5 breakfasts.
Mirador Rio Blanco, Los Bancos: An excellent place and very good value for money. Makes for a good base to visit nearby birding localities, such as Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma, Rio Silanche, Mindo Loma and Angel Paz. I paid 8 USD per person per night, with a well-prepared tasty meal costing no more than 5-6 USD. Excellent fruit juices too. Great views over the deep Rio Blanco valley. And plenty of birds on the (hummingbird and tanager/toucanet) feeders. The place is located just south of the main road through Los Bancos, close to the eastern edge of town. The owner, Patricio Espinel, speaks fluent English and was tireless in arranging access to, for example, Mango Loma and Angel Paz.
Cabañas El Chef, Mindo: Recommended by Patricio Espinel, this place is located in a natural setting several kms outside of Mindo, so it is best used when having your own transport. The caretaking couple was very friendly and took pride in showing us their best birds (incl Mottled Owl and Barred Forest-Falcon) and moths. The food, however simple, is well-prepared and the lodging is in good beds in a large wooden building. Some hummingbird feeders are present.
Hotel Paris, Loja: Adequate, located in the centre of town. 15 USD per person per night. Cheaper hotels are available in Loja but were full when we arrived.
Cabañas Ecologicas Copalinga, Zamora: A truly great place run by a Belgian couple, who built this comfortable lodge themselves. The various wooden cabins are all very well-made and have balconies allowing for good birding (see Sites visited for an account of which birds we saw). The best birds on the grounds are probably Spangled Cocquette, Wire-crested Thorntail, Black-throated Brilliant, Violet-headed Hummingbird, White-breasted Parakeet, Grey Tinamou, Rufous-breasted Woodquail, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-cheeked Becard and large mixed tanager flocks (of up to 15 species). The Bombuscaro entrance of Podocarpus NP is a pleasant 2-km walk away (Blackish Nightjar, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, tanagers), alternatively you can get a ride from Copalinga for 1 USD a person. Prices of the lodge depend on the luxury of the cabin rented, between USD 14 and 35 per night. Their website is www.copalinga.com/. Catherine, one of the owners, is a birder herself and can give valuable advice on how to go about finding the birds you want to see. This place is highly recommended.
Cabañas Yankuam, Cordillera del Condor: Another great place, especially for those who love a little exploration. Located c. 3.5 hr drive east of Zamora, this lodge is the gateway to relatively unexplored forest in the Cordillera del Condor, a forested ridge on the Ecuadorian/Peruvian border that was, until recently, a no-go area. Home to a number of (Ecuadorian or world) rarities like Orange-throated Tanager, Foothill Elaenia, Royal Sunangel, Bar-winged Wood-Wren and Roraiman Flycatcher, the trails near the lodge and those located an hour (by boat) away offer you a chance to see all of them. The website is found at www.lindoecuadortours.com/index.html. The website also contains a route description in case you want to go there with your own transport.
We paid USD 18 per night per person, excl meals. Note that making the return journey by van, arranged by owner Fredrik Ahlman, from Zamora cost 40 USD per person, if with 4 persons. We were with two and therefore had to pay 80 USD each. Likewise, the boat that one needs to get to the trail for Oilbird and Orange-throated Tanager costs 30 USD if with 4, meaning the two of us had to pay 60 USD each. This was however one of the best rainforest-boatrides I ever made, with gorgeous scenery, waterfalls, parakeets flying overhead and little or no other traffic.
This site can be reached by public transport but if on a tight schedule it is best reached by driving up there with Fredrik or his father-in-law. The lodge is located just outside a small village and offers views of a forested ridge across the river. Across the road, a trail accesses a tepui mountain with its own set of good birds. A new road, under construction across the river, will eventually connect to another small (goldmining?) village even closer to the Peruvian border. When we visited the 'road' was no more than a stretch of deep mud, but the access to primary forest meant we saw (and, unfortunately, also only just heard) a number of birds not encountered elsewhere.
unknown, Valladolid: one of two shabby hostels located on the main street of this small village, located just south of Tapichalaca (the Jocotoco Antpitta site). 5 USD per person per night, cold shower available downstairs. Your only option if you want to avoid staying at the 100 USD-a night Jocotoco Reserve-owned Tapichalaca Lodge. When staying in town, remember that it is a 6-km hike, or hitch, up to Reserva Tapichalaca.
Hosteria Samana Wasi, Saraguro: the best in town and it shows. 10 USD per person, for a great bed, great shower and internet available in the lobby. Mentioned in the Lonely Planet.
Sol y Agua, near Yunguilla: A tourist complex consisting of bungalows and swimmingpool about 12 kms past 'La Y de La Union', the starting point for an excursion to the Pale-headed Brushfinch. It looked rather luxurious, but was not that expensive as we paid 27 USD for a two-person bungalow the single night we spent here. Note that it is an 800-m walk from Sol y Agua to the main road, from where one can catch a bus or hitch towards 'La Y de La Union'.
Dos Chorreros, El Cajas: Mentioned by Ahlmann (2003), this is indeed a good base for exploring El Cajas national park. As far as I can tell, it is located a few kms past the Laguna Llaviuco-turn-off, when coming from Cuenca. It is found on the left hand (south) side of the road and signposted well. Rooms are small and pricey (49 USD for a double room), but the food is good (around 25 USD for two) and it is conveniently close to a patch of Polylepis/other scrub that holds Violet-throated Metaltail, the local specialty. From Dos Chorreros, it is a 15-km hitch/ride to Laguna Torreadora, the best area for Andean specialties like Giant Conebill (we dipped), Tit-like Dacnis, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta etc. See Heijnen et al for more details.
Hotel Orchuideas, Cuenca: A straightforward three-star hotel, with for us an extra dimension, as we got the top suite, with multiple rooms and a living room, for the standard price of 26 USD (per room). Good to have friends in the city (thanks, Patricio!).
Guango Lodge, east of Papallacta: Recommended to us as a sure bet for Sword-billed Hummingbird, we stayed here a single night and indeed saw the Sword-billed, as well as several other interesting hummers, on the feeders. This nice lodge is a convenient base for exploring Papallacta Pass (Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe), as it is located along the main road c. 20 km past (E of) the top of this pass. We paid 73 USD each, incl 3 meals.
Through Carmen, who works for both Guango and San Isidro lodges and who is fluent in English, we were able to get permits, a car and driver for visiting Antisana, a sure bet for Andean Condor. She also arranged our transport from Tena to Gareno Lodge and our stay there. With help from Guango's caretaker Alex, we reached Carmen at 093581250.
Gareno Lodge: As both of us wanted to see some specialties this lodge has become famous for (most noticeably Harpy - Guido, Rufous Potoo - RH and Crested Owl - both of us) we undertook a long bus journey to spend two nights here. We were not disappointed, as the setting of the lodge is fine and the birding is great. Downsides were the construction of bungalows during our visit, meaning a lack of (hot) water in our shower, as well as our crew having to do the shopping in Tena before setting off to Gareno, where they'd been notified of our coming 24 hrs in advance. This was however made up for by the fact that the site has excellent primary forest trails, our guide knew several stake-outs so that we could even bird in the rain, and the access road is sort of elevated, making canopy viewing more easy than elsewhere, resulting in sightings of several jacamars and Spangled and Purple-throated Cotinga (for more info on the birds seen, see Sites visited).
For two nights in a private bungalow, all meals, the services of our guide Rodolfo and transport from and to Tena we paid a total of 400 USD. The site is found c. 40 km east of Tena and apparently one has to pass over the grounds of a local oil company.
El Nido, Cumbaya, Quito: This is a nice location, run by sr Renato Carrillo, a former driver for birding tour companies. El Nido is located in his large private house, in a safe quarter. As Renato is an experienced cook, guests can have dinner with him and his wife and son. The address of El Nido is Urbanisacion La Catolica, Calle de los Condores no 43, Cumbaya, Quito (T 099025831). Because of its location in the eastern part of Quito, El Nido makes for a good place to stay when departing for Antisana or places further east. The place is highly recommended.
not dealt with (in detail) in Best, Heijnen and Williams (1996), Rheindt (2001) or Ahlmann (2003). They are mentioned in chronological order:
Virgen de Calicali is a scrubby hillside located c. 15 km west of Quito on the main road towards Mindo/the northwest. The hillside is found just past a small pink chapel to the left (south) of the road in a right hand bend, with 'Virgin de somethingorother' written above the door. Parking is only (slightly) possible about 50m further along the road. This is a good site for White-tailed Shrike-tyrant, usually a very hard bird to find and rare too - but it was my 3rd new bird for this trip, after Great Thrush in Quito and Ash-breasted Sierra-finch along the same trail. For Dusan it was, however, his 3rd sighting in 5 attempts, while his brother Lazar had had to search for it for 3.5 hrs before finding it. Apart from the Shrike-tyrant and the Sierra-Finch, other lifers here were Black-tailed Trainbearer, Cinereous Conebill, Band-tailed Seedeater and Southern Yellow-Grosbeak. Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Grassland Yellow-Finch and Hooded Siskin were non-lifers encountered here.
Calicali is the small area of scrub-lined pastures and fallow fields found few hundred m's past the abovementioned chapel. Known (to guide Dusan Brinkhuizen) as a good site for Band-tailed Sierra-finch, we were surprised to also find a Streak-throated Bush-tyrant here, perched on the wires next to a big metal barn.
El Pahuma is a roadside orchid garden (entrance fee 5 USD) c. 40 km west of Quito along the road towards Mindo. At the time of my visit, Dusan knew a Beautiful Jay was nest-building there, but it didn't show. The site has a resident flock that also holds Western Hemispingus. As we arrived in late morning, we did not encounter any birds, but for a calling male Golden-headed Quetzal (that was very much appreciated nevertheless!).
Alambi is a place at the start of Tandayapa valley that has a few hummingbird feeders ('bebederos') and sometimes has a pair of Torrent Ducks on the nearby river. Hummers seen here were - in order of appearance - Andean Emerald, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Booted Rackettail, Purple-throated Woodstar, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Western Emerald, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Brown and Sparkling Violetear and White-whiskered Hermit. Also found here were Ecuadorian Thrush, Black Phoebe, Thick-billed Euphonia, Buff-throated Saltator and White-lined and Blue-grey Tanager.
The nearby Teleferico (cable car) I visited because Dusan had found a Black-and-chestnut Eagle nest there two weeks earlier, a rather rare bird that had been twitched quite a lot since the discovery. The birds were not there when I visited and we were unlucky with the fact that it started raining heavily 5 mins after having arrived at the top of the cable car (soaking my Ridgely and Greenfield). I did see my first Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers though, and while Dusan and I walked down through the pouring rain (Gladys and her husband Juan having chosen to take the cable car down) we found a small flock containing lifers Brown-capped Vireo, Golden-winged Manakin and White-winged Brushfinch, along with Blackburnian Warbler. Torrent Tyrannulet was seen well alongside the fishponds at the base of the cable car. We heard Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Toucan Barbet and Narino Tapaculo during the walk down.
'Aldea Salamandra', Puerto Quito, was recommended to me by Dutch birder Diederik Kok. When he stayed here 3 years earlier, it was a beautiful lodge with treehuts alongside a river. However, the lodge has succumbed due to mismanagement and the whole place looks very dilapidated. The access road however has good secondary scrub and some large trees, and since Diederik had told me he'd seen both Barred and White-whiskered Puffbirds here, I gave it a try one morning.
The access road starts c. 3 km east of Puerto Quito along the main road. It turns off left (south) when coming from Los Bancos, right before a bridge and starts following the river (east of it). The remnants of the treehuts are visible after c. 1.5 km; the road ends at another lodge-and-playground after c. 4 km. Here, the only Olivaceous Cormorants of the trip were seen. Other birds I saw along the road (in late morning) were 2 Barred Puffbirds (without taping, they were just feeding from some bananatrees at eyelevel - but then again, I'm quite tall :-), Great Antshrike, Ecuadorian Ground-dove, Little Cuckoo and Streak-headed Woodcreeper. I'm positive the secondary scrub here can still turn up something good, as I heard and saw flocks that had just moved away from the river/road.
Mango Loma is one of the few northwestern lowland sites (close to Mindo) that still holds Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Even better, the rarely seen Banded Ground-Cuckoo also occurs. As this site is hard to get to and securing access is complicated, it is only occasionally visited, at least by independent birders. Only when access is secured beforehand trough Senora Maria de Mango Loma (at 098712878), one is allowed onto this private property. Access cost 10 USD per person.
Access is as follows: from Los Bancos drive east towards Pedro Vicente for c. 10 km; turn right (south) towards Panchijal (not signposted) at N 00˚04'33.2" W 078˚57'68.6" (this turn-off is found just west from km marker 105). Follow this track for c. 2 km and then turn left (east) at N 00˚05'34.9" W 078˚57'54.3". From here, drive for c. 3 km until you reach a small farmhouse on the right. Here, park your car (or get out of the taxi) and walk the remaining c. 1.5 km through farmland, towards the wooded hill straight ahead. The last few 100 m's you'll walk through tall scrub, until you reach a firmly locked gate with signs depicting Banded Ground-Cuckoo and a 'taping not allowed' sign. We rung the bell and a gardener opened. We were warmly welcomed in the garden and shown a map of the various trails. The ridge trail holds the Long-wattled Umbrellabird lek, while the lower yellow trail gives one a (slight) chance of Banded Ground-Cuckoo.
Some of the birds we saw here include Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Western White-tailed and Collared Trogon, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-winged Manakin, Russet Antshrike, Slaty and White-flanked Antwren, Tawny-crested and Grey-and-gold Tanager.
Heard only were Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Little Tinamou, Choco Trogon, Southern Nightingale and Bay Wren and Western Slaty-Antshrike. Mind you, we were inexperienced birders locally and it rained for most of the afternoon. I'm sure this site is a gem, as it holds well-preserved forest.
Angel Paz is a Mindo farmer who preserved the forest on his land and started feeding the antpitta species in it. He now shows birders the birds in his valley forest, which include Giant, Moustached, Yellow-breasted and Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Dark-backed Woodquail, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, (a lek of) Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and Olivaceous Piha. He also has 'bebederos' which attract a number of good hummer species, such as Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Empress Brilliant, Booted Rackettail and Violet-purple Coronet. The site provides general good birding and Angel is a great welcoming guy who charges a tiny sum of 10 USD per person, including breakfast.
Cabanas El Chef, Mindo was recommended by Patricio Espinel, the owner of Mirador Rio Blanco in Los Bancos. Since the cabanas are located c. 4 km outside of Mindo town, one is completely surrounded by good birding habitat. This includes a nearby river (that holds Torrent Duck according to the caretaker), swampy meadows (White-throated Crake heard), a quarry c. 1.5 km from the cabanas (Lyre-tailed Nightjar) and small trees surrounding the cabanas (with Blue-fronted Parrotlets in the morning, Mottled Owl in the evening and a juvenile Barred Forest-Falcon watched and photographed while both it and us were having an early morning breakfast). Feeders at the cabanas attract White-necked Jacobin, White-whiskered Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant, Andean Emerald and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. A 10-min walk further up the road the caretaker created a sort of garden along the river, with several feeders and trails, and this is where we saw Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Broad-billed Motmot, Ringed Kingfisher, Bay Wren, Red-faced Spinetail and flocks containing White-winged and Cinnamon Becard, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Strong-billed, Spotted and Montane Woodcreeper, Blackburnian Warbler, Tropical Parula and Fawn-breasted, Silver-throated, Guira, Golden, Bay-headed and Blue-necked Tanagers.
Cabanas Ecologicas Copalinga, near Rio Bombuscaro entrance (NE Podocarpus) is the best place to stay near Rio Bombuscaro. Apart from it being a great place, it has a long list of good birds found on the grounds and nearby roadside. It has some feeders which attract tanagers and hummers, but the blossoming Verbena flowers and Copal and Inga trees (hence the name of the lodge) are even better, attracting Spangled Coquette, Wire-crested Thorntail, Violet-headed Hummingbird and Golden-tailed Sapphire. Fruiting roadside trees next to the owner's house regularly attract White-breasted (White-necked) Parakeet, while other nice birds seen near the dining hall and cabin include Inca Jay, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-cheeked Becard, Golden-faced and Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Lafresnaye's Piculet, 16 species of tanager incl Spotted, Yellow-bellied, Bay-headed, Masked, Turquoise, Guira, Green-and-Gold, Paradise and Magpie Tanager, along with Black-faced Dacnis, Bronze-green Euphonia, Violet-fronted Brilliant and Lined Antshrike. Black-throated Brilliant regularly visited the utmost right-hand hummingbird-feeder (looking out from the dining-area), at dusk. Band-bellied Owl was heard every night, sometimes right above our cabin.
The lodge also has its own trail system on the adjacent hill, which holds some good birds like Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail and Grey Tinamou. Blackish Nightjar occurs near the lodge: Catherine can tell you where exactly.
Rio Bombuscaro is the northeastern entry point to the Podocarpus National Park, a region with a special (avi)fauna. It was recommended as an excellent place to see large numbers of species, especially tanagers. Although I was not disappointed in this last respect, and it surely has a fair number of birds (and, also, having Cabanas Ecologicas Copalinga as a base makes it even better) I must say I found it quite hard birding as we did not encounter many flocks. Most flocks were seen outside the proper park, at Copalinga and along the road between Copalinga and the Rio Bombuscaro entrance. The density of flocks might vary between seasons, however. We did see a good number of birds, incl Coppery-chested Jacamar (a pair seen after random taping upon finding holes in the muddy trailside), Maroon-chested Ground-Dove (no tickable views for me though), Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, White-breasted Parakeet, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Andean cock-of-the-rock, Blue-rumped Manakin, Russet Antshrike, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Spotted Barbtail, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Foliage-Gleaner, Orange-crested Flycatcher, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Yellow-olive Flatbill, Golden-eared and Orange-eared Tanager; as well as possible Yellow-billed Cacique and Napo Sabrewing. Heard only were Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Blue-crowned Motmot (= Highland, but this species is lumped by Clements, dec 2008) and Plain-backed Antpitta.
Cabanas Yankuam is found a few hours' drive east of Zamora. We visited because a websearch revealed it to be one of the few Ecuadorian sites for Oilbird*, however, the forest is excellent for exploratory birding and the region holds some major (world) rarities such as Orange-throated Tanager, Foothill Elaenia and Royal Sunangel, with other goodies including Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Blackish Pewee, Hairy-crested and White-plumed Antbird and several other antbirds.
* during the trip we found out there is another site for Oilbird, near Mindo. A trip there can be booked from Bellavista Lodge (and probably from other places, too). Friends told me that the site can only be reached by a steep, slippery trail and that the cave does not have many birds.
Golden-collared Toucanet, Grey-tailed Piha and Zimmer's (Northern Chestnut-tailed) Antbird were heard only. On the tepuis (not visited by us) Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Royal Sunangel and Roraiman Flycatcher are all possibilities.
We visited the following areas:
- Shaime (Oilbird trail)(1 full day): Much of this trail consist of secondary forest, that nevertheless holds a good variety of birds. Also, one has to climb a few hills and cross some open areas. We saw, amongst many others, Orange-throated Tanager, Oilbird, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Foothill Elaenia, Blackish Pewee, Hairy-crested and White-plumed Antbird; Stripe-chested, Foothill and Rufous-winged Antwren, White-throated Woodpecker, Long-tailed Woodcreeper, Solitary Eagle, Double-toothed Kite, White Hawk, Purplish Jacamar, Gilded and Lemon-throated Barbet, 16 species of tanager incl Fulvous Shrike-Tanager and Black-faced Dacnis. Heard only were Rufous-sided Crake (approached the tape but not seen), Yellow-cheeked Becard, Grey, Black, Black-faced and Spot-backed Antbird, Thrush-like Antpitta and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak. C. 85 species seen and an additional 18 heard this day.
NOTE that the trail was extremely muddy when we visited and we regularly sank in about 10 cm; also, it was rather hot so take precautions (and check with Fredrik on the state of the trail).
- the new (muddy) road across the water (1 morning): we saw Royal Sunangel, Great and Purplish Jacamar, Amazonian Umbrellabird, 11 species of tanager incl Opal-rumped and Flame-crested Tanager; Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, Peruvian Warbling Antbird, Lemon-throated and Gilded Barbet and Channel-billed Toucan. Heard only were Golden-collared Toucanet, Grey-tailed Piha and Zimmer's (Northern Chestnut-tailed) Antbird, Plain-winged and Lined Antshrike, Grey and White-browed Antbird, Rufous-winged Antwren, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet and Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin.
NOTE that this road was recently created and therefore still quiet (and extremely muddy). When it is finished there might be more traffic, though this is unlikely as not many people live in this region.
This might be the area that is called 'Maycu' in Fredrik's Cabanas Yankuam birdlist
- Cabanas Yankuam garden (an hour): we saw 11 species of tanager incl Blue-, Black-faced and Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Yellow-bellied, Turquoise and Green-and-Gold Tanager, Lemon-throated Barbet, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Black-faced and White-browed Antbird, Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Grey-chinned Hermit and Chestnut-bellied Seedeater. Olivaceous Greenlet was seen across the road. Heard only were Band-bellied Owl (at night) and Blackish Rail (early morning).
- Across the road from Cabanas Yankuam is the start of the tepui trail, which we didn't walk because it is steep and potentially slippery in places (I was afraid for my thumb injury). Possibilities here include Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Royal Sunangel and Roraiman Flycatcher.
Valladolid is the village c. 6 km south of Reserva Tapichalaca (the site for Jocotoco Antpitta). In the stream just north of the village we finally found our most-wanted Torrent Ducks (a pair), while in scrub further north along the road we encountered our only Silver-backed Tanagers (also a pair) and Speckle-breasted Wren (singing), besides finally seeing recognisable Chestnut-collared Swifts. This was all in late afternoon/early evening.
Reserva Tapichalaca is THE site for Jocotoco Antpitta. It is signposted to your left (east) a few kms after the pass (heading south) between Vilcabamba and the small village Valladolid. Until recently, everyone dipped on the Jocotoco Antpitta (including some of the best birders I know) but now that they've started feeding the birds here, too, seeing one (or several, we saw 4) is easy. Apart from the Antpitta, the site is quite birdy, with hummingbird feeders, varied roadside birding and a trail through mid-altitude forest with, at times, bamboo understorey and therefore a good selection of birds. We stayed one day, during which we had great views of 4 Jocotoco and 1 Slate-crowned Antpitta and also saw White-throated Quail-Dove, Speckled Hummingbird, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Collared Inca, Flame-throated and Amethyst-throated Sunangel, White-bellied Woodstar (all on the feeders), Blue-fronted Lancebill and Buff-winged Starfrontlet (both roadside), Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Orange-banded and Cinnamon Flycatcher, Russet-crowned and Citrine Warbler, Scarlet-bellied (GK), Lacrimose (me) and Hooded (both) Mountain-Tanager, Blue-and-black, Grass-green and Blue-capped Tanager, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Blue-backed Conebill and Rufous-naped Brushfinch. A flock of Golden-plumed Parakeet was found in the trees on the hillside behind the lodge.
We had been tipped off to visit Yangana pass, apparently the place for the localised Neblina Metaltail. This is a great site, as we visited in late morning and mid-day and still saw some flocks with a broad spectre of species. The pass crosses several habitats, the best of which is a range of temporate forest c. 12 km east of town. Yangana is a village located c. 30 km south of Vilcabamba along the road from Loja to Tapichalaca. Less than 1 km south of Yangana a road turns east - it is the only (surfaced) turn-off I noticed. Although the road starts surfaced it doesn't stay this way so one needs a pick-up or 4WD to drive all the way up to where the forest starts. I estimate it to be a 3-hr steep walk if one does not have transport. The road traverses a pass and may end in the tiny village of Loyola that is mentioned on some maps, although I'm not sure it does.
Coming from Valladolid by local bus (1.5 USD each) we arrived at Yangana at 8.50 am. As there was no taxi in town I started walking around to look for a proper vehicle. As it turned out local farmer Geovanny Samaniego had a day off and was willing to take us up in his mother's brand new 4WD pick-up. On us asking how much it would cost he replied "whatever you like". The first couple of kms were meadows mostly, followed by some seemingly native fields of Andes-habitat, incl Puya flowers. Two stops in the first roadside forest produced some small flocks, containing birds like Glossy-black Thrush, Pearled Treerunner, Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant, White-throated, White-tailed and Black-headed Tyrannulet, Sierran Elaenia, Flame-throated Sunangel, Viridian Metaltail, Masked Flowerpiercer and Rufous-naped Brushfinch. The flocks were created by playing the sound of Andean Pygmy-Owl, of which one came in nicely. Other birds responding to the genuine pygmy-owl were our first hemispingus, Black-headed, along with Lacrimose and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Grey-hooded Bush-Tanager, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Glowing Puffleg and White-crested Elaenia. Another 'highlight' was the only snake we encountered during the whole trip - unfortunately, by the time we realised it was a snake Geovanny was so fiercely beating, it was dead...
The highest point we reached was slightly over 3,000m and, although it was drizzling, it still yielded a flock containing 12+ Orange-banded Flycatchers - quite a cute bird. We visited Yangana pass between 9.45 and 13.30, for which we paid Geovanny 30 USD, apart from treating him a lunch. While waiting for the 14.00 bus to Loja we saw a Loja (Amazilia) Hummingbird that frequented the flowering brush in the tiny village park.
Dos Chorreros, El Cajas: See Lodges for a description on where to find this hostel. It is also mentioned in Ahlmann (2003). To find the patch of Polylepis/other scrub that holds Violet-throated Metaltail, follow the track that goes right upon reaching the Dos Chorreros restaurant. It reaches some sort of open air museum after less than 1 km, and continues beyond it, finally reaching newly planted non-native pine trees (upon which we turned back). In scrub along the track we found Violet-throated Metaltail (a male on two consecutive days, on the left hand side just past the museum), Tyrian Metaltail, Mouse-coloured Thistletail, Superciliaried Hemispingus and Pearled Treerunner. Up to two Andean Gulls were seen at the fishponds of Dos Chorreros. Scrub in the open air museum yielded several Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers and a Great Sapphirewing in the evening. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen in the stream along the track.
Mihuïr, El Cajas: This is a tiny village along the road passing through El Cajas national park, having passed Laguna Torreadora. The scrub-covered hillside on the right hand (north) side of the road before entering the village, held 20+ Shining Sunbeams and Tufted Tit-tyrant.
Guango Lodge is found not far east of Papallacta pass and makes for a good base to explore this site (the easiest in Ecuador for Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, though still difficult). Guango Lodge was recommended to us by Dutch birder Cock Reijnders, as an easy site for Sword-billed Hummingbird as well as Torrent Duck. Sure enough we recorded both species during an afternoon and part of a morning spent here, along with some other trip-exclusives such as Plushcap, Tourmaline Sunangel, Long-tailed Sylph, Gorgeted Woodstar, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Slaty Brushfinch and Black-capped, Oleaginous and Black-eared Hemispingus. Not to mention the fact that Chestnut-crowned Antpittas are fed here so we finally saw one of these beauties!
Gareno Lodge was visited by us because we knew it had some special birds we wanted to see, most noticeably Harpy Eagle, Rufous Potoo, Crested Owl and Rufous-capped Antthrush. It turned out to be far better than expected because, although it rained for almost a full day of our 1.5 day stay, we saw a fair amount of lowland rainforest species we didn't expect to see on this trip. Harpy Eagle, Rufous Potoo and Crested Owl were seen on the first day (during the few hours it didn't rain), along with Great Potoo, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Black-eared Fairy, Black-throated Brilliant, Golden-headed Manakin, Long-billed Gnatwren, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Grey, Spot-backed and Black-faced Antbird. Better species even were heard only, such as Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Bicoloured and Sooty Antbird, Black-headed Parrot, Wing-banded Wren and Black-tailed Leaftosser - I was not allowed to tape or even stop walking, as we had to get to the Harpy site with first light :-(.
The access road to Gareno, the previous late afternoon, had already produced a pair of roadside wire-perched White-eared Jacamar and some Ivory-billed Aracaris. Our second morning, before breakfast and on our way out, we saw another bunch of goodies incl Chestnut and nest-building White-throated Woodpecker, Yellow-billed and 4 Brown Jacamar, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Gilded Barbet, Cobalt-winged and Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Ivory-billed Aracari, a pair of Purple-throated and a male Spangled Cotinga, Golden-headed, Blue-crowned and Striped Manakin, Spot-winged and Yellow-browed Antbird, Bright-rumped Attila, Short-billed Antwren, Red-billed Scythebill, Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Fulvous-crested Tanager. A swampy Mauritia palm site on the way from Gareno Lodge to Tena was good for Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Silvered Antbird, while Great Jacamar was heard. If only we'd been able to stay longer ..
Antisana is the only reliable place for Andean Condor in Ecuador, nowadays. It is a national park that can only be visited if one has a permit and, preferably, a driver who knows where to go (as it is not signposted). Apart from Andean Condor, the high-altitude grassland, roadside scrub and lake hold other interesting species, a fair number of which I did not encounter elsewhere on my 4-week journey. These include Black-faced (Andean) Ibis, Silvery Grebe, Andean Duck, Andean Coot, Yellow-billed Pintail, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Mountain Avocetbill, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Andean Siskin and Paramo Seedeater. The following birds were also seen at other high-altitude sites: Carunculated Caracara, Andean Gull, Andean Lapwing (all three in much higher numbers at Antisana, however), Ecuadorian Hillstar, Shining Sunbeam, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Many-striped Canastero, Stout-billed and Bar-winged Cinclodes, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Black and Glossy Flowerpiercer, Cinereous Conebill, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (again, the highest numbers here), Plain-coloured Seedeater, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch and Paramo Pipit. In other words, a must-visit site, especially when one is not visiting other high-altitude sites such as El Cajas (in the southwest). We arranged a visit through Carmen at (ph) 093581250 (it is likely you'll only be able to if you stay at one of the lodges she runs, such as San Isidro and/or Guango).
POTENTIALLY USEFUL GPS WAYPOINTS
Wp 295 turn-off (north) towards Mango Loma, c. 10 km west of Los Bancos
N 00˚04'33.2" W 078˚57'68.6" 830m
Wp 294 turn-off (west) towards Mango Loma, c. 2 km north of previous waypoint
N 00˚05'34.9" W 078˚57'54.3" 848m
Wp 296 Cabanas El Chef, Mindo
S 00˚03'59.4" W 078˚47'40.2" 1227m
Wp 297 turn-off towards La Fragrancia, near Zamora (SE Ecuador)
S 04˚02'78.3" W 078˚59'19.2" 1064m
Wp 298 Cabanas Yankuam (SE Ecuador, close to Peruvian border)
S 04˚14'87.0" W 078˚39'56.6" 1048m
Wp 299 site of Foothill Elaenia and Orange-throated Tanager, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
S 04˚18'80.8" W 078˚40'85.0" 887m
Wp 301 Yangana pass (top) (S Ecuador)
S 04˚22'89.7" W 079˚06'85.7" 3050m
Wp 302 turn-off (east) towards Yangana pass (just south of Yangana village)
S 04˚22'11.7" W 079˚10'50.8" 1904m
Wp 303 entry of Huashapamba trail (SC Ecuador)
S 03˚39'62.0" W 079˚16'22.1" 2921m
Wp 304 pasture inside Huashapamba forest
S 03˚39'48.3" W 079˚16'25.3" 2898m
Wp 306 site Pale-headed Brushfinch at Yunguilla (SW Ecuador)
S 03˚14'08.6" W 079˚16'50.7" 1659m
Wp 307 La Y de La Union
S 03˚15'80.6" W 079˚16'92.1" 1336m
Wp 308 Rio Mazan entry to El Cajas (entry not allowed)
S 02˚51'98.4" W 079˚05'35.5" 2799m
Wp 309 roadside scrub near Quito: site for Scrub and Blue-and-yellow Tanager
S 00˚15'50.2" W 078˚19'86.2" 2655m
Sat April 12
Left Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at 23.35 on KLM flight.
Sun April 13
Early morning stop-overs at Bonaire and Guayaquil. Arrived Quito at 8.00. Awaited by Gladys Flores, her husband Juan and Dutch birder Dusan Brinkhuizen. In Juan's car we left Quito heading west for our destination Puerto Quito, but not after having birded a bit. Visited the scrub-covered hillside at the chapel of Virgen de Calicali from 9.15 until 10.00; Calicali fields from 10.00 until 10.40; El Pahuma for half an hour; Alambi feeders from 12.30 until 13.15; Tandayapa teleferico from 13.30 until 15.00 (under heavy rain) and Mindo Loma from 17.00 to 18.00. Arrived Puerto Quito at 20.00 from where Juan headed for Quito, leaving behind Gladys, Dusan and me. Finding a taxi to 'El Jardin' Lodge took a while, so finally arrived at lodge at 21.00. Simple dinner and off to bed, knackered after 15.5 hrs on the plane and 12 hrs of birding.
Birds seen today included 49 lifers among which Golden-headed Quetzal, Booted Rackettail, Western Emerald, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Golden-winged Manakin, White-tailed Shrike-tyrant, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Cinereous Conebill and White-winged Brushfinch. Added at Mindo Loma were (in order of appearance) Violet-tailed Sylph, Empress Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet and White-throated Quail-Dove (feeders) and Golden-naped Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Ornate Flycatcher, Black-capped and Beryl-spangled Tanager and Streak-capped Treehunter (access track).
Mon April 14
A nasty thumb injury sustained during a basketball match one week before the trip, meant I had trouble tying shoelaces, packing my bag and carrying things, so even more than planned I used taxis during the first half of the trip.
As the taxi could not reach Rio Silanche (a stream crossed the track unexpectedly) GF, DB and I had to walk the last c. 3 kms (7.45 until 8.20). Best birds seen along the access track were White-tailed Kite (rare but increasing in Ecuador), Golden-olive Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Parrot, Pacific Parrotlet, White-thighed Swallow, Western Wood-Pewee, Bran-colored and Dusky-capped Flycatcher and Orange-crowned Euphonia. A calling Barred Puffbird right at Rio Silanches entrance gate proved hard to find but, as it was a lifer for Dusan who'd been living in Ecuador for the past 11 months, we persisted and had great views in the end. Stayed at Rio Silanche from 8.20 until 12.30, during which we spent time on the watchtower (a pair of displaying Grey-backed Hawks being the highlight, with the Barred Puffbird eventually perching next to the tower being second) and along the trails. Although we didn't encounter the canopy flock that this site is famous for (holding Scarlet-breasted Dacnis and, rarer even, Scarlet-and-white Tanager) we did find a huge mid-storey flock with interesting species like Blue-whiskered Tanager, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Western White-tailed Trogon, Orange-fronted Barbet, Ruddy-tailed and Yellow-margined Flycatcher (Flatbill), Russet Antshrike, Streak-headed, Wedge-billed and Plain-brown Woodcreeper, White-flanked and Dot-winged Antwren and Choco (Golden-faced) Tyrannulet [the last one was only split from Golden-faced Tyrannulet as per the December 2008 Clements update].
Loners found in the forest included Tawny-crested Tanager (a family group close to the tower), Checker-throated Antwren, Immaculate and Chestnut-backed Antbird (the latter common by voice, as in most western lowland sites), Western Slaty-antshrike and Sooty-headed Tyrannulet.
At the stream 3 kms walk back we were awaited by our taxi driver. Back in Puerto Quito we said goodbye to Dusan, who returned to Quito by bus. Gladys and I had a late lunch at El Jardin, followed by 4 hrs of Spanish class. As the garden was full of birds, both lunch and classes were occasionally interrupted by Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Orange-fronted Barbet, Pacific Parrotlet, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Pacific Antwren and Common Tody-Flycatcher.
Tue April 15
From 7.00 until 9.30 Gladys and I attempted to access the primary forest patch next to El Jardin Lodge and, when that attempt failed, walked some tracks near the lodge. At the lodge I saw a couple of Rufous Motmots and a Pale-mandibled Aracari. As the vicinity of El Jardin didn't turn up any (other) good birds, we decided to follow up on Dusan's recommendation to move to Mirador Rio Blanco in Los Bancos which is cheaper (8 USD a night), has an excellent kitchen and is located much closer to good birding sites like "4 Rios" and Mango Loma, as well as Mindo Loma and Angel Paz. Before heading out to Los Bancos we spent from 9.45 until 10.30 roadside birding near Aldea Salamandra, east of Puerto Quito.
After lunch I had classes at Mirador Rio Blanco, occasionally interrupted by feeder birding. Mirador Rio Blanco attracts a lot of birding tour groups that come here for lunch and the feeders, as they attract some interesting birds like Pale-mandibled Aracari, Rufous-throated, Flame-faced and Silver-throated Tanager. During my 5-day stay I encountered several other goodies, of which many were lifers. Apart from the ones already mentioned, today these included Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Parrot (14 repeatedly flying past in evening), Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Golden and Blue-necked Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Ecuadorian Thrush, Thick-billed and Orange-bellied Euphonia, Green-crowned Woodnymph and Green-crowned Brilliant, Slate-throated Whitestart (pecking gnats off the windows), as well as lifers Red-faced Spinetail, Orange-billed and Black-striped Sparrow. The latter perched briefly in a tree before flying off.
Wed April 16
This morning was dedicated to Milpe, a site known for a number of specialties. I was drawn a map of the site by Dusan indicating that the entrance track was located near a bus stop 5 kms outside Los Bancos towards Mindo (near km post 91). The taxi (3 USD one-way) dropped Gladys and I off at Milpe garden (the site for the Moss-backed Tanager), but as I mistook it for the entrance (actually located earlier along the track) I thought the garden was yet to come. When I realised my mistake, we'd already walked up the road c. 2 kms and had ended up at the Magic Birding Circuit near Hosteria San Jorge. This primary forest patch was also fruitful and we stayed here until noon.
Milpe garden (6.45-7.30) was very quiet and only yielded Choco Trogon, Pale-vented Thrush and Smoky-brown Woodpecker. The roadside scrub between Milpe garden and Hosteria San Jorge was slightly better, with Choco Toucan, Black-striped Sparrow, Slate-colored Pewee and Thick-billed and Orange-bellied Euphonia. Two White-throated Crakes were randomly taped out in the roadside tall grass at the first gated track with a sign of the 'Magic Birding Circuit'. The trailsystem at the 'Magic Birding Circuit' was full of birds, and even though we arrived in late morning, I saw the following lifers: Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ochre-breasted and Dusky-faced Tanager, Slaty Spinetail and Choco Warbler. Other birds encountered included a mixed flock with Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Guira, Bay-headed and Blue-necked Tanager and an unidentified arboreal antwren; Rufous Motmot, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Lesser and Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Blackburnian Warbler and Tropical Parula. Chestnut-backed Antbird was common. The hummingbird feeders at the Hosteria San Jorge held Andean Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, Green-crowned Woodnymph and Rufous-tailed Hummer. Little Tinamou and Southern Nightingale-Wren were heard only (as they were in many other western lowland sites).
In the afternoon I had 4 hrs of Spanish class on Mirador Rio Blanco's terrace. Apart from yesterday's birds, the feeders and vantage point yielded a White-necked Jacobin (17.30), two fly-by Cattle Egrets and two Swallow-tailed Kites.
Thu April 17
An absolutely great morning (7-12.30) was spent at Felipe Quiroz's place, called "4 Rios". This farmer has spared his patch of primary forest the axe and the forest, crossing four small rivers, has many good birds. His place is located just west of Los Bancos, towards Pedro Vicente, at km post 104.5, near the turn-off for "S.J. de Pto Quito". Fortunately the Los Bancos taxi drivers know where to go :-). Felipe charges 5 USD for the entry and another 5 USD for him showing you the trails. He only knows few birds but is very enthusiastic about the forest and definitely had better eyes than I.
I saw the following lifers: Pallid Dove, Esmeraldas Antbird (taped out at first stream), Bay Wren, Slaty Antwren, Brown-billed Scythebill, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Buff-rumped Warbler and Red-rumped Woodpecker. Other niceties included Golden-olive Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Checker-throated Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Wedge-billed and Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Buff-fronted and Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Slaty Spinetail, three arboreal Band-backed Wrens, White-throated Spadebill, Yellow-margined Flatbill, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Choco Warbler and Orange-billed Sparrow. Barred Puffbird and Black-headed Antthrush were heard only.
There are only two things I regret about this place: one is that I didn't make a return visit and the other is that I didn't try to tape out the Black-headed Antthrush that was singing near the trail at the first stream.
In the afternoon I had 4 hrs of Spanish class at Mirador Rio Blanco. Apart from the usual suspects, the garden today yielded a displaying pair of lifer Green Thorntail (in the rain, on a flowering Inga tree), an adult summer male Blackpoll Warbler (which is not supposed to occur west of the Andes and which was a new bird for the Mirador Rio Blanco garden; it hung around in the misty garden for two days and Patrcicio also saw it) and a pair of Guira Tanager. At 20.30, a Kinkajou came down to the feeders as Patricio promised and claimed his prize banana.
Fri April 18
As this was the day my friend Guido would arrive, I had classes in the morning in case Guido wanted to go out birding in the afternoon. The mirador's garden still held some surprises, like lifer (female) Yellow-tufted Dacnis, a Long-billed Starthroat and a strange Ash-browed Spinetail-look-alike that was most probably a juvenile Red-faced Spinetail.
The afternoon all three of us (RH, GK and GF) spent at Milpe. At Milpe garden, a Moss-backed Tanager called from the treeline in response to the tape but wouldn't show. Between 15.30 and 18.10 was spent at the Magic Birding Circuit (dropped off by the taxi this time), where we started with a nice flock holding lifer Uniform Antshrike and many Yellow-throated Bush-Tanagers. Other components were, apart from birds seen here earlier, Olivaceous and Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Checker-throated Antwren, Golden-winged Manakin, Rufous-throated and Silver-throated Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Grey-capped Flycatcher. The hummingbird feeders at the Hosteria now also held White-whiskered Hermit.
Between 18.30 and 19.30 was spent at the crossroads some 6 kms from Hosteria Sao Jorge (just follow the main track). Here some scattered Cecropia trees are found which, I was told, should be good for Crested and Black-and-White Owl as well as Choco Poorwill. We sure enough heard a pair of Black-and-White Owl, and on the road while driving back we saw many nighthawks, incl over 10 Pauraques and c. 5 Choco Poorwills - including one calling from the road. GK managed to catch a juv Pauraque that was photographed well. In the evening we said goodbye to Gladys, who returned to her family.
Sat April 19
Badgering Alejandro and Patricio for the phone number of the owners of Mango Loma had paid off, as we could visit the site this morning. Mango Loma is a rarely visited western lowland site that holds a lek of Long-wattled Umbrellabirds (rare and localised), as well as Banded Ground-Cuckoo (rarely seen anywhere). A taxi here cost us 15 USD one-way; the entrance fee was 10 USD each.
We visited from 7-15.30. The taxi dropped us at the end of a muddy track. The farmer living there showed us the way, basically just following the track through tall grass for about 900m. The owners, a friendly Quito couple who stays here in weekends, welcomed us in their beautiful garden and showed us a map of the area. The yellow trail should be best for army ants and therefore, for Banded Ground-Cuckoo; the blue, ridge, trail was the one for the Long-wattled Umbrellabird lek. We were warned that they would stop calling around 7.30 and sure enough, at approaching the site at 7.40 we heard, but never saw them.
As of 13.00 it started raining, increasingly heavy. In the afternoon we walked the yellow trail three times but of course did not see the Banded Ground-Cuckoo. Lifers seen at Mango Loma were Olivaceous Piculet, Grey-and-Gold Tanager (beautiful!), Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Guayaquil Woodpecker (my 3500th bird), Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Purple-chested Hummingbird and Black-capped Tyrannulet. These might all be relatively common species, but as Mango Loma is an island of primary forest amongst nothing but fields, it surely holds better ones.
Other birds seen include Bronze-winged Parrot, Western White-tailed Trogon, a Collared Trogon catching two stick-insects (of which one was 40 cm), 2 pairs of Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Russet Antshrike, Slaty and White-flanked Antwren, Bay-headed, White-shouldered and Tawny-crested Tanager. Little Tinamou, Choco Trogon, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Southern Nightingale-Wren, Bay Wren and Western Slaty-Antshrike were heard only.
Sun April 20
We were to visit the famous Angel Paz today, his patch of forest home to 4 species of antpitta that are more or less handfed and are therefore easier to see (Giant, Moustached, Yellow-breasted and sometimes Ochre-breasted). The site also hosts a number of other local specialties, such as Dark-backed Woodquails (also fed), Andean Cock-of-the-rock and Orange-breasted Fruiteater. Patricio had been kind enough to phone Angel and secure access for today, however, our appointment was cancelled because a French birdtourleader had insisted on having this morning solely for his group. We were to go on Monday morning instead.
Today was therefore spent at Mindo Loma, as Guido was enthused by my stories of hummingbirds (especially Velvet-purple Coronet) and Mountain-Tanagers (this site is famous for Black-chinned). We stayed on the Mindo Loma trails from 7 until noon, and at the feeders from noon until 16.30 (torrential rains started at 13.00). A taxi from Los Bancos to Mindo Loma was 10 USD; the owner of which drove us back for the same price. The entry fee to Mindo Loma and a tasty trout lunch were 5 USD each. The owner showed us their stake-out for Hoary Puffleg, but we soon got tired of watching tiny flowers along a rushing stream as we didn't see any birds. Another stake-out (close to the waterfall), for White-tailed Hillstar, proved more fruitful as we saw a beautiful female perched above the trail.
Other lifers seen at Mindo Loma were Red-billed Parrot, White-bellied Woodstar, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Three-striped Warbler, Montane Woodcreeper, Metallic-green Tanager, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Dusky Bush-Tanager, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager and White-sided Flowerpiercer.
We also saw Empress and Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Violet-tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple and Buff-tailed Coronet, Brown Inca, a male Purple-bibbed Whitetip, single Brown and Green Violetears, Andean Emerald, Purple-throated Woodstar, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager and Masked Flowerpiercer at the feeders; with again a White-throated Quail-Dove below them. In the forest we saw Golden, Golden-naped, Flame-faced, Beryl-spangled and Palm Tanager, along with Guayaquil Woodpecker, Grey-breasted Wood-Wren, Golden-winged Manakin, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Brown-capped Vireo, Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Whitestart, Tricolored Brushfinch and Orange-bellied Euphonia.
Two Moustached Antpittas, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, two Orange-breasted Fruiteaters and Bay Wren were heard only.
Our last night in Mirador Rio Blanco was celebrated with an excellent dinner. As Cabanas El Chef at Mindo was recommended to us by Patricio, we decided to go there next.
Mon April 21
We arrived by taxi at Angel Paz' property while still dark, at 5.30, together with a number of other groups of birders, some of which were also independent. In all there were close to 40 birders here this morning. Some went off straight away to try for Tropical Screech-Owl and/or Rufous-bellied Nighthawk at dawn, while Guido and I stowed our backpacks and followed Angel down a steep trail to the bottom of the valley, where his Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek and hide are located. A Barred Forest-Falcon was calling loudly above the trail along the way, but could not be found (even with c. 25 birders present and trying). From the hide, we had good views of up to three male Cock-of-the-rocks lekking simultaneously, albeit a little obscured most of the time.
After enjoying the cotinga show we were shown a nearby feeder that was frequented by an Olivaceous Piha and several Chestnut-rumped Toucanets. A calling Barred Forest-Falcon and a Tyrannine Woodcreeper were seen by Guido, but not by me. Angel then took all of us up to a shelter where we were all positioned to watch the next spectacle: he disappeared around the corner, calling, and returned while being followed by a pair of Dark-backed Woodquails. They hopped onto a log where Angel had placed some worms, and took off after a few mins and several 100s pictures taken by the crowd (check out the Surfbirds' videos). Unfortunately the star of the site, the now-famous Giant Antpitta "Maria" refused to show all morning, as did Angel's Moustached Antpitta "Susana" (she'd been irregular for the past weeks, and was thought to be breeding). Fortunately we learned that the French birdtourleader and his group also failed to see them on Sun morning :-) The no-shows were made up for by "Willy", the Yellow-breasted Antpitta that showed on cue when called. It sat across a small stream, looking a bit silly when some of the worms fell in the stream and floated past. Other good birds were Golden-headed Quetzal (seen twice) and a male Scaled Fruiteater, perched in top of a tree, found while trying for another Giant Antpitta.
Around 11.00 show was over and everybody went up to get their well-deserved breakfast and coffee/tea (prepared by Angel's family, and included in the entry fee of 10 USD each). Before breakfast we checked out the hummingbird feeders positioned at the start of Angel's trail, that attracted the same species as Mindo Loma (Empress and Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Violet-tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple and Buff-tailed Coronet, Brown Inca, a male Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Green Violetear, Andean Emerald, Purple-throated Woodstar) along with Booted Rackettail, White-bellied Woodstar, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and lifer Speckled Hummingbird.
While all others left after breakfast, we decided to stay. We walked some of the trails again, finding a cooperative male Uniform Antshrike in the tangles near the hummingbird feeders. In the afternoon, after it started drizzling, we were accompanied by Angel, with whom we followed a path parallel to the treeline so we could view into the canopy. This helped find some birds feeding in fruiting trees, like lifers and trip-exclusive Sickle-winged Guan and Orange-breasted Fruiteater, as well as two more male Andean Cock-of-the-rock. Yellow-faced Grassquit and lifers Olive-striped Flycatcher and Black-winged Saltator were also present, in the grassy meadows between Angel's place and the start of the trail.
Other birds seen include Red-billed Parrot, Montane Woodcreeper, Band-tailed Pigeon, Smoke-colored Pewee, Grey-breasted Wood-Wren, Golden, Golden-naped and Beryl-spangled Tanager and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, White-winged and Chestnut-capped Brushfinch.
Around 16.00 Angel and his family drove us to Mindo. Upon finding out our most-wanted bird was Torrent Duck, he stopped twice along the road at sites he knew were good for them, once actually seeing a pair fly downstream before we could get onto them. After being dropped at Restaurant El Chef in downtown Mindo, its owner came by to bring us to his cabanas, located c. 2 km outside of town. Here, we viewed the hummingbird feeders in the rain (White-whiskered Hermit, Brown Violetear, White-necked Jacobin, Green-crowned Brilliant, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed hummingbird, Velvet-purple and Buff-tailed Coronet, Andean Emerald, Purple-throated Woodstar), had dinner and talked Vinicio Perez, a famous bird guide, into taking us to Bellavista the next day for a slightly bargained price (150 USD, incl the use of his car).
Tue April 22
We spent all day with Vinicio, who came to collect us at 6.00 and dropped us off after dusk. We used the less-used eastern access road to slowly drive up to Bellavista biological station, stopping whenever Vinicio heard a good bird or a flock, and at places Vinicio knew could be good. Our main target for the day was Ocellated Tapaculo, and one was taped in nicely near the biological station. [We'd first tried a nesting site Dusan had described to me, but didn't see it there]. We also tried for Tanager Finch at several sites, in vain. We had lunch at Bellavista Lodge (39 USD for three).
I saw 29 lifers and although these included many we could have found ourselves, we were short on time and we saw our main target, so we made the right choice by hiring Vinicio. Lifers seen were White-capped Dipper (in the Cabanas El Chef torrents, looking for Torrent Duck), Black-billed Peppershrike, Masked Trogon, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Pearled Treerunner, Capped Conebill, Powerful Woodpecker, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Turquoise Jay, Flavescent Flycatcher, Gorgeted Sunangel, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Azara's Spinetail, Collared Inca (along the access road), Cinnamon Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grass-green and Blue-capped Tanager, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Barred Hawk, Ocellated Tapaculo, Blue-and-black Tanager, Rufous Wren, Green-fronted Lancebill (along the biostation road), Toucan Barbet (just below the Mindo crossroads - La Y de Mindo) and Lyre-tailed Nightjar (halfway between Mindo and Cabanas El Chef). While having dinner at Cabanas El Chef, the caretaker gestured he'd seen an owl along the road opposite the cabanas, and upon checking it we found an obliging Mottled Owl (another lifer) in the drizzle.
Other good birds seen today included White-throated Quail-Dove, Strong-billed and Montane Woodcreeper and Olivaceous Piha. Potential lifers Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Narino Tapaculo, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, (probable) Crested Quetzal and Andean Solitaire were heard only.
Wed April 23
We started with an unexpected bird when the caretaking couple of the Cabanas came to fetch us while we were having breakfast at dawn - they'd spotted a small raptor in scrub near the kitchen, which turned out to be my first Forest-Falcon: a juvenile Barred (after having heard Barred a zillion times, along with Collared, Slaty-backed and Cryptic in Brasil)! Guido fortunately managed to take a couple of good photographs (see Surfbirds), as initially we thought it was a Collared F-F, though we knew its size was not quite right. Dusan later identified it straight away as a juvenile Barred.
After breakfast we tried, in vain, locating the localised Blue Seedeater Vinicio thought he'd heard in the Cabanas El Chef's garden the previous day. Highlights of this little foray were 12 Blue-fronted Parrotlets perched in a tree beside the stream and White-throated Crake heard in the wet grass. The cabanas' caretaker then showed us a trail with feeders he'd created across the stream, about 500m from the cabanas, and here we spent another 1.5 hrs' birding, seeing Broad-billed Motmot, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, White-winged and Cinnamon Becard, Strong-billed, Spotted and Montane Woodcreeper, Bay Wren, 9 species of tanager incl trip-exclusive Fawn-breasted Tanager, and a pale Blackburnian Warbler.
We then proceeded to Mindo, where we sent emails and phoned TAME to make reservations for an evening flight from Quito to Loja. We took the 'camioneta' to the crossroads (La Y de Mindo) and within 10 mins we were on a bus heading for Quito. When we arrived at the airport over 2 hrs later we found that they somehow hadn't received the reservation, so we paid 86 USD each and got waitlisted for another plane. Departed Quito airport at 16.30, arriving Loja airport 17.37. Shared a taxi to Loja town (15 USD), c. 40 kms onwards, and checked into Hotel Paris (15 USD each). Agreed with taxi driver he'd drive us to Zamora the next morning, incl birding stops. Had fast food dinner in a local place. Couldn't reach Fredrik Ahlman (Cabanas Yankuam).
Thu April 24
When the taxi driver didn't show we took another taxi to Zamora. Made a few birding random birding stops along the Loja-Zamora road, adding lifers Rufous-naped Brushfinch, Sierran Elaenia and Ash-browed Spinetail, while also appreciating several White-capped Dipper, Band-tailed Pigeon, Blue-and-black Tanager and White-sided Flowerpiercer. The final stop before reaching Rio Bombuscaro / Cabanas Ecologicas Copalinga, was at La Fragrancia, where we added two female Andean cock-of-the-rock, Glittering-throated Emerald and Streaked Xenops. Reached Copalinga just before noon, where a warm welcome by Catherine Vits, one of the owners of the lodge, and a well-deserved lunch (and Violet-fronted Brilliant) awaited, before we headed out to Rio Bombuscaro entrance (a 2-km-walk). We birded from 12.30 until 17.00, adding lifers Paradise, Green-and-gold and Orange-eared Tanager, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Lafresnaye's Piculet and, back at Copalinga, Black-billed Thrush, Inca Jay, Wire-crested Thorntail, Violet-headed Hummingbird and Black-throated Brilliant.
We reached Fredrik by phone and agreed to drive with him (and supplies) towards Cabanas Yankuam, located in the border-region Cordillera del Condor, the next afternoon.
Fri April 25
An early start at Rio Bombuscaro added lifers Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager and a flushed Maroon-chested Ground-Dove (UTVs for me, but Guido could get onto it while it walked up the hillside). Walking back towards Copalinga Lodge we added fly-by White-breasted Parakeets, as well as Olivaceous Greenlet and Golden-eared Tanager, while the gardens at Copalinga were also fruitful: Lined Antshrike, Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-faced Tyrannulet*, Grey-chinned Hermit, Golden-tailed Sapphire and Spangled Coquette. The latter we'd missed in the garden before, Catherine knew, so when new guests arrived (guide Lelis Navarete and a birdtourgroup) and found it, Catherine came to collect me from the shower. Knowing the rarity (and beauty) of the coquette, I grabbed a towel and my glasses and ran over to the Verbena to twitch it. [As always, afterwards we saw it several more times, and were even able to photograph it].
* Golden-faced Tyrannulet only proved to be a lifer after the trip, as Clements (Dec 2008) split Choco Tyrannulet from Golden-faced.
At Rio Bombuscaro we also saw Collared Trogon, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Streaked Xenops, Olive-striped, Ruddy-tailed, Slaty-capped and Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Flatbill). Other nice birds encountered at Copalinga this morning included Wire-crested Thorntail, Violet-headed Hummingbird and 14 more species of tanager: Black-faced Dacnis, Paradise, Green-and-gold, Blue-necked, Masked, Turquoise, Bay-headed, Guira, Blue-grey, Palm, Silver-beaked, White-lined and Magpie Tanager and Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager.
At 16.00 we went to Fredrik's house in Zamora. Catherine pointed out a forested hillside that sometimes held monkeys in treetops, visible from the town's footballpitch. We left Zamora at 17.00 with Fredrik and his father-in-law, a van-load of supplies and a few of their friends hitching a ride to some small village. The drive took until 20.30 and was rather uneventful, other than seeing some Pauraques, Crested Oropendolas and, much better, a Marguay (small cat) that crossed the road. Had a late-night dinner at Cabanas Yankuam.
Sat April 26
Took the boat towards Shaime at 6.30, returning to Cabanas Yankuam at 17.00. The boatride was one of my best rainforest-boattrips ever, with Solitary Eagle, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Double-toothed Kite and flocks of Blue-headed Parrot and White-eyed Parakeets flying overhead, Swallow-tailed and Plumbeous Kites and Black Caracaras perched along the water, Torrent Tyrannulets and Buff-rumped Warblers easily seen along the water's edge, passing a number of waterfalls, excellent scenery and no other traffic. A short stop at a larger waterfall did not produce the hoped-for Military Macaw, a seasonal bird, unfortunately. After arrival at the Indian village of Shaime, Fredrik enquired with the locals about the current state of the trail, while Guido and I enjoyed good views of lifer Chestnut-bellied Seedeater and chased the calling Rufous-sided Crake that took up residence in a village ditch and nearby marshy patch but nevertheless never showed.
For a (long) list of the most important species seen along this (very) muddy trail, see the Shaime account on page 8 of this tripreport. I saw 23 lifers, including targets Oilbird and Orange-throated Tanager, along with goodies like Foothill Elaenia, White-plumed and Hairy-crested Antbird, Blackish Pewee and Chestnut-capped Puffbird. Of these, 3 birds were new for this little-visited area: Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Foothill Elaenia and Hairy-crested Antbird.
Call me crazy, but I like to see special birds with a little effort, like a 3-hr boatride at Rio Cristalino (Amazonian Brazil) for Hoatzin (easy at many other sites) and, here at Shaime, Oilbird after a 6-hr trek over a muddy trail. I knew White-plumed Antbird, another great bird, also occurred, but never did I expect to actually have a chance at it. When we neared the Oilbird cave, later than expected, Fredrik and I heard the shrieks of calling White-plumed Antbirds and, after I also discovered ants on the trail, I knew the Oilbirds had to wait a little longer. Because of a large treefall next to the trail, it took a lot of effort (seemingly ages; scratches and bruises; lianas are really strong!) to finally reach the head of the antswarm, but as we did we almost immediately saw several White-plumed Antbirds. Other than these, I saw a male Hairy-crested Antbird and Guido saw a large woodcreeper that was most likely an Amazonian Barred or even a Black-banded Woodcreeper (either would also be a new record for the trail).
Sun April 27
Saw lifer Yellow-bellied Tanager in Cabanas Yankuam garden while having breakfast. Between 6.30 and 13.00 we walked about 1 km of the newly-created, very muddy road across the river (Maycu area?). We added lifers Opal-rumped Tanager, Great Jacamar (not responding to the tape but, miraculously, very well to Guido's whistled imitation, coming in from well over 500m away, giving great views) and Peruvian Warbling Antbird. Most surprisingly, we had three separate sightings of Royal Sunangel, a localised hummingbird that until now had only been seen on top of the nearby tepui mountains (might be a seasonal thing?). Heard-only were potential lifers Golden-collared Toucanet, Grey-tailed Piha and Zimmer's Antbird. See page 9 (Sites visited) for more info on birds seen.
In the afternoon, we birded along the road and the first 30m of the tepui-trail, before the sky opened and heavy rain started. Saw a large flock in the garden, including 11 species of tanager, along with Lemon-throated Barbet and Lafresnaye's Piculet. As the rain didn't cease, we decided to pack it in and head back, departing 16.45, arriving Copalinga 19.50. Late dinner at Copalinga.
Mon April 28
Today was a resting day. Each walked the trails of Copalinga, and I also did a short roadside walk while Guido photographed the White-breasted Parakeets feeding in a roadside fruiting tree.
Even though I slept and read more than I birded, today I still saw 4 lifers: Subtropical Cacique, Bronze-green Euphonia and Spotted Tanager on the grounds of Copalinga, and Red-headed Barbet in a roadside flock.
Other nice birds encountered on the grounds included Common, Golden-winged and a possible Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Inca Jay, Wire-crested Thorntail, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Black-throated Brilliant and Spangled Coquette; while roadside birding I stumbled onto a tanager flock 10-species strong and more Wire-crested Thorntails. In the evening we walked to the patch between Copalinga and Rio Bombuscaro with sloping grassy patches on either side of the road and enjoyed great views of Blackish Nightjar, both perched and in flight.
Tue April 29
Torrential rains during the night, so no try for the Band-bellied Owl that had been calling every night, sometimes right above our cabin. Today did a long walk into the Podocarpus NP at Rio Bombuscaro, walking the main trail for about 5 km, between 6.35 and 16.00. Apart from a farmer apparently on his way to get gasoline, nobody else was encountered on the trails. Heading up into the park, almost no birds were heard or seen, yet the return trip was much better with several flocks encountered. Several showers during the day as well.
I saw the following lifers (in chronological order): Montane Foliage-Gleaner, Russet-backed Oropendola, Spotted Barbtail, Orange-crested Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (leading a large mixed flock) and Blue-rumped Manakin. A possible Yellow-billed Cacique was also seen (see species list for more details).
Other nice birds included a flock of 65+ Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-headed Barbet, Amazonian Umbrellabird (a perched male during the foggy morning), a female Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Russet Antshrike, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Yellow-olive Flatbill, 12 species of tanager incl Spotted, Golden, Magpie and Orange-eared Tanager, Orange-billed Sparrow and a possible Napo Sabrewing. Heard only were Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Red-billed Parrot, Lined Antshrike and Plain-backed Antpitta.
Wed April 30
Our last morning at Copalinga still brought some lifers: Olive-chested Flycatcher and the lovely Yellow-cheeked Becard. As Catherine had to drive to Loja anyway, we hitched a ride and even got to take in some birding, at La Fragrancia (7.30 until 9.30; lifers Grey-mantled Wren and Speckled Chachalaca) and the EERSSA powerstation (no Torrent Duck unfortunately).
Nice birds found at La Fragrancia included a juvenile Fasciated Tiger-Heron, a female Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Green-fronted Lancebill, Little Woodpecker, Slaty-capped and Cliff Flycatcher, Olivaceous Greenlet, Red-eyed Vireo and Yellow-browed Sparrow.
In Loja, we got ourselves on a bus heading south, departing Loja at noon, passing Vilcabamba and Tapichalaca reserve and arriving Valladolid at 15.00. Some rain on the way. Upon arrival in the small town of Valladolid, we crossed a fast-flowing stream upon which I told Guido "Let's get back here later this afternoon to collect our well-deserved Torrent Duck". Checked into one of two basic smalltown hostels and had some food in the village. On our afternoon walk (16.00 - 18.00) we headed north out of town and, upon lifting my bins at the stream, the first bird I saw was a male Torrent Duck!!! We had great views of a pair before walking onwards, adding three more lifers: a pair of Silvery (Silver-backed) Tanager, a Speckle-breasted Wren and a flock of Chestnut-collared Swifts. Dinner in town.
Thu May 1
As we did not feel like walking up the 6 kms towards the Reserva Tapichalaca, I negotiated with a truck driver living on the edge of town to drive us up there. I must have lost my bargaining skills, as he made us pay 12 USD :-). Someone had to come from the lodge (Casa Simpson) to open the gate for us; apparently they are not used to unannounced early morning visitors. We paid 15 USD each entry-fee for Jocotoco Reserva Tapichalaca (valid for two days). The caretaker told us he'd start feeding the Jocotoco Antpittas at 9.30 and asked us to walk there; roadside would be quickest.
We saw lifers Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Flame-throated Sunangel at the lodges' bebederos; a flock of 23 Golden-plumed Parakeets perched in the trees above the lodge and, while walking up to the Quebrada Honda trail for the antpitta show, added Citrine Warbler, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Spectacled Whitestart (already seen by Guido along the Loja-Zamora road), Blue-fronted Lancebill, White-banded Tyrannulet, Glossy-black Thrush, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager and Golden-crowned Tanager.
When we arrived at the start of the Quebrada Honda trail, the caretaker arrived on his moped and together we walked up the trail. The caretaker stayed behind to harvest some worms from a patch of mud along the trail. Although it slowly started raining, we didn't mind because, after seeing a White-throated Quail-Dove at a feeder, Guido flushed a small antpitta from the trail that performed very well, perching low on some bamboo stems allowing excellent views: Slate-crowned Antpitta. At the shelter 15 mins walk into the trail it did not take long for the (huge!) Jocotoco Antpittas to arrive; there were four, the resident pair, a full-grown young from the past breeding season (that, according to the caretaker, the pair had been trying to remove from the feeding spot) and a smaller young that was still fed by the parents. Excellent views, videos and photographs, and we were the only ones there! After the show we walked the rest of the trail back to the lodge and saw the following lifers: Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Northern Mountain-Cacique and Blue-backed Conebill. We also encountered a mixed flock containing Pearled Treerunner, Grass-green, Blue-capped and Blue-and-black Tanager.
Guido returned to Valladolid in early afternoon, because his leg hurt. I walked the Quebrada Honda trail and one of the side trails again, (only) adding Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Grey-hooded Bush-Tanager and Orange-banded Flycatcher.
Fri May 2
Up at 6.00, we took the 7.00 bus towards Loja, only to get off at the small village of Yangana at 8.50. As there were no taxis available, I asked around and got local farmer Geovanny Samaniego to take us up to Yangana pass in his mother's pick-up. We spent between 9.45 and 14.00 at the pass, birding at various altitudes, enticing birds to come and have a look by playing the sound of Andean Pygmy-Owl. In this way we saw quite a number of birds (see page 10 of this report for an account of what we saw), including the following lifers: Variable Hawk, Viridian Metaltail, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, White-throated Tyrannulet, Black-headed Hemispingus, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Glowing Puffleg, Glossy Flowerpiercer and Andean Pygmy-Owl. A puzzling slate-grey finch-type bird with an orange bill should best be left unidentified.
Back in Yangana we had lunch with Geovanny (3.8 USD for three) and afterwards took the 13.50 bus to Loja, arriving 16.50. While waiting for the bus we repeatedly saw a Loja (Amazilia) Hummingbird hovering at the flowers of the local park in front of us. In Loja, we continued to Saraguro on the 17.15 bus north (3.5 USD for two), arriving at c. 20.00. Checked into Hosteria Samana Wasi and had dinner in town. Rain in afternoon and evening.
Sat May 3
It was raining all morning and we had trouble finding Huashapamba. We took a bus out from Saraguro but ended up c. 4 kms too far, so had to take a bus back. Spent between 7.30 and 10.30 on the trails and clearing of Huashapamba forest reserve. This was our desperate attempt to connect with Crescent-faced Antpitta, a bird that is rarely seen anywhere but too cute not to try for.
We saw few birds, but did add lifers Rufous Antpitta (me only, playing tape and lying on my belly in wet undergrowth while it was raining), Mountain Wren, Shining Sunbeam, a fly-by Red-faced Parrot and a White-browed Chat-Tyrant. Potential lifers Undulated Antpitta and Unicolored Tapaculo were heard only. Other nice birds included Turquoise Jay, Flame-throated Sunangel, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Lacrimose and Hooded Mountain-Tanager.
Back in Saraguro we had breakfast at the square, collected our bags from the hosteria and took the bus to Cuenca. Departing Saraguro at 13.15, we only reached Cuenca, located 150 kms further north, 4 hrs later at 17.15. Because we anticipated crowds of people in El Cajas NP on the next day (a Sunday), we decided we'd visit Yunguilla, the site for Pale-headed Brushfinch, first. We called caretaker Enrique Calle from Cuenca bus station, and agreed to meet the following morning at La Y de La Union. We got onto the 18.30 bus towards Machala (2 USD each), getting off at the Sol y Agua sign, c. 6 kms past the 'roadside monument' described by Ahlmann (2003). Paid 27 USD for a large cabana, had dinner in the bar and went to bed at 22.00. Pleasantly warm and dry here.
Sun May 4
Hitched a ride from Sol y Agua to the 'roadside monument', where Enrique arrived at 6.00 as agreed. Spent between 6.30 and 10.30 at Reserva Jocotoco de Yunguilla. We had to make a small detour through the reserve because of a recent landslide, having to cross a stream and going down and up steep sandy slopes, before reaching the right habitat for the Pale-headed Brushfinch. Here, it was easy with 8 seen. Enrique told us there were only 13 birds left at their rediscovery in 1998, while the population now stood at 230 pairs. Other lifers seen here were Line-cheeked Spinetail, the nominate form of Amazilia Hummingbird and Rufous-chested Tanager, with 3 Stripe-headed Brushfinches near Enriques garden and a roadside wire-perched Croaking Ground-Dove.
After some refreshments at Enriques place, we were driven back to Sol y Agua by camioneta. We had breakfast there at 11.15, collected our bags and walked, in the now blistering heat, back to the main road and got the 12.30 bus to Cuenca (3 USD for two). Upon arrival in Cuenca we took a taxi to El Cajas and were dropped off at Dos Chorreros. The rest of the afternoon (14.45 - 17.45) we birded the Polylepis and other scrub between Dos Chorreros and the nearby 'museum', picking up lifers Andean Gull, Mouse-coloured Thistletail, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Violet-throated and Tyrian Metaltail and Superciliaried Hemispingus.
Mon May 5
At 7.00 we were given a ride by the first car that drove by. We spent between 7.30 and 12.30 at Laguna Torreadora, a known site for most Cajas high-altitude species, such as lifers Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Bar-winged Cinclodes, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Tawny Antpitta, Paramo Pipit, Many-striped Canastero, Plain-coloured Seedeater, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Andean Teal, Tit-like Dacnis, Andean Lapwing, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Stout-billed Cinclodes and Ecuadorian Hillstar. We dipped on Giant Conebill however. Feeling hungry around noon, we hitched to Mihuïr, a small village further along the road, where we had a smoked trout lunch and enjoyed a hillside with many Shining Sunbeams, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and lifer Black Flowerpiercer. Late afternoon we again spent at the 'museum' near Dos Chorreros, picking up lifers Great Sapphirewing and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager. Stayed and had dinner at Dos Chorreros.
Tue May 6
As we knew there was another entry into El Cajas called Rio Mazan, which is supposedly good for forest birds like Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan and maybe even Andean Condor, we tried entering through Sayausi village (7-9.30). We were stopped by local farmers, who explained we were not allowed to enter, and we would be stopped further along the road anyway. As already mentioned by Rheindt (2001), the roadside at Sayausi is good for a number of hummingbirds: we saw lifer Green-tailed Trainbearer, Rainbow Starfrontlet (UTVs for me only), Shining Sunbeam and White-bellied Woodstar.
Late morning we drove to Cuenca, where Patricio (the owner of Mirador Rio Blanco) had arranged a suite (!) for us at the Hotel Orquideas for 26 USD. We had lunch, did some shopping (two tickets for tomorrow's AeroGal flight to Quito, 68 USD each; a 1-GB cameracard) and were then picked up by Patricio who gave us a tour though town. Unfortunately he and his wife were unable to join us for dinner, so had dinner at the same place on the central square we'd had lunch, adding trip-exclusive Barn Owl: at least 3 were seen circling around the main cathedral at 19.15.
Wed May 7
Breakfast in hotel, taxi to airport (2 USD). AeroGal flight departed at 11.15, arriving Quito 12.05. Took a taxi to Guango Lodge, departing Quito airport at 12.30, arriving at Guango 14.30. Brief stop at top of Papallacta pass (confiding Tawny Antpitta). Paid taxidriver 60 USD, 10 more than agreed upon. Agreed to stay at Guango Lodge for 1 night, paying 73 USD each, including 3 meals. Between 14.30 and 18.00, spent an hour at the bebederos (hummingbird feeders), and the rest on the trail between the road and the river.
At the feeders we added the following lifers to the list: Tourmaline Sunangel, Long-tailed Sylph, Gorgeted Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird and, for Guido, a Mountain Avocetbill on the feeders and a pair of Torrent Duck on the river.
The trail produced lifers Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Plushcap, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Slaty Brushfinch, Black-capped, Oleaginous and Black-eared Hemispingus. Other goodies included Superciliaried Hemispingus (Guido only) and a family group of Stripe-headed Brushfinch (new for Guido, who hadn't seen the ones near Enriques garden).
In the evening we called Carmen, apparently the manager of San Isidro and Guango Lodges, who could arrange for us a visit to Gareno Lodge and a last-day-visit to Antisana. We agreed on a price for the latter for 73 USD each.
Thu May 8
Today was going to be the day: finally we would see the bird we'd been hearing so many times throughout the trip! And yes, the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta performed well, picking up the worms laid out for it along the Guango Lodge roadside, even calling at times. A good way to start the day!
The rest of the morning was spent at Papallacta pass. Accompanied by Alex, we hitched to the start of the trail leading to the transmitters. We were fortunate to be able to hitch a ride up with a maintenance crew. Unfortunately, it was foggy, windy and rainy (and therefore very cold) around the transmitters and although Alex was tireless and I didn't feel my limbs anymore anyway after 5 mins, we could not find any Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes. We spent between 8.30 and 10.30 looking and then gave up. Andean Fox was the single highlight at the top (me only), though we also saw lifer Carunculated Caracara on the 1-hr walk down towards the road, along with Variable Hawk, Tawny Antpitta, Many-striped Canastero, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Stout-billed and Bar-winged Cinclodes and Plumbeous Sierra-Finch.
As we had decided to have a go at some most-wanteds at Gareno Lodge, we did not take time to search for Giant Conebill at the few Polylepis patches alongside the road down from Papallacta pass.
We had lunch at Guango Lodge, saw a Bar-bellied Woodpecker while waiting for a bus, departed at 12.45 and arrived in Tena at 16.15. We were picked up at Tena bus station, drove around town to get supplies and guide Rodolfo, were required to pay 400 USD up front, and left town at 17.00, arriving Gareno Lodge in the dark at 19.00. Along the way we made a brief stop at a pair of perched lifers White-eared Jacamar and Ivory-billed Aracaris; other nice birds included a pair of Dusky-headed Parakeet, White-banded Swallow and a single Black-capped Donacobius (Guido only). Had a late candle-light dinner at Gareno Lodge.
Fri May 9
Up at 4.45, breakfast at 5.00. Spent between 5.30 and 13.00 on the Harpy trail. The previous evening we'd agreed to keep walking until we reached the spot for the Harpy - though it hurt since we heard most-wanted Rusty-belted Tapaculo and Yellow-browed Antbird along the way..
Rodolfo and a native Indian guide found the Harpy at 7.45, after which it started raining at 8.30. Lifers this morning were Rufous-bellied Euphonia (miraculously missed in Amazonian Brazil), Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Golden-headed Manakin, Dusky-throated Antshrike, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant and Pink-throated Becard. See pages 10 and 11 for a full account on what we saw and heard this morning; I wouldn't mind birding here for another 3 mornings!
During the only dry hour in the afternoon we paid visits to the Rufous Potoo and Crested Owl roosts, both located within a few 100 meters from the lodge. Short-tailed Swift was today's last lifer. Another highlight was the tarantula that used our cabin roof for hiding from the torrential rain.
Sat May 10
Roadside birding along Gareno access road from 6.30 until 10.00. Saw the following lifers this morning: Spot-winged and Yellow-browed Antbird, Bright-rumped Attila, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Fulvous-crested Tanager, Blue-crowned and Striped Manakin, Purple-throated Cotinga, Short-billed Antwren, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Eastern wood-Pewee and Maroon-tailed Parakeet. Other goodies included several Brown Jacamars, Ivory-billed Aracari, White-throated and Chestnut Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill and a male Spangled Cotinga. Afterwards, picked up bags from the lodge and drove to Tena, stopping at sites for Great Jacamar (heard only) and Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Silvered Antbird (at Mauritia palm swamp, both performed after taping). Saw Grey-breasted Martins while waiting for our Quito-bound bus at Tena bus station. Long haul to Quito, being dropped at Cumbaya early evening. With some difficulty, our taxidriver managed to find Guesthouse El Nido, where we received a warm welcome and a good dinner.
Sun May 11
Left Cumbaya at 6.00, being picked up by driver and guide for the day Mauricio. Arrived Antisana 7.30, where stayed until 13.30. Birded around lake and high-altitude grasslands, and paid a side visit to a small farm with a hummingbird feeder (excellent views and macro-lense pictures of Ecuadorian Hillstar, see Surfbirds). While scrub birding I saw lifers Giant Hummingbird, Mountain Avocetbill, Andean Condor, Andean Siskin and Paramo Seedeater; the grasslands thereafter held good numbers of Black-winged Ground-Dove and a pair of Andean Ibis, and the - windswept - lake was good for 1 Silvery Grebe, several Andean Coot, Andean Duck and Yellow-billed Pintail. On the return journey we saw Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant and Andean Tit-Spinetail.
Other good birds included 80+ Carunculated Caracara, over 50 Andean Lapwing, c. 35 Andean Gull, 3 Chestnut-collared Swifts, Ecuadorian Hillstar, a male Black-tailed Trainbearer, Shining Sunbeam, a female Blue-mantled Thornbill feeding on the ground, a Many-striped Canastero, Stout-billed and Bar-winged Cinclodes, 40+ Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Cinereous Conebill, Black and Glossy Flowerpiercer, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Plain-coloured Seedeater, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch and Paramo Pipit.
Afternoon was spent at a variety of scrub sites near Quito, as I'd told Mauricio we would like to finish the trip with Blue-and-yellow and Scrub Tanager. We saw the former but only heard the latter, while we also saw Rufous-chested Tanager, Vermillion Flycatcher and, surprisingly, a Croaking Ground-Dove. The last trip-lifer was a roadside Rusty Flowerpiercer.
Again stayed at Guesthouse El Nido in Cumbaya.
Mon May 12
Flight from Quito to Bonaire and onwards to Amsterdam.
Legend: [H] means a bird was heard-only; placed before the species name means it was not seen at all. (F)C means it was (fairly) common. (T) = a bird seen merely because it was taped out; (Ph) = photographed; (V) = videoed; UTV = untickable views; (GK) means Guido Keijl only, (RH) = Remco Hofland, (GF) = Gladys Flores; [CR] = critically endangered; [EN] = endangered; [VU] = vulnerable; [NT] = near-threatened; sev = several; btw = between; rec = recorded; c. = circa (about); juv = juvenile; ad = adult.
Birds are listed in the order of The Birds of Ecuador, Vol II, 2001. Alternative names (for example, those from the BirdLife Species Factsheet) are mentioned in between brackets. I also incorporated the latest taxonomic decisions by Clements (December 2008), such as lumping Highland Motmot with Blue-crowned Motmot and Ecuadorian Thrush with Spectacled Thrush. Though this revision meant a lot of lumping, it also splits, such as Choco Tyrannulet from Golden-faced (both seen this trip).
1. [H] Tawny-breasted Tinamou - Nothocercus julius: 1 Guango Lodge (GK)
2. [H] Little Tinamou - Crypturellus soui: rec El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), Rio Silanche (forest), the Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma
3. Silvery Grebe - Podiceps occipitalis: 1 Antisana. Fortunately it swam close inshore.
4. Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus: 3 Aldea Salamandra (P. Quito)(RH, GF)
5. Torrent Duck - Merganetta armata: 1 pair Valladolid; 1 pair Guango Lodge (GK)
6. Andean Teal - Anas andium: 1 pair Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 6 pairs Antisana
7. Yellow-billed Pintail - Anas spinicauda: 3 over Papallacta lake (RH), 5 Antisana
8. Andean (Ruddy-)Duck - Oxyura ferruginea: 10+ (incl 5 pulli), Antisana
9. Fasciated Tiger-Heron - Tigrisoma fasciatum: juv Mango Loma, ad btw Zamora and Copalinga, juv La Fragrancia
10. Great Egret - Ardea alba: 1 flying past parked plane, Guayaquil airport (RH)
11. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis: flocks of up to 12 flying past Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), some perched in fields below the viewpoint
12. Striated Heron - Butorides striatus: 2 Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor)
13. Black-faced (Andean) Ibis - Theristicus melanopis: 1 pair in flight, landing out of sight, Antisana
14. Andean Condor [NT] - Vultur gryphus: 4-8 Antisana (V, Ph)
15. Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus: FC in lowlands (dozens seen)
16. Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura: FC in lowlands (dozens seen), 1 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
17. Greater Yellow-headed Vulture - Cathartes melambrotus: sev Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor)
18. Swallow-tailed Kite - Elanoides forficatus: singles at most sites, incl Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos); largest flocks c. 25, Nangaritza (Cordillera del Condor) and 30 and 75, Copalinga
19. White-tailed Kite - Elanus leucurus: 1 Rio Silanche (access road)
20. Double-toothed Kite - Harpagus bidentatus: 3 Nangaritza river, 1 Cabanas Yankuam muddy new road (both Cordillera del Condor)
21. Plumbeous Kite - Ictinia plumbea: 11 Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor)
22. White Hawk - Leucopternis a. albicollis: 1 perched along Nangaritza river; 1 in flight Shaime (both Cordillera del Condor)
23. Grey-backed Hawk [EN] - Leucopternis occidentalis: 1 displaying pair, Rio Silanche (canopy tower)
24. Barred Hawk - Leucopternis princips: 1 in flight, Bellavista biostation
25. Solitary Eagle [NT] - Harpyhaliaetus solitarius: 1 over Nangaritza river (Ph)
26. Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus: single adults Calicali, Papallacta
27. Roadside Hawk - Buteo magnirostris: FC in lowlands (c. 30 seen in total)
28. Variable Hawk - Buteo polyosoma: Yangana pass, Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), Papallacta (2), Antisana (8)(c. 15 seen in total)
29. Harpy Eagle [NT] - Harpia harpyja: juv Gareno Lodge (1.5 hr stiff walk into Harpy trail)
30. Black Caracara - Daptrius ater: c. 20 Nangaritza river, sev Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road) (both Cordillera del Condor)
31. Carunculated Caracara - Phalcoboenus carunculatus: 2 Papallacta; 80+ Antisana
32. Barred Forest-Falcon - Micrastur ruficollis: 1 calling ad Angel Paz (GK); 1 hunting juv Cabanas El Chef, Mindo, at dawn (Ph)
33. Laughing Falcon - Herpetotheres cachinnans: 1 Rio Silanche (access road), 2 Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
34. American Kestrel - Falco sparverius: rec Virgen de Calicali, Angel Paz, btw Loja and Saraguro, btw Saraguro and Cuenca, Antisana
35. Speckled Chachalaca - Ortalis guttata: 2 La Fragrancia
( ) Andean Guan - Penelope montagnii: UTV of 1 probable perched on a branch at eyelevel,
seen from the bus btw Guango Lodge and Tena (RH)
36. Sickle-winged Guan - Chamaepetes goudotii: 2 feeding in trees at noon, Angel Paz
37. Dark-backed Wood-Quail [VU] - Odontophorus melanonotus: 2 Angel Paz (Ph, V), sev [H] Bellavista (access road)
38. [H] Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail - Odontophorus speciosus: Rio Bombuscaro & Copalinga
39. White-throated Crake - Laterallus albigularis: 2, the Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)(T, RH); 1 [H] Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
40. [H] Rufous-sided Crake - Laterallus melanophaius: 1 Shaime (Indian village, c. 8.30 hr)
41. [H] Blackish Rail - Pardirallus nigricans: 1 Cabanas Yankuam (c. 17.00 hr)
42. Andean (Slate-colored) Coot - Fulica ardesiaca: 15+ (incl 3 juv) Antisana
43. Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularia: singles btw Copalinga and Rio Bombuscaro, Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor), museum near Dos Chorreros (El Cajas)
44. Andean Lapwing - Vanellus resplendens: 1 pair Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 53 Antisana
45. Andean Gull - Larus serranus: 3 Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), c. 35 Antisana
[FERAL] Rock Pigeon - Columba livia: few in Cuenca and Quito
46. Band-tailed Pigeon - Columba fasciata: rec Angel Paz (2), Loja-Zamora road (C), Yangana pass (10+)
47. Ruddy Pigeon - Columba subvinacea: 1 Milpe, sev Mango Loma. Probables were noted at Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor, 2), Yunguilla (few): these might have been Plumbeous Pigeons, as they were not calling.
48. Eared Dove - Zenaida auriculata: rec Virgen de Calicali, Zamora, Guango Lodge, Quito
49. Ecuadorian Ground-Dove - Columbina buckleyi: 3 Aldea Salamandra (Puerto Quito)
50. Croaking Ground-Dove - Columbina cruziana: 1 on a wire in Yunguilla valley; 1 at Mauricios Scrub Tanager site near Quito. According to Ridgely and Greenfield it is not supposed to occur this far north, however, its two-coloured bill was seen well.
51. Maroon-chested Ground-Dove - Claravis mondetoura: 1 Rio Bombuscaro (main trail, GK). Flushed from the trail, then seen walking up the slope, c. 50m past the orchid garden. UTVs for me only, unfortunately.
52. Black-winged Ground-Dove - Metriopelia melanoptera: sev flocks of up to 35, Antisana
53. White-tipped Dove - Leptotila verreauxi: sev Bellavista (access road), Cabanas El Chef
54. Pallid Dove - Leptotila pallida: 1, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios", RH)
55. Grey-fronted Dove - Leptotila rufaxilla: sev on the road, Copalinga
56. White-throated Quail-Dove - Geotrygon frenata: 1 on two dates, Mindo Loma (feeder); 1 at compost heap, Bellavista Lodge; 1 on corn at Tapichalaca forest feeder
57. White-eyed Parakeet - Aratinga leucophthalmus: a flock of 18 over Nangaritza river, at waterfall, near Cabanas Yankuam (Cordillera del Condor)
58. Dusky-headed Parakeet - Aratinga weddellii: 1 pair at nest, Gareno Lodge (access road)
59. Golden-plumed Parakeet [VU] - Leptosittaca branickii: 23 in treetops, Tapichalaca Lodge
60. Maroon-tailed Parakeet - Pyrrhura melanura: 2 perched pairs, Gareno Lodge (access road)
61. White-breasted (White-necked) Parakeet [VU] - Pyrrhura albipectus: flocks of 4 and 5 in flight, Rio Bombuscaro (access road, [H] on most dates), with c. 10 at fruiting tree at Copalinga Lodge (Ph by GK)
62. Pacific Parrotlet - Forpus coelestis: 3 in flight, Rio Silanche (access road); 1 perched, El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito)
63. Cobalt-winged Parakeet - Brotogeris cyanoptera: c. 15 Shaime (Oilbird trail)(Cordillera del Condor), 13 Gareno Lodge (access road)
64. Blue-fronted Parrotlet - Touit dilectissima: 12 in Cabanas El Chef garden (RH)
65. [H] Black-headed Parrot - Pionites melanocephala: UTV's of 5 in flight, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail). Prior to flying off, they were calling loudly but could not be located.
66. Red-faced Parrot - Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops: 1 calling, flying over Huashapamba clearing
67. Blue-headed Parrot - Pionus menstruus: 5 over Nangaritza river, 10+ Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road, Ph) (both Cordillera del Condor), 5 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 2 Gareno Lodge (access road)
68. Red-billed Parrot - Pionus sordidus: 7 Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge), [H] Rio Bombuscaro
69. Bronze-winged Parrot - Pionus chalcopterus: sev Rio Silanche (access road); 14 Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos); 6 Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), sev Mango Loma
70. [H] Mealy Amazon - Amazona farinosa: UTV's of 1 pair over Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
71. Squirrel Cuckoo - Piaya cayana : rec Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, Shaime, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia, Gareno Lodge
72. Black-bellied Cuckoo - Piaya melanogaster: 2 singles, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
73. Little Cuckoo - Piaya minuta: 1 Aldea Salamandra (Puerto Quito)
74. Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga ani: rec Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Loja-Zamora road, Copalinga, Shaime (Cordillera del Condor), Gareno Lodge (access road)
75. Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga sulcirostris: rec somewhere, probably Yunguilla
76. [H] Striped Cuckoo - Tapera naevia: sev Sol y Agua Lodge (also at night); 1 Yunguilla
77. Barn Owl - Tyto alba: 3 flying around, with young [H], main cathedral Cuenca (19.15)
78. Andean Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium jardinii: 1 Yangana pass (T), 1 [H] Huashapamba
79. Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium nubicola : 1 Mindo Loma (T)(forest)
80. [H] Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium brasilianum: c. 3 Gareno Lodge
81. Crested Owl - Lophostrix cristata: 1 pair (Ph) at daytime roost, 100m from Gareno Lodge
82. [H] Spectacled Owl - Pulsatrix perspicillata: 1 Gareno Lodge
83. [H] Band-bellied Owl - Pulsatrix melanota: singles Cabanas Yankuam and Copalinga
84. [H] Black-and-white Owl - Strix nigrolineata: 1 pair La Y, 6 km from Milpe
85. Mottled Owl - Strix virgata: 1 Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)(c. 20.45)
86. Oilbird - Steatornis caripensis: c. 10 in cave (Ph), Shaime (Cordillera del Condor)
87. Great Potoo - Nyctibius grandis: 1 at daytime roost (Ph), 300m from Gareno Lodge
88. Rufous Potoo - Nyctibius bracteatus: 1 at daytime roost (Ph), 100m from Gareno Lodge
89. Pauraque - Nyctidromus albicollis: c. 15, 8 km from Milpe (juv caught and Ph); sev btw Tena and Gareno Lodge; 1 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
90. Choco Poorwill [NT] - Nyctiphrynus rosenbergi: c. 3, with 1 calling while perched on the road, 8 km past Milpe
91. Blackish Nightjar - Caprimulgus nigrescens: 2, c. 2 km from Copalinga towards Bombuscaro
92. Lyre-tailed Nightjar - Uropsalis lyra: 2, c. 1 km from Cabanas El Chef towards Mindo
93. White-collared Swift - Streptoprocne zonaris: rec Virgen de Calicali, Rio Silanche, Bellavista (access road), Cabanas El Chef, Antisana (160, Ph)
94. Chestnut-collared Swift - Cypseloides rutilus: c. 12, just outside Valladolid in evening; 3 distant probables, Antisana. A lot more suspects (like at Bellavista access road, ID'd by Vinicio), but these were never close enough to see the chestnut collar.
95. Short-tailed Swift - Chaetura brachyuran: 3 Gareno Lodge
96. Grey-rumped Swift - Chaetura cinereiventris: FC in northwestern lowlands (like at Rio Silanche); rec Loja-Zamora road, Shaime, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Rio Bombuscaro, Yangana pass
97. Neotropical Palm-Swift - Tachornis squamata: FC at Gareno Lodge
98. White-whiskered Hermit - Phaethornis yaruqui: rec Alambi, Rio Silanche, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
99. Great-billed Hermit - Phaethornis malaris: 1 Shaime (Oilbird trail), sev Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and feeder)
100. Grey-chinned Hermit - Phaethornis griseogularis: singles at Copalinga, Cabanas Yankuam and Gareno Lodge feeders (V, Ph)
101. Blue-fronted Lancebill - Doryfera johannae: 1 Tapichalaca (roadside, RH)
102. Green-fronted Lancebill - Doryfera ludovicae: 1 at longifera flower, Bellavista (biostation road), 1 La Fragrancia
103. Grey-breasted Sabrewing - Campylopterus largipennis: singles Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road and garden)
( ) Napo Sabrewing - Campylopterus villaviscensio: 1 possible female, Rio Bombuscaro (main
trail). Feeding on a trailside flower, low down. Initially identified as a Grey-breasted Sabrewing, Catherine later told us this species had not been seen here before; Napo Sabrewing, on the other hand, has.
104. White-necked Jacobin - Florisuga mellivora: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos)(1), Cabanas El Chef (Mindo), Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
105. Brown Violetear - Colibri delphinae: rec Alambi, Mindo Loma (1 at feeders), Cabanas El Chef (Mindo), [H] Bellavista (access road), Copalinga
106. Green Violetear - Colibri thalassinus: 1 singing male Mindo Loma (feeders), rec Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge), C Yunguilla
107. Sparkling Violetear - Colibri coruscans: C Virgen de Calicali, Alambi, Sayausi village, Cuenca, Gareno Lodge (access road), Antisana, Quito
108. Violet-headed Hummingbird - Klais guimeti: pair, feeding on Verbena flowers, Copalinga
109. Spangled Coquette - Lophornis stictolophus: 1 female feeding on Verbena flowers, Copalinga. Usually seen between 6 and 7 am, occasionally also at other times of day. Seen together with Wire-crested Thorntail, Violet-headed Hummingbird and Golden-tailed Sapphire, who were feeding on the same flowers.
110. Wire-crested Thorntail - Discosura popelairii: 1 male, 2 females on flowering Verbena plant and Inga trees, Copalinga
111. Green Thorntail - Discosura conversii: pair, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos). Only seen on one (rainy) afternoon. The male would 'guard' the female while she was feeding, much like the way ovipositing dragonflies do. When feeding (in a flowering Inga tree), both sexes would cling to the flowers.
112. Western Emerald - Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus: 1 male, Alambi feeders (Tandayapa)
113. Fork-tailed Woodnymph - Thalurania furcata: rec La Fragrancia, Copalinga
114. Green-crowned Woodnymph - Thalurania fannyi: rec Alambi, Rio Silanche, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
115. Golden-tailed Sapphire - Chrysuronia oenone: 1, feeding on Verbena flowers, Copalinga
116. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird - Amazilia tzacatl: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
117. Amazilia Hummingbird - Amazilia amazilia: 1, Yunguilla (RH)(rufous on belly sides absent)
( ) Amazilia Hummingbird (Loja) - Amazilia amazilia alticola: 1, Yangana village park (plenty of
rufous on belly sides visible). Loja Hummingbird (A. alticola) has been lumped with
Amazilia Hummingbird by Clements (dec 2008).
118. Andean Emerald - Amazilia franciae: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
119. Glittering-throated Emerald - Amazilia fimbriata: rec La Fragrancia, Copalinga, Cabanas Yankuam
120. Purple-chested Hummingbird - Amazilia rosenbergi: 1 male Mango Loma
121. Speckled Hummingbird - Adelomyia melanogenys: rec Angel Paz (1), Bellavista (Lodge, few), Tapichalaca, Guango Lodge
122. Purple-bibbed Whitetip - Adelomyia melanogenys: 2 Alambi, 1 male Mindo Loma (feeders), male and female Angel Paz
( ) Ecuadorian Piedtail - Phlogophilus hemileucurus: UTV's of 2, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy
new road, RH)
123. Empress Brilliant - Heliodoxa imperatrix: sev Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz
124. Green-crowned Brilliant - Heliodoxa jacula: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
125. Violet-fronted Brilliant - Heliodoxa leadbeateri: sev Copalinga (feeders)
126. Black-breasted (-throated) Brilliant - Heliodoxa schreibersii: 1 pair frequenting Copalinga feeder at dusk, 1 male Gareno Lodge (in forest interior along Harpy trail, RH), 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
127. Fawn-breasted Brilliant - Heliodoxa rubinoides: rec Alambi, Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz
128. Ecuadorian Hillstar - Oreotrochilus chimborazo: 1 male on Puya Puya flowers, Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 2 males Antisana
129. White-tailed Hillstar - Urochroa bougueri: 1 female Mindo Loma (forest near waterfall)
130. Giant Hummingbird - Patagona gigas: 4 Antisana
131. Shining Sunbeam - Aglaeactis cupripennis: 1 Huashapamba, 20 Mihuir (El Cajas), sev Sayausi village (El Cajas), 3 Antisana
132. Great Sapphirewing - Pterophanes cyanopterus: 1 male, museum near Dos Chorreros (El Cajas)
133. Brown Inca - Coeligena wilsoni: rec Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz
134. Collared Inca - Coeligena torquata: rec Bellavista (access road and Lodge), Tapichalaca, Yangana pass (5+), Guango Lodge (1 male)
135. Buff-winged Starfrontlet - Coeligena lutetiae: 1 male, Tapichalaca (roadside, RH)
136. Rainbow Starfrontlet - Coeligena iris: 1, Sayausi village (btw Cuenca and El Cajas, GK)
137. Sword-billed Hummingbird - Ensifera ensifera: 1-2 females, Guango Lodge
138. Buff-tailed Coronet - Boissonneaua flavescens: sev Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo), Bellavista (Lodge, Ph), Guango Lodge
139. Chestnut-breasted Coronet - Boissonneaua matthewsii: rec Tapichalaca, Guango Lodge (Ph)
140. Velvet-purple Coronet - Boissonneaua jardini: rec Mindo Loma (feeders, c. 6), Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
141. Amethyst-throated Sunangel - Heliangelus amethysticollis: sev Tapichalaca (Ph)
142. Gorgeted Sunangel - Heliangelus strophianus: 6 Bellavista (access road, Ph)
143. Tourmaline Sunangel - Heliangelus exortis: C Guango Lodge
144. Flame-throated Sunangel - Heliangelus micraster: rec Tapichalaca (Ph), Yangana pass (1 male), Huashapamba (1 male)
145. Royal Sunangel [EN] - Heliangelus regalis: 1 seen three times Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)(Cordillera del Condor). Naked-eye views only, but it's rather hard not to recognise a largish, all-purple hummingbird when it's hovering right in front of you.
146. Glowing Puffleg - Eriocnemis vestitus: 2 Yangana pass
147. Booted Racket-tail - Ocreatus underwoodii: sev Alambi, Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge)
148. Black-tailed Trainbearer - Lesbia victoriae: rec Virgen de Calicali, 1 male Antisana (Ph)
149. Green-tailed Trainbearer - Lesbia nuna: sev Sayausi village (btw Cuenca and El Cajas)
150. Viridian Metaltail - Metallura wiliami: 2 Yangana pass
151. Violet-throated Metaltail [EN] - Metallura baroni: 1 male (two dates), Dos Chorreros (El Cajas)
152. Tyrian Metaltail - Metallura tyrianthina: 1 female, Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), FC Guango Lodge
153. Blue-mantled Thornbill - Chalcostigma stanleyi: 1 male Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 1 female Antisana
154. Mountain Avocetbill - Opisthoprora euryptera: 1 Guango Lodge (GK), 1 Antisana
155. Long-tailed Sylph - Aglaiocercus kingi: sev Guango Lodge
156. Violet-tailed Sylph - Aglaiocercus coelestis: rec Mindo Loma, Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge)
157. Black-eared Fairy - Heliothryx aurita: 1 Copalinga (roadside), 2 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
158. Long-billed Starthroat - Heliomaster longirostris: 1 Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos)
159. Purple-throated Woodstar - Calliphlox mitchellii: sev Alambi, Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge)
160. White-bellied Woodstar - Chaetocercus (Acestrura) mulsant: rec Mindo Loma (feeders, 3), Angel Paz, Bellavista (Lodge), 1 male Tapichalaca, Sayausi (El Cajas), Guango Lodge (4+),
161. Gorgeted Woodstar - Chaetocercus (Acestrura) heliodor: 1 pair Guango Lodge
162. Golden-headed Quetzal - Pharomachrus auriceps: 1 calling male, El Pahuma; 2, Angel Paz, 1 quetzal [H] at Bellavista (access road), could also have been a Crested..
163. Choco (White-eyed) Trogon - Trogon comptus: 3 Milpe, [H] Mango Loma
164. Amazonian White-tailed Trogon - Trogon viridis: 1 pair Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road, Ph), [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
165. Western White-tailed Trogon - Trogon chionurus: rec Rio Silanche, Mango Loma (1 male)
166. Collared Trogon - Trogon collaris: 1 male, Mango Loma (taking two stick insects, one of which was 40 cm big), 1 Rio Bombuscaro, [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
167. Masked Trogon - Trogon personatus: rec Bellavista (access road, 2)
168. Ringed Kingfisher - Megaceryle torquata: singles Cabanas El Chef (Mindo) and Yankuam
169. Amazon Kingfisher - Chloroceryle amazona: 2 Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor), 1 Cabanas Yankuam, 1 Gareno Lodge
170. Broad-billed Motmot - Electron platyrhynchum: 2 Cabanas El Chef (Mindo, RH), [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail).
171. Rufous Motmot - Baryphthengus martii: 3, with 5 more [H], El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), 2 btw Milpe and the Magic Birding Circuit (RH, GF), Copalinga (1, GK), [H] Gareno Lodge. Both Broad-billed and Rufous Motmot are not supposed to occur at Copalinga/Rio Bombuscaro (according to Ridgely and Greenfield), but Catherine has seen a 'rufous' motmot here on a number of occasions, without being able to identify it to species. Guido is quite sure he saw Rufous Motmot: the bird appeared to be large, lacking tailrackets. (Not that the latter is a distinguishing fieldmark: the local, east-slope Broad-billed Motmot, ssp. pyrrholaemum, also lacks tailrackets).
172. [H] Blue-crowned Motmot (Highland) - Momotus momotus aequatorialis: 2 Rio Bombuscaro (main trail). Highland Motmot (M. aequatorialis) has been lumped with Blue-crowned by Clements (dec 2008).
173. White-eared Jacamar - Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis: 1 pair Gareno Lodge (access road)
174. Brown Jacamar - Brachygalba lugubris caquetae: 4 Gareno Lodge (access road)
175. Yellow-billed Jacamar - Galbula albirostris: 1 Gareno Lodge (access road, T)
176. Coppery-chested Jacamar [VU] - Galbula pastazae: 1 pair Rio Bombuscaro (T)
177. Purplish Jacamar - Galbula chalxcothorax: 2 Shaime (Oilbird trail), 1 Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
178. Great Jacamar - Jamacerops aureus: 1 whistled in, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), 1 [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
179. Chestnut-capped Puffbird - Bucco macrodactylus: 1, Shaime (Oilbird trail). Fredrik's second record for this trail. Unobtrusive, found it perched at knee-level only 10m away while having lunch in the shade.
180. Barred Puffbird - Nystalus radiatus: 1, Rio Silanche; 2, Aldea Salamandra (Puerto Quito); 1 [H] Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
181. White-fronted Nunbird - Monasa morphoeus: 1 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
182. Yellow-billed Nunbird - Monasa flavirostris: 2 Gareno Lodge (access road)
183. Swallow-winged Puffbird - Chelidoptera tenebrosa: c. 6, Gareno Lodge (access road)
184. Orange-fronted Barbet - Capito squamatus: 3 Rio Silanche, 2 El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito)
185. Gilded Barbet - Capito auratus: 1 female Shaime (Oilbird trail), 1 pair Cabanas Yankuam (garden), 4 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 1 pair Gareno Lodge (access road)
186. Lemon-throated Barbet - Eubucco richardsoni: sev in mixed flock Shaime (Oilbird trail), 1 male Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
187. Red-headed Barbet - Eubucco bourcierii: 1 female, Copalinga (in roadside flock, RH), 2 males, 1 female in mixed flock Rio Bombuscaro (main trail, RH), 1 female La Fragrancia
188. Toucan Barbet [NT] - Semnornis ramphastinus: 1 pair [H] Tandayapa teleferico; 2 [H] along Bellavista (biostation road); 2 near La Y de Mindo (an evening roost site Vinicio knew)
189. Chestnut-tipped Toucanet - Aulacorhynchus derbianus: 1, early morning, Rio Bombuscaro entrance
190. Crimson-rumped Toucanet - Aulacorhynchus haematopygus: 2, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), 2 Angel Paz
191. [H] Golden-collared Toucanet - Selenidera reinwardtii: 2, Yankuam (muddy new road)
192. Pale-mandibled Aracari - Pteroglossus erythropygius: 2, El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito); 5+ Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), sev Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
193. Ivory-billed Aracari - Pteroglossus azara: 3 plus 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
194. Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan [NT] - Andigena laminirostris: 2 Bellavista (biostation road)
195. Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan [NT] - Andigena hypoglauca: 2, Guango Lodge
196. Channel-billed Toucan - Ramphastos vitellinus culminates: sev Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
197. Choco Toucan - Ramphastos brevis: 4 btw Milpe and the Magic Birding Circuit
198. Chestnut-mandibled Toucan - Ramphastos swainsonii: [H] Rio Silanche (forest), singles Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
199. White-throated Toucan - Ramphastos tucanus: few Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
200. Lafresnaye's Piculet - Picumnus lafresnayi: 1 Copalinga (garden and orange trail); 3 Shaime (Oilbird trail), 1 Cabanas Yankuam (garden), 1 La Fragrancia
201. Olivaceous Piculet - Picumnus olivaceus: 2 Mango Loma
202. Golden-olive Woodpecker - Piculus rubiginosus: singles Rio Silanche (access road), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos)
203. White-throated Woodpecker - Piculus leucolaemus: 2 singles Shaime (Oilbird trail) (Cordillera del Condor); 1 pair excavating nest, Gareno Lodge (access road)
204. Chestnut Woodpecker - Celeus elegans: 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
205. Scale-breasted Woodpecker - Celeus grammicus: 1, Gareno Lodge
206. Cinnamon Woodpecker - Celeus loricatus: 1 in mixed midstorey flock, Rio Silanche (forest)
207. Lineated Woodpecker - Dryocopus lineatus: 1 Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
208. Yellow-tufted Woodpecker - Melanerpes cruentatus: 5 Shaime (Oilbird trail)(Cordillera del Condor)
209. Black-cheeked Woodpecker - Melanerpes pucherani: 1 excavating a nesthole, El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito); 1 daily on feeders Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos)
210. Smoky-brown Woodpecker - Veniliornis fumigatus: 1 female Milpe; 3 Cabanas El Chef (Mindo)
211. Little Woodpecker - Veniliornis passerinus: 1 in mixed flock, La Fragrancia
212. Red-rumped Woodpecker - Veniliornis kirkii: 1, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
213. Bar-bellied Woodpecker - Veniliornis nigriceps: singles on two dates, Guango Lodge
214. Guayaquil Woodpecker - Campephilus guayaquilensis: 1 pair, Mango Loma, 1 female Mindo Loma (near Lodge)
215. Powerful Woodpecker - Campephilus pollens: 2 males, Bellavista (access road)
216. Bar-winged Cinclodes - Cinclodes fuscus: C Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), Papallacta (3), Antisana
217. Stout-billed Cinclodes - Cinclodes excelsior: rec Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas, 2), Papallacta pass (1 pair), Antisana
218. Pacific Hornero - Furnarius cinnamomeus: rec Puerto Quito, Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Zamora, Yunguilla, Dos Chorreros (El Cajas)
219. Andean Tit-Spinetail - Leptasthenura andicola: 1 Antisana (T)
220. Azara's Spinetail - Synallaxis azarae: few Bellavista (access road), [H] Loja-Zamora road, [H] Yunguilla, sev Antisana
221. Slaty Spinetail - Synallaxis brachyuran: 2, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), few Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
222. Dark-breasted Spinetail - Synallaxis albigulari: 4 Shaime (Oilbird trail)
223. Ash-browed Spinetail - Cranioleuca curtata: 1 Loja-Zamora road, 1 Rio Bombuscaro (GK), rec La Fragrancia
224. Red-faced Spinetail - Cranioleuca erythrops: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mango Loma, C Cabanas El Chef
225. Line-cheeked Spinetail - Cranioleuca antisiensis: 1, Yunguilla (RH)
226. Mouse-colored Thistletail - Schizoeaca griseomurina: 1 Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), 1 Papallacta pass
227. Many-striped Canastero - Asthenes flammulata: 3 Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 1 Papallacta pass (btw main road and communication towers), 1 Antisana
228. [H] Equatorial Greytail [NT] - Xenerpestes singularis: 1 in mixed flock, La Fragrancia (GK)
229. Streaked Tuftedcheek - Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii: 1 in mixed flock, Bellavista biostation. Excellent bird, wish we'd seen more!
230. Point-tailed Palmcreeper - Berlepschia rikeri: 1, 1 more [H], Mauritia palms along Gareno Lodge' access road (T). Excellent bird, as always!
231. Pearled Treerunner - Margarornis squamiger: rec Bellavista (access road, 4), Tapichalaca (8), Yangana pass (4), Huashapamba (3), Dos Chorreros (El Cajas, 2), Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas, 3)
232. Spotted Barbtail - Premnoplex brunnescens: 3, Rio Bombuscaro (main trail, RH)
233. Lineated Foliage-gleaner - Syndactyla subalaris: few Mindo Loma (forest), [H] Bellavista (access road)
234. Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner - Anabacerthia variegaticeps: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma, Angel Paz
235. Montane Foliage-gleaner - Anabacerthia striaticollis: 5+ Rio Bombuscaro, few La Fragrancia
236. Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner - Philydor erythrocercus: rec Shaime (Oilbird trail) (Cordillera del Condor) in large flock led by Fulvous Shrike-Tanager
237. Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner - Philydor rufus: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Cabanas El Chef, Rio Bombuscaro
238. [H] Bamboo (Dusky-cheeked) Foliage-gleaner - Anabazenops dorsalis: 1, Shaime (Oilbird trail)(Cordillera del Condor)
239. Streak-capped Treehunter - Thripadectes virgaticeps: 1, Mindo Loma access track; 2 [H], Bellavista (access road)
240. Streaked Xenops - Xenops rutilans: rec La Fragrancia (incl a backlit ind, that appeared to have rufous upperparts, with a worn tail and an underdeveloped malar mark, making it look remarkably like a Spectacled Prickletail), Rio Bombuscaro, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
241. Plain Xenops - Xenops minutus: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma
242. [H] Black-tailed Leaftosser - Sclerurus caudacutus: 1 singing in early morning Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
243. Tyrannine Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla tyrannina: 1 Angel Paz (GK), 1 [H] Bellavista (access road)
244. Plain-brown Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla fuliginosa: 2 Rio Silanche
245. Long-tailed Woodcreeper - Deconychura longicauda: 1 at antswarm, Shaime (Oilbird trail) (Cordillera del Condor)(RH)
246. Wedge-billed Woodcreeper - Glyphorynchus spirurus: rec Rio Silanche, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Rio Bombuscaro, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail, access road)
247. Olivaceous Woodcreeper - Sittasomus griseicapillus amazonus and equatorialis: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), La Fragrancia, 3 Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Copalinga (orange trail), Rio Bombuscaro
248. Strong-billed Woodcreeper - Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe, 1), Bellavista (access road, 1), Cabanas El Chef (2)
249. Buff-throated (Lafresnaye's) Woodcreeper - Xiphorhynchus guttatus guttatoides: rec Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
250. Spotted Woodcreeper - Xiphorhynchus erythropygius: 1 Mindo Loma, 2 Cabanas El Chef
251. Olive-backed Woodcreeper - Xiphorhynchus triangularis: 1 in subsong, mainly feeding close to ground, Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
252. Streak-headed Woodcreeper - Lepidocolaptes souleyetii: rec Rio Silanche, El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito, 2), Aldea Salamandra (Puerto Quito), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
253. Montane Woodcreeper - Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger: rec Mindo Loma (forest, 3+), Angel Paz, Bellavista (biostation), Cabanas El Chef (4), Guango Lodge
254. Red-billed Scythebill - Campylorhamphus trochilirostris: 1 Gareno Lodege (access road, RH)
255. Brown-billed Scythebill - Campylorhamphus pusillus: 1, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")(RH, GF)
256. Great Antshrike - Taraba major: 1 pair, Aldea Salamandra (Puerto Quito), [H] Shaime (Oilbird trail)
257. Lined Antshrike - Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus: female Copalinga, 1 pair Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), [H] Rio Bombuscaro, [H] La Fragrancia
258. Uniform Antshrike - Thamnophilus unicolor: 1 male, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), 1 male, Angel Paz
259. [H] Plain-winged Antshrike - Thamnophilus schistaceus: Cabanas Yankuam (muddy road)
260. Western Slaty-Antshrike - Thamnophilus atrinucha: 1 male Rio Silanche (T), [H] Mango Loma
261. Russet Antshrike - Thamnistes anabatinus: 2 in mixed midstorey flock Rio Silanche (forest), 1 Mango Loma, 2 Rio Bombuscaro
262. [H] Plain Antvireo - Dysithamnus mentalis: 1 La Fragrancia
263. Dusky-throated Antshrike - Thamnomanes ardesiacus: 1 male Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail, T)
264. Short-billed Antwren - Myrmotherula obscura: 1 male Gareno Lodge (access road, RH)
265. Pacific Antwren - Myrmotherula pacifica: 1 pair El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito)
266. Stripe-chested Antwren - Myrmotherula longicauda: 1 pair Shaime (Oilbird trail, T)
267. Checker-throated Antwren - Epinecrophylla (Myrmotherula) fulviventris: sev Rio Silanche (forest), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), 1 male Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
268. Foothill Antwren - Epinecrophylla (Myrmotherula) spodionota: 1 pair Shaime (Oilbird trail)
269. White-flanked Antwren - Myrmotherula axillaries: 1 pair Rio Silanche (forest), 1 male Mango Loma, 1 female Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail, GK)
270. Slaty Antwren - Mymotherula schisticolor: 2 males, 3 females, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), sev Mango Loma
271. Grey Antwren - Myrmotherula menetriesii: rec Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
272. Dot-winged Antwren - Microrhopias quixensis: 5+ Rio Silanche (forest)
273. Yellow-breasted Antwren - Herpsilochmus axillaries: 1 pair Rio Bombuscaro (entrance trail)
274. Rufous-winged Antwren - Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus: 1 pair Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
275. Grey Antbird - Cercomacra cinerascens: [H] Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), 1 male Gareno Lodge, [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
276. [H] Black Antbird - Cercomacra serva: Shaime (Oilbird trail)
277. White-browed Antbird - Myrmoborus leucophrys: 1 pair Cabanas Yankuam (garden), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
278. Black-faced Antbird - Myrmoborus myotherinus: [H] Shaime (Oilbird trail), 1 male Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
279. Peruvian Warbling Antbird - Hypocnemis (cantator) peruviana: 5 Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)(Cordillera del Condor), [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
280. Yellow-browed Antbird - Hypocnemis hypoxantha: sev [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail); 1 pair (T), more [H], Gareno Lodge (access road). Gorgeous bird!
281. Spot-backed Antbird - Hylophylax naevia: [H] Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 2 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
282. Spot-winged Antbird - Schistocichla leucostigma: [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 1 male Gareno Lodge (access road)
283. Silvered Antbird - Sclateria naevia: 1 male (T), Mauritia palm swamp along Gareno Lodge´ access road
284. [H] Northern Chestnut-tailed (Zimmer's) Antbird - Myrmeciza hemimelaena: 1, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
285. [H] Sooty Antbird - Myrmeciza fortis: 1, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
286. Immaculate Antbird - Myrmeciza immaculata: 1 male Rio Silanche (RH)
287. Chestnut-backed Antbird - Myrmeciza exsul: rec Rio Silanche, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma
288. Esmeraldas Antbird - Myrmeciza nigricauda: 1 male (T), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
289. White-plumed Antbird - Pithys albifrons: 5+, at antswarm close to Oilbird cave, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
290. [H] Bicolored Antbird - Gymnopithys leucaspis: 1 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
291. Hairy-crested Antbird - Rhegmatorhina melanosticta: 1 male, at antswarm close to Oilbird cave, Shaime (RH). The first record for this area, but suspected to occur.
292. [H] Black-headed Antthrush - Formicarius nigricapillus: 2 Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
293. [H] Rufous-breasted Antthrush - Formicarius rufipectus: 1 Tandayapa teleferico, 2 Mindo Loma (forest)
294. [H] Giant Antpitta [VU] - Grallaria gigantea: c. 2 Angel Paz
295. [H] Undulated Antpitta - Grallaria squamigera: 1 Huashapamba
296. [H] Moustached Antpitta [VU] - Grallaria alleni: 2 Mindo Loma
297. [H] Plain-backed Antpitta - Grallaria haplonota: c. 3 Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
298. Chestnut-crowned Antpitta - Grallaria ruficapilla: 4 [H] Bellavista (access road); 1 [H] near pumphouse, Zamora-Loja road; sev [H] Tapichalaca, sev [H] Huashapamba; 10+ [H] Yunguilla; 1 seen well (Ph, V) as it was being fed worms, Guango Lodge
299. Jocotoco Antpitta [EN] - Grallaria ridgelyi: 4 being fed worms, Tapichalaca (V, Ph). The resident adult pair with a fully-grown previous, and their smaller, current young.
300. Yellow-breasted Antpitta - Grallaria flavotincta: 1 [H] Tandayapa teleferico; 1 ("Willy") being fed, Angel Paz
301. Rufous Antpitta - Grallaria rufula: 1 Huashapamba (T, RH only)
302. Tawny Antpitta - Grallaria quitensis: rec Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas, 3), Papallacta pass (2 seen, 6 [H]), Antisana
303. [H] Thrush-like Antpitta - Myrmothera campanisona: 3 Shaime (Oilbird trail), 2 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
304. Slate-crowned Antpitta - Grallaricula nana: 1 on trail and in bamboo, Tapichalaca
305. Chestnut-crowned Gnateater - Conopophaga castaneiceps: 1 male, Rio Bombuscaro (RH)
306. [H] Rusty-belted Tapaculo - Liosceles thoracicus: c. 2, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
307. [H] Unicolored (Blackish) Tapaculo - Scytalopus (unicolor) latrans: 3 each at Huashapamba and Yunguilla
308. [H] Narino Tapaculo - Scytalopus vicinior: 1 Tandayapa teleferico; 1 Bellavista (access road)
309. Spillman's Tapaculo - Scytalopus spillmani: 1 (T), Bellavista (access road)
310. [H] Chusquea Tapaculo - Scytalopus parkeri: Tapichalaca (forest)
311. Ocellated Tapaculo - Acropternis orthonyx: 1 (T), Bellavista biostation. A real stunner! Shows a marked resemblance to Madagascar Flufftail.
312. Sooty-headed Tyrannulet - Phyllomyias griseiceps: 1 Rio Silanche
313. Black-capped Tyrannulet - Phyllomyias nigrocapillus: singles Mango Loma, Yangana pass
314. Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet - Phyllomyias uropygialis: few, Bellavista (biostation road)
315. Choco Tyrannulet - Zimmerius albigularis: rec Rio Silanche. Split from the next species by Clements (Dec 2008).
316. Golden-faced Tyrannulet - Zimmerius chrysops: rec Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
317. Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet - Camptostoma obsoletum: 1 Yunguilla
318. Foothill Elaenia [NT] - Myiopagis ollalai: 1 pair Shaime (Oilbird trail, 887m asl). Heard by Fredrik, it strongly responded to tape, repeatedly. Constitutes the first record for this trail, though its occurrence was suspected.
319. Yellow-bellied Elaenia - Elaenia flavogaster: rec Rio Silanche (access road)
320. White-crested Elaenia - Elaenia albiceps: rec Yangana pass
321. Sierran Elaenia - Elaenia pallatangae: rec Loja-Zamora road, Yangana pass, 2 Antisana
322. White-throated Tyrannulet - Mecocerculus leucophrys: rec Yangana pass (FC), 3+ Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas). My favourite genus amongst Ecuadorian flycatchers.
323. White-banded Tyrannulet - Mecocerculus stictopterus: rec Tapichalaca, Guango Lodge
324. White-tailed Tyrannulet - Mecocerculus poecilocercus: rec Mindo Loma (forest), Bellavista (biostation), Cabanas El Chef, Yangana pass
325. Torrent Tyrannulet - Serpophaga cinerea: rec Tandayapa teleferico, Cabanas El Chef, 8 Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor), Zamora-Loja road
326. Tufted Tit-Tyrant - Anairetes parulus: sev Virgen de Calicali; 5+ Mihuïr (El Cajas)
327. Streak-necked Flycatcher - Mionectes striaticollis: rec Bellavista (access road, 3)
328. Olive-striped Flycatcher - Mionectes olivaceus: 2 Angel Paz, rec Rio Bombuscaro, Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
329. Slaty-capped Flycatcher - Leptopogon superciliaris: rec Rio Silanche (forest), La Fragrancia, Rio Bombuscaro, Shaime (Oilbird trail). Calls like a mechanical toy.
330. Ecuadorian Tyrannulet - Phylloscartes gualaquizae: rec Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia
331. Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant - Pogonotriccus ophthalmicus: 3+ Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
332. Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant - Pseudotriccus ruficeps: 2 in bamboo, Tapichalaca
333. Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant - Lophotriccus pileatus: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe, 2), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios", 2 seen, 1 [H]), Mango Loma
334. Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant - Lophotriccus vitiosus: 2 Gareno Lodge (access road)
335. White-eyed Tody-Tyrant - Hemitriccus zosterops: 1 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
336. Black-throated Tody-Tyrant - Hemitriccus granadensis pyrrhops: 1 in bamboo, Tapichalaca
337. Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher - Poecilotriccus ruficeps: 1 Mango Loma (GK)
338. Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher - Poecilotriccus calopterus: 2 Copalinga, 1 Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
( ) Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher - Poecilotriccus latirostris: 1 possible Copalinga (garden,
RH). Something that resembled this species was seen in a mixed flock along one of the Copalinga trails. Not recorded here before, but occurs 5 kms away.
339. Common Tody-Flycatcher - Todirostrum cinereum: rec El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mindo Loma (forest), Copalinga, Cabanas Yankuam, La Fragrancia
340. Yellow-olive Flatbill - Tolmomyias sulphurescens: rec Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Rio Bombuscaro
341. Yellow-margined Flatbill - Tolmomyias flavotectus: rec Rio Silanche
342. Olive-faced Flatbill - Tolmomyias viridiceps: rec Shaime (Oilbird trail)
343. White-throated Spadebill - Platyrinchus mystaceus: 1, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
344. Golden-crowned Spadebill - Platyrinchus coronatus: 1, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail, GK)
345. Ornate Flycatcher - Nyiotriccus ornatus: rec Mindo Loma (access track, 2), Mango Loma (4), Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Rio Bombuscaro (4)
346. Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher - Terenotriccus erythrurus: 2 Rio Silanche, 1 Rio Bombuscaro
347. Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher - Myiobius sulphureipygius: 2, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")
348. Flavescent Flycatcher - Myiophobus flavicans: 4 Bellavista (access road)
349. Orange-crested Flycatcher - Myiophobus phoenicomitra: 2 Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
350. Bran-colored Flycatcher - Myiophobus fasciatus ssp.: 2 Rio Silanche (access road). Totally unlike the ones I've seen before, in Brazil.
351. Olive-chested Flycatcher - Myiophobus cryptoxanthus: 2 Copalinga (garden)
352. Orange-banded Flycatcher [NT] - Myiophobus lintoni: rec Tapichalaca (8), Yangana pass (12+). Quite a beautiful little flycatcher.
353. Cinnamon Flycatcher - Pyrrhomyias cinnamomea: 2 Bellavista (biostation road), 2 Rio Bombuscaro, 1 Tapichalaca, 2 Huashapamba
354. Eastern Wood-Pewee - Contopus virens: 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
355. Western Wood-Pewee - Contopus sordidulus: 1 Rio Silanche (access road)
356. Blackish Pewee - Contopus nigrescens: 1, Shaime (Oilbird trail, T). Fredrik recognised its call and after I put the tape on it it took another c. 10 mins before I localised the bird, perched on top of a tree, visible through the foliage of the 15-m tall trees from one spot..
357. Smoke-colored Pewee - Contopus fumigatus: rec roadside Milpe, Angel Paz (3), Bellavista
358. Olive-sided Flycatcher [NT] - Contopus cooperi: rec Cabanas Yankuam
359. Acadian Flycatcher - Empidonax virescens: 1 Mango Loma
360. Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans: rec Alambi, Bellavista, Cabanas El Chef, Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor)(4), La Fragrancia, Yangana pass
361. Vermillion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus: 1 pair Yunguilla, 1 male Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), 1 male, 1 female Quito scrub site
362. Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant - Ochthoeca fumicolor: 2, Dos Chorreros (El Cajas); 3 Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas); 1 Papallacta pass
363. White-browed Chat-Tyrant - Ochthoeca leucophrys: 2 Huashapamba
364. Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant - Ochthoeca rufipectoralis: rec Yangana pass, Huashapamba
365. Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant - Ochthoeca diadema: 2, Bellavista (biostation road)
366. Rufous-rumped Bush-Tyrant - Cnemarchus erythropygius: 2 Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas)
367. Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant - Myiotheretes striaticollis: 1, Calicali
368. Cliff Flycatcher - Hirundinea ferruginea : 5, La Fragrancia (river)
369. Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant - Agriornis montana : 1 Antisana
370. White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant [VU] - Agriornis andicola: 1, Virgen de Calicali
371. Paramo Ground-Tyrant - Muscisaxicola alpina: rec Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas, 3), Papallacta pass (3), Antisana (40)
372. Long-tailed Tyrant - Colonia colonus: 3 Shaime (Oilbird trail)
373. Masked Water-Tyrant - Fluvicola nengeta: 2 btw Los Bancos and Mango Loma
374. Bright-rumped Attila - Attila spadiceus: 1 pair (T), Gareno Lodge (access road)
375. Dusky-capped Flycatcher - Myiarchus tuberculifer: rec Rio Silanche (forest), Yunguilla
( ) Unidentified Myiarchus species: sev Mango Loma
376. Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus: few btw Guango Lodge and Tena
377. Boat-billed Flycatcher - Megarynchus pitangua: rec somewhere (probably Gareno)
378. Social Flycatcher - Myiozetes similes: rec Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, La Fragrancia, Gareno Lodge (access road)
379. Rusty-margined Flycatcher - Myiozetetes cayanensis: rec somewhere (probably Rio Silanche and/or Mango Loma)
380. Grey-capped Flycatcher - Myiozetetes granadensis: rec Rio Silanche (access road), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Cabanas El Chef, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
381. Lemon-browed Flycatcher - Conopias cinchoneti: 2 Shaime (Oilbird trail), [H] Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
382. Golden-crowned Flycatcher - Myiodynastes chrysocephalus: [H] Tandayapa teleferico, rec Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz (3)
383. Piratic Flycatcher - Legatus leucophaius: rec Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
384. Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher - Empidonomus (Griseotyrannus) aurantioatrocristatus: 1 Gareno Lodge (access road)
385. Tropical Kingbird - Tyrannus melancholicus: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef, Loja-Zamora road, La Fragrancia, Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, Gareno Lodge (access road)
386. Yellow-cheeked Becard - Pachyramphus xanthogenys: 1 [H], Shaime (Oilbird trail) (Cordillera del Condor); 1, Copalinga garden
387. Cinnamon Becard - Pachyramphus cinnamomeus: pair, Rio Silanche (access road), pair Mango Loma, pair Cabanas El Chef
388. White-winged Becard - Pachyramphus polychopterus: 1 male, Cabanas El Chef, Mindo
389. Pink-throated Becard - Platypsaris minor: 1 female, Gareno Lodge (access road)
390. Black-crowned Tityra - Tityra inquisitor: 2 Shaime (Oilbird trail)
( ) Tityra species: 2 Mango Loma
391. Barred Fruiteater - Pipreola arcuata: 1 male, Jocotoco Reserve, Tapichalaca (RH)
392. Green-and-black Fruiteater - Pipreola rieferii: Bellavista (access road, 7)
393. Orange-breasted Fruiteater - Pipreola jucunda: 2 [H] Mindo Loma (forest), 2 males and 1 female, Angel Paz (in fruiting trees in afternoon rain)
394. Scaled Fruiteater - Ampelioides tschudii: 1 (rather distant) male, Angel Paz
395. Olivaceous Piha - Lathria (Snowornis) cryptolophus: 3, of which 1 at feeder (Ph), Angel Paz; 1, Bellavista (access road)
396. [H] Grey-tailed Piha - Lathria (Snowornis) subalaris: 1, repeatedly answering the tape from nearby but refusing to show for 1.5 hr, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
397. [H] Screaming Piha - Lipaugus vociferans: sev Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
398. Purple-throated Cotinga - Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema: 1 pair Gareno Lodge (access road)
399. Spangled Cotinga - Cotinga cayana: 1 distant male Gareno Lodge (access road). First thought to be Plum-throated Cotinga, because of its bright all-(rather-dark)-blue appearance, but as it also appeared to have all-black wings it was most probably Spangled.
400. Purple-throated Fruitcrow - Querula purpurata: 1 displaying pair El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), 2 pairs Mango Loma
401. Amazonian Umbrellabird - Cephalopterus ornatus: bad views of 1 in flight, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road); 1 perched in early morning, Rio Bombuscaro (entry trail)
402. [H] Long-wattled Umbrellabird [VU] - Cephalopterus penduliger: sev heard displaying, Mango Loma ridge (yellow trail): had we been half an hr earlier, we would've seen them.
403. Andean Cock-of-the-rock - Rupicola peruviana: 3 males at lek in early morning, plus 2 in fruiting trees in afternoon, Angel Paz; 2 females, La Fragrancia (1 female on the second visit); 1 female, Rio Bombuscaro
404. Golden-headed Manakin - Pipra erythrocephala: 2 males Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 4 Gareno Lodge (access road)
405. Blue-crowned Manakin - Lepidothrix coronata: 1 female [H] Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail), 1 pair Gareno Lodge (access road)
406. Blue-rumped Manakin - Lepidothrix isidorei: 2 males, 1 female Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
407. [H] Blue-backed Manakin - Chiroxiphia pareola: 2, Gareno Lodge (access road)
408. Golden-winged Manakin - Masius chysopterus: 1 male, Tandayapa teleferico; 1 pair Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe); 1 male Mango Loma, 1 pair Mindo Loma (forest), 1 female Shaime (Oilbird trail)
409. Striped Manakin (Western) - Machaeropterus regulus striolatus: 1st summer male and 2 females, Gareno Lodge (access road)
410. [H] Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin - Tyranneutes stolzmanni: singles Shaime (Oilbird trail) and Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
411. Wing-barred Piprites - Piprites chloris: 1, La Fragrancia, with great views of 1, Copalinga (roadside, near Lodge)
412. Turquoise Jay - Cyanolyca turcosa: rec Bellavista (access road, 4), Tapichalaca (FC), Huashapamba (6+), Guango Lodge
413. Violaceous Jay - Cyanocorax violaceus: sev Shaime (Oilbird trail) and Cabanas Yankuam
414. Inca Jay - Cyanocorax yncas: 6, Copalinga; [H] at Rio Bombuscaro (entrance trail)
415. Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Cyclarhis gujanensis: 1 in scrub, Yunguilla (RH)
416. Black-billed Peppershrike - Cyclarhis nigrirostris: 1, Bellavista (access road)
417. Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo - Vireolanius leucotis: 1 [H], Shaime (Oilbird trail); 2, leading a mixed flock, Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
418. Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus: 1 La Fragrancia
419. Brown-capped Vireo - Vireo leucophrys: rec Tandayapa teleferico, Mindo Loma, Bellavista (access road)
420. Lesser Greenlet - Hylophilus decurtatus: sev Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
421. Olivaceous Greenlet - Hylophilus olivaceus: 2 btw Rio Bombuscaro and Copalinga, rec Cabanas Yankuam (roadside), La Fragrancia
422. Tawny-crowned Greenlet - Hylophilus ochraceiceps: sev Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
423. [H] Andean Solitaire - Myadestes ralloides: 1 Bellavista (access road), 1 pumphouse btw La Fragrancia and Loja. Brief views of a probable, btw Loja and Zamora (RH).
424. Spotted Nightingale-Thrush - Catharus dryas: 1, 2 [H], Magic Birding Circuit, Milpe (RH, GF)
425. Great Thrush - Turdus fuscater: C in montane forest (i.e. Loja-Zamora road, Huashapamba, Cajas, Papallacta pass, Guango Lodge), sev in Quito
426. Glossy-black Thrush - Turdus serranus: single males Tapichalaca (roadside), Yangana pass
427. Black-billed Thrush - Turdus ignobilis: rec Copalinga, Bombuscaro, Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Gareno Lodge. 1st prize in the "most boring song of Ecuador"-category.
428. Pale-vented Thrush - Turdus obsoletus: 2 Milpe (RH, GF)
429. Spectacled Thrush (Ecuadorian) - Turdus nudigenis maculirostris: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Angel Paz. Clements (dec 2008) lumps Ecuadorian Thrush with this species.
430. White-capped Dipper - Cinclus leucocephalus: 1 Bellavista (access road), 3 btw Copalinga and Rio Bombuscaro
431. Brown-chested Martin - Progne tapera: rec Yangana village
432. Grey-breasted Martin - Progne chalybea: rec Tena bus station
433. Brown-bellied Swallow - Notiochelidon murina: rec btw Calicali and El Pahuma; Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), Mihuïr (El Cajas), btw Tena and Gareno Lodge
434. Blue-and-white Swallow - Notiochelidon cyanoleuca: rec Alambi, Bellavista (access road), Shaime (Oilbird trail), Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia, Sayausi village (El Cajas)
435. White-banded Swallow - Atticora fasciata: rec btw Zamora and Rio Bombuscaro, Shaime (Oilbird trail), La Fragrancia, btw Tena and Gareno Lodge, Gareno Lodge (access road)
436. White-thighed Swallow - Neochelidon tibialis griseiventris: sev Rio Silanche (access road)
437. Southern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx ruficollis: rec Rio Silanche (access road), Angel Paz, Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia
438. Black-capped Donacobius - Donacobius atricapillus: 1, Gareno Lodge (access road, GK)
439. Thrush-like Wren - Campylorhynchus turdinus: sev Shaime (Oilbird trail)
440. Band-backed Wren - Campylorhynchus zonatus: 3, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios")(RH)
441. Grey-mantled Wren - Odontorchilus branickii: 2 in mixed flock, La Fragrancia
442. Rufous Wren - Cinnycerthia unirufa: 5+ in mixed flock, Bellavista (biostation road)
443. Grass (Sedge) Wren - Cistothorus platensis: 5+, Huashapamba. Is this really the same species as I've seen in Canastra, SE Brazil (2005) and Ontario, Canada (1997)?
444. Bay Wren - Thryothorus nigricapillus: 2, Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), [H] Mango Loma, [H] Mindo Loma (forest), sev Cabanas El Chef
445. Speckle-breasted Wren - Thryothorus sclateri: 1 singing, roadside just above Valladolid
446. House Wren - Troglodytes aedon: rec El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Cabanas El Chef
447. Mountain Wren - Troglodytes solstitialis: rec Huashapamba, Dos Chorreros (El Cajas, C), Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), Guango Lodge
448. [H] White-breasted Wood-Wren - Henicorhina leucosticte: Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
449. Grey-breasted Wood-Wren - Henicorhina leucophrys: 1 Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz
450. Musician Wren - Cyphorhinus arada: 1, scrub at start of Oilbird trail, Shaime (GK)
451. [H] Southern Nightingale-Wren - Microcerculus marginatus: Milpe, the Magic Birding Circuit, Mango Loma, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Gareno Lodge (access road)
452. [H] Wing-banded Wren - Microcerculus bambla: Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
453. Tawny-faced Gnatwren - Microbates cinereiventris: 1-2 Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios", RH)
454. Long-billed Gnatwren - Ramphocaenus melanurus: 2 Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail, RH)
455. Tropical Gnatcatcher - Polioptila plumbea: rec Rio Silanche, El Jardin Lodge, Puerto Quito, Gareno Lodge (access road)
456. Paramo Pipit - Anthus bogotensis: 2 Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas); 1, Dos Chorreros (El Cajas); 2 Antisana
457. Tropical Parula - Parula pitiayumi: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz, Bellavista (access road), Cabanas El Chef, Loja-Zamora road, Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia
458. Blackpoll Warbler - Dendroica striata: 1 summer-plumaged male, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos). Not usual west of the Andes, it was the first record for this site and for Patricio (and my second-ever).
459. Blackburnian Warbler - Dendroica fusca: rec Tandayapa teleferico, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef (incl an aberrantly coloured ind), La Fragrancia
460. Slate-throated Whitestart - Myioborus miniatus: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz (C), Loja-Zamora road, Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Tapichalaca, Yunguilla, Sayausi village (El Cajas, 1), Guango Lodge
461. Spectacled Whitestart - Myioborus melanocephalus: rec Loja-Zamora road (2, GK), Tapichalaca (roadside, 2), Huashapamba (4), Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), Mihuïr (El Cajas), Sayausi village (El Cajas, 2), Guango Lodge
462. Citrine Warbler - Basileuterus luteoviridis: rec Tapichalaca (roadside, 2), Huashapamba (3+)
463. Golden-bellied (Choco) Warbler - Basileuterus chrysogaster chlorophrys: 2 Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), sev Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), C Mango Loma
464. Three-striped Warbler - Basileuterus tristriatus: sev Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz
465. Russet-crowned Warbler - Basileuterus coronatus: rec Tandayapa teleferico, Tapichalaca, Huashapamba (6+), Guango Lodge
466. Buff-rumped Warbler - Phaeothlypis (Basileuterus) fulvicauda: rec Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios", 2), Nangaritza river (Cordillera del Condor, 2); [H] Gareno Lodge (access road)
467. Bananaquit - Coereba flaveola: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mango Loma, Angel Paz, Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia
468. Purple Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes caeruleus: rec in mixed flock Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
469. Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Copalinga feeders, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
470. Blue Dacnis - Dacnis cayana: 1 pair in flock, Cabanas Yankuam (garden), few Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
471. Black-faced Dacnis - Dacnis lineata: rec Copalinga (garden), 1 male Shaime (Oilbird trail), 2 in tanager flock, Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
472. Yellow-tufted Dacnis - Dacnis egregia: 1 female, Mirador Rio Blanco garden (RH)
473. Yellow-bellied Dacnis - Dacnis flaviventer: 1 in flock, Cabanas Yankuam garden
474. Cinereous Conebill - Conirostrum cinereum: 1 Virgen de Calicali, 10 Antisana
475. Blue-backed Conebill - Conirostrum sitticolor: rec Tapichalaca (6), Yangana pass
476. Capped Conebill - Conirostrum albifrons: rec Bellavista (access road, 3)
477. Tit-like Dacnis - Xenodacnis parina: 1 male, 3 females Polylepis grove at far end of Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas)
478. Masked Flowerpiercer - Diglossa (Diglossopis) cyanea: rec Mindo Loma (feeders, 2), Bellavista (access road, 3), Tapichalaca (6), Yangana pass (4), Sayausi village (El Cajas), Guango Lodge
479. Glossy Flowerpiercer - Diglossa lafresnayii: rec Yangana pass, Antisana
480. Black Flowerpiercer - Diglossa humeralis: 2 Mihuïr (El Cajas), rec Antisana
481. White-sided Flowerpiercer - Diglossa albilatera: 1 female Mindo Loma (feeders), 1 male Bellavista (access road), 1 male Loja-Zamora road, 1 female Tapichalaca
482. Rusty Flowerpiercer - Diglossa sittoides: 2 at different scrub sites outside Quito
483. Guira Tanager - Hemithraupis guira: rec (mostly single pairs) Rio Silanche, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga
484. Rufous-chested Tanager - Thlypopsis ornata: 3, Yunguilla; 1, scrub in Quito valley
485. Fawn-breasted Tanager - Pipraeidea melanonota: pair Cabanas El Chef, Mindo
486. Thick-billed Euphonia - Euphonia laniirostris: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), btw Milpe and the Magic Birding Circuit, Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro
487. Orange-bellied Euphonia - Euphonia xanthogaster: rec Rio Silanche, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), roadside near Milpe, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mindo Loma (forest), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road), Rio Bombuscaro, Gareno Lodge (access road)
488. Orange-crowned Euphonia - Euphonia saturata: 1 male, Rio Silanche (access road)
489. Rufous-bellied Euphonia - Euphonia rufiventris: 2 males, 3 females Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail)
490. Bronze-green Euphonia - Euphonia mesochrysa: 3 Copalinga (feeders), Rio Bombuscaro
491. White-lored Euphonia - Euphonia chrysopasta: 2 Shaime (Oilbird trail)
492. Orange-eared Tanager - Chlorochrysa calliparaea: singles in few Rio Bombuscaro and Copalinga flocks, except for 5+ in a large tanager flock along Rio Bombuscaros main trail
493. Rufous-throated Tanager - Tangara rufigula: 1 pair, Mirador Rio Blanco (few mins a day); 2, Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), 2 Mindo Loma (forest)
494. Grey-and-gold Tanager - Tangara palmeri: 4, Mango Loma (yellow trail). The book doesn't do this beauty justice.
495. Golden Tanager - Tangara arthus: rec Alambi, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), C Mindo Loma (forest), Angel Paz, Cabanas El Chef, Rio Bombuscaro
496. Silver-throated Tanager - Tangara icterocephala: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Cabanas El Chef
497. Golden-eared Tanager - Tangara chrysotis: few btw Rio Bombuscaro and Copalinga,
498. Flame-faced Tanager - Tangara parzudakii: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mindo Loma (forest)
499. Golden-naped Tanager - Tangara ruficervix: rec Mindo Loma (feeders), Angel Paz
500. Metallic-green Tanager - Tangara labradorides: 4 Mindo Loma (forest)
501. Beryl-spangled Tanager - Tangara nigroviridis: Mindo Loma (1 female along access track, 10+ in forest), Angel Paz (4), Bellavista (access road, 8+)
502. Blue-and-black Tanager - Tangara vassorii: rec Bellavista (biostation road), Loja-Zamora road (6+), Tapichalaca (1 in mixed tanager flock), Yangana pass (C), Huashapamba
503. Black-capped Tanager - Tangara heinei: 1 female Mindo Loma, 1 pair Bellavista (access road)
504. Silvery (Silver-backed) Tanager - Tangara viridicollis: 1 pair, roadside just above Valladolid
505. [H] Scrub Tanager - Tangara vitreolina: 2 [H] in interandean valley scrub near Quito
506. Blue-necked Tanager - Tangara cyanicollis: rec Rio Silanche, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Cabanas El Chef (Mindo), Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road and garden)
507. Masked Tanager - Tangara nigrocincta: rec Copalinga (garden, 1), Shaime (Oilbird trail, few), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road and garden), Gareno Lodge (access road)
508. Turquoise Tanager - Tangara mexicana: rec Copalinga (garden, 1), Shaime (Oilbird trail, few), Cabanas Yankuam (garden, few), Gareno Lodge (access road, few)
509. Opal-rumped Tanager - Tangara velia: 2 Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
510. Paradise Tanager - Tangara chilensis: sev Copalinga (garden and roadside), Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road, Ph), Gareno Lodge (access road)
511. Green-and-gold Tanager - Tangara schrankii: Copalinga (roadside), Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road and garden), Rio Bombuscaro, Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
512. Blue-whiskered Tanager [NT] - Tangara johannae: 1-2, in large mixed midstorey flock, Rio Silanche
513. Spotted Tanager - Tangara punctata: 2 Copalinga, 4+ Rio Bombuscaro (main trail)
514. Yellow-bellied Tanager - Tangara xanthogastra: 3 Cabanas Yankuam garden; Copalinga (roadside)
515. Bay-headed Tanager - Tangara gyrola: rec Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Rio Bombuscaro, La Fragrancia
516. Golden-crowned Tanager - Iridosornis rufivertex: rec Tapichalaca (roadside, 2), Yangana pass (4). Always with Lacrimose Mountain-Tanagers.
517. Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager - Anisognathus igniventris: Tapichalaca (1, GK), Yangana pass (3), Dos Chorreros (El Cajas, 2)
518. Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager - Anisognathus lacrymosus: rec Tapichalaca (roadside, 4), Yangana pass (10), Huashapamba (1)
519. Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager - Anisognathus somptuosus: 5 Tandayapa teleferico, 5+ Mindo Loma (feeders), 4+ Angel Paz, Bellavista (access road)
520. Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager - Anisognathus notabilis: 3, Mindo Loma (feeders)
521. Hooded Mountain-Tanager - Buthraupis montana: FC Tapichalaca and Huashapamba
522. [H] Moss-backed Tanager - Bangsia edwardsi: 1, Milpe garden. It refused to show.
523. Orange-throated Tanager [VU] - Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron: 1 pair seen well at 10.30, c. 6 more [H], Shaime (Oilbird trail)(Cordillera del Condor)
524. Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager - Dubusia taeniata: 4 museum near Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), 1 Antisana
525. Grass-green Tanager - Chlorornis riefferii: Bellavista (biostation road, c. 10 in mixed flock); Tapichalaca (1 in mixed tanager flock)
526. Blue-grey Tanager - Thraupis episcopus: rec Alambi, Rio Silanche, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (garden), Rio Bombuscaro, Yangana village, Yunguilla
527. Palm Tanager - Thraupis palmarum: small numbers, mainly at feeders (Rio Silanche, Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Mindo Loma, Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (garden), Rio Bombuscaro
528. Blue-capped Tanager - Thraupis cyanocephala: 3, Bellavista (biostation road), Tapichalaca (2 in mixed tanager flock)
529. Blue-and-yellow Tanager - Thraupis bonariensis: 2 males, 2 females scrub site near Quito
530. Silver-beaked Tanager - Ramphocelus carbo: rec Copalinga, Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (garden)
531. Lemon-rumped Tanager - Ramphocelus icteronotus: C in scrub and at feeders in northwest (incl Cabanas El Chef, Mindo)
532. Ochre-breasted Tanager - Chlorothraupis stolzmanni: sev Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
533. Dusky-faced Tanager - Mitrospingus cassinii: good views of 1, more [H], the Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe)
534. White-lined Tanager - Tachyphonus rufus: rec Alambi, Rio Silanche, Copalinga, Quito scrub
535. Flame-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus cristatus: few Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road)
536. Fulvous-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus surinamus: 3 Gareno Lodge (access road)
537. White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus: rec Rio Silanche, Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef (3)
538. Tawny-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus delatrii: sev Rio Silanche, Mango Loma
539. Fulvous Shrike-Tanager - Lanio fulvus: 1 male leading a mixed flock, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
540. Common Bush-Tanager - Chlorospingus ophthalmicus: rec Rio Bombuscaro
541. Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager - Chlorospingus canigularis: rec Rio Bombuscaro
542. Dusky Bush-Tanager - Chlorospingus semifuscus: rec Mindo Loma (forest, 3), Angel Paz
543. Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager - Chlorospingus flavigularis: C Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Rio Bombuscaro, Shaime (Oilbird trail)
544. Grey-hooded Bush-Tanager - Cnemoscopus rubrirostris: FC Tapichalaca, Yangana pass
545. Black-capped Hemispingus - Hemispingus atropileus: 7, Guango Lodge
546. Superciliaried Hemispingus - Hemispingus superciliaris: 1 Dos Chorreros (El Cajas); 1 Mihuïr (El Cajas); 1 Guango Lodge (GK)
547. Oleaginous Hemispingus - Hemispingus frontalis: 2, Guango Lodge
548. Black-eared Hemispingus - Hemispingus melanotis melanotis: 2-3, Guango Lodge
549. Black-headed Hemispingus - Hemispingus verticalis: c. 4, Yangana pass
550. Magpie Tanager - Cissopis leveriana: rec Copalinga, Rio Bombuscaro, btw Tena and Gareno Lodge
551. Plushcap - Catamblyrhynchus diadema: 1 loosely associating with mixed Hemispingus flock, Guango Lodge
552. Buff-throated Saltator - Saltator maximus: rec Alambi, Cabanas El Chef, Copalinga, [H] Shaime (Oilbird trail), Cabanas Yankuam (muddy new road and garden), Rio Bombuscaro, Gareno Lodge (access road), Quito scrub
553. Black-winged Saltator - Saltator atripennis: sev Angel Paz
554. Greyish Saltator - Saltator coerulescens: rec Copalinga (feeders)
555. Southern Yellow-Grosbeak - Pheucticus chrysogaster: sev Virgen de Calicali; Jocotoco Reserve, Yunguilla (10+), Quito scrub site (6)
556. [H] Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak - Parkerthraustes humeralis: 1 Shaime (Oilbird trail)
557. Blue-black Grassquit - Volatinia jacarina: rec somewhere.
558. Yellow-faced Grassquit - Tiaris olivacea: 1 singing male, Angel Paz
559. Variable Seedeater - Sporophila corvina: rec Rio Silanche access road, El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, C Cabanas El Chef garden (incl an incubating female in a straw nest next to our cabin window, Ph), probable females and juveniles, Yunguilla
560. Yellow-bellied Seedeater - Sporophila nigricollis: rec El Jardin Lodge (Puerto Quito), Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), Mango Loma, Cabanas El Chef, Zamora-Loja road
561. Chestnut-bellied Seedeater - Sporophila castaneiventris: 1 male, Shaime (Indian village at Oilbird trail), 1 male sev females Cabanas Yankuam garden (both Cordillera del Condor)
( ) [ Blue Seedeater - Amaurospiza concolor: [H]? Vinicio Perez claimed to hear this in Cabanas El Chef garden, Mindo. Taping it the next morning (with the John V. Moore-recording from The Birds of Northwest Ecuador) only resulted in response of Variable Seedeaters...however, Vinicio has excellent knowledge of sounds.]
562. Plain-colored Seedeater - Catamenia inornata: 1 pair Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas); 3+ near hilltop communication tower, Cuenca; 1 male Papallacta pass parking; sev Antisana
563. Paramo Seedeater - Catamenia homochroa: C Antisana
564. Band-tailed Seedeater - Catamenia analis: 2 males and 1 female, Calicali; 1 pair Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas); sev Quito scrub
565. Plumbeous Sierra-Finch - Phrygilus unicolor: 1 male, 4 females Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas); 1 male Papallacta pass; sev Antisana
566. Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch - Phrygilus plebejus : 1 male, Virgen de Calicali
567. Band-tailed Sierra-Finch - Phrygilus alaudinus: 2 males, Calicali
568. Grassland Yellow-Finch - Sicalis flaveola: 2, Virgen de Calicali
569. Rufous-naped Brush-Finch - Atlapetes latinuchus: sev btw Loja and Zamora, Tapichalaca (C), Yangana pass (C), Dos Chorreros (El Cajas), Sayausi village (El Cajas), Antisana
570. Tricolored Brush-Finch - Atlapetes tricolour: 2 Magic Birding Circuit (Milpe), 2 Mindo Loma (forest)
571. Slaty Brush-Finch - Atlapetes schistaceus: Guango Lodge
572. White-winged Brushfinch - Atlapetes leucopterus: 1 male, Tandayapa teleferico; sev Angel Paz
573. Pale-headed Brushfinch [CR] - Atlapetes pallidiceps: c. 8, Jocotoco reserve, Yunguilla
574. Chestnut-capped Brushfinch - Arremon (Buarremon) brunneinuchus: sev Angel Paz, Tapichalaca (roadside, 4)
575. Stripe-headed Brushfinch - Arremon (Buarremon) torquatus: 3, Enrique's garden, Yunguilla; c. 4, Guango Lodge
576. Orange-billed Sparrow - Arremon aurantiirostris: rec Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos), Felipe Quiroz ("4 Rios"), Shaime (Oilbird trail), Rio Bombuscaro (waterfall)
577. Black-striped Sparrow - Arremonops conirostris: 1 briefly in a tree near Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos); sev, roadside scrub btw Milpe and the Magic Birding Circuit
578. Yellow-browed Sparrow - Ammodramus aurifrons: rec Copalinga, Shaime (Indian village), La Fragrancia
579. Rufous-collared Sparrow - Zonotrichia capensis: rec Virgen de Calicali, Quito, Loja-Zamora road, Copalinga, Mihuïr (El Cajas), Sayausi village (El Cajas). Probably underrecorded.
580. Yellow-rumped Cacique - Cacicus cela: rec Shaime (Oilbird trail), Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
581. Northern Mountain-Cacique - Cacicus leucoramphus: rec Tapichalaca, Huashapamba
582. Subtropical Cacique - Cacicus uropygialis: rec Copalinga
583. Scarlet-rumped Cacique - Cacicus microrhynchus: rec Mango Loma
( ) Yellow-billed Cacique - Amblycercus holosericeus: 1 possible, Rio Bombuscaro (entrance trail, RH). Is not supposed to occur here, and never seen by Catherine. I did, however, notice important fieldmarks such as pale yellow bill and eye, and black rump, as well as its habits (feeding solitary in the understorey). "New world blackbirds - the Icterids" (Jaramillo and Burke, 1999) describes that juvenile Subtropical Cacique should show a blue eye and orange (not scarlet) rump.
584. [H] Casqued Oropendola - Clypicterus oseryi: UTV's Gareno Lodge (Harpy trail and access road)
585. Crested Oropendola - Psarocolius decumanus: rec Copalinga
586. Russet-backed Oropendola - Psarocolius angustifrons: 5 Rio Bombuscaro
587. Scrub Blackbird - Dives warszewiczi: Rio Silanche access road, Loja-Zamora road, Yunguilla
588. Hooded Siskin - Carduelis magellanica: rec Virgen de Calicali, Antisana, Quito scrub (10)
589. Andean Siskin - Carduelis spinescens: 2 males, 1 female Antisana
[INTRO] House Sparrow - Passer domesticus: few in cities like Loja, Cuenca and Quito
Top 10 Best new birds seen
1. Torrent Duck
2. Yellow-browed Antbird
3. Ocellated Tapaculo
4. Chestnut-crowned Antpitta
5. Streaked Tuftedcheek
6. Ecuadorian Hillstar
7. Pearled Treerunner
8. Crested Owl
9. Lyre-tailed Nightjar
10. Grey-and-gold Tanager
Marguay - Felis wiedii: 1 crossing the road in evening on the way from Zamora to Cabanas Yankuam (RH)
Kinkajou - Potos flavus: 1 Mirador Rio Blanco, Los Bancos (c. 20.30, RH). Many in cages in the backyard of a house along the track towards the Rio Mazan entry into El Cajas NP, Sayausi village.
Andean Fox (Culpeo) - Lycalopex culpaeus: 1 Papallacta pass (RH)
Rabbit species: c. 10 Laguna Torreadora (El Cajas), 10 Antisana [they looked remarkably like 'our' European rabbits..]
Andean White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus: 1, Bellavista (access road) (RH)
Red-tailed Squirrel - Sciurus granatensis: common in western lowland sites incl Mirador Rio Blanco (Los Bancos)
Furthermore, we recorded sev dragonflies (Ph, we're still identifying them), butterflies, a tarantula (hiding from the rain in our Gareno Lodge cabin roof), stick insects (incl 2 being swallowed by a Collared Trogon at Mango Loma and 1 at Dos Chorreros, El Cajas), nose beetle (Gareno Lodge access road), etc.
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands