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A Report from

Ecuador, Tandayapa Lodge and Cabanas San Isidro, 20th October -1st November 2011,

Robert and Angela Page

Introduction and Summary

This report describes an eleven day visit my wife and I made to the Western and Eastern slopes the Andes just North of Quito. We stayed for the first eight nights at Tandayapa Lodge and then at Cabanas San Isidro for two nights. Both lodges are well described in previous trip reports. We can only add the food and most of the rooms at Tandayapa lodge were excellent. The trails at Tandayapa Lodge were difficult with the exception of the Tanager Trail compared to the trails in the Upper Tandayapa Valley and at San Isidro, Guango and Paz de las Aves.

We arranged for Andres Vasques to be our guide for the first three of the 8 days at Tandayapa Lodge through the Tandayapa offices in Quito.

In preparation for the trip a list of 83 songs was downloaded onto a Sony Walkman from an MP3 CD The Birds of Northwest Ecuador Volume 1 The Upper Foothills and Subtropics, obtained from Bird Sounds, Netherlands. The Sony Walkman was then plugged into a small portable XMI-208 Ixos speaker for use in the field.

I used a field note book throughout the trip and made an annotated list of birds as they were seen. Altogether 231 species of birds were seen, of which 165 were seen in the first three days with Andres Vasques our bird guide.

Daily Log

Day 1. Saturday 22 October

Andres Vasquez and his driver Carlos picked us up at 05.30 hrs. from our hotel in Quito and drove to Yanacocha. Yanacocha lies to the north of the Pichincha volcano and is between 3000 - 3500 metres / 9843 - 11483 feet (Wheatley, 1994). We stopped before the entrance to Yanacocha at 07.30 hrs. Within 10 minutes a White-browed Spinetail was drawn in and seen well creeping amongst the fairly open bushes in this upper montane forest.   

A small flock of Buff-breasted Mountain Tanagers was seen from the edge of the road, far down in the valley below. They responded to playback enabling an excellent view of one perched facing us on an exposed branch about 9.1 metres / 30 feet away.  The long frosty blue superciliary (Ridgely & Tudor, 1989) and the buff chest were clearly seen. We reached the Yanacocha entrance just before 08.00 hrs. and were soon watching Shining Sunangel and Great Sapphirewing at the hummingbird feeders outside the Yanacocha Headquarters. At 08.25 hrs. we entered the reserve and walked along the road through the forest. At the first corner we stopped to look at a Band-winged Nightjar sitting on a single egg by the edge of the road. Unfortunately disturbing it as we passed. By the time we reached the Masked Trogon Trail on our right we had seen Hooded Mountain Tanager, Brown-backed Chat-tyrant, Glossy Flowerpiercer and Tyrian Metaltail. A Glossy Flowerpiercer was feeding at the hummingbird feeder on our right. We then saw a small flock that included White-banded Tyrannulet and Superciliaried Hemispingus in the forest close to the unpaved road. This was constructed by the Water Company and ends at the large conduit tunnel and the hummingbird feeders at the end of the trail.

Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Great Sapphirewing, Tyrian Metail, Sapphire-vented Puffleg and Golden Breasted Puffleg were at these hummingbird feeders. Two Rufous Wrens were preening by a dripping water stand pipe, that provided an unusual opportunity to see the tail barring. Rufous Spinetail and Rufous Wren are similar as both have bright rufous plumage and black lores but Rufous Spinetail lacks the tail barring. We were now part of a small group waiting to move uphill, a short distance to an area, where we saw a Rufous Antpitta habituated to feed on worms placed on the ground by the warden at the Yanacocha Reserve. We started back at 10.35 hrs. and had excellent views of a Crowned Chat-Tyrant in bamboo. A small flock of Brown-bellied Swallows was seen in the distance flying within a ravine.

After seeing Tawny Antpitta near the offices we left Yanacocha at 12.15 hrs. and shortly turned left downhill towards Nono passing an American Kestrel perched on a post. After stopping for lunch Andres used playback as an aid to see Unicoloured Tapaculo, a tapaculo we had seen in Venezuela, but only Andres saw it. We crossed the river Alambi in the village of Virgen de Alambi with its statue and mirador. The river was now on our right hand side allowing Andres and myself a good view of this fast flowing river. I had seen White-capped Dipper and Torrent Duck before and Andres knew the bird I most wanted to see was Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant. We stopped at 14.15 hrs where the river divided into some shallows. Here we saw a pair of Black Phoebe and explored the faster flowing section of the river. Andres said he had first to hear a Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant calling before we had a hope of seeing it. We spent the next 30 minutes scanning the river and making frequent stops and getting out of the vehicle to look and listen. I wasn't sure I was going to hear any call note above the noise of the river rushing over the boulders. Then I realized by his behaviour Andres had heard a call note as he immediately started to play the territorial song of Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant. Within a few minutes I saw a bird flash past me and land on a large boulder 15 feet in front of us. Its head was turned slightly towards us displaying both highly conspicuous brilliant white supralorals, contrasting with the dark head and back. This combined with the rich reddish chestnut belly made a magnificent sight for the brief time it remained on the sunlit boulder. 

We continued on down by the river Alambi where the road moved away from the river into forest. Here we saw Three Striped Warbler closely followed by a flock, feeding at all levels within the surrounding forest.

The following birds were seen: Collard Inca, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Brown-capped Vireo, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Capped Conebill, Blackburnian Warbler, and Russet Crowned Warbler.

Looking across the valley some 804.67 metres / 880 yards away we watched two male Andean Cock of the Rock displaying. An Andean Solitare was seen before we moved on again at 16.40 hrs. just before a large flock of Red-billed Parrots flew overhead.

We reached Tandayapa Lodge at 17.15 hrs. Andres named the following hummingbirds present at the feeders but we had plenty of time during the next few days to identify them in our own time. Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet, Booted Racket-tail, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Fawn breasted Brillaint, Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Western Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Andean Emerald.

Day 2. Sunday 23 October

We left at 05.30 hrs. and arrived at the dirt road leading to Rio Silanche at 06.53 hrs. We continued in the car before stopping in an open area with fields and a large quarry in the distance to the left. A Ringed Kingfisher and Rough-winged Swallows were perched on the electricity wires. Masked Water-Tyrant, Scrub Blackbird and Dull-coloured Grassquits were in the fields underneath the wires. We saw a Dusky Pigeon, Olivaceous Piculet and Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant at 07.15 hrs. in the tall trees on the edge of the road on our right.

After driving a short distance we continued on foot seeing: Mealy Parrot, Striped Cuckoo, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Blue-grey Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator and Black-winged Saltator.

Male Lemon-rumped Tanagers were common and easily seen in open habitats between 350-1300 metres / 106.68 - 396.24 feet in the lower and upper foothills. The intense black and yellow plumage is really striking especially to someone seeing them for the first time. I probably spent a disproportionate amount of time watching them and Andres was now trying to call in a Golden-olive Woodpecker he had heard in the distance. A Golden-olive Woodpecker soon flew in and landed close by allowing us all to see it with the aid of Andres' telescope. At 08.20 hrs we reached a field with Zebu cattle, Cattle Egret, Shiny Cowbird and Smooth-billed Ani.

At 08.55 hrs. Andres attempted to call in a Lineated Woodpecker. Eventually a Campephilus woodpecker flew over our heads and into the distance. A Lineated Woodpecker was seen later perched on a tree about 45.72metres / 50 yards away.

Other birds seen in this area were: Ruddy Pigeon, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Smooth-billed Ani, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Dull-colored Grassquit and Shiny Cowbird.

Just before we drove off a flock of Maroon-tailed Parakeets flew past. We saw a Roadside Hawk, shortly before we reached the headquarters of Rio Silanche at 09.28 hrs. We didn't see any birds from the tower so descended.  Almost immediately we could see a flock moving close to the trail leading to the tower. I had a brilliant close view of an Orange-billed Sparrow on the forest floor and also saw a White-flanked Antwren. We returned to the tower at 10.20 hrs. just as a Turkey Vulture flew overhead. A White-whiskered Hermit and a Purple-chested Hummingbird were feeding on the flowering bushes at the foot of the tower. A canopy flock was then seen moving from left to right, which we watched for 30 minutes, the birds just seemed to keep on coming.

The flock contained at least the following: Rufous Motmot, Spotted Woodcreeper, Checker-throated Antwren, Ecuadorian Thrush, White-shouldered Tanager, Palm Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Yellow-tufted (Black) Dacnis, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Slate-coloured Grosbeck, Buff-throated Saltator and Slate-throated Gnatcatcher.

We left the tower at 10.50 hrs. and again immediately encountered a flock that included the following birds:

Red-headed Barbet, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Spotted Woodcreeper, Dot-winged Antwren, Greenish Elaenia, Chocó Tyrannulet, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Lesser Greenlet, White-shouldered Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Cacique and Slate-throated Gnatcatcher.

A singleton Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher was part of this understory flock which Andres pointed out. It is considered rare and consequently was not a species I had expected to see or tried to familiarize myself with. Andres took a photograph of a Cinnamon Woodpecker with the aid of his telescope which we also used to see this scarce resident.

We returned to the car park at 12.15 hrs. where we saw a Masked Tityra and had lunch. We left at 13.00 hrs. and turned left at the main road. We arrived at the Sachatamia Lodge on our left at 14.15 hrs. Being a Sunday the restaurant was very busy but as we approached I was surprised to see about 30 or 40 pairs of shoes, boots, trainers, and other footwear neatly arranged on the floor outside the restaurant. We had a drink of tea but the purpose of our visit was to see the hummingbird feeders. Fruit was also put out for birds which were now still plentiful and active unlike the birds in the lower foothills at Rio Silanche where as elsewhere the birds usually appear to be less active in the afternoon.

The following were seen around the feeders in the gardens adjoining the car park.

Violet-tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple Coronet,  Booted Racket-tail Tail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Empress Brilliant,  Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager and  Tricolored Brush-Finch.

We then walked past the restaurant towards some of the cabins and turned left down the steps leading to a large pond with several hummingbird feeders where we saw: Bronze-winged Parrot, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Bronzy Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Green-crowned Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Andean Emerald and Bananaquit.

A memorable moment was seeing a Wedge-billed Hummingbird at eye level and point blank range stab its bill into the base of a large fuchsia like flower to obtain the nectar. This method of feeding like that of flowerpiecers means the flower has no chance of being cross fertilized with pollen from another flower.

We then returned to the gardens adjoining the car park and saw Golden-naped Tanager, Black-capped Tanager and Orange-bellied Euphonia before leaving Sachatamia Lodge at 15.20 hrs. and arriving at Tandayapa Lodge at 16.15 hrs.

At 18.15 hrs. Andres attempted to show us Lyre-tailed Nightjar on the dirt road past Tandayapa village but without success. He thought most of the birds would now be holding breeding territories.

Day 3. Monday 24 October

We left Tandayapa Lodge at 06.00 hrs. arriving at the dirt entrance road to the Milpe Bird Sanctuary at 06.50 hrs. and the car park at Milpe five minutes later. The first bird we saw was a Pallid Dove and then a Plumbeous Hawk with the aid of the telescope. By 07.15 hrs. we had good views of both Pale-mandibled Toucan and Choco Toucan.

We then encountered a flock which included the following: Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Uniform Treehunter, Russet Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-and-white Becard, One-coloured Becard, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Chocó/Golden Bellied Warbler and Three-striped Warbler.

We were back at the hummingbird feeders near the offices 09.00 hrs. and saw Green Thorntail and White-necked Jacobin. On the way to a manakin lek we saw Rufous Motmot, Red-faced Spinetail, Cinnamon Becard and Slate-throated Whitestart.

After watching Club-winged Manakin at the lek we returned to the Milpe offices and shop as it was now raining quite heavily. On the way we saw Striped (West) Woodhaunter, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Ornate Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Slaty Becard, Purple Honeycreeper and Summer Tanager.

We saw Green Thorntail, Brown Violetear and Green-crowned Woodnymph at the Milpe Offices. At 11.40 hrs. we left the Milpe Bird Sanctuary, turned right and continued along the unpaved road. We heard Chestnut-mandibled Toucans calling but they did not respond to playback.

The following birds were seen: Greater Ani, White-collard Swift, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Masked Water-Tyrant, Brown-capped Vireo, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-thighed Swallow, Blue-black Grassquit, White-winged Brush-Finch, Tropical Parula and Olive-crowned Yellowthroat.

Greater Ani is not recorded on the lodge's annotated bird list (Tanadayapa Bird Lodge, 2011) and Andres confirmed there was no record for the area and he would pass on this sighting. During the 5-7 minutes it was seen, the large size compared to the recently seen Smooth-billed Ani and the white eyes were obvious as was the bill shape. All of us had seen Greater Ani before.

We returned to the main road at 13.20 hrs. Carlos soon turned right onto the unpaved old Nono Mindo road that leads to the Upper Tandayapa valley. It passes Bellavista Lodge and eventually reaches the turning to Tandayapa Lodge. Andres tried unsuccessfully to see Tanager Finch and Plain-tailed Wren. We arrived at Tandayapa Lodge at 15.15 hrs. when Andres and Carlos returned to Quito.

Day 4. Tuesday 25 October

This morning we arranged to visit the hide with one of the Tandayapa lodge staff, who would bring some earthworms to place on the ground in front of the hide. We were sitting on the benches in the hide at 05.40 hrs. Once inside the wooden hide we were in total darkness as the entrance is screened with a black curtain to prevent any light from entering. The front of the hide itself is partitioned with glass and an open mesh curtain to the floor. There is a strip light placed immediately outside this partition about 45.72 cms. / 18 inches above the ground. Which illuminates a wide area in front of the hide. The light had attracted a large number of moths. At about 05.50 hrs. a Strong-billed Woodcreeper appeared and began feeding on the moths under the light and also on the vertical tree trunk less than 1.2 metres / 4 feet away. A Streak-capped Treehunter then appeared, also feeding on the moths. It was close enough to see that the buff streaking on the head and nape doesn't extend onto the back. Unfortunately the tail and wings did not appear rufous in the artificial light, being a dull grey brown.

Two birds then entered the arena whose very prominent post ocular spot baffled me. They were clearly antbirds. We knew Immaculate Antbirds visited the hide and this was one of the birds I had tried to remember the plumage before our trip. Apparently not well enough, for as Ridgely & Tudor (2009) note this species is sometimes paler and almost whitish behind the eye. Again a marvelous opportunity to see this rarely seen bird well. The blue skin around the eye was barely discernable in the poor light. Then both birds in typical antbird behaviour began raising and lowering the tail to the ground also sideways, but less often. Two Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches were the last birds to appear and kept to the edge of the lit area. We left the hide at 06.50 hrs. Between 07.45 and 10.30 hrs. we divided our time between the lower deck and the Tanager trail.

We saw the following: Squirrel Cuckoo, Andean Cock of the Rock, White-winged Brush-Finch, Southern (GB) Yellow Grosbeak and Blue-and-white Swallow.

We wished to use the trails, now we were without a guide, so started to walk the Potoo Trail but it was very slippery so we decided to try again another day.

Before lunch we saw the following at the hummingbird feeders: White-necked Jacobin, Sparkling Violetear, Violet-tailed Sylph, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Andean Emerald. 

After an alfresco lunch on the partially roofed tiled dining area we saw a Roadside Hawk and Crimson-rumped Toucanet nearby. We then went down the steps to the car park and followed the unpaved road to the T junction where we walked towards the Bellavista lodge, before retracing our steps. As so often happens when bird watching. A long time was spent yesterday trying to see a Red-faced Spinetail well, that was moving as part of a flock high up in the canopy. I hadn't seen this furnariid before but didn't really see it well. To-day, by the side of the road in some fairly open bushes a singleton Red-faced Spinetail was moving about, just above eye level and within a fairly small area, enabling excellent views of this attractive bird. Azara's Spinetail, Lemon-rumped Tanager and Black-capped Tanager were also seen.

Day 5. Wednesday 26 October

At 06.00 hrs. a taxi took us for the 20 minute drive to the right hand turning leading to the research station, just past the Bellavista lodge in the Upper Tandayapa Valley. We continued along the road towards Mindo but saw nothing, so turned back and took the road to the research station. The first bird we saw was a White-tipped Dove at 08.50 hrs. Then an hour later a pair of Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers was seen well in a roadside tree. We then tried for Tanager Finch on the Water Trail without success. We were glad to find a seat sheltered from a fine drizzle at 10.00 hrs. on the Grass-green Tanager trail where we drank our thermos flask coffee. After seeing a Buff-tailed Coronet we climbed back up to the road and continued walking towards the research station. The rain was quite heavy now so we sat in one the covered bus shelters and had lunch at mid-day. We continued past the entrance on the left to the research station and then retraced our steps to the Grass Green Tanager Trail at 13.10 hrs. Opposite the entrance a Grass Green Tanager was perched in a small tree in the sun. I was surprised how large it was for a tanager, perhaps influenced by its conspicuous long bright orange red legs. A flock had now caught up with us on the right hand side of the unpaved road.

We also saw Collared Trogon, Golden-olive Woodpecker and Blue-winged Mountain Tanager. We reached the junction at 13.55 hrs. where we saw Masked Flowerpiercer and Spectacled Whitestart/Redstart.

We turned left and at KM Post 070 and used playback at 14.25 hrs. in an area of dense clumps of Chusquea bamboo at the road side. Immediately two Plain-tailed Wrens appeared singing loudly and at times completely in the open. As the response was so quick we hardly played the territorial song yet the birds spent some time singing and searching around in front of us. Hopefully they had young and the female was not incubating or possibly they had not started to breed. We were at the Bellavista lodge at 14.25 hrs. and watched Speckled Hummingbird and Collard Inca at the feeders before our lift to Tandayapa lodge arrived at 15.30 hrs.

Day 6. Thursday 27 October

After breakfast we stayed around the lodge and saw: White-collared Swift, Masked Trogon, Red-headed Barbet, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Smoke-colored Pewee, Blue-grey Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Summer Tanager, Slate-throated Whitestart and Three-striped Warbler.

At 10.20 hrs. we walked down to Tandayapa village and turned right over the bridge and continued up the old Nono Mindo road to KM Post 095 when we retraced our steps. We didn't hear or see any jays. It was a lovely sunny morning and we saw many butterflies including Clysonymus longwing, other heliconids and hairstreak butterflies.

In the afternoon we took the telescope down to the lower deck but only saw Red-headed Barbet and Slate-throated Whitestart. Later we watched high flying swifts from the old Nono Mindo road. Andres told us if large swifts are seen in this area with strong rapid wing beats together with smaller black looking swifts they are in all probability White-collard Swifts and Chestnut-collard Swifts respectively.

Day 7. Friday 28 October

I anticipated during the five days we were without a guide we would see birds on the Tandayapa trails especially when many species had established territories and I presumed many would have already started to breed. We had already attempted the Potoo trail and had to turn back but decided to try again at 07.15 hrs. as I still hoped to see Spillman's Tapaculo and Golden-winged Manakin. During our stay the smaller trails leading off the Potoo trail were closed as were the Nunbird and Antpitta trails. We were told it was still possible to reach the Golden-winged Manakin lek.

Being the start of winter and the beginning of the rainy season many of the trails we used elsewhere were often muddy and slippery and we found the Potoo trail was no exception. It was however an exception in not having any ropes as aids to negotiate the steepest parts, at least on the part of the trail we attempted. After 50 minutes on the trail the narrow path became increasingly steep and I needed to find a hand hold for every step either using a rock or a tree. It was also muddy and slippery underfoot. We had agreed to stay together and it was probably going to be harder going down. This really was a big disappointment and so reluctantly we returned to the lodge. Others have reported difficulties in walking the Potoo trail (Stowe, 2005). On the other hand Wallace & Wallace (2007) reported seeing Ochre-breasted Antpitta on the Potoo trail and Moger (2004) used the trails at Tandayapa without any difficulty.

The rest of the morning we walked along the old Nono Mindo road from Tandayapa village as far as KM Post 102 before returning for lunch at 13.00 hrs.

In the morning we had seen Red-headed Barbet, Tropical Kingbird, Andean Cock of the Rock, House Wren, Blue-capped Tanager, White-winged Brush-Finch and Slate-throated Whitestart.

Day 8. Saturday 29 October

We left Tandayapa Lodge for Paz de las Aves at 05.00 hrs. and arrived an hour later.  Angel met us and we set off before the other group of three Australians and Gabriel their bird guide, who were also staying at Tandayapa lodge, arrived.

Soon we had seen: Powerful Woodpecker, Barred Fruiteater, Andean Solitaire and Metallic-green Tanager.

After watching two adult Andean Cock of the Rock at the lek towards the bottom of the valley. Angel pointed out an Olivaceous Piha high up in one of the huge trees but it flew before I saw it. Angel then pointed about 13.71 metres / 15 yards ahead to a Giant Antpitta close to the path. The other group had now joined us as we watched worms being placed on the ground. Angel called and soon a Giant Antpitta was almost at our feet feeding on the worms.  One of Angel's staff then appeared walking backwards round a bend in the trail throwing small pieces of food onto the path in front of him. After he had taken 3 or 4 paces, a group of 7 Dark-backed Wood-Quail came into view pecking up the food as they moved along on the path - pure theatre!  And a marvelous opportunity to see an unobstructed view of these usually hard to see birds moving together, with their two chicks with white dots in their plumage. We were all so engrossed no one noticed a White-faced Nunbird had perched on a branch about 9.14 metres / 10 yards away until Angel pointed to it. We moved a short distance to a gully where Angel again used worms and called out a Moustached Antpitta. We waited about 4 minutes before this antpitta appeared twice briefly, but was seen well on the second occasion. Unfortunately it failed to respond for the others who were still photographing the Giant Antpitta.  We then all saw the smaller Ochre-breasted Antpitta.

Angel then showed us the nest of an Olivaceous Piha. The tiny nest for the size of the bird contained one egg but the female was not present. Angel assured us she would soon return. The nest was about 27.43 metres / 30 yards below us on the top of a 7.62 cms. / 3 inch diameter branch, very much in the open from above. After 12 minutes and what seemed a long wait in silence. The Olivaceous Piha flew in and settled on the nest.

We then returned to top of the trail which was steep and slippery in places but the entire trail was provided with a very taut rope hand rail which made an otherwise difficult if not impossible trail easy. At the top we watched the hummingbird feeders at 09.45 hrs. seeing Speckled Hummingbird and both male and female Empress Brilliant.

After a coffee and a snack, while watching a Dull-coloured Grassquit, Angel drove us to see a pair of nesting Orange-breasted Fruiteater. The female was on a very well concealed nest on a branch overhanging the road and about 9.1 metres / 30 feet above it. Angel then tried to show us a Yellow-breasted Antpitta but in the end, after all his efforts, he reluctantly agreed it was not going to appear.

Fortunately Gabriel noticed the male Orange-breasted Fruiteater had returned and was feeding the young which we all saw. The black head and orange chest bar on the male could be clearly seen as the female left and the male settled down on the nest.

 Whilst returning to the cars Gabriel obtained a response from a Slaty Spinetail which we all saw, if briefly.

We returned to the lodge at 12.35 hrs. and after lunch tried unsuccessfully to obtain a response from Spillman's Tapaculo on the old Nono Mindo road.

Day 9. Sunday 30 October

Before the taxi arrived at to take us to Cabanas San Isidro we saw Masked Trogon and Montane Woodcreeper around the lodge.

We left at 06.45 hrs and arrived at Cabanas San Isidro at 11.25 hrs. having made a long "Desvio" as a bridge on the Interoceanica highway was closed, as deemed unsafe, owing to the strong earth tremor yesterday.

Between 11.30-13.00 hrs. Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Slate-throated Whitestart, Spectacled Whitestart/Redstart and Three-striped Warbler were seen.

After lunch we saw Blackburnian Warbler, Glossy Flowerpiecer and Glossy-black Thrush in the garden with the canvas awning. At the hummingbird feeders we saw Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Gorgeted Woodstar.

We returned to thelookout/platform above the lounge and admired the view and a pair of Cinnamon Flycatchers.  At 15.30 hrs. a Highland/Blue-crowned Motmot was seen on the Antvireo Trail. At 20.00 hrs we were invited by a kind couple to join them and their bird guide Norby Lopez to see if we could all see the well known "Mystery Owl "or "San Isidro Owl" (Moger, 2004). We were lucky as the owl was quickly found perched in a tree, at the end of the entrance road, close to the car park. This owl is as yet an undescribed species that lies somewhere between Black-banded and Black and White Owl. It would appear to be near celebrity status after all these years. A fact surely not lost by everyone.

Day 10. Monday 31 October

After breakfast we saw Masked Trogon, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Russet-backed Oropendula and Subtropical Cacique.

At 07.00 hrs. one of the ground staff took us to see two species of antpitta habituated to being fed worms. Soon we were watching a White-bellied Antpitta taking worms from a leaf placed so as to give an unobstructed view, but not in an artificially cleared area. We then walked for about 20 minutes to where about 22.86 metres / 25 yards away we could see a small fallen log covered with epiphytes below which worms had been placed on a naturally raised part of the forest floor. We waited for about 8-9 minutes and I was beginning to wonder if were going to see anything. Patience paid off as a small Peruvian Antpitta now appeared on top of the log, dropped down took a worm and was gone. We waited again for at least 4 minutes for it to reappear but this time the bird spent much longer feeding, enabling us all to see it well.

 At 11.30 hrs. a spinetail flew low across the excellent rubber tyre steps at the beginning of the Antvireo trail by the hummingbird feeders and entered the thick 0.6 metres / 2 feet high vegetation below the feeders. I could see the leaves moving indicating, together with the continuous calling there was more than one bird. Eventually I had a glimpse of a spinetail with a black throat patch and a clear view of a Black-eared Hemispingus on the ground. The source of the continuous calling then moved to an impenetrable thicket of the South African climber Black-eyed Susan Thunbergia alata. I never saw Azara's Spinetail clearly but their distinctive call was unmistakable. We then heard and watched a male Powerful Woodpecker for at least two minutes at eye level about 22.86 metres / 25 yards away chiseling away at the bark of a tree on the Antvireo trail.

In the morning the following were seen within the first 91.45 metres / 100 yards of the start and the Antvireo trail by the hummingbird feeders: Powerful Woodpecker, Azara's Spinetail, Black-eared (Western) Hemispingus and Subtropical Cacique.

After lunch at 12.30 hrs. like yesterday, we could see thick dark clouds over the distant hills moving towards the lodge. At 14.00 hrs. it was raining but soon cleared and at 15.00 hrs. we walked down to the Cock of the Rock trail. The only bird seen before returning was a Flavescent Flycatcher. We disturbed a Collared Forest-Falcon in a nearby Cecropia tree as we reached the lookout platform above the TV room. A Rufous-bellied Euphonia was also seen.

At 17.00 hrs. we sat on the benches by the humming bird feeders watching the aggressive Chestnut-breasted Coronets. We both then saw and heard a large bird land about 9.1 metres / 30 feet up in a tree at the beginning of the Antvireo Trail. I saw it had red legs before it settled down, facing the sun, as if roosting. The most striking feature was the colourful breast feathers which could be described as light reddish brown but with golden pink flecking. I certainly wasn't thinking it was a guan, only ever seen them on the ground. Once the bill and blue facial skin were seen it was clearly a Sickle-winged Guan.

Day 11. Tuesday 1 November

At 05.00 hrs we tried unsuccessfully to see Rufous-bellied Nighthawk around the car park and the open area in front of the restaurant.

After breakfast in the car park and around the entrance road we saw Montane Woodcreeper, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Black-billed Peppershrike, Blue-and-white Swallow, Blue-necked Tanager, Canada Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart and Subtropical Cacique. We are grateful to Lopez (2011) for drawing our attention to the Black-billed Peppershrike on the entrance road, as it was a bird we hoped to see.

We had arranged for our transport at 10.00 hrs. to Quito to include "birding stops" on the way. We arrived at Guango Lodge at 11.15 hrs. and left at 12.50 hrs. after walking down to the river. At the hummingbird feeders we saw Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Collard Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and White-bellied Woodstar.

At 12.50 hrs. at the Papallacta lake we saw Andean Pintail.  We rejoined the main road leading up to the pass and turned right onto an unpaved road shortly before the top of the pass, where we had lunch at 13.40 hrs. out of the wind. The weather was exceptional, with hardly a cloud in the sky and consequently almost continuous sunshine. Jose our guide and driver called in a Tawny Antpitta which flew past but was not seen again. A Variable Hawk was also seen perched on a nearby rock. Unfortunately it was too late to turn back before I realized Jose was not going to include the areas mentioned by Lyons & Perez (2002) on the Papallacta Pass in our "birding stops". This was despite confirming verbally with Alejandro, the manager at Cabanas San Isidro, that we would stop at the antennae at the pass itself.  Descending the other side of the pass on the unpaved road also meant no large areas of Polylepis were seen before joining the main road at 16.00 hrs.  I am not sure why this misunderstanding happened but Alejandro said, before we left Cabanas San Isidro, Jose was not the driver he was expecting. During our descent from the pass between 13.40 - 16.00 hrs. we saw: Andean Gull, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Red-crested Cotinga, Brown-bellied Swallow and Plumbeous Sierra-Finch. The most memorable time was watching, from the car, a pair of Stout-billed Cinclodes foraging; after waiting for them to accept the close proximity of the vehicle posed no danger.

We arrived at our hotel in Quito at 17.10 hrs.

Tandayapa Lodge, Trails and Accommodation

The web site for Tandayapa Lodge was radically altered after we had booked our accommodation and before our trip started. When fully on line in July 2011 the new web pages were initially incomplete as no information was posted under trails. The current web site mentions, there is extensive hiking in the area and on the Tandayapa trail system. The map of the trails we were given at Tandayapa lodge was diagrammatic with no indication of scale, or approximately how long it would take to walk each trail or its length. The Potoo Trail starts close to the lodge and ascends through the rain forest along a narrow path cut into the steep hillside. Sometimes there is a sheer drop, close to the edge of the path, into the valley below. We didn't reach the manakin lek on the Potoo Trail but could have, had the steep and muddy sections of the trail been provided with a rope hand rail. The Potoo trail ends on the Old Nono Mindo road close to the T junction where there are two signs. The signs indicating Tandayapa lodge is to the right and Bellavista lodge to the left. The last 18.29 metres / 20 yards of the Potoo Trail is straight down a steep muddy embankment onto the road.

Tandayapa lodge has 12 comfortable and spacious bedrooms located on either side of a long corridor in the main building. Six bedrooms have windows that look out onto the gardens. There is a further bedroom with twin beds built under the top deck. This is split into three levels, one bed and the small bathroom are on separate levels, the other twin bed is in a small area, reached by steps, on the lowest level.  On entering this bedroom one is struck how low the low the ceiling is, greatly adding to the impression of how small and cramped this bedroom actually is. It is totally unlike the 12 comfortable and spacious rooms in the main building. The charge per night for this room is the same as the 12 rooms in the main building. The two other rooms mentioned on the Tandayapa lodge website are built under the lower deck.

Results and Conclusions

During our visit to Ecuador we saw 231 species of birds. The complete list, with spelling in English, at the end of this report, follows the South American Classification Committee (SACC) Remsen et al. (2008). This classification was followed by McMullan, W. M. & Vasquez, A. (2009) in their book on the birds of Ecuador rather than the nomenclature used by Ridgely, R.S. & Greenfield P. J. (2001). This was a post trip decision as we used Ridgely, R.S. & Greenfield P. J. (2001) in the field, as I imagine most visitors do when bird watching in Ecuador. Many of the species and recommended names used in Ridgely, R.S. & Greenfield P. J. (2001) and in Ridgely, R.S. & Tudor, G. (2009) have already been accepted by Remsen et al. (2008) and hopefully others will follow once the required information is published.


Lopez, N. (2011). 

Lyons, J. & Perez, V. (2000). Papallacta Pass to Guango Lodge . Downloaded from html

McMullan, W. M. & Vasquez, A. (2009). Birds of Northwest Ecuador Spot Field Books.

Moger, C. (2004).  Northern Ecuador 20th December 2003 to 11th January 2004 Downloaded from

Remsen, J. V., Cadena, C. D., Jaramillo, A., Nores, M., Pacheco, J., Robbins, M. B., Schulenberg, T. S., Stiles, F. G., Stotz, D. F. & Zimmer, K. J. (2008). A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. Downloaded from

Ridgely, R.S. & Greenfield P. J. (2001). The Birds of Ecuador, Volume II A Field Guide. Christopher Helm.

Ridgely, R.S. & Tudor, G. (1989). The Birds of South America, Volume I The Oscine Passerines. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ridgely, R.S. & Tudor, G. (2009). Birds of South America - Passerines. Christopher Helm.

Stowe, M.B. (2005). Downloaded from

Tanadayapa Bird Lodge, (2011). Annotated Bird List Downloaded from

Wallace, M. & Wallace, G. (2007). Extraordinary Ecuador, (950 Species in 45 Memorable Days), 18th January-05th March 2007, Downloaded from

Wheatley, N. (1994). Where to watch birds in South America. London : Christopher Helm  A & C Black.

Robert and Angela Page, Surrey, United Kingdom.

ECUADOR: 20th October - 1st November 2011, A list of 231 birds seen


Yellow-billed Pintail

Anas georgica


Sickle-winged Guan

Chamaepetes goudotii

Dark-backed Woodquail

Odontophorus melanonotus


Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis


Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura

Plumbeous Hawk

Leucopternis plumbea

Roadside Hawk

Buteo magnirostris

Variable Hawk

Buteo polyosoma


Collared Forest-Falcon

Micrastur semitorquatus

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

Andean Gull

Chroicocephalus serranus


Ruddy Pigeon

Patagioenas subvinacea

Dusky Pigeon

Patagioenas goodsoni

White-tipped Dove

Leptotila verreauxi

Pallid Dove

Leptotila pallida


Maroon-tailed Parakeet

Pyrrhura melanura

Red-billed Parrot

Pionus sordidus

Bronze-winged Parrot

Pionus chalcopterus

Mealy Parrot

Amazona farinosa


Squirrel Cuckoo

Piaya cayana

Greater Ani

Crotophaga major

Smooth-billed Ani

Crotophaga ani

Striped Cuckoo

Tapera naevia


Black-banded Owl

Ciccaba huhula


Band-winged Nightjar

Caprimulgus longirostris


Chestnut-collared Swift

Streptoprocne rutila

White-collared Swift

Streptoprocne zonaris


White-necked Jacobin

Florisuga mellivora

White-whiskered Hermit

Phaethornis yaruqui

Wedge-billed Hummingbird

Schistes geoffroyi

Brown Violetear

Colibri delphinae

Sparkling Violetear

Colibri coruscans

Tourmaline Sunangel

Heliangelus exortis

Green Thorntail

Discosura conversii

Speckled Hummingbird

Adelomyia melanogenys

Long-tailed Sylph

Aglaiocercus kingi

Violet-tailed Sylph

Aglaiocercus coelestis

Tyrian Metaltail

Metallura tyrianthina

Sapphire-vented Puffleg

Eriocnemis luciani

Golden-breasted Puffleg

Eriocnemis mosquera

Shining Sunbeam

Aglaeactis cupripennis

Bronzy Inca

Coeligena coelinga

Brown Inca

Coeligena wilsoni

Collared Inca

Coeligena torquatas

Buff-winged Starfrontlet

Coeligena lutetiae

Sword-billed Hummingbird

Ensifera ensifera

Great Sapphirewing

Pterophanes cyanopterus

Buff-tailed Coronet

Boissonneaua flavescens

Chestnut-breasted Coronet

Boissonneaua matthewsii

Velvet-purple Coronet

Boissonneaua jardini

Booted Racket-tail

Ocreatus underwoodii

Purple-bibbed Whitetip

Urosticte benjamini

Fawn-breasted Brilliant

Heliodoxa rubinoides

Green-crowned Brilliant

Heliodoxa jacula

Empress Brilliant

Heliodoxa imperatrix

White-bellied Woodstar

Chaetocercus mulsant

Gorgeted Woodstar

Chaetocercus heliodor

Purple-throated Woodstar

Calliphlox mitchellii

Western Emerald

Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus

Green-crowned Woodnymph

Thalurania fannyi

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Amazilia tzacatl

Andean Emerald

Amazilia franciae

Purple-chested Hummingbird

Amazilia rosenbergi


Masked Trogon

Trogon personatus


Ringed Kingfisher

Megaceryle torquata

Rufous Motmot

Baryphthengus martii

Highland/Blue-crowned Motmot

Momotus momota


White-faced Nunbird

Hapaloptila castanea


Red-headed Barbet

Eubucco bourcierii


Chocó Toucan

Ramphastos brevis

Crimson-rumped Toucanet

Aulacorhynchus haematopygus

Pale-mandibled/Collard Araçari

Pteroglossus erythropygius



Olivaceous Piculet

Picumnus olivaceus

Black-cheeked Woodpecker

Melanerpes pucherani

Golden-olive Woodpecker

Colaptes rubiginosus

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

Colaptes  rivolii

Cinnamon Woodpecker

Celeus loricatus

Lineated Woodpecker

Dryocopus lineatus

Powerful Wodpecker

Campephilus pollens

Guayaquil Woodpecker

Campephilus gayaquilensis


Stout-billed Cinclodes

Cinclodes excelsior

Pale-legged Hornero

Furnarius leucopus


Synallaxis azarae

Slaty Spinetail

Synallaxis brachyura

White-browed Spinetail

Hellmayrea gularis

Red-faced Spinetail

Cranioleuca erythrops

Streaked Tuftedcheek

Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii

Lineated Foliage-gleaner

Syndactyla subalaris

Western Woodhaunter

Hyloctistes virgatus

Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner

Philydor rufum

Uniform Treehunter

Thripadectes ignobilis

Streak-capped Treehunter

Thripadectes virgaticeps

Ruddy Foliage-gleaner

Automolus rubiginosus


Strong-billed Woodcreeper

Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus

Spotted Woodcreeper

Xiphorhynchus erythropygius

Olive-backed Woodcreeper

Xiphorhynchus triangulari

Streak-headed Woodcreeper

Lepidocolaptes souleyetii

Montane Woodcreeper

Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger


Russet Antshrike

Thamnistes anabatinus

Checquered-throated Antwren

Epinecrophylla fulviventris

White-flanked Antwren

Myrmotherula axillaris

Dot-winged Antwren

Microrhopias quixensis

Rufous-rumped Antwren

Terenura callinota

Chestnut-backed Antbird

Myrmeciza exsul

Immaculate Antbird

Myrmeciza immaculata


Giant Antpitta

Grallaria gigantea

Moustached Antpitta

Grallaria alleni

White-bellied Antpitta

Grallaria hypoleuca

Rufous Antpitta

Grallaria rufula

Tawny Antpitta

Grallaria quitensis

Ochre-breasted Antpitta

Grallaricula flavirostris

Peruvian Antpitta

Grallaricula peruviana


Sooty-headed Tyrannulet

Phyllomyias griseiceps

Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet

Tyrannulus elatus

Greenish Elaenia

Myiopagis viridicata

White-tailed Tyrannulet

Mecocerculus poecilocercus

White-banded Tyrannulet

Mecocerculus stictopterus

Chocó Tyrannulet

Zimmerius albigularis

Streak-necked Flycatcher

Mionectes striaticollis r

Slaty-capped Flycatcher

Leptopogon superciliaris

Ornate Flycatcher

Myiotriccus ornatus

Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant

Lophotriccus pileatus

Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher

Todirostrum nigriceps

Flavescent Flycatcher

Myiophobus flavicans

Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher

Terenotriccus erythrurus

Cinnamon Flycatcher

Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus

Smoke-coloured Pewee

Contopus fumigatus

Black Phoebe

Sayornis nigricans

Masked Water-Tyrant

Fluvicola nengeta

Crowned Chat-Tyrant

Ochthoeca frontalis

Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant

Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris

Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant

Ochthoeca fumicolorontalis

Rusty-margined Flycatcher

Myiozetetes cayanensis

Social Flycatcher

Myiozetetes similis

Golden-crowned Flycatcher

Myiodynastes chrysocephalus

Streaked Flycatcher

Myiodynastes maculatus

Tropical Kingbird

Tyrannus melancholicus

Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Myiarchus tuberculifer

Pale-edged Flycatcher,

Myiarchus cephalotes/swainsoni


Red-crested Cotinga

Ampelion rubrocristatus

Barred Fruiteater

Pipreola arcuata

Orange-breasted Fruiteater

Pipreola jucunda

Andean Cock of the Rock

Rupicola peruvianus

Olivaceous Piha

Snowornis cryptolophus


Club-winged Manakin

Machaeropterus deliciosus


Masked Tityra

Tityra semifasciata

Slaty Becard

Pachyramphus spodiurus

Cinnamon Becard

Pachyramphus cinnamomeus

Black-and-white Becard

Pachyramphus albogriseus

One-coloured Becard

Pachyramphus homochrous




Black-billed Peppershrike

Cyclarhis nigrirostris

Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo

Vireolanius leucotis

Brown-capped Vireo

Vireo leucophrys

Lesser Greenlet

Hylophilus decurtatus


Green Jay

Cyanocorax yncas


Blue and white Swallow

Pygochelidon cyanoleuca

Brown-bellied Swallow

Orochelidon murina

White-thighed Swallow

Atticora tibialis

Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Stelgidopteryx ruficollis


House Wren,

Troglodytes aedon

Plain-tailed Wren

Thryothorus euophrys

Rufous Wren

Cinnycerthia unirufa

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren

Henicorhina leucophrys


Tropical Gnatcatcher

Polioptila plumbea

Slate-throated Gnatcatcher.

Polioptila schistaceigula


Andean Solitaire

Myadestes ralloides

Swainson's Thrush,

Catharus ustulatus

Spectacled Thrush

Turdus nudigenis

Great Thrush

Turdus fuscater

Glossy-black Thrush

Turdus serranus


Superciliated Hemispingus

Hemispingus superciliaris

Black-eared (Western) Hemispingus

Hemispingus melanotus ochraceus

White-shouldered Tanager

Tachyphonus luctuosus

Lemon-Flame rumped Tanager

Ramphocelus flammigerus

Blue-grey Tanager

Thraupis episcopus

Palm Tanager

Thraupis palmarum

Blue-capped Tanager

Thraupis cyanocephala

Hooded Mountain Tanager,

Buthraupis montana

Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager

Anisognathus somptuosus

Grass-green Tanager

Chlorornis riefferii

Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager

Dubusia taeniata

Glistening-green Tanager

Chlorochrysa phoenicotis

Golden-naped Tanager

Tangara ruficervix

Black-capped Tanager.

Tangara heinei

Blue-necked Tanager

Tangara cyanicollis

Beryl-spangled Tanager

Tangara nigroviridis

Metallic-green Tanager

Tangara labradorides

Flame-faced Tanager

Tangara parzudakii

Golden Tanager

Tangara arthus

Silver-throated Tanager

Tangara icterocephala

Yellow-tufted (Black) Dacnis

Dacnis lineata/egregia

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis

Dacnis venusta

Purple Honeycreeper

Cyanerpes caeruleus

Green Honeycreeper

Chlorophanes spiza

Scarlet-browed Tanager

Heterospingus  xanthopygius

Capped Conebill

Conirostrum albifrons

Glossy Flowerpiercer

Diglossa lafresnayii

White-sided Flowerpiercer

Diglossa albilatera

Masked Flowerpiercer

Diglossopis cyanea


Dusky-bush Tanager

Chlorospingus semifuscus

Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager

Chlorospingus flavigularis


Coereba flaveola

Dull-coloured Grassquit

Tiaris obscurus

Slate-coloured Grosbeak

Saltator grossus

Buff-throated Saltator

Saltator maximus

Black-winged Saltator

Saltator atripennis


Rufous-collared Sparrow

Zonotrichia capensis

Plumbeous Sierra-finch

Phrygilus unicolor

Blue-black Grassquit

Volatinia jacarina

Orange-billed Sparrow

Arremon aurantiirostris

Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch

Arremon brunneinuchus

Tricolored Brush-Finch

Atlapetes tricolor crassus

White-winged Brush-Finch

Atlapetes leucopterus


Summer Tanager

Piranga rubra

Ochre-breasted Tanager

Chlorothraupis stolzmanni

Southern (GB)Yellow Grosbeak

Pheucticus chrysogaster

Tropical Parula

Parula pitiayumi

Blackburnian Warbler

Dendroica fusca

Olive-crowned Yellowthroat

Geothlypis semiflava

Canada Warbler

Wilsonia canadensis

Slate-throated Redstart/Whitestart

Myioborus miniatus

Spectacled Whitestart

Myioborus melanocephalus

Golden-bellied/Choco Warbler

Russet-crowned Warbler

Basileuterus coronatus

Three-striped Warbler

Basileuterus tristriatus


Russet-backed Oropendula

Psarocolius angustifrons

Subtropical / Scarlet-rumped Cacique

Cacicus uropygialis

Scrub Blackbird

Dives warszewiczi

Shiny Cowbird

Molothrus bonariensis


Orange-bellied Euphonia

Euphonia xanthogaster

Rufous-bellied Euphonia

Euphonia rufiventris

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