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A Report from

Ecuador, February 5th - February 20th 2004,

Jan van der Laan

Yanacocha, Mindo, Antisani, Papallacta, San Isidro and La Selva Lodge

Participants: Cor Hopman, Jan van der Laan

'San Isidro' Owl at San Isidro Lodge (© Cor Hopman)


Already in August 2003, Cor Hopman - my brother-in-law - and me decided to go to Ecuador. We opted for a tour with a guide, so we didn't have to drive ourselves or find our way in a country we did not know. We searched for a private guided tour on the internet. Two companies seems to be the best, Tropical Birding Tours (which is very European oriented) run by Anglo-Australians) and the American-Ecuadorian Mindo Bird Tours (, with more American customers. TBT had no guides for that period and were more expensive than Mindo Bird Tours. Moreover, MBT made a more friendly impression. However, both are highly recommendable. Also we had to make the choice between Sacha Lodge and La Selva Lodge. Jane Lyons, who runs MBT, said La Selva was better. Moreover, I consulted Paul Coopmans, a Belgian birding guide living in Ecuador and he recommended La Selva too. So that would be our trip: 5 days western Andean slope, 5 days eastern Andean slope and 5 days Amazonian rain forest.


5-02:      Early departure (5:30) from Alkmaar (Netherlands) to be sure to have a good seat. Emergency seats were available for both flights. Departure from Amsterdam 8:45 with Air Iberia (IB 3247), arrival in Madrid 11:10. Departure for Quito was at 12:30 (IB 6635). When boarding they changed our seats to business class, very much to our prevail. Good journey - good food, 4 sorts of wine, some good movies etc. - and arrival at 17:45 hours in Quito. Took a taxi to our hotel, Fuentes Piedra II in the very centre of Quito. After a beer we went to sleep. First and only birds were Eared Doves.

6-02:      (day 1) At 6:00, Edison Buageño picked us up. A few days before departure we heard he would be our guide. We never heard of him, but I think a better guide is not possible. He is the kind of type who gives you a good feeling after five minutes. For the first ten days he was our guide, driver and a good companion. He makes sure you see the characteristics of the birds, was good in sounds and good in explaining were the bird is. I hope Cor and I will meet him again in the future. First we went to Yanacocha, a reserve just outside Quito at about 3500 meters at the slopes of the Pichincha volcano. For us it was quite uncomfortable at this height and we would have a headache for the next two days. Birds seen or heard were:

Variable Hawk, American Kestrel, Eared Dove, Shining Sunbeam, Mountain Velvetbreast, Great Sapphirewing, Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Gorgeted Sunangel, Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Booted Racket-tail, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Tyrian Metaltail, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Bar-bellied Woodpecker (h), Undulated Antpitta (h), Rufous Antpitta (h), Tawny Antpitta (h), Uncoloured Tapaculo (h), White-crested Elaenia, White-throated Tyrannulet, White-banded Tyrannulet, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Barred Fruiteater, Rufous Wren, Slate-throated Whitestart, Spectacled Whitestart, Cinerous Conebill, Blue-backed Conebill, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Black Flowerpiercer, Golden-crowned Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Superciliared Hemispingus, Plain-coloured Seedeater, Rufous-naped Brush-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow (common) and Hooded Siskin.

No sign of the rare Black-breasted Puffleg, but July is a better month than February. At noon we drove to Mindo taking the old Nono - Mindo road. We also passed Tandayapa village and Tandayapa valley before we reached in the evening the Septimo Paraiso Lodge, our place for four nights. On our way we observed:

Western Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Azara's Spinetail, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (h), Spillman's Tapaculo (h), Tropical Kingbird, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant (h), Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Turquoise Jay, Beautiful Jay (h), Brown-capped Vireo, Andean Solitaire (h), Great Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Brown-bellied Swallow, Blue-and-white Swallow, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Black Phoebe, House Wren, Grey-breasted Wood-Wren (h), Blackburnian Warbler, Black-crested Warbler (h), Southern Yellow-Grosbeak, Masked Flowerpiercer, Flame-faced Tanager and Rufous-chested Tanager.

At the lodge we were welcomed by Pablo Léon and his wife and their enormous rottweiler Tony (a good, friendly dog). Also present was Jane Lyons, the owner of Mindo Bird Tours. After a very good meal, some beers and a lecture by Tony about the Linux operating system, we went to sleep.

7-02:      (day 2) This day we birded the upper Tandayapa valley. At first we stopped at the famous spot for Tanager Finch, which showed itself very well. After seeing the Tanager Finches we had several stops along the road. We visited the feeders of the Bella Vista Lodge, the feeders in the garden of the America-German couple Tony Nunnery and Barbara Bolz, the trails behind the Bella Vista Lodge, some birding along the road and finally in the evening a rocky slope near Tandayapa for the Lyre-tailed Nightjar. Birds observed:

Sickle-winged Guan (1 in the treetops behind the BV Lodge), Band-tailed Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Red-billed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Lyre-tailed Nightjar (a couple seen very well in the evening behind Tandayapa), Tawny-bellied Hermit, Green Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Speckled Hummingbird, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Empress Brilliant, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, Brown Inca, Collared Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet, Gorgeted Sunangel, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Purple-throated Woodstar, White-bellied Woodstar (nearly all hummers were seen at the feeders in the garden of Tony Nunnery and Barbara Bolz), Masked Trogon, Toucan Barbet (h), Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan (several heard and 1 beautifully seen), Powerful Woodpecker, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, Spotted Barbtail, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Striped Treehunter, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (h), Spillman's Tapaculo (h), Ocellated Tapaculo (finally one seen briefly behind the Bellavista Lodge and more heard), Sierran Elaenia, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Flavescent Flycatcher, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Green-and-black Fruiteater (a trail before the Belle Vista Lodge), Turquoise Jay, Beautiful Jay (finally one seen very well), Brown-capped Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Great Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, Sepia-brown Wren, Plain-tailed Wren (h), Grey-breasted Wood-Wren (finally seen), Blackburnian Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Spectacled Whitestart, Black-crested Warbler, Three-striped Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler, Capped Conebill, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Golden Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Blue-capped Tanager, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Black-eared Hemispingus, Plushcap (three above Bellavista Lodge), Southern Yellow-Grosbeak, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, White-winged Brush-Finch, Tanager Finch (2 birds, excellent close views!) and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

After another good meal at the Septimo Paraiso Lodge we went to sleep at 22:00 hours.

8-02:      (day 3) We rose early (5:00 hours) to at first light at Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM), an area west of Mindo were some lowland forest (450 m) remains. Upon arrival it started to rain and after an hour or so we decided to buy some umbrellas in nearby town. After this intermezzo we did some birding along the road until noon when it stopped raining. We drove along this road and made several birding-stops where there was good forest left. Birds seen at PVM:

Little Tinamou (h), Cattle Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Roadside Hawk, Bat Falcon (seen twice), Ruddy Pigeon, Pallid Dove (h), Maroon-tailed Parakeet (several groups), Pacific Parrotlet (one seen), Rose-faced Parrot (a group of six), Bronze-winged Parrot (several large groups), Little Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Striped Cuckoo, White-collared Swift, Grey-rumped Swift, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Green Thorntail, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant, Western White-tailed Trogon, Green Kingfisher, Rufous Motmot, Pale-mandibled Araçari, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Black-cheeked Woodpecker (h), Yellow-vented Woodpecker (h), Slaty Spinetail, Rufous Spinetail, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Spotted Woodcreeper, Pacific Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Stub-tailed Antbird (seen well), Scaled Antpitta (h), Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Masked Water-Tyrant, Dusky-capped Flycatcher (h), Social Flycatcher, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, White-bearded Manakin (good views of three birds), Lesser Greenlet, Great Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, White-thighed Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Bay Wren (building a nest), House Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher (1 seen well), Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Bananaquit, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Thick-billed Euphonia, Rufous-winged Tanager (which we identified later when seeing the photographs), Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Summer Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, Black-winged Saltator, Blue-black Grassquit, Lesser Seed-Finch, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Tricoloured Brush-Finch, Black-striped Sparrow, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Yellow-tailed Oriole and Yellow-bellied Siskin.

In the afternoon we went to the Los Bancos road, where Moss-backed Tanager and Ochre-breasted tanager were quickly found. Other birds found were:

Collared Forest-Falcon (h), Bronze-winged Parrot, Chocó Toucan (one displaying), Toucan Barbet (h), Cinnamon Becard, One-coloured Becard, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Ornate Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (h), Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Purple Honeycreeper, Guira Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Orange-crowned Euphonia, Golden Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Moss-backed Tanager (one seen very well), Lemon-rumped Tanager, Ochre-breasted Tanager and Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager.

After dinner we did some owling around Mindo. With a total of 111 species, this was the best day so far. After owling - which produced: Rufescent Screech-Owl (h) and Black-and-white Owl (good sights of two!) - we went to sleep very tired, but content.

9-02:      (day 4) Early morning birding at the private reserve near Mindo called Reserva las Gralarias, owned by Jane Lyons. This is a small but very nice cloud-forest reserve. We birded the whole morning. Birds observed were:

Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Roadside Hawk, White-throated Quail-Dove (flushed twice), Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Common Potoo (heard only by Edison), Velvet-purple Coronet, Golden-headed Quetzal (h), Masked Trogon, Rufous Motmot, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Red-faced Spinetail, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Streak-capped Treehunter, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Rufous-breasted Antthrush (h), Giant Antpitta (seen after a lot of patience; one of the star birds of the holiday!), Moustached Antpitta (heard at the entrance, too far away to approach), Nariño Tapaculo (too elusive), Rufous-winged Tyrannulet, Ornate Flycatcher, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Orange-breasted Fruiteater (one of the highlights, a pair seen very well!), Scaled Fruiteater (also seen very well!), Black-billed Peppershrike (one at the entrance), Brown-capped Vireo, Great Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Whitestart, Three-striped Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler, Bananaquit, Masked Flowerpiercer, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Golden Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager (one at the entrance), Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Strong-billed Woodcreeper (heard only by Edison when in the Jacuzzi!).

Also three armadillos were seen. After lunch I stayed in the lodge, because my fever was too high and I felt too ill. Cor and Edison did some birding around Mindo and saw:

Rock Pigeon (a great miss!) Red-billed Parrot, Little Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, White-whiskered Hermit, Green-crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Black Phoebe, Golden-naped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black-winged Saltator, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Shiny Cowbird and Scrub Blackbird (the only species I had not seen after the holiday).

I slept most of the afternoon, and lunch and dinner were kindly served in the room Meanwhile Cor, Pablo and Edison were testing the local beers and saw a small tarantula in the dining room.

10-02:    (day 5) We rose very early (again Edison heard the Common Potoo at the lodge) to be in time what would be the climax of the holiday for one the most charismatic of South American birds, Andean Cock-of-the-rock in the private Reserva Las Tangaras near Mindo. On our way to the leck we heard a Mottled Owl calling. We were in time at the leck and about 13 males were displaying at close range. We watched the males for about half-an-hour, a great sight! Other birds observed at the leck and surrounding trails were:

Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Broad-billed Motmot, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, White-whiskered Hermit, Esmereldas Antbird (h), Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Tropical Kingbird, Golden-crowned Flycatcher (h), Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (h), Brown-capped Vireo and Gray-breasted Wood-Wren.

Next on the program was a visit to the Rio Nambillo, where we searched in particular for Sunbittern, but failed to find one. But we managed to find:

Snowy Egret, Band-tailed Pigeon, Ruddy Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Rock Pigeon, Torrent Tyrannulet, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-capped Dipper (nesting) and Lemon-rumped Tanager.

Later in the morning we visited the trails behind the Septimo Paraiso Lodge. Birding was quite good with the following birds:

Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Roadside Hawk, Squirrel Cuckoo, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Brown Inca (one on the trails checking us), Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Red-headed Barbet, Toucan Barbet (finally a pair seen!), Golden-olive Woodpecker, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Slaty Spinetail, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted Barbtail, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Montane Woodcreeper, Long-tailed Antbird (h), Rufous-breasted Antthrush (h), Scaled Antpitta (one seen close!), Ochre-breasted Antpitta (one seen very well!), Nariño Tapaculo (h), Golden-faced Tyrannulet, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Tropical Kingbird, Swainson's Thrush, Great Thrush, Ecuadorian Thrush, Bay Wren, House Wren, Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Three-striped Warbler, Bananaquit, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Golden Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Black-winged Saltator, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Tricoloured Brush-Finch, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (Edison only) and Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Edison only).

After lunch at 14:00 hours, we left at 15:00 hours and drove back to Quito. Close to Quito we visited the dry interandean valleys near Calacalí, the best place in the world for the rare White-tailed Shrike Tyrant. After half-an-hour searching we found one on the hilltops, giving good scope views. Other birds seen: Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Plain-breasted Hawk, American Kestrel, Eared Dove, Sparkling Violetear, Black-tailed Trainbearer, White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant and Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant. Later Edison dropped us at the Hotel Fuente de Piedra II for one night. In Quito we bought some beers and breakfast for the next day and went to sleep early. At night somebody with wooden shoes tried all stairs and corridors!

11-02:    (day 6) At 6:00 hours Edison arrived at the hotel and we continued our holiday to Antisani, a high mountain range east of Quito. Birding at the Paramo was fantastic. We made it till 4000 meters, but we did not experienced headaches anymore like in the first two days. We made several stops and finally birded at the altiplano. Highlights were:

Andean Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Black-faced Ibis (about 10-20 birds), Andean Condor (two resting on a slope, one of the highlights of the holiday!), Variable (Puna) Hawk, Carunculated Caracara (perhaps more than hundred!), Andean Coot, Andean Gull (c 50, close views), Rock Pigeon, Eared Dove, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Ecuadorian Hillstar (a pair, male quite elusive, the female seen very well from a bridge aside a stream), Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Parma Ground-Tyrant, Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant, Tropical Kingbird, Great Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, Parma Pipit, Grass Wren, Cinerous Conebill, Band-tailed Seedeater, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch, Rufous-naped Brush-Finch and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

After Antisani we continued east with a lunch-stop just before the famous Papallacta pass:

Andean Condor (at least two, perhaps three), Giant Hummingbird (one very short), Black-tailed Trainbearer, White-capped Dipper, White-crested Elaenia, Red-crested Cotinga (2) and Plain-coloured Seedeater.

At the pass the weather was good and clear, but when meeting Robert Jonsson again, he told us he had not seen the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe for quite a while. However we found:

Aplomado Falcon (1 beautifully perched), White-chinned Thistletail, Tawny Antpitta (h), Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant and Grass Wren (h).

We continued searching for an hour or so at 4300 meters, but finally we gave up and went to Guango lodge. This is a nice eco-lodge east of the pass with hummingbird feeders, which attract a lot of different hummingbirds. Birds we saw there were:

Sparkling Violetear, Shining Sunbeam, Mountain Velvetbreast, Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Mountain Avocetbill (one bird for a short while), Long-tailed Sylph, Masked Flowerpiercer and Black Flowerpiercer.

After a good dinner we went to sleep and felt asleep quickly, because being at these heights, you will be very exhausted!

12-02:    (day 7) In the morning we visited the Papallacta Pass again, but this morning it was shrouded in thin fog and the wind was blowing. First we started in the patch of Polylepis, just east of the pass. After half an hour or so, we managed to find a feeding flock with good birds such as: Giant Conebill, Rufous Antpitta, Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Black-backed Bush-Tanager and Plumbeous Sierra-Finch. Next we went to the pass and the antennas again, but no Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. Just below the antennas we found: Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Many-striped Canastero (h) and Grass Wren (h). Next we went back to Guango lodge, looking for Black-billed Mountain Toucan, seen by Robert Jonsson the day before. We managed to find: Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle (immature), Purple-backed Thornbill (a pair), Blue-mantled Thornbill (one male quickly), Black Phoebe, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant (finally seen!), Turquoise Jay, Great Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Mountain Wren, Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, Spectacled Whitestart, Citrine Warbler, Black-crested Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler, Blue-backed Conebill, Masked Flowerpiercer, Black Flowerpiercer, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

Just before lunch we watched the feeders again and saw:

Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Great Sapphirewing (rare on the east slope), Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet, Tourmaline Sunangel, Tyrian Metaltail, Mountain Avocetbill (again elusive and during the whole holiday I thought I had missed it as I expected to see a hummingbird with a bill like our avocet, but in real the bill is more straight) and Long-tailed Sylph.

After lunch we drove to San Isidro Lodge, located on the eastern slope near Cosanga with some birding along the road:

Broad-winged Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Red-billed Parrot, White-capped Parrot, Smooth-billed Ani, White-collared Swift, Chestnut-collared Swift, Gray-rumped Swift, Crested Quetzal (h), Golden-headed Quetzal (seen!), Azara's Spinetail (h), Ash-browed Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Montane Woodcreeper, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, White-banded Tyrannulet, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Barred Becard, Inca Jay, Brown-capped Vireo, Andean Solitaire, Glossy-black Thrush, Brown-bellied Swallow, Blue-and-white Swallow, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Summer Tanager, Plain-coloured Seedeater, Subtropical Cacique and Russet-backed Oropendola.

In the evening we were welcomed at San Isidro lodge by Rudy Gelis and his girlfriend. The owner Mitch Lysinger and Carmen Bustamante were not in. Rudy and his girlfriend are working at the Yanayacu Biological Station run by Harold Greeney ( Also there was Robert Jonsson with his customers. The San Isidro Owl was quickly found, perched in the large palm tree at the small parking lot. We observed the following birds: San Isidro Owl, Rufous-banded Owl (h) and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (several). After a good dinner we went to sleep at around 22:00 hours. The San Isidro Owl was calling all night

(To have a good impression what this owl looks like, see the good pictures at the following site:

13-02:    (day 8) After daily morning routine - wake up early, dressing, cleaning, early breakfast, - we went around the trails of the Hacienda San Isidro (basically the entrance road to the lodge). Just before dawn we already encountered the following species:

Wattled Guan (heard only by Edison), San Isidro Owl, Rufous-banded Owl (h) and Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (about 4).

Birding was very good and we encountered several feeding flocks. We did spent some effort to find the Bicoloured Antvireo, but that proved to be too elusive. However we found:

Band-tailed Pigeon, White-throated Quail-Dove, Red-billed Parrot, White-capped Parrot, Crested Quetzal (h), Golden-headed Quetzal (seen!), Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Azara's Spinetail (h), Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Long-tailed Antbird, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (h), White-bellied Antpitta (h), Uncoloured Tapaculo, (h) Black-capped Tyrannulet, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, White-crested Elaenia, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Torrent Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Black Phoebe, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Barred Becard, Inca Jay, Black-billed Peppershrike, Brown-capped Vireo, Andean Solitaire (seen!), Glossy-black Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, Plain-tailed Wren (h), Mountain Wren, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (h), Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Russet-crowned Warbler (h), Capped Conebill, Bluish Flowerpiercer, Masked Flowerpiercer, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Golden Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager, Black-eared Hemispingus, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Northern Mountain-Cacique, Subtropical Cacique and Russet-backed Oropendola.

At lunch we visited the feeders for a short while at the lodge, which produced:

Sparkling Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Long-tailed Sylph.

After lunch we spent some time looking for Torrent duck and waited in vain for Black-billed Mountain Toucan at the Yanayacu Biological Station (where we met Rudy and his girlfriend again. They had found the first ever nest of a Barred Hawk opposite the valley!). During our search we saw amongst others:

Torrent Duck (finally one female), Roadside Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, White-capped Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper and Sickle-winged Guan.

The Black-billed Mountain Toucan didn't show up. After a good dinner we had an early sleep. At first we would do some owling, but the Edison's spotlight refused any service.

14-02:    (day 9) Again an early rise. Just before and after breakfast we heard and saw: Wattled Guan (heard), San Isidro Owl (h), Rufous-banded Owl (h), Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (several seen). Next we went to the Guacamayo Ridge Trail, just a half-hour drive from the San Isidro Lodge. This is a very beautiful trail with several East Slope specialities. At the start it was raining, but this did not prevent a very good morning. Absolute highlight was the Greater Scythebill along the trail, a woodcreeper rarely encountered. We had close view of seeing the whitish almost translucent ibis-like bill. This is a species even John Hornbuckle as not seen yet! Other birds we saw (or heard):

Andean Guan (only seen by Edison, who walked in front at that moment), Barred Parakeet (heard only, to high to get into view), Gray-rumped Swift, Tawny-bellied Hermit (h), Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner, Flammulated Treehunter, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Greater Scythebill, Moustached Antpitta (h), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (h), Slate-crowned Antpitta, Uncoloured Tapaculo (h), Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo (h), Ocellated Tapaculo (heard by Edison only), Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Handsome Flycatcher, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Plain-tailed Wren (h), Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Russet-crowned Warbler (h), Capped Conebill, Bluish Flowerpiercer, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Yellow-billed Cacique (Edison only) and Northern Mountain-Cacique (h).

In the afternoon we went to the river in Cosanga. Birds we had there were:

Torrent Duck (a family with two juveniles in the river), Spotted Sandpiper (several), Band-tailed Pigeon, Tropical Kingbird, Tropical Parula, and Blackburnian Warbler.

After lunch we watched the feeders and walked the trails behind the San Isidro Lodge for a while which produced: Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Sparkling Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Tyrian Metaltail, and Blue-and-white Swallow Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Summer Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager and Orange-bellied Euphonia.

Next we tried again for the Bleak-breasted Mountain Toucan at the Yanayacu Biological Station, but again without luck, although we had several good birds there:

Plain-breasted Hawk (dark phase perched), Red-billed Parrot, White-capped Parrot, Scaly-naped Amazon, Inca Jay, Brown-capped Vireo, Glossy-black Thrush, Masked Flowerpiercer, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Russet-backed Oropendola, Subtropical Cacique, Yellow-billed Cacique and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

At night the Rufous-banded Owl and the San Isidro Owl were calling and I took some recordings of the latter.

15-02:    (day 10) After breakfast we had a long day ahead, travelling from San Isidro to Cocá. We spent all day birding along the road, known as the Loreto Road. Birding was fantastic and the diversity was enormous. At the first site where we stopped, we saw about 25 new species in less than an hour. At noon we had lunch at the site of the Orange-breasted Falcon, but that did not show up. There we met Robert Anderson again, who almost choked after hearing we had seen the Greater Scythebill the day before! When approaching Cocá, it became moist and warm. Finally we checked in at the Mission Hotel at Cocá where we had our final dinner with Edison. Edison would leave early morning next day and we very sad we had to separate. We drank a few beers together before we went to sleep. Birds seen or heard this day:

Little Tinamou (h), Striated Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Roadside Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Black Caracara, Rock Pigeon, Band-tailed Pigeon, Ruddy Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Scaly-naped Amazon, Smooth-billed Ani, Rufous-banded Owl (heard before breakfast), Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (seen before breakfast), White-collared Swift, Short-tailed Swift, Blue-fronted Lancebill (one), Napo Sabrewing (one), Wire-crested Thorntail (2-3, 1 male halfway the Loreto road), Golden-tailed Sapphire, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Long-billed Starthroat, Rufous Motmot, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Gilded Barbet, Red-headed Barbet, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Lettered Araçari, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Little Woodpecker, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Barred Antshrike (h), White-fronted Tyrannulet, Torrent Tyrannulet, Variegated Bristle-Tyrant, Spectacled Bristle-Tyrant, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Cliff Flycatcher (OB Falcon-site), Long-tailed Tyrant, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Lesser Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, White-throated Kingbird, Yellow-cheeked Becard (1 at the lower part), Masked Tityra, Black-crowned Tityra, Violaceous Jay, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Black-billed Thrush, Blue-and-white Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Thrush-like Wren, Tropical Parula, Cerulean Warbler (several at the lower part), Blackburnian Warbler, Bananaquit, White-vented Euphonia, Bronze-green Euphonia, Blue-necked Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Spotted Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Summer Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Magpie Tanager, Variable Seedeater, Black-and-white Seedeater (seen only by Cor), Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Russet-backed Oropendola, Green Oropendola and Olivaceous Siskin.

16-02:    (day 11) It was the first morning we didn't have to wake up at 5:00 hours, but 9:00! After breakfast we phoned home, walked around in the town of Cocá, trying to get some dollars or change euros. This was very difficult and we ended in an Internet café instead. At the hotel we were told to wait for the touring company to pick us up. Finally at 12:00 they came to collect us. The Rio Napo was very low this year and the monsoon rains had not started yet. There were two boats to La Selva, because an American high school class was going there too. One of their guides was Pablo, whom we had met at Septimo Paraiso Lodge. It took about 4 hours to reach the Lodge, zigzagging on the river. When we reach the quay of La Selva Lodge, we had to walk another 15 minutes on the boardwalk to another lake (LakeGarzacocha) and then in another canoe which brought us to La Selva Lodge. Seth Altshuler, who had played at FC Haarlem, a first division football team near our town Alkmaar, welcomed us. Seth explained us how things were working at La Selva Lodge and introduced us to Rodrigo Jipa, who would be our guide for the next 5 days. Rodrigo spoke a few English words, but he knew all the English names of the birds and much better, he recognised all the birds by sound! Also, he was extremely sharp in finding moving and non-moving birds alike. Moreover he was extremely patient, always willing to explain the whereabouts of a particular bird and he did that always with a smile. Note that Cor and I were already very tired after 10 days of birding! When he asked when we want to go birding we said immediately. He suggested to bird along lake and in the creek to the boardwalk. Birds we saw there (and some at Cocá and the journey to La Selva) were:

Zigzag Heron (1 in the creek between the boardwalk and the lake; closely observed, one of the best birds of the holiday!), Cocoi Heron, Great Egret (only seen at Cocá), Snowy Egret, Striated Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite, Rock Pigeon (in Cocá), Mealy Amazon (h), Greater Ani, Hoatzin (groups at the lake), Long-tailed Potoo (1 along the walking board spotted by Rodrigo), Sand-coloured Nighthawk (lots above the lake), Blue-tailed Emerald, Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher (1 at the lake), Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (1 in the creek above the boat), American Pygmy Kingfisher (1 seen close at the lake), Blue-crowned Motmot (h), Brown Jacamar, Gilded Barbet, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Point-tailed Palmcreeper (1 where the creek comes into the lake), Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Straight-billed Woodcreeper (h), Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Dot-backed Antbird, Silvered Antbird (several seen along the creek), Plumbeous Antbird, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Screaming Piha (h), Violaceous Jay, White-winged Swallow, White-banded Swallow (on the Rio Napo), White-lored Euphonia, Gray-headed Tanager, Red-capped Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola, Russet-backed Oropendola and Giant Cowbird.

In the evening we had an excellent dinner and we were absorbed by Auburn Middle School from Massachusetts led by Mark Blazis. Every evening we had to tell what we did that day, which proved to be big fun every now and then. After some beers we had to go to bed at 22:00 hours, because then the lights went out.

17-02:    (day 12) We woke up just before dawn. After breakfast we crossed the Napo River to go the first Parrot Lick, an amazing site with hundreds of parrots, mainly Mealy Amazons and Dusky-headed Parakeets. After an hour or so we went to a more interior parrot lick (where we had our lunch) and walked the Salado Trail until the afternoon. Birds seen or heard today:

   Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Cocoi Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Black Caracara, Speckled Chachalaca, Sunbittern (1 seen at Lake Garzacocha), Spotted Sandpiper, Ruddy Pigeon (h), Plumbeous Pigeon (h), Scarlet Macaw (2 at the interior parrot lick), Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-bellied Macaw, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Black-headed Parrot, Orange-cheeked Parrot (some at the interior parrot lick), Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Amazon, Mealy Amazon (common at the first Parrot Lick), Greater Ani, Hoatzin, Lesser Nighthawk (roosting in front of the veranda), Sand-coloured Nighthawk (at sunset a large flock emerges), Short-tailed Swift, Gray-rumped Swift, Neotropical Palm-Swift, White-bearded Hermit, Glittering-throated Emerald, Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Rufous Motmot, White-fronted Nunbird, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Gilded Barbet, Channel-billed Toucan, White-throated Toucan (h), Chestnut Woodpecker, Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (a family nesting above the lodge), Little Woodpecker (h), Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Striped Woodcreeper (heard at the boardwalk), Pygmy Antwren (h), Ornate Antwren, Rufous-tailed Antwren (h), Gray Antwren, Blackish Antbird, Black-faced Antbird, Warbling Antbird, Silvered Antbird, Plumbeous Antbird, White-shouldered Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Ochre-striped Antpitta (h), Thrush-like Antpitta (h), Rusty-belted Tapaculo (h), Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Olive-faced Flatbill (h), Drab Water-Tyrant, Great Kiskadee, Lesser Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Gray-capped Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Black-tailed Tityra, Screaming Piha (h), Purple-throated Fruitcrow (2 at the quay of the first parrot lick), Golden-headed Manakin (2 males, 1 juvenile male seen at the leck), Blue-crowned Manakin (juvenile male), Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin (h), Violaceous Jay, Yellow-green Vireo, Black-billed Thrush, White-necked Thrush, White-winged Swallow, White-banded Swallow, Thrush-like Wren (nesting in the gardens of the lodge), Silver-beaked Tanager, Red-capped Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Solitary Cacique, Crested Oropendola, Russet-backed Oropendola, Olive Oropendola, Giant Cowbird and Moriche Oriole (1 where the creek towards the boardwalk starts).

After dinner we did some owling from the canoe at the borders of LakeGarzacocha: Variegated Tinamou (heard during the owling trip), Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Tropical Screech-Owl (heard at the lodge), Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (heard during owling), Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (heard at the lodge), Crested Owl (heard during owling) and Long-tailed Potoo (heard near the lodge).

And at the usual 22:00 hour's last call, we went to sleep.

18-02:    (day 13) After an early breakfast we went to the canopy tower. I conquered my acrophobia and from the platform we had a beautiful sight over the canopy. However, after a short while a very small species of insect noticed us too and they tried to creep into our noses, ears and eyes. Birds seen observed there:

Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Double-toothed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Roadside Hawk, Black Caracara, Red-throated Caracara (h), Plumbeous Pigeon, Scarlet Macaw, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Black-headed Parrot, Orange-winged Amazon, Mealy Amazon, Neotropical Palm-Swift, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, White-necked Puffbird, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Many-banded Araçari, Ivory-billed Araçari, Channel-billed Toucan, White-throated Toucan, Dusky-throated Antshrike (heard between the Lodge and the tower), Plain-winged Antshrike (h), Black-faced Antthrush (heard between the Lodge and the tower), Slender-footed Tyrannulet (heard close-by) Eastern Wood-Pewee, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Black-capped Becard, Black-tailed Tityra, Spangled Cotinga (male), Bare-necked Fruitcrow (with nesting material on the canopy tower), Violaceous Jay, Tropical Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, Bananaquit, Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Black-faced Dacnis, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, White-lored Euphonia, Opal-rumped Tanager, Opal-crowned Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Solitary Cacique, Crested Oropendola, Russet-backed Oropendola, Olive Oropendola and Oriole Blackbird.

After two hours or so we left and went walking the trail between the tower and the small lake called Mandiyacu Lake. This trail was full of birds. Moreover, we observed some enormous ants! Birds seen or heard: Straight-billed Hermit, Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Scale-backed Antbird, Wire-tailed Manakin (3-4), Striated Antthrush (1 stunning bird!), Violaceous Jay, and more Tropical Parulas.

Next we were crossing the lake, we tried to walk in the Varzea forest (flooded forest) to search for the enigmatic Cocha Antshrike, a speciality for La Selva. We immediately heard a male singing, but it took us some while to find a way to approach the bird (the forest is a little flooded there). Finally we had full views of a male, one of the highlights of the holiday. Then it was time for lunch. When crossing the lake again, Cor and Rodrigo saw an Azure Gallinule.

Other birds there: Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Azure Gallinule, Wattled Jaçana, Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Great-billed Hermit, Black-throated Hermit, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Cinnamon Attila (h), Cocha Antshrike (1 male well seen), Plain-winged Antshrike (h), Plain-throated Antwren, Long-billed Woodcreeper (h), Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Kiskadee and Russet-backed Oropendola.

After lunch we decide to go one of the larger islands in the Rio Napo, an island where Amazonian Umbrellabirds come to roost. Just when one bird start calling there, a Black Hawk-Eagle flew through the forest, disturbing everything! Birds heard or seen on the Rio Napo, the islands and around the Lodge before dinner were: Zigzag Heron (at the same location as two days before), Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Cocoi Heron, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Osprey, Black Hawk-Eagle, Black Caracara, Greater Yellowlegs (Rio Napo), Spotted Sandpiper (Rio Napo), Pied Plover (Rio Napo), Collared Plover (Rio Napo), Yellow-billed Tern (Rio Napo), Blue-and-yellow Macaw (2 Rio Napo), Blue-winged Parrotlet, Orange-winged Amazon, Mealy Amazon, Greater Ani, Smooth-billed Ani, Hoatzin, Lesser Nighthawk (1 seen from the veranda of the Lodge), Sand-coloured Nighthawk (again a large flock just before sunset), Pauraque (one on the trail between the river and the boardwalk), Neotropical Palm-Swift, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Amazon Kingfisher (Rio Napo), Black-fronted Nunbird, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Lesser Hornero (1 on the small island just before the quay), Castelnau's Antshrike (h), Mottle-backed Elaenia (2-3 on the small island just before the quay), Lesser Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Amazonian Umbrellabird (h), Yellow-green Vireo, White-winged Swallow, White-banded Swallow, Sand Martin, House Wren, Tropical Parula, Bananaquit, Blue-gray Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Magpie Tanager (seen by Rodrigo only), Yellow-browed Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Solitary Cacique, Crested Oropendola, Russet-backed Oropendola, Olive Oropendola and Oriole Blackbird.

After dinner we did some owling again on the LakeGarzacocha, which produced some good birds: Great Tinamou (h), Undulated Tinamou (h), Variegated Tinamou (h), Boat-billed Heron (one during owling), Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (h), Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (h), Spectacled Owl (seen), Black-banded Owl (h) and Common Potoo (seen during owling).

Also seen during owling were caymans and a large boa coiled around a tree. After this successful excursion and a beer or two we went to bed around 22:00 hours.

19-02:    (day 14) After again an early breakfast we only had one full day to explore the surroundings. We crossed the Rio Napo again and investigated the island opposite the quay. Next we walked the long trail opposite the Rio Napo and some half-hour southwest from La Selva Lodge. This was a very good trail in Terra Firme forest with lots of birds. We birded the trail till the afternoon and one our way back to the lodge we visited a site were Rodrigo had found a Pearl Kite. We found this nice bird quickly just before it started to rain. We went back to the Lodge, where Seth showed us a big female birds spider. Again an excellent dinner and the usual beers ended our stay at the lodge. The staff was so friendly to switch off the generator later than usual, so we could pack our things. Birds seen or heard today:

Cinerous Tinamou (h), Rufescent Tiger-Heron (also one nesting at the lodge), Cocoi Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Osprey, Pearl Kite (nice views of one near a small village west of La Selva), Tiny Hawk (one crossing Lake Garzacocha), Black Caracara, Red-throated Caracara, Black-banded Crake (only seen by Rodrigo and Cor), Spotted Sandpiper, Pale-vented Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Ruddy Quail-Dove (only seen by Rodrigo), Ruddy Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Red-bellied Macaw, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Mealy Amazon, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater Ani, Smooth-billed Ani, Hoatzin, Tropical Screech-Owl (h), Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (h), Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (h), Pauraque (one seen close-by at the start of the trail), White-collared Swift, Pale-rumped Swift, Neotropical Palm-Swift, Black-throated Hermit (also a pair with the male displaying like a helicopter above the female), Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-eared Fairy, Collared Trogon (h), Rufous Motmot, Blue-crowned Motmot, Black-fronted Nunbird, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Gilded Barbet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Golden-collared Toucanet, Many-banded Araçari, White-throated Toucan, Lafresnaye's Piculet (seen by Cor and Rodrigo), Chestnut Woodpecker, Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Ruddy Spinetail, Eastern Woodhaunter, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Long-billed Woodcreeper (h), Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, Parker's Spinetail (heard on the island), Castelnau's Antshrike (heard on the island), Dusky-throated Antshrike, Cinerous Antshrike, Short-billed Antwren, Ornate Antwren, Spot-winged Antbird, Silvered Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Ochre-striped Antpitta (h), White-lored Tyrannulet, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flatbill (seen close-by singing on a fallen treetrunk), Olive-faced Flatbill, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Drab Water-Tyrant, Bright-rumped Attila (h), Short-crested Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Lesser Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Pink-throated Becard, Black-crowned Tityra, Screaming Piha (the usual bird heard at Lake Garzacocha), Blue-backed Manakin, Green Manakin (h), Violaceous Jay, Yellow-green Vireo, Black-billed Thrush, Lawrence's Thrush, White-winged Swallow, White-banded Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, Blackpoll Warbler, Green Honeycreeper, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Blue-gray Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Greyish Saltator, Red-capped Cardinal, Blue-black Grosbeak, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Solitary Cacique, Casqued Oropendola, Crested Oropendola, Russet-backed Oropendola, Orange-backed Troupial and Oriole Blackbird.

20-02:    (day 15) We woke up at 4:30 and after a quick breakfast we walked in the dark to the quay. On the boardwalk we heard Tawny-bellied Screech Owl and Spectacled Owl. Then we entered the boat and across the Rio Napo we 'sailed' back to Cocá. Two times we could not start the boat immediately, but after some effort the guys in control always managed to make the engine working. During the journey on the Rio Napo we saw:

Cocoi Heron, Snowy Egret, Striated Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Osprey, Yellow-headed Caracara, Spotted Sandpiper, Yellow-billed Tern, Large-billed Tern, Rock Pigeon, Mealy Amazon, Greater Ani, Smooth-billed Ani, Ringed Kingfisher, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Eastern Sirystes, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Violaceous Jay, Gray-breasted Martin, White-winged Swallow, White-banded Swallow, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Crested Oropendola and Russet-backed Oropendola.

At around 9:00 we arrived at Cocá, were picked up by a car and brought to the airport. There an attendant of the Travel Company was so kind to stand in the queue to get our tickets. No hustle, no problems, no delay. In time the plane (Icaro Air, X8 505, 12:15 - 12:45) departured for Quito and after a short flight of an half hour we reached the airport. There we checked-in as second and after a little begging, the flight attendant gave us a seat with space. Then we had to wait for several hours for our plane to depart. We met Steintje, a Dutch girl who had travelled in Ecuador on her own for three weeks. At 19:00 hours the plane left for Madrid (IB 6634), with a stop at Guayaquil. Next day we arrived at Madrid at around 14:00 hours. There we had to wait till 16:30 for the final flight to Amsterdam (IB 3250). We arrived in time at 18:40 hours. We were picked-up by Marieke and Joop and that ended our very successful holiday.

Full and detailed Species list (325KB pdf file)

Alkmaar February - August 2004

Jan van der Laan
Brouwerstraat 19
1814 HX Alkmaar
E-mail: j.vdlaan at
Cor Hopman
Aidastraat 50
1827 RC Alkmaar
E-mail: corhopman at


We like to thank the following people: Edison Buageño, Rodrigo Jipa, Seth Altshuler, Jane Lyons of Mindo Bird Tours, Pablo Leon, Roy de Haas, Paul Coopmans, Marc Guyt, Laurens Steijn, Marianne van der Laan, Marieke Wiringa, Rudy Gelis.

Recommended reading

As a field guide we used the excellent field guide The Birds of Ecuador by Robert S. Ridgley and Paul J. Greenfield, published in 2001. This consists of two books, part one is Status, Distribution and Taxonomy, and the second is the Field Guide.

Although our guides had all the tapes, I made a set of 6 mini-discs made from the DVD ROM Birds of Ecuador by Nils Krabbe & Jon Fjeldså. This is - at least I think it is - the best birding product ever made. Check it out yourself, you'll not be disappointed!

On the Internet several trip reports can be found. Use the portal for a good overview.

Species Accounts

Order, nomenclature and taxonomy follow The Birds of Ecuador: Status, Distribution and Taxonomy (see recommended reading).

Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus

© Cor Hopman

Full and detailed Species list (325KB pdf file)

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