Ecuador 2008 itinerary

Fr 1 Feb

Departure Copenhagen 20:05. Departure Amsterdam 23:25.

Sa 2 Feb

Birding around Quito

Arriving Quito 9:00. Elevation 2850m. Afternoon birding with our guide Boris Herrera around Calacali in dry bush for species like White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant and at Puluahua reserve for Rusty-breasted Antpitta as well as some interandean species such as Purple-collared Woodstar, Giant Hummingbird, Blue-and-yellow Tanager and Band-tailed Sierra-Finch.

Accomodation: Hotel Sebastian ****, Diego de Almagro 822, at Cordero.
Phone: 02/222-2400 ; 02/222-2300, 49 rooms, 7 suites
In-hotel: bar, restaurant, laundry service. parking, Internet.
Credit Cards: AE, DC, MC, V.
This small top-end four-star hotel is in the center of the restaurant and bank district. The large rooms are cheerfully decorated, and the restaurant, Café Mistral, is open daily from 6 AM to 10:30 PM, serving international dishes and specials from Cuenca. The Café and Bar de Antaño is open from 3 to 11 daily for coffee, snacks, and cocktails. All water in the hotel is filtered and drinkable from the tap.
This hotel will be our hotel in Quito for 3 visits (4 nights in total).

Su 3 Feb

The 10 day Andean western slope - Chocó area leg starts today

Early morning drive along windling small roads up to Yanacocha area (also called "Inca Ditch") on the slope of the active Pichincha volcano. While the city-facing slope is cultivated, the northwestern side is uninterrupted and magnificent cloud forest from treeline down to upper tropical elevations. We start birding in temperate forest at 3000-3500 m, with Polylepis woodland, and paramó higher up.
The high elevation temperate forest holds many specialities; including the endemic and critically endangered Black-breasted Puffleg, which comes to the feeders mostly April - Sep. We spend the morning here looking for this very rare species as well as Curve-billed Tinamou, Plain-breasted Hawk, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Amazon, and more Hummingbirds including Great Sapphirewing, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Puffleg, Mountain Velvetbreast, Tyrian Metaltail and Purple-backed Thornbill. These hummers rank as some of the most spectacular in the world.
At the forest borders there is also a chance of Rainbow-bearded Thornbill. Other birds to look for are Bar-bellied and Powerful Woodpecker, Rufous and White-browed Spinetail, Undulated and Rufous Antpitta, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulet, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, the beautiful Barred Fruiteater, Rufous Wren, Blue-backed Conebill, the local Black-chested Mountain-Tanager (best site in Ecuador for this species) as well as Hooded and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, the gorgeous Golden-crowned Tanager, and the rare Páramo Seedeater.
We may also see White-crested Elania, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Brown-bellied Swallow, Black- crested Warbler, Masked Flower-Piercer, Glossy Flower-piercer, Black Flower-Piercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Stripe-headed Brush-Finch and Hooded Siskin.
After enjoying our box lunches we head to the new road to Mindo just past the Equator monument stopping to look for White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant in case we missed it day one and later to bird at an orchid reserve for Turquoise Jay and Tanager flocks. We then bird the lower Tadayapa Valley along the Nono-Mindo Ecoroute and arrive for dinner at Bellavista in a beautiful Cloud Forest. Reserve at 2000 m with 700 hectares of protected land and 9 km of trails. We will spend one more full day in the Tandayapa Valley plus one morning.

Accomodation: Bellavista Lodge, in Bellavista Cloud Forest reserve   Birding at Bellavista (with photos).

Mo 4 Feb

Tandayapa Valley

In the morning we bird around Bellavista looking for 3 spectacular Chocó endemics; Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan and Tanager Finch (the only spot in Ecuador for this unique and elusive species), also locating Tanager flocks and return for lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon we visit Tony and Barbara's place for an incredible visual feast of hummingbirds at the feeders including the great Empress Brilliant, Green-tailed Trainbearer and maybe the rare Little Woodstar (up to 24 hummer species in one day have been seen, a world record!) as well as intercepting mixed flocks.
After dusk we shall try for Rufescent Screech-Owl (sometimes split and called Colombian Screech-Owl), Band-winged and Swallow-tailed Nightjar. Rufous-bellied Nighthawk often flies around the Lodge area.

More bird species in the Tandayapa valley include;
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Plain-breasted Hawk, Blue and White Swallow, Plain-tailed Wren, Sickle-winged Guan, Great Thrush, Plumbeous Pigeon, Glossy-black Thrush, Red-billed Parrot, Turquoise Jay, Spectacled Whitestart, Slate-throated Whitestart, White-collared Swift, Russet- crowned Warbler, Masked Trogon, Olivaceous Piha, Grass-green Tanager, Dusky Bush- Tanager, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Rufous-chested Tanager, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Powerful Woodpecker, Thick-billed Euphonia, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Orange- bellied Euphonia, Montane Woodcreeper, Golden Tanager, Azara's Spinetail, Flame-faced Tanager, Red-faced Spinetail, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Blue-and-black Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Green and black Fruiteater, White-winged Brush-Finch, Streak-necked Flycatcher, White-sided Flowerpiercer, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Masked Flowerpiercer, Cinnamon Flycatcher, and Smoke-coloured Pewee.

Accomodation: Bellavista Lodge, in Bellavista Cloud Forest reserve. Elevation 2000 m.

Tu 5 Feb

Tandayapa Pass

Early morning birding around the lodge and after breakfast we head up to Tandayapa pass looking for Ocellated Tapaculo and Beautiful Jay. After lunch we head off to Mindo looking for mixed Tanager flocks which also contain many flycatchers, woodcreepers and ovenbirds. In particular we'll be on the lookout for Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Grass-green and Glistening-green Tanager, also Green-and-Black Fruiteater and Crimson-rumped Toucanet. Afternoon visit to Mindo Loma for Black-chinned Mountain Tanager and Velvet-purple Coronet among a dazzling array of many other Tanagers and Hummingbirds.

Accomodation: Hostería Séptimo Paraíso, Mindo    Download birdlist (excel file).    Birding info with trail map   Heated swimming pool and jucuzzi !
(Séptimo Paraíso means seventh heaven)

We 6 Feb

Refugio Paz de las Aves

We start early at the "hottest" new site, opened 2005, which has been written up in ABA's Birding as well as Neotropical Birding, namely Refugio Paz de las Aves where Rodrigo Paz has habituated Great, Yellow-breasted and Moustached Antpittas. We may also see Dark-backed Wood Quail. Download article from Neotropical Birding 2006 (pdf file) with nice photos of antpittas.
In addition we visit a very active Cock-of-the-Rock lek with up to a dozen extravagant males displaying raucously.

Accomodation: Hostería Séptimo Paraíso, Mindo.

Th 7 Feb


An early start to bird the waterfall trail road above Mindo for Red-headed Barbet, Bay Wren, Crimson-rumped Toucanet and Yellow-faced Grassquit as well as a chance of Orange-crowned Euphonia. Late morning coffee break watching the Hummingbird feeders at Los Colibries Restaurant. Afternoon visit to Milpe road to begin ticking the birds described for day 6. We bird our way leisurely back to the lodge for lunch looking for Golden-headed Quetzal, Scarlet-backed and Golden-olive Woodpecker as well as Golden-rumped, Orange-bellied and Golden-crowned Euphonia. PM birding around the lodge or out the waterfall road.

Accomodation: Hostería Séptimo Paraíso, Mindo.

Fr 8 Feb

Mindo – Río Palenque

We head off downslope starting early at the Milpe road for delectibles such as Moss-backed Tanager, great views of exquisite Club-winged Manakins displaying at a lek (sounds like harmonicas), Broad-billed Motmot, Chocó Toucan, Pale-mandibled Araçari, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia as well as Rufous-throated and Glistening-green Tanager. A dozen other Chocó endemics have been recorded at Milpe. Box Lunch by the River at Puerto Quito and off to Rio Palenque for afternoon birding and overnight. After driving many miles through oil palm and banana plantations it's a relief to find ourselves in a Lowland Tropical Rainforest refuge chock-full of birds we haven't seen before such as: Red-lored Amazon, Bronzy Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, White-tailed Trogon, Barred Puffbird, Red-billed Scythebill along with Southwest specialties such as Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Slaty Becard, Ochraceous Attila and Pacific Royal-Flycatcher. Other birds include Dusky Pigeon, Little Cuckoo, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-fronted Barbet, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Slaty-winged Foliage-Gleaner, Western Slaty-Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Sooty-headed and Brown-capped Tyrannulets, Scarlet-browed Tanager and the seasonal Crimson-breasted Finch.

Accomodation: Río Palenque Biological Station.     Río Palenque Bird List.

Sa 9 Feb

Río Palenque – Manga Loma

We bird the Silanche road (also known as Chocó patch) for many Lowland Chocó endemics such as Black-striped Woodcreeper, Orange-fronted Barbet, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Chocó Warbler, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Emerald, Rufous-winged, Gray-and-gold, Scarlet-and-White, as well as Blue-whiskered Tanagers. After our box lunch we head to km 106.5 (Four Rivers) to look for Esmeraldas Antbird, Chocó Trogon, and recently rediscovered at this spot and seen by Charlie's group, the Rufous-crowned Antpitta, a spectacular bird which is the only sexually dimorphic Antpitta in Ecuador.
Other species in this area: Checker-throated Antwren, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Chestnut-backed Antbird and the elusive Pacific Flatbill.
We then arrive at Manga Loma private forest reserve, covering 200 ha, which has some beatiful primary foothill forest around 700-900m elevation, a habitat which is disappearing fast in Ecuador. There is also secondary forest. Banded Ground-Cuckoo has been sighted in the reserve recently, and there is also a lek of Long-wattled Umbrellabird.

Accomodation: Manga Loma Guesthouse. A simple guesthouse without electricity.

Su 10 Feb

Manga Loma – Río Canandé

Drive to the Río Canandé Reserve, in the southeastern part of Esmeraldas province, managed by the Jocotoco Foundation, a wet lowland tropical forest at 500m elevation. The area is VERY wet, some places in this area get an annual rainfall of 13,000mm. The reserve currently includes about 900 hectares of forest, but plans exist to extend the size to 10,000 hectares! This fine reserve is a stronghold for such treatened Chocó endemics as Rose-faced Parrot, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis and Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, and home to Purple-chested and Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Chocó Poorwill and Pacific Flatbill. But it is also an area were Chocó and Tumbesian endemics meet. Therefore also species like Grey-and-gold Warbler, Ecuadorian Ground-Dove, Ochraceous Attila, and Rufous-headed Chacalacas from the drier southwest can be found next to Chocó species such as Orange-fronted Barbet and Chocó Toucan. Other species that can be found include White-whiskered, White-necked, and Pied Puffbirds.

Accomodation: Río Canandé HQ Lodge. Simple lodge with bunk beds and no electricity.

Mo 11 Feb

Río Canandé

A full day in the Rio Canandé Reserve.

Accomodation: Río Canandé HQ Lodge.

Tu 12 Feb

Río Canandé – Quito

Last morning in the Rio Canandé Reserve. This is as far we get down into the Chocó lowlands.
Time to drive back up to Quito and our Hotel Sebastian

We 13 Feb

Day trip to Antisana Volcano (5758 m)

Located 1,5 hours east of Quito on the eastern Cordillera with spectacular landscapes, this expansive area provides easy birding and makes a perfect add-on to any tour. Here are opportunities to see many high altitude and local specialties, which are absent or difficult at other sites, many of which are at their northern limit. In addition, coming at the end of an East or West slope tour allows for altitude acclimatization. Birdlife categorizes Antisana as an Important Bird Area and is part of The Nature Conservancy's Condor Bioreserve.

An early departure from Hotel Sebastian in Quito brings us to the western entrance of Antisana Ecological Reserve, a mix of elfin forest below and grassland páramo above. The former yields many high elevation cloud-forest and treeline species such as Shining Sunbeam, Pearled Treerunner, White-throated Tyrannulet, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Unicolored (Blackish) Tapaculo, Plain-colored Seedeater, Cinereous Conebill among others. Beyond and above, the páramo proper yields Bar-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Páramo Pipit and Plumbeous Sierra-Finch. Here we also see Ecuadorian Hillstar feeding on the orange thistle-shrubs Chuquiraga while Many-striped Canasteros and Andean Tit-Spinetails skulk in the bushes and Tawny Antpittas call all around.
Higher up on the plateau we scan for Andean Lapwings, Páramo Ground-Tyrant and the local specialty, the Black-faced Ibis. This isolated population is at the northern extreme of the species range and is considered endangered in Ecuador. Black-winged Ground-Dove is abundant in flocks along with Eared Dove. Streak-backed Canasteros haunt the drier areas. Carunculated Caracaras are seen in large numbers often walking and scratching in the fields. Puna Hawks are also commonly seen soaring along the ridges and hovering. Given good visibility we have a good chance of seeing Andean Condor, one of the largest populations found in Ecuador as well as Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. With more luck we might see the rare Cinereous Harrier and Aplomado Falcon (subspecies pichinchae).
Arriving at Lake Mica (elevation 3900m) with our box lunch, we survey the lakeshore bustle of Andean Gulls, Andean Coots, Andean and Blue-winged Teals, Andean Ruddy Ducks, and Yellow-billed Pintails. This is also the best place in Ecuador to observe closely Silvery Grebe. Also, large mammals which are notoriously shy in the tropics are often seen at the reserve such as the South American Fox and White-tailed Deer.
Heading back to Quito, we arrive at our hotel for dinner.
Antisana Bird List, by Charles Vogt.

Accomodation: Hotel Sebastian

Th 14 Feb

The 4 day Amazonia leg starts today

Morning flight Quito – Coca (ETD 11:00, takes 30 minutes). We land in Coca in the Oriente where we will be met at the airport by representatives from the Napo Lodge, Boris will not join the Amazonian leg. The official name of the city is Puerto Francisco de Orellana. It is an oil boom town and hub for further travel into the Amazonas. The province of Orrelana was created 1998, and Coca became the capital. We embark a river boat for a 2,5 hour trip downstream Río Napo and a side river up to Napo Wildlife Center.
The impeccably designed lodge consists of 10 cabins nestled on a beautiful lake surrounded by pristine rain forest providing unforgettable bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. Giant river otters and full-grown Black Caimans are a regular treat near the lodge, long gone from other Napo hotels. The lodge is situated inside Yasuní National Park, by far the largest NP in Ecuador with its 10,000
Over the next two days we will be visiting the canopy tower as well as birding the many trails through the forest and in canoes providing ample opportunities to see most of the common as well as many specialty Amazonian birds and mammals. Of particular note are Zigzag Heron, Crested Eagle, Ornate, and Black Hawk-Eagle. Also possible are Sungrebe, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Rufous-throated Sapphire, Festive Coquette and Citron-bellied Attila. We will have a local guide from the lodge to our help.
Other species from the Napo Lodge bird list:
7 species of tinamous, Harpy Eagle, Salvin's Currasow, Red-winged Wood-Rail, Sapphire Quail-Dove, 19 species of macaws and parrots, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Nacunda Nighthawk, 25 species of hummingbirds, 6 species of jacamars, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Brown Nunlet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Lettered Araçari, 16 species of Woodcreepers, 28 species of ovenbirds, Cinereous Antshrike, Black Bushbird, Pygmy Antwren, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Yasuni Antwren, Ornate Antwren, Banded Antwren, Warbling Antbird, Silvered Antbird, Sooty Antbird, White-plumed Antbird, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Noble Antthrush, Ochre-striped Antpitta, White-lored Antpitta, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, 75 species of Tyrannidae, White-browed Purpletuft, Amazonian Umbrellabird, 12 species of Manakins, for exaample Blue-backed, Striped, Orange-crested. Coraya Wren, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Lawrence's Thrush, Hauxwell's Thrush, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Opal-rumped Tanager, Opaal-crowned Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Orange-headed Tanager, Lesson's Seedeater, Band-tailed Oropendula, Ecuadorian Cacique, Velvet-fronted Grackle, Orange-backed Troupial and Red-breasted Blackbird.
Forest types:
1. Terra firme forest on the high relief, not subject to flooding.
2. Várzea forest type, subject to seasonal flooding by whitewater rivers.
3. Igapó forest type, on poor soils subject to seasonal or permanent flooding by blackwater rivers (no sediment load).
In general these are all tall moist evergreen tropical rain forests, but each habitat consists of a unique combination of plant species that characterize the land. The terra firme forests are more diverse and generally taller with canopies reaching 40 m , and emergent trees to 50 m in height; epiphytes and lianas occur here but are not abundant. Along the rivers, some stands are dominated by palms, especially Mauritia flexuosa, and swamp forests form parts of the adjacent upland forests.

Accomodation: Napo Wildlife Center. Extensive web site, with QuickTime movies on otters, zig-zag heron, slide shows and much more.. Birdlist web page (568 species) (same birdlist as pdf) . Mammal list.
The Andean Birding birdlist (6 species less).
Both Napo and Sani Lodges have solar-powered electricity and hot water (La Selva Lodge has no electricity).

Fr 15 Feb

A full day in the Amazonian primary rainforest in Yasuní National Park.

Accomodation: Napo Wildlife Center.

Sa 16 Feb

Early morning motorized canoe shuttle to get the river island specialties such as Castlenau's Antshrike, Lesser Hornero, White-bellied, Parker's and Plain-crowned Spinetails, over to the at the north side of Río Napo and arriving to a small stream called Challuayacu where we will transfer to dugout canoes and paddle into our lake, the Challuacocha (a black water oxbow lake), and right up to Sani Lodge. The lodge is owned and managed by native Quichua Indians on their own tribal land. In the afternoon and the next day we bird the trails of the primary rain forest with the help of a bird guide from the lodge. Many species are possible and we will be sure to concentrate on the local specialties such as Ecuadorian Cacique, Brown Nunlet, Olive-spotted Hummingbird as well as Cocha Antshrike and Agami Heron.

Accomodation: Sani Lodge  Extensive web site with pages like; Hardcore birdwatching at Sani (incl. birdlist in excel), description of the birding trails, the guides, trail map, area map.

Su 17 Feb

We arrive early at the tower for a full morning of birding for colorful tanager flocks, parrots, puffbirds, jacamars, among many other possible beauties.
Another full day in Amazonian primary rain forest.

Accomodation: Sani Lodge

Mo 18 Feb

The 8 day eastern foothills and slope leg starts today

Morning birding at Sani Lodge, last day in the Amazonas. Then river boat from Sani to Coca, upstreams Río Napo, takes about 3,5 hours. At Coca Boris Herrera will met up again with a van. From Coca a 50 km or so drive along the Andean Foothills to Loreto, and then along the famous Loreto Road.
Here, in the foothills of the eastern Andes rising from the Amazon, we find one of the highest diversities of bird-species of any area in the world. We will concentrate on mixed species flocks and flowering trees that attract many species of hummingbirds as well as other nectar craving visitors. Some of the birds we might see today include Black Hawk-Eagle, Gray-rumped Swift and hummers like Violet-headed Hummingbird, Ecuadorian Piedtail and Golden-tailed Sapphire. Other possibilities are Collared Trogon, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Striolated Puffbird, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, Equatorial Graytail, Black-billed Treehunter, Lined Antshrike, Blackish Antbird, Short-tailed Antthrush and several species of flycatchers, for example Black-and-white Tody-Tyrant, Cliff Flycatcher and Yellow-cheeked Becard. Two colorful cotingas are possible namely Scarlet-breasted and Fiery-throated Fruiteater and we have a chance on Amazonian Umbrellabird. Other interesting species include Blue-rumped Manakin, Musician Wren, Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer and several flashy tanagers including the spectacular Paradise as well as Yellow-throated and Orange-eared Tanager.
Just a few km to the north of the road, near the Volcán Sumaco, is the new Wildsumaco Lodge, with Jonas Nilsson as General Manager. The lodge will just be ready to open up in the beginning of 2008. 10 rooms. Elevation 1400 m. Wildsumaco Birdlist (352 species in the 500 acres reserve of Foothill rainforest). In the Sumaco area and along the Loreto Road a phenomenal 650 species are found , many of them rare or difficult to see elsewhere.
At night we shall try for Rufescent Screech-Owl and the localized Band-bellied Owl. Foothill Screech-Owl and Blackish Nightjar are also possible.

Tu 19 Feb

Andean foothill birding at Wildsumaco

We will continue looking for more birds and of special interest in this area is Rufous-naped Greenlet, the recently described Foothill Elaenia, Yellow-breasted Antwren that often accompanies mixed species flocks high in the canopy together with Gray-mantled Wren, Streaked Xenops, Ecuadorian Tyrranulet, the rare White-fronted Tyrranulet and Lemon-browed Flycatcher. Sometimes a Black Hawk-Eagle soars high above the forest or a loud flock of Maroon-tailed Parakeets flashes through the mid canopy.

Accomodation: Wildsumaco Lodge

We 20 Feb

Loreto Road and Archidona

Birding along the famous Loreto Road and a short drive to our next lodge. As we drive along the road the scenery changes and we will have some spectacular views of the east Andean foothills as well as the Amazonian lowlands.
We will make several stops at lush patches of tall rainforest looking for Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer and with luck Spot-winged Parrotlet and Military Macaw. Along the steep roadcuts several Cliff Flycatchers can be seen sallying for insects together with Blue-and -white Swallow. We will make a prolonged stop at one of the taller cliffs scoping for the rare Orange-breasted Falcon. Other birds here include the shy Wing-banded Wren, the near-endemic Coppery-chested Jacamar, Blackish Rail, Red-breasted Blackbird, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Black-streaked Puffbird, Striolated Puffbird, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Black-and-white Tody-Flycatcher, Gray-mantled Wren, and the recently described Foothill Elaenia.
Closer to Archidona there is secondary forest and adjacent pastures. Yellow-browed Sparrow, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Olive-chested Flycatcher and Tropical Kingbird are just a few of the inhabitants we will encounter.
We reach the the well-kept town Archidona, that sits in cultivated fields in the hills 10 km north of Tena. Archidona is situated at 800m elevation, along Río Misahuallí, a tributary to Río Napo. Archidona was the first capital of the Oriente until 1920. We will stay two nights at a charming, riverside hotel called Orchids Paradise, located 2 km north of town. It has nice cabins in the forest. Tel 06-889232.

Th 21 Feb

El Para

Today we bird around El Para, situated at 750m in the unique transition between upper Tropical and lower Foothill zone with specialties such as Bamboo Foliage-Gleaner, Undulated Antshrike, Striated Antbird, Large-headed Flatbill and Euler's Flycatcher.
El Para Bird List, by Charles Vogt Other birds around Archidona to look for are; Fasciated Tiger-Heron, White-eyed Parakeet, Smooth-billed Ani, Short-tailed Swift, Blue-fronted Lancebill, Ringed Kingfisher, Little and Yellow -tufted Woodpecker. Other birds that might appear include Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Great Antshrike, Warbling Antbird, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, the beautiful Golden-winged Tody-Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Thrush-like Wren and the curious Black-capped Donacobius. Black-billed Thrush is common as well as several species of tanagers; Black-faced Dacnis, the dimorphic Swallow Tanager, the showy Magpie, Blue-necked and Turquoise Tanager. At dusk we listen for Tropical Screech-Owl near our hotel.

Accomodation: Orchids Paradise.

Fr 22 Feb

Archidona – San Isidro

In the morning we shall continue exploring the remnant patches of rainforest east of Archidona. Though mainly degraded and cut over, these secondary patches thrives with birds. We shall look for Coraya Wren, Black Antbird, the warbler-like Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Dusky-billed Parottlet, White-shouldered and White-lined Tanager and the elusive Black-banded Crake. In this area we will also have a chance on some rare and difficult to see birds such as Black Bushbird, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Striped Manakin and the spectacular Hairy-crested Antbird.
In the 65 km from Archidona up north to Baeza, the road snakes its through a stunning landscape of increasingly compressed and precipitous hillcrest choked with dripping vegetation and dappled with rising wisps of steam. It's a remote and sparsely populated region, the Napo province, dominated by two large and little-visited protected areas, the Parque Sumaco Napo-Galeras to the east, and the Reserva Ecológia Antisana to the west. Having traversed the luxuriant subtropical Cordillera de los Huacamayos, part of the Antisana reserve, the road descends from its highest point to the village of Cosanga, 47km from Archidona, sitting between the two reserves at the head of the green, cloudy Río Cosanga valley. A few km north of Cosanga there is a track leading west to the Cabañas San Isidro, set in cloud forest at 2000m and our home for two nights, were we will be served a delicious dinner.

Accomodation: Cabañas San Isidro   Map of location   How the cabins look like  Bird pictures gallery  Combined Bird & Mammal List of Cabañas San Isidro and Guango Lodge.

Sa 23 Feb

San Isidro east slope subtropic specials

Morning birding around San Isidro along the road and their varied forest trails looking for birds we missed yesterday. Later we will check the feeders for Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Tawny -bellied Hermit and, if we are lucky, maybe the very rare Gorgeted Woodstar. After lunch we will go towards the Guacamayos ridge east of San Isidro, where we will bird the whole afternoon until dusk. This ridge drops down towards the Amazon so here we have a chance for a lot of new species not found at the higher elevation of San Isidro. We shall look for Scaly-naped Amazon, White-tipped Sicklebill, Booted Racket-tail, Wire-crested Thorntail, White -tailed Hillstar, Greenish Puffleg, the near endemic Coppery-chested Jacamar, Black-streaked Puffbird, Rufous-rumped Antwren, Variegated Bristle-Tyrant, the rare Olivaceous Piha, Golden-winged Manakin, Gray-mantled Wren, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Vermilion Tanager, chance on the very rare White-rimmed Brush-Finch. Just after dusk we might find Swallow-tailed and Band-winged Nightjar, and White-throated Screech-Owl.

Accomodation: Cabañas San Isidro

Su 24 Feb

San Isidro – Guango

Depart San Isidro, birding along the road. We will specially search for mixed species flocks. If it is a sunny day several species of raptors could be seen like Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Short-tailed and White-rumped Hawk.
Some specialties that we will look for include Sickle-winged Guan, White-throated Quail-Dove, White-capped Parrot, Barred Parakeet, Powerful and Yellow -vented Woodpecker, Highland Motmot, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Rusty-winged and Spotted Barbtail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Striped Treehunter, Slate-crowned and White-bellied Antpitta, Barred Antthrush, the beautiful Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Handsome and Pale-edged Flycatcher, the rare Dusky Piha, a lek of Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Inca Jay, Black-billed Peppershrike, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, several gorgeous Tanagers as well as Subtropical and Yellow-billed Cacique.
We then arrive for lunch at Guango Lodge. Afternoon birding around the Lodge as well as watching the Hummingbird dogfights around the feeders. Accomodation: Guango Lodge. In 2000 Cabañas San Isidro opened this facility; Guango Lodge.
The lodge is about 1 hour away from San Isidro and lies at a higher elevation (about 2,700m) on Ecuador's eastern slope, only 11 kms down the main Interoceanica Highway from the town of Papallacta and the continental divide (see map). The lodge is surrounded by humid temperate forest, which is characterized by stunted trees with thick canopy. The garden has many flowers and feeders for Hummingbirds. Up to 12 species can be seen in one day and this must be the best place in the world to see Sword-billed Hummingbird. Other special hummers here include the very rare Mountain Avocetbill, Tourmaline Sunangel, Glowing and Golden-breasted Puffleg. At dusk we will look for Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and at night we shall look for Rufous-banded Owl and a high elevation Black-banded Owl that might be new species.
Combined Bird & Mammal List of Cabañas San Isidro and Guango Lodge.

Mo 25 Feb


Morning birding around Guango, which offers several habitats including cloudforest, chusquea bamboo and a fast flowing river. Here we can see Torrent Duck, Masked Trogon, Turquoise Jay, with luck the rare Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Bar -bellied Woodpecker, Chestnut-naped Antpitta (very difficult to see!), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Barred Becard, Plain-tailed Wren, White-capped Dipper, Blue-backed and Capped Conebill, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, the beautiful Plushcap as well as Northern Mountain-Cacique.
Then we drive up the eastern slope and a stop at a stand of Polylepis forest for Giant Conebill, Black-backed Bush-Tanager and Páramo Tapaculo. Behind the forest there is a beautiful lake in which Silvery Grebe, Andean Coot, Andean Ruddy-Duck and Andean Teal can be found. Further up we reach the paramó at Papallacta pass (4064m) searching for páramo specialties like the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Andean Snipe, Caranculated Caracara, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Tawny Antpitta, the rare Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Páramo Ground-Tyrant, Grass Wren and with a good weather a chance on Andean Condor.

Accomodation: Hotel Sebastian

Tu 26 Feb

Flying home to Europe from Quito International Airport at 10:15. Overnight sleep on the aircraft.

We 27 Feb

Arriving Amsterdam 05:00, ETD 10:00, and arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark 11:25.


Updated 11 Nov 2007.