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A small group of 5 fellow travellers accompanied us on our first trip to the Amazonia de Ecuador. All agreed unanimously that this experience had been a great one not least because of the 2 great lodges where we stayed. The combination of being on the water and hiking in the rain-forest alternated by spending time on one of the canapy towers was very good. We were lucky not to have too much rain, which really didn't matter, because we could not keep dry anyway due to the extremely high humidity and high temperature. Birding was superb and so were the people. A lovely experience for the bird and nature lover. Next year during August we will go again. Why not come with us ...

Leader : Pieter Verheij
Local Guides : Juan Carlos, Pablo and Marcello
Trip report Author: Pieter Verheij

Day 1 – August 18th
Arrival day in Quito and transfer to BB&El Jardin

Day 2 – August 19th

Russet-crowned-WarblerWe had planned this extra day in Quito to give all fellow travellers time to relax after a long journey. We left at a decent time in the morning, thinking of those who arrived late after midnight, to visit Pasachoa National Park. The birds were not as considerate as we were and most activity was over at the time we arrived. We found among others the very nice Red-crested Cotinga, Russet-crowned Warbler, Spectacled Whitestart and had some fun with a couple of Pail-tailed Wrens (or they with us). Finally Juan Carlos took us on a trail which was a bit challenging, no time to look for birds, but just trying to stay on the track. A good training session for what was awaiting us in the Amazonia

Day 3 – August 20th

A half hour flight brought us from Quito to Coca, the entrance port to the Amazonia of Ecuador. Representatives of Sacha Lodge were present at the airport in Quito and also in Coca. The whole transfer went smoothly and after a small lunch we embarked in a motorized canoe to be transferred to Sacha Lodge. An interesting experience going fast on the Napo river, crisscrossing avoiding sandbanks, tree trunks and small islands. Too fast to see birds but giving us a good feeling about everything we could expect during our stay. After a half hour walk and a canoe trip (not motorized this time) we finally arrived at the lodge.Black-capped-Danacobius The lodge is beautifully located at the boarder of Pilchicocha lake, a real paradise in the jungle of the Amazonia. After being settled Pablo, our guide during our stay in Sacha Lodge, proposed a boat ride before dark on the lake and nearby creeks. We saw many common birds we would see again many times, such as the Smooth-billed and Greater Ani, Tropical Kingbird, Kiskadees and other flycatchers. We most enjoyed the busy and loud, but really beautiful Black-capped Donacobius, the Green and Rufous Kingfisher and we had our first meeting with the Hoatzin. At dusk we saw the Pauraque (Nightjar).

Day 4 – August 21st

An early breakfast and a jungle walk to be at the Canapé Tower at sunrise when the birds awake. There are 3 towers connected by hanging bridges with a total length of 275 m. Double-toothed-KiteThe tower itself is 30 meter high. A beautiful place to be at Canopy level and look at birdlife at its best. Although the whole construction looks safe and well maintained, walking on the hanging bridges is still not a favourite activity for those suffering from a fear of heights, but seeing halfway between two towers a nesting Double-toothed Kite, made me overcome my fear with the result of some nice close up shots of the bird on its nest. Being on the Canapé Tower was very productive and we had very good and close views of Maroon-tailed, Black-headed and Cobal-winged Parrots, a very nice Squirrel Cuckoo displaying, Gilded Barbet, Many-banded and Ivory-billed Aracari , White-throated Toucan, Golden- collared Toucanet and many more. Walking back for lunch we had a fantastic encounter with a pair of Crested Owls. Nothing is better than a siesta after lunch and we found that this was one of those days we deserved it. We went back to the jungle in the afternoon . Birdlife was quieter now but we were happy to find another beautiful Owl, the Tawny-bellied Screetch Owl.

Day 5 - August 22nd

Today we are starting the day with a boat-ride, first on the black-lake near the lodge and after a nice walk to the Napo River we again used the motorized canoe. We had another meeting with a group of Hoatzins being noisy on the side of the creek. And also the Smooth-billed and Greater Ani’s were present. Before going on board our guide showed us a good site for Black-banded Crake, and indeed we all got good views.
In just a few days the water lever had dropped in the river, and the “captain” needed even more skills to manoeuvre between islands and shallow places. On the sandbanks we got good views of Snowy and Great Egret and we also saw some Cocoi Herons and a Yellow-billed Tern. Scenery-SachaThere were many Black Vultures and a Yellow-headed Caracara. We were driving slowly along the shore with stops for the various Kingfishers (ringed, green and pygmy) and flycatchers (amongst others the Drab Water-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody Flycatcher, Boat-billed and Piratic Flycatcher). A highlight was a nightjar (pauraque) sitting on a dead post on the riverside, which gave us all fantastic photo opportunities.
Walking back on the trail we found a pair of Undulated Tinamou. Unfortunately we saw them too late when the were flying away. We did the same track to the black-water lake again but we spent more time now looking around, which was very productive, giving us Collared Trogon, White-chinned Jacamar, Pied -, black-fronted- and Swallow-winged Puffbird, Scarlet-crowned Barbet and Crimson-bellied Woodpecker. We ended the day with a nice barbecue on the waterside.

Day 6 – August 23rd

Slender-billed-KiteOur last day already at Sacha Lodge. We had enjoyed our stay in all aspects. Superb food, friendly staff and very nice rooms and many good birds and other wildlife had made our stay a real pleasure.
This day we had again an early start for a walk in the forest. The walking is normally not too difficult, the trails are in good condition and except for some smaller parts, there is not too much climbing. However the relatively high temperature combined with a very high humidity makes it impossible to keep dry. We found Slender-billed Kite posing nicely for us, Amazonian White-tailed Trogon and Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, White-chinned Jacamar, Pied Puffbird, Long-billed and Spix’s Woodcreeper, Lineated Woodpecker and many more.


We would meet at around 14h00 with the boat to Napo Wildlife Center at the jetty of Sacha Lodge at the Napo River. We left in time to do some birding on our way. We said good-bye to Pablo our excellent birding guide during our stay at Sacha Lodge and went on board Napo’s motorized canoe for our transfer. Here we met Marcello, our guide during our stay in Napo Wildlife Center.
The transfer took around 45 minutes. We stopped at the entrance of a creek with a jetty and reception buildings, part of Napo Wildlife Center. At this point we changed to a man-driven canoe for the last two hours to the lodge. The canoe had to manoeuvre between fallen tree trunks and other obstacles through the clear but black water. Rufescent-Tiger-HeronNow we had time to look around at birds and other wildlife. Almost immediately we saw Rufescent Tiger-Heron and later Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Sungrebe, Spotted Sandpiper, Purplish Jacamar and several Kingfishers.
The lodge is beautifully located on the shore of the Añangucohoa lake. It has 12 spacious very nice decorated cabins, all with direct views on the lake. An extraordinary place.
After a welcome drink offered by the lodge we went up in the tower of the central building. This gave us good views of the very busy and loud Crested Oropendola y Yellow-rumped Cacique being busy with their nests in the trees along the lake.

Day 7 - August 24th

We left early in the morning at sunrise by canoe to explore the Anañgu creek. Almost immediately we met with a couple of Giant Otters and with some big Caiman. For some hours we moved through the narrow water roads having good views of Lesser- and Greater Kiskadee, Wattled Jacana, White-winged Swallow and many others. The highlight of this boat ride was without any doubt the Least Bittern, posing very well to satisfy all photographers. The Tibutini Trail is normally very good to see many species, this time we found amongst others Cream-colored Woodpecker, Purple-throated Fruit-Crow, Long-billed Woodcreeper and Screaming Piha.

Day 8 – August 25th

Yellow-crowned-ParrotThis day we went to visit the Clay Lick sites. One site is on the shore of the Napo River, and the other one is even more accessible just walking inland for twenty minutes and gives good views from a nearby constructed hide. To go to the Napo River we had to follow back the creek, which certainly was not a problem at all, because there are always many things to see. We saw a.o. Little Cuckoo, White-flanked Antwren, Great-billed Hermit, Plumbeous Antbird and again, but much better now the Sungrebe. Arriving at the Jetty we changed boats and with the motorized Canoe we went on the Napo River towards the Clay Lick. Many Dusky-headed Parakeets, Blue-headed Parrots, Mealy Parrots and some Yellow-crowned Parrots were eating the clay. It is spectacular to look at. Driving back we found along the riverside roosting on a post a Ladder-tailed Nightjar.
Ladder-tailed-NightjarComing back to the reception buildings of Napo Wildlife Center we were again surprised by the excellent service of this Lodge, by offering us a very nice lunch. When we arrived at the Clay Lick it was quiet, but it did not take long before the Parakeets started to arrive. Hundreds of Cobalt-winged Parakeets were drinking water and eating clay just in front of us. A fantastic experience. Walking back to the canoe we saw Ocellated Poorwill, Slaty-tailed Trogon and Great Jacamar. Later in the canoe, before the rain started to pour down we saw Speckled Guan, Drab Water Tyrant and Yellow-browed Antbird. We stayed dry thanks to the ponchos that our guides brought for us.

Day 9 – August 26th

Napo-Wildlife-CenterAlready our last day in this really superb place . Today we went to the canopy tower. The canopy tower is located about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the forest. The tower is built around a big Ceiba Tree and is about 36 m high. It is a beautiful experience to stand on the wooden platform and to observe the birds in the Canopy. As always in the Amazonia we started early to make use of the best part of the day for birding. Just to mention a few of the many birds we observed this morning are Many-banded Aracari, Ivory-billed and Golden-collared Toucanet, White-lored Tyrannulet, Blue and Yellow Macaw, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Gilded Barbet, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Plum-throated and Spangled Cotinga, White-fronted Puffbird, Amazonian White-tailed Trogon and various Tanagers. We went back to the Lodge for lunch and we had a nice rest. The views over the lake from the Cabins are great and just by sitting outside, one will see many birds being busy on the shore. Red-capped Cardinal, Striated Heron, a Capped Heron flying over the lake, Turtles taking a sunbath and so on. Napo Wildlife Center is really a great place to be.

Day 10 – August 27th
Departure from the Amazonia and back to Quito. We saw a total of 206 different species during this trip in the Amazonia, which we consider as a very good result for a trip organized for Photographers.

Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus

Bitterns, Herons and Egrets
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius

New world Vultures
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes melambrotus
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Hawks, Eagles and Kites
Slender-billed Kite Rostrhamus hamatus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
White-throated Hawk Buteo albigula
Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Slate-colored Hawk Leucopternis schistaceus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis

Falcons and Caracaras
Black Caracara Daptrius ater
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis

Guans, Chachalacas and Allies
Spix's Guan Penelope jacquacu
Speckled Chachalaca Ortalis guttata

Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin

Wood Partridges
Marbled Wood Quail Odontophorus gujanensis

Rails, Crakes and Gallinules
Black-banded Crake Anurolimnas fasciatus
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea

Sungrebe Heliornis fulica

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana

Sandpipers and Snipes
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia

Gulls and Terns
Yellow-billed Tern Sterna superciliaris

Pigeons and Doves
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla
Sapphire Quail Dove Geotrygon saphirina
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina

Parrots, Macaws and Allies
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Red-bellied Macaw Orthopsittaca manilata
Dusky-headed Parakeet Aratinga weddellii
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Mealy Amazon Amazona farinosa
Black-headed Parrot Pionites melanocephala
Orange-cheeked Parrot Pionopsitta barrabandi
Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica
Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocephala

Cuckoos and Anis
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Little Cuckoo Piaya minuta
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani

Owls, Potoos and Nightjars
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl Megascops watsonii
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Ladder-tailed Nightjar Hydropsalis climacocerca
Ocellated Poorwill Nyctiphrynus ocellatus

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Tachornis squamata

Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsuta
White-bearded Hermit Phaethornis hispidus
Straight-billed Hermit Phaethornis bourcieri
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri coruscans
Golden-tailed Sapphire Chrysuronia oenone
Black-tailed Trainbearer Lesbia victoriae
Viridian Metaltail Metallura williami

Trogons and Quetzals
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
White-tailed Trogon Trogon viridis

Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquatus
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea

Purplish Jacamar Galbula chalcothorax
White-chinned Jacamar Galbula tombacea
Great Jacamar Jacamerops aureus

Puffbirds and Nunbirds
Pied Puffbird Notharchus tectus
Collared Puffbird Bucco capensis
White-chested Puffbird Malacoptila fusca
Brown Nunlet Nonnula brunnea
Swallow-wing Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus

Gilded Barbet Capito auratus
Scarlet-crowned Barbet Capito aurovirens

Ivory-billed Aracari Pteroglossus azara
Lettered Aracari Pteroglossus inscriptus
Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus
Many-banded Aracari Pteroglossus pluricinctus
Golden-collared Toucanet Selenidera reinwardtii
Andean Toucanet Aulacorhynchus albivitta
White-throated Toucan Ramphastos tucanus

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Crimson-bellied Woodpecker Campephilus haematogaster
Cream-colored Woodpecker Celeus flavus

Pearled Treerunner Margarornis squamiger
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Short-billed Leaftosser Sclerurus rufigularis

Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Long-billed Woodcreeper Nasica longirostris
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper Dendrexetastes rufigula
Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes certhia
Black-banded Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes picumnus
Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus
Spix's Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus spixii

Dusky-throated Antshrike Thamnomanes ardesiacus
Plain-throated Antwren Myrmotherula hauxwelli
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Scale-backed Antbird Hylophylax poecilinota
Dot-backed Antbird Hylophylax punctulata
Banded Antwren Dichrozona cincta
Silvered Antbird Sclateria naevia
Plumbeous Antbird Myrmeciza hyperythra
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis
Yellow-browed Antbird Hypocnemis hypoxantha

Antthrushes and Antpitta
Rufous-capped Antthrush Formicarius colma
Striated Antthrush Chamaeza nobilis

Blackish Tapaculo Scytalopus latrans

Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristata
Plum-throated Cotinga Cotinga maynana
Spangled Cotinga Cotinga cayana
Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus

White-crowned Manakin Dixiphia pipra
Blue-crowned Manakin Lepidothrix coronata
Wire-tailed Manakin Pipra filicauda

Tyrant Flycatchers
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum
Drab Water-Tyrant Ochthornis littoralis
Golden-faced Tyrannulet Zimmerius chrysops
White-lored Tyrannulet Ornithion inerme
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps
Yellow-crowned Elaenia Myiopagis flavivertex
White-banded Tyrannulet Mecocerculus stictopterus
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Rufous-tailed Flatbill Ramphotrigon ruficauda
Gray-crowned Flycatcher Tolmomyias poliocephalus
Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Cinnamon Attila Attila cinnamomeus
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus

Crows and Jays
Violaceous Jay Cyanocorax violaceus

Lawrence's Thrush Turdus lawrencii
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis

Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapilla
Plain-tailed Wren Thryothorus euophrys
House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer

New World Warblers
Black-crested Warbler Basileuterus nigrocristatus
Russet-crowned Warbler Basileuterus coronatus
Spectacled Redstart Myioborus melanocephalus

Tanagers, Buntings, Sparrows
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis
Masked Crimson Tanager Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Masked Tanager Tangara nigrocincta
Black-faced Dacnis Dacnis lineata
Yellow-bellied Dacnis Dacnis flaviventer
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Purple Honeycreeper Cyanerpes caeruleus
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Superciliaried Hemispingus Hemispingus superciliaris
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Black Flower-piercer Diglossa humeralis
Red-capped Cardinal Paroaria gularis
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Stripe-headed Brush-Finch Buarremon torquatus

Blackbirds, Crackles, Orioles
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons
Green Oropendola Psarocolius viridis
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Moriche Oriole Icterus chrysocephalus
Oriole Blackbird Gymnomystax mexicanus
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus{/slide}{/tabs}

Birding in Ecuador
The Andean Condor
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and many other fine species
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on our birding tour in August
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