ECUADOR EAST SLOPE ALBUM

 

 

NE ECUADOR January 2017

NE Ecuador in January was Paul's first trip of 2017. We visited the usual sites of Antisana, San Isidro, Wild Sumaco and the unsurpassed Napo Wildlife Center. Thanks to Bob Martin for the wonderful photograph.

 

Our first day saw us visiting Antisana National Park, overlooked by the stupendous volcano that gave it its name.

 

Northern Silvery Grebes we easy to find on the high altitude Mica Lake.

 

Stout-billed Cinclodes were rather tame in the higher sections.

 

Bob did well to capture an image of the very furtive Tufted Tit-tyrant

 

The Andean Ibis was one of the rarest birds we saw.

 

Moving down to San Isidro, the bird diversity increased. This Inca Jay was making the most a a free breakfast - moths attracted to the lodge lights.

 

At nearby Guango Lodge a Chesnut-crowned Antpitta was enticed out of the shadows by a few juicy worms!

 

At San Isidro they were feeding a rather tame White-breasted Antpitta.

 

This pair of Torrent Ducks gave fantastic views.

 

Another drop in altitude revealed a whole lot more birds, as well as a few mammals such as this splendid Tayra which was feeding on cecropia fruits right by the lodge verandah.

 

Just the fourth documented record for Ecuador, this Yellow-throated Vireo provided a real surprise at Wild Sumaco. Well done to Bob for capturing this image for posterity!

 

The Gilded Barbet is seen daily in small numbers at Wildsumaco and Napo.

 

Gorgetted Woodstars were seen in small numbers this time, having not been seen on our previous two trips.

 

This Band-bellied Owl started calling right next to our cabins moments after everyone retired for the night. Lucky it hung around long enough for everyone to see it.

 

The Zigzag Heron is one of the most sought-after birds at Napo, and we were not disappointed, because this year our guides had found a nest, right next to the main creek leading to the lodge!

 

A Wire-tailed Manakin lights up the forest at his favoured lek.

 

A family of Smooth-billed Anis huddle together shortly after rain.

 

The clay licks worked particularly well this year, with up to 12 Scarlet Macaws visiting on one occasion.

 

Pied Lapwing is always a favourite.

 

On a rainy morning at Napo we spent our time watching from the new tower above the lodge itself. One of the highlights was these two woodpeckers, Lineated (left) and Crimson-crested, both males. There's never a dull moment at Napo!

 

On three occasions we saw a family of five Giant Otters in the main creek leading to the lodge. This encounter was particularly memorable.

 

Blue-and-yellow Macaws are always great to see.

 

Another bird seen from the lodge tower, this Scaly-crested Woodpecker was the only one we saw.

 

The new tower at the lodge is a great addition to Napo Wildlife Center's facilities. On a rainy morning we spent our whole time here and saw many species, including White-bellied Spider Monkey.

 

 

 

 

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NE ECUADOR January 2016

 

We have just returned from two bird-filled weeks in NE Ecuador, visiting Antisana, San Isidro, Wild Sumaco and the unsurpassed Napo Wildlife Center. This 'San Isidro' Owl was one of the highlights. Thanks to Donna Robinson for the photograph.

 

 

and a short clip of two Giant Otters filmed by Donna

 

 

 

Here's a short video of some of the highlights, taken by Paul during the trip.

 

 

and here are some of Paul's photographs....

We got amazing weather at Antisana (above) and Papallacta, allowing us the opportunity to enjoy the birds of the high paramo.

 

This Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe was one of a pair that gave wonderful views at Papallacta.

 

This Crimson-mantled Woodpecker was seen in the garden of our lodge in the Central Valley near Quito.

 

Along the famous Loreto Road we saw this scarce Blackish Nightjar at a daytime roost.

 

Collared Trogon was a nice find at Wild Sumaco Lodge.

 

A pair of rare Military Macaws had taken up residence along the road to Wild Sumaco Lodge, allowing for priveleged views of this normally difficult species.

 

 

Once down in the Amazon Basin, the bird diversity is unsurpassed. These Yellow-bellied Dacnis were a nice find from NWC's canopy platform.

 

A male Wire-tailed Manakin lights up the shadows.

 

This Long-tailed Potoo is the first we have seen on this itinerary.

 

Local knowledge counts for more in the Amazon than probably any other habitat. We would have never seen this Crested Owl without the help of our guides.

 

Patience paid off when we waited for these Cobalt-winged Parakeets to come to their clay lick. A juvenile Grey-headed Kite spooked them a couple of times earlier in the morning, but eventually they came down in their hundreds.

 

The White Witch Moth has the largest wingspan of any moth or butterfly in the world. Typically, they are nine inches across, but we had no way of measuring this one!

 

A visit to the lek of the rare Black-necked Red Cotinga is the highlight of a visit to Napo Wildlife Centre, and we were not to be disappointed.

 

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and here are some of Tat Taylor's photographs from the same trip in 2016....

 

Antisana Volcano and adult Andean Condor

 

 

Donacobious and fledgling

 

Greater Ani

 

Striated Heron

 

White-winged Swallow

 

Golden-mantled Tamarin

 

Juvenile Rufescent Tiger-heron

 

Watching a Black-necked Red Cotinga!

 

Limpkin

 

Parrot clay lick along the Napo River

 

White-necked Puffbird

 

Red Howler Monkey

 

Many-banded Aracari

 

Blue-throated Piping Guan

 

Amazonian form of Blue-grey Tanager

 

Hoatzins

 

Napo Tamarin

 

Blackish Nightjar

 

Green-and-black Fruiteater

 

Fawn-breasted Brilliant

 

Cotapaxi in the distance

 

Giant Hummingbird

 

Vermilion Flycatcher

 

Scrub Tanager

 

Andean Ibis

 

American Kestrel

 

 

 

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NE ECUADOR January 2014

 

Paul Kingsnorth kindly sent us this photographs taken during our January 2014 trip. He spent a lot of time looking at the insects and other wildlife, as well as the birds, of course. Here are some of his best shots.

 

 

 

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We have just returned from two bird-filled weeks in NE Ecuador, visiting Antisana, San Isidro, Wild Sumaco and the unsurpassed Napo Wildlife Center.

Highlights included Zigzag Heron seen on its nest, 40 species of hummingbird, Black-necked Red Cotinga and Amazonian Umbrellabird.

 

Access to Napo Wildlife Center is by canoe. Along the way it is possible to see monkeys, otters and many birds. This year we were shown the nest of the rare Zigzag Heron....

 

This Zigzag Heron was sat on its nest along the main channel to Napo Wildlife Centre. By the end of the week the young had hatched. We saw broken egg shells below the nest, and then a chick's head pocking out from the parents chest feathers!

 

 

On of the highlights of visiting Napo Wildlife Center is the canopy platform, 35 metres up in a kapok tree. This stunning Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher was building a nest in the same tree, allowing eyelevel views of an otherwise impossible bird.

 

Wire-crested Thorntail is one of 15 or more species of hummingbird regular on the feeders at Wild Sumaco.

 

We got better views than normal of Torrent Ducks this year. This female (left) was seen near San Isidro, whilst the male (right) was at Guano Lodge. Both were accompanied by chicks (below).

 

 

This Tawny-bellied Screech-owl was peering out of his hole early in the morning at Napo.

 

Speckled Hummingbirds are common at San Isidro.

 

Sparkling Violetear was the only hummingbird we saw in the high central valleys, the subtropics and the Amazon basin.

 

The Scrub Tanager is a localised species, which can be found near Quito. This was the first we had seen on this itinerary.

 

Ruddy Quail-doves are normally very difficult to see in the forest, so we were thrilled when this one walked across the track at Napo, then sat on a branch in full view.

 

The striking Oriole Blackbird is found on ephemeral river islands in the Amazon basin. They are reliably found along the Napo River.

 

This Ochre-breasted Antpitta was enticed into view by the offer of a few juicy worms, at Wild Sumaco Lodge.

 

Every morning at San Isidro there is a frenzy of activity, as forest birds feed on insects attracted to the lodge lights. This Montane Woodcreeper is inspecting a telegraph post for moths.

 

A Long-tailed Sylph rests on top of a flower at San Isidro.

 

Ladder-tailed Nightjars are reliably found roosting along the Napo River.

 

A pair of Inca Jays display shortly after first light at San Isidro.

 

Inca Jay

 

First time visitors to the Amazon invariably pick out Hoatzin as a must-see bird. Thankfully, they are very common around the lodge.

 

This Green-and-black Fruiteatear gave great views near the Guacamayos Ridge.

 

Gould's Jewelfront is a regular visitor to the feeders at Wild Sumaco. Simply stunning!

 

This Golden-tailed Sapphire was keen to show off its best features.

 

Two male Golden-headed Manakins hanging around for a female.

 

 

On our last day at Napo Wildlife Center we were lucky to come across this family group of eight Giant Otters. They stayed close to the boat for about 20 mins, allowing great photographic opportunities.

 

Giants Otters are always eating. The consume up to 10 lbs of food per day. (Photo by customer, Paul Kingsnorth)

 

Giant Hummingbird seen at Antisana on the first day.

 

A male Fork-tailed Woodnymph showing off his best features.

 

This young male Ecuadorian Hillstar was making the most of the sunshine at 12000 feet on the slopes of Antisana Volcano. It gets so cold here at night that they enter a torpor.

 

 

This female Coppery-chested Jacamar was one of the highlights of our visit to Wild Sumaco Lodge. This beautiful lodge offers habitat and birds which are otherwise difficult to access.

 

 

Located within Yasuni National Park, Napo Wildlife Center is close to the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador. Nevertheless, everything has to be just right for the parrots and parakeets to visit the lek. Too much rain and they stay away. Lurking predators mean a quiet morning. This year everything came together for an amazing wildlife spectacle.

 Cobalt-winged Parakeets gather above the clay lick, summoning courage to go down. Who will be the first to make a move?

 

Approaching the clay lick can be a long drawn out process. They can take up to three hours to pluck up the courage.

 

But once one goes down they all go down. Several thousand Cobalt-winged Parakeets were joined by smaller numbers of Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets and Orange-cheeked Parrots, whilst a few Scarlet Macaws called from the tree tops. They visit this place to get a special type of clay that acts as an antidote to toxins in their food. Sure beats Rennies!

 

 

 

 

These Dusky-headed Parakeets were joined by Meally Parrots, Yellow-crowned Amazons and Blue-headed Parrots at another clay lick.

 

 

Cinnamon Flycatchers are a cute inhabitant of the cloud forest on the east Andean slope.

 

The dazzling Chestnut-breasted Coronet is common at San Isidro.

Migrant Broad-winged Hawks take up residence on the east slope at this time of year.

 

Wild Sumaco is one of the only places in the world where the buff-thighed form of the Booted Racket-tail can be seen. On the west slope they have white booties!

 

Blue-necked Tanagers were probably the commonest of the tanagers on the east slope.

 

This Black-tailed Trainbearer posed beautifully on the way to Antisana.

 

Walking the Tiputini Trail to reach the lek of the Black-necked Red Cotinga. This site is one of the few in the world where this beautiful cotinga can be seen.

 

A male Black-necked Red Cotinga guards his patch of forest, waiting for a visit by a female.

 

 

This Black-fronted Nunbird was the first bird to greet us as we neared Napo Wildlife Center Lodge.

 

From the canopy platform we watched several Bare-throated Fruitcrows in the tree tops.

 

On the forest floor, this Banded Antbird sang quietly.

 

 

This year we were lucky to see a roosting Andean Potoo. There are very few places on the planet where this bird can be seen.

 

The Andean Ibis is rare in Ecuador, but they are reliably found at Antisana.

 

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NE ECUADOR February 2013

 

Paul visited Ecuador with a group in late February. Despite some dodgy weather in the first half of the trip, they saw many great birds.

Andrew Aldridge kindly sent us a selection of his photographs (below). More can be seen here.

 

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Customer, Graham Wilson took some lovely photographs. Here is a selection. More can be viewed on his Picasa site here and here.

 

 

Birding from the comfort of the Wild Sumaco Lodge veranda. Hummingbird feeders attract about 15 species to this spot, whilst flocks of tanagers, aracaris, honeycreepers and warblers are attracted to fruiting cecropia trees. Swallow-tailed Kites played in updrafts above our heads, whilst a huge Saturniidae moth spent the day roosting on the wall. Can you spot it?

 

 

The dazzling Gould's Jewelfront, a speciality of Wild Sumaco.

 

Gorgetted Woodstar

 

Male Booted Racket-tail.

 

Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Wild Sumaco.

 

A common Potoo chick on a dead bamboo stick along the Napo River.

 

Squirrel Monkey

 

Red Howler Monkey demonstrating its prehensile tail.

 

Paddling through a black water creek, Napo Wildlife Center. Just after dark we saw a Zigzag Heron here!

 

A mother Monk Saki Monkey and its baby. The animal is almost as strange as its name!

 

Inca Jay

 

Black-capped Donacobius

 

Tree Frog sp.

 

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Paul also took a few photographs. Here are his best efforts.

 

An Ivory-billed Aracari eats a berry, as seen from Napo Wildlife Centre's 35m canopy platform.

 

The canopy platform at NWC. The best way to see birds in the Amazon.

 

A colourful male Wire-tailed Manakin. Fortunately, our local guides know the location of a lek.

 

Wire-crested Thorntails are common at Wild Sumaco Lodge.

 

Wattled Jacana.

 

Swainson's Thrush. This boreal migrant is common on the east slope.

 

Shining Sunbeam is one of many lovely-named hummingbirds.

 

Rufous-vented White-tip is a difficult bird to find. Wild Sumaco Lodge is as reliable as anywhere. Sorry you can't see the white tips or rufous vent. You'll have to take our word for it!

 

Pale-edged Flycatcher joins the bird show in the early morning at San Isidro. Many birds come to the breakfast feast of insects which were attracted to the lights during the night.

 

Approaching Napo Wildlife Centre Lodge

 

A canoe trip through varzea (seasonally flooded) forest in the Amazon.

 

White-eared Jacamar. Napo.

 

Parrots at a clay lick along the Napo River. Above are Mealy Amazons. Below area Blue-headed Parrots.

 

 

Rhescyntis hippodamia an impressive Saturniidae moth with an 8 inch wingspan! Wild Sumaco Lodge veranda.

 

Hoatzins are common at Napo.

 

 

Highland Motmot

 

Golden-tailed Sapphire

 

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

 

The amazing Crested Quetzal.

....and a female

 

Collared Incas are common at Guango and San Isidro

 

Chestnut-breasted Coronet, San Isidro. Like other coronets, they raise their wings momentarily after landing.

 

Brown Violet-ears are very aggressive at flowering plants and feeders.

 

Bronzy Inca.

 

Black-billed Mountain-toucan.

 

Band-bellied Owl, ably located by our guide at Wild Sumaco.

 

Back in February, Paul did a recce to Ecuador. This new itinerary will focus on the east slope and will be very different to our existing west slope trip. He visited Napo Wildlife Centre in the Amazon, as well as Wild Sumaco Lodge, San Isidro Lodge and Guango Lodge on the east slope of the Andes. Here are a few of his photographs to whet the appetite.

Carunculated Caracara, Papallacta

Red-crested Cotinga, Pappalacta

White-throated Tyrannulet, Papallacta

White-throated Tyrannulet, Papallacta

Sword-billed Hummingbird, Guango Lodge

Tyrian Metaltail, Guango Lodge

Polylepis forest at Papallacta

 

Giant Conebill, Papallacta

Black-backed Bush-tanager, Papallacta

Tawny Antpitta, Papallacta

Sword-billed Hummingbird, Guango Lodge

Tourmaline Sunangel, Guango Lodge

White-bellied Woodstar, Guango Lodge

Tyrian Metaltail, Guango Lodge

Masked Flowerpiercer, Guango

Giant Otters, Napo Wildlife Centre

Blue-grey Tanager, Napo Wildlife Centre

Snail Kite, Napo Wildlife Centre

Napo Wildlife Centre

 

 

Yellow-rumped Cacique, Napo Wildlife Centre

Smooth-billed Ani, Napo Wildlife Centre

 

 

A view from the lodge, Napo Wildlife Centre

Blue-grey Tanager, Napo Wildlife Centre

Yellow-rumped Cacique, Napo Wildlife Centre

Yellow-billed Jacamar, Napo Wildlife Centre

Tawny-bellied Screech Owl, Napo Wildlife Centre

Great Jacamar, Napo Wildlife Centre

Black-necked Red Cotinga, Napo Wildlife Centre

 

Plumbeous Kite, Napo Wildlife Centre

The canopy tower, 36 metres up in a kapok tree, Napo Wildlife Centre

Hoatzin, Napo Wildlife Centre

Long-billed Woodcreeper, Napo Wildlife Centre

a parrot lick, Napo Wildlife Centre

Slender-billed Kite, Napo Wildlife Centre

Violet-fronted Brilliant, Wild Sumaco

Sparkling Violetear, Wild Sumaco

Magpie Tanager, Wild Sumaco

A view from the verandah, , Wild Sumaco

Gould's Jewelfront, Wild Sumaco

female Wire-crested Thorntail, Wild Sumaco

male Wire-crested Thorntail, Wild Sumaco

Golden-tailed SapphireWire-crested Thorntail, Wild Sumaco

Many-spotted Hummingbird, Wild Sumaco

Wire-crested Thorntail, Wild Sumaco

Collared Trogon, San Isidro

Andean Potoo, San Isidro

Saffron-crowned Tanager, San Isidro

Emerald Toucanlet, San Isidro

Fawn-breasted Brilliant, San Isidro

Chestnut-breasted Coronet, San Isidro

Long-tailed Sylph, San Isidro

Speckled Hummingbird, San Isidro

 

 

 

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