Photos with this report (click to enlarge)
Deep in the Amazonian Lowlands of Ecuador, along the Shiripuno River is nestled Shiripuno: an ultimate hardcore birding destination.
A short fly from Quito to Coca and then 2 hours in a car along the southern bank of the Napo River, past villages of settlers who came when the road was open to the oil exploration back in the early 80's. The Shiripuno is a narrow, meandering river with rich silt water, The evergreen forest is always surrounding you while you are in the canoe ride. You can search for birds such us: Casqued Oropendola Orange-backed Troupial Scarlet Macaw White-throated Toucan Brown Jacamar Magpie Tanager Black-capped Donacobius Swallow-winged Puffbird.
John is a well known professional birdwatcher who has travelled all around the globe searching for rarities. We had made our list of target species in advance and I had a plan to find them. Fairy Topaz was on the wanted list; I had followed this rare species for years; since I went to Shiripuno for the first time: 5 years ago. This colorful hummingbird gets pretty territorial when it finds its favorite flowering epiphyte plant.
As soon as we arrive at Shiripuno lodge we head to the forest - a little beyond The colibri Trail and Bates Trail junction, passing the shallow rocky stream - to the same place I had the encounter with the almost mythical bird: Nocturnal Curassow. Back in those days, I was returning from the field making new trails; I found myself face to face with the mystery itself. I always take a little time to return to that spot and refresh my memory: to remind myself how fortunate I am to live in a place with such diversity of life and to be part of a committed generation for its conservation.
We had rain for a couple of days but this was not a limitation to observe rarities. The constant encounter with mixed flocks in the extensive trail network increases the chances to find species such as Yasuni Antwren, Long-winged Antwren, Spot-winged Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Antwren, Pearly Antshrike and others.
A medium size flock of Gray-winged Trumpeter was encountered at the beginning of the E. O. Wilson Trail. Salvin's Curassow was encountered after a heavy rain on the Skutch Trail; right after we started it. Rio Suno Antwren was displaying nicely for us on the Misterioso Trail.
At the end we had encountered 8 species of the 15 species we were searching which makes the chances about 50%.
To explore and find rarities in Shiripuno eight days is required.
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon
Amazonian Violaceous Trogon
Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper
Amazonian Streaked Antwren
Rio Suno Antwren
Southern Nightingale Wren