After three visits to Ecuador in the 90s and one in 2009, I decided it was time to go again as there were at least 30 new birds for me to find in the northern half of the country and Amazonia. Three friends agreed to join me, Marc Brew, Richard Fairbank and Rod Martins, only Richard having been before (way back in 1986 and 1999). I devised a three week itinerary, asking the advice of knowledgeable bird-guides in Ecuador. We employed Gabriel (Gabo) Buchali, as in my 2009 trip, to drive us to the sites for the first two weeks, after which we spent the last week at Sani Lodge in Yasuni National Park, Amazonia. Gabo drove his 4x4 very safely, knew how to find the sites and suitable accommodation, and was very helpful with the birding, especially with his sharp eyes and collection of recordings for playback. He does guiding for Mindo Bird Tours but can be hired personally email@example.com.
The trip was very successful as we all had a good number of ticks and great views of 13 species of antpitta, 14 for Richard, including Ochre-striped, White-lored, Crescent-faced, Giant and White-bellied. We also saw Barred Ant-thrush, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Crested Owl and rare hummingbirds such as Mountain Avocetbill and Pink-throated Brilliant. Other difficult birds included Salvin's Curassow, Black-banded Crake, Imperial Snipe, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Rufous-headed Woodpecker and Ecuadorian Cacique. The only real disappointments were at Playa de Oro, where we missed a few good birds, eg Rufous-crowned Antpitta, Berlepsch's Tinamou and Lanceolated Monklet, and missing Buckley’s Forest Falcon and Hairy-crested Antbird at Sani. The choice of Sani out of the plentiful Amazonian lodges proved to be a good one, mainly because of Domingo, the excellent guide we had throughout our time there. 14 of my 24 new birds were at Sani and I think I would have missed most of them without Domingo’s help. Phil Rostron, an old friend, was at Sani at the same time as us, by chance. He had another good guide, Carlos, and saw a few birds we did not, notably Nocturnal Curassow, Nothocrax urumutum (difficult) and Black Bushbird, Neoctantes niger, but also missed a few, eg Salvin’s Curassow.
Weather: There were quite a lot of rain showers in the first two weeks, occasionally prolonged, notably on one day at Bigal when it rained till 15.00. At Sani it was mostly dry and hot although it did rain heavily for 14 hours one afternoon and night. Rubber boots were essential almost everywhere.
Costs (according to Richard) per person were:- transport and guiding by Gabo $50x15 days =$750
Pululahua $95 for 2 nights including meals
Playa del Oro $245 ($70/night incl share of Gabo’s costs + $35 for transport there)
Rio Bigal $240 ($70/night for us and $10/ night for Gabo )
Sani c$1250 for 6 nights plus Coca to Quito flight $100.
The total in country costs for Richard were about $3400 including deposits.
Health: After enquiring about whether it was advisable to take anti-malaria pills, I decided not to because Dusan, who spends a lot of time in the field, said he never did. No-one had significant health issues.
Many thanks for their help to Roger Ahlman, Dušan Brinkhuizen, Carlos and Pepe at Sani, and especially to Gabriel Buchali and Domingo Gualinga.
RF arrived in Quito on the evening of Jan 17, two days before the rest of us. MB returned from Sani to Quito on Feb 7, RF on Feb 9 and JH & RM on Feb 10. This rather strange situation was largely due to an error by me when booking the international flights.
Jan 19 Quito airport, Paz de las Aves, old Nono-Mindo road, Pululahua
Jan 20 Pululahua, drive to Selve Alegre, boat to Playa de Oro
Jan 21-22 Playa de Oro
Jan 23 Playa de Oro morning, drive to Cerro Mongus via Tunda Loma, night Oasis Hotel at Salinas
Jan 24 Cerro Mongus morning, drive to Pululahua
Jan 25 Pululahua, Nono-Mindo road, Estancia at Nono
Jan 26 Yanacocha, Quito, drive to Papallacta, then Guango, night Coturpa Hostel at Papallacta
Jan 27 Guango morning,San Isidro, night Hostel la Casa de Rodrigo at Baeza
Jan 28-29 San Isidro/Guacamayos, night Baeza
Jan 30 Guacamayos, drive to Loreto, drive in a jeep towards Rio Bigal, walking the last few km
Jan 31-Feb 1 Rio Bigal all day and night
Feb 2 Rio Bigal, walk and drive to Loreto, drive to Coca, boat on Rio Napo to Sani Lodge
Feb 3 – 10 Sani Lodge
Coca – Quito: MB after 5 nights at Sani, flying on 7th, RF by bus on 9th , JH and RM flying on 10th.
Richard Fairbank recounts the story of the birding trip on his excellent illustrated blog: http://birdingneversleeps.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/ecuador-2015-sani-lodge-02-09-february.html .
The following is a version edited by JH with a few additions.
Paz de las Aves and Pululahua
17 January. My Iberia flight arrived in Quito on time, just as it was starting to get dark. I had a short wait for my bag and somewhat apprehensively left the airport. I was not sure what, if any, reception I might get following an email exchange shortly before I left home, when the cost I had been quoted to stay with Angel Paz for two nights went up from $120 to $360 and back down to $150 if I camped and took my own food. A young lady with a sign was waiting for me with Angel Paz's brother Rodrigo and another relative from Quito who spoke good English. After brief introductions and confirmation that it would cost $150 to camp at Paz de las Aves, Rodrigo took me to his vehicle and we left, the other relative returning to Quito. I made very basic conversation, their English being no better than my Spanish. Some small talk but the important news for me was that Yellow-breasted and Moustached Antpittas had been seen that morning, but not Giant. Rodrigo said that although the famous bird Maria (named after Angel Paz's wife) had presumably died, two of her 'children' were still being seen so I was in with a chance. I asked about camping and if there was anywhere sheltered but apparently there wasn't, but I was offered the two-nights board and lodging for another $50. I confirmed that the $200 now wanted would cover all my time there. As it was raining and I had not been able to pack a tent, that seemed a sensible option. It was a 2.5 hour journey to Paz de las Aves and we saw an armadillo on the approach road. Angel and Maria met me and showed me to a nice room in their newly extended house - it was still raining and I wouldn't have fancied a night in a bivvy bag! We agreed to leave at 06:00 the next morning so I quickly unpacked a few things, set my alarm for 05:45 and soon fell asleep.
18 January. At 06:00 Angel and Rodrigo drove me down the road to a Cock-of-the-Rock lek where three males were performing. They were superb, especially when the light started to improve. Angel had brought a telescope and showed me Rufous-bellied Nighthawk that blended in amazingly well with the trunk it was roosting on. Back at the road a Scaled Antpitta was calling from high in a big tree and after ten minutes of trying different angles I finally spotted it - a bird I had not seen since Venezuela over 30 years before. While I was watching it Angel found a pair of Scaled Fruiteaters, another class species that I had only seen one of before. Next stop was a feeding station for Dark-backed Wood-Quail which were rather partial to bananas. After a few minutes calling them, first one then two came in to feed. Hummingbird feeders here were a bit of a distraction with Wedge-billed, Violet-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail and Empress Brilliant visiting. We walked a short distance to the river, Angel picking up a pot of worms on the way - things were getting serious. There was thick vegetation on the far side of the river and some worms were placed on the bank in the expectation of enticing out a Yellow-breasted Antpitta. An anxious ten minutes of Angel calling it ensued before it finally appeared - brilliant and one of my most-wanted birds on the trip. It disappeared all too soon and we continued back up the road and up a narrow trail for ten minutes to the area where Rodrigo was looking for the Giant Antpittas, but unfortunately there was no sign of them. An Ochre-breasted Antpitta and two Rufous-breasted Antthrushes were being fed and provided some consolation. We returned to the vehicle, drove back to Angel's house and walked for five minutes down another trail to look for a Moustached Antpitta which he was also feeding. Another Ochre-breasted Antpitta was waiting in situ while the Moustached came in after a short period of Angel calling it. We returned for a late breakfast after which the Paz's went into town and I spent the rest of the day watching the hummingbird feeders and on the trail by their house (said to be good for Orange-breasted Fruiteater but I had no success).
I managed to dodge a few periods of heavy rain, noting the hummingirds were as active as ever during them. The trail was good for Toucan Barbets and Sickle-winged Guans and I saw two more Scaled Fruiteaters, a nice selection of tangers and a Blackburnian Warbler. I finished the day with three new hummers, two antpittas and a wood-quail. I hoped that my excellent start would be continued, unlike last year in Colombia which rapidly went downhill after a similarly good start. I had a nice evening meal and prepared for the following day. I was looking forward to seeing my companions and starting the trip proper.
19 January. At 06:00 Angel, Rodrigo and I drove down to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek. As we arrived Jon, Rod, Marc and Gabo were walking up the road, having driven directly from Quito airport. It was good to see Jon and Rod again, the first time since West Papua some 18 months before. For me the morning was to be a repeat of the previous day's although I hoped for better fortune with a particular species and was more than happy to see the other 'stars' again. As previously, the Andean Cock-of-the Rocks performed, the Rufous-bellied Nighthawk was on the same branch (maybe not quite so an impressive find by Angel as I had thought). We then heard a Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl which was on Jon's hit-list (I had seen one at Mindo Lindo in 1999) and most of us managed brief views of it with a Golden-headed Quetzal seen soon after. We moved down to the wood-quail site but they appeared not to be in earshot so we left Rodrigo to try and find them and moved straight on to try for Yellow-breasted Antpitta. This took longer to entice in, perhaps not initially hearing Angel's calls over the sound of the river? It did appear eventually although not for as long as previously. We returned to the feeding-station where one Dark-breasted Wood Quail soon appeared and Rodrigo continued up to the trail to check for antpittas. I was keen to go with him but it was thought best that I did not - something I regretted 15 minutes later when we heard him whistle. Hurrying up the track it seemed twice as long and steep as the previous day but I eventually made it to where we had been before to find a grinning Rodrigo - he had found a Giant Antpitta. Some worms were put out when we were all gathered and it was 'called in', responding almost immediately. An absolutely superb bird that I had almost dared not to raise my hopes for and an immediate contender for bird of the trip. A Rufous-breasted Antthrush was still in evidence but not the Ochre-breasted Antpitta. On the walk back down to the road we saw a male Golden-winged Manakin before having a final look at the Wood-quail.
We drove back to Angel's house and set off down the trail for the Moustached Antpitta. It was not in evidence although the Ochre-breasted was. Both Angel and Rodrigo started looking for it with Angel finding it on a higher track at the edge of the forest patch. By the time we got there it had moved but Rodrigo soon called that it was nearer the original area. We returned and it was enticed into view but moved off while I was trying to focus my camera on it (focusing difficulties were to be a recurring problem on the trip with all our bridge cameras). We did more general birding along the trail and returned for a late breakfast and check of the hummingbird feeders, before leaving. My time at Paz de las Aves had been excellent with Angel and Rodrigo working very well as a team to show me/us the special birds they almost considered to be family members. I ended up paying $50 more than originally anticipated for my stay but was happy to accept that the quote had not included airport pickup. Considering the birds that I had been shown it seemed good value. I collected my bag and we left in Gabo's Nissan 4WD which was to be our 'home' for the next two weeks. It was a little cramped with three in the back but we rotated and did not have too much travelling to do, although getting in and out from the middle in a hurry was more of a problem. We drove a section of the old Nono-Mindo road but the 'afternoon' rain was early and rather restricted our options. We enjoyed the hummingbird feeders at Kinde Luce and walking sections of the road produced Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan and Yellow-collared Chlorophonia. We left mid-afternoon to drive to Pululahua, the caldera of a dormant volcano north of Quito and one of the few known sites for Buff-fronted Owl. We stopped at Mitad del Mundo to buy a few supplies, the “middle of the world” monument there being somewhat unimpressive. Reaching Pululahua involved a long descent down a hair-pinned dirt-road into the caldera. It was doutless very impressive but not in low loud and drizzle. It was also noticeably colder. We were welcomed at the hostal that had some hummingbird feeders (which lodge these days doesn't?). They attracted Sparkling Violetears, Black-tailed Trainbearers and a Sword-billed Hummingbird. After a good meal we tried two sites in the caldera for owls hearing a distant White-throated Screech-Owl but not the hoped for Buff-fronted.
20 January. A long and disappointing day. Owling before dawn proved frustrating with only White-throated Screech Owl calling and my missing its briefly silhouetted appearance. After a good breakfast and further Sword-billed Hummingbird views, in better light this time, we looked for Rusty-breasted Antpitta (an isolated population) without success and finally left Pululahua, still mostly in clouds. Gabo phoned Un Poco de Choco to check that the Banded Ground- Cuckoo hadn't reappeared, sadly it hadn't, and drove us west to Banos, which was noticeably warmer. We called in at a restaurant with some feeders where a male Green Thorntail was the highlight and continued towards the Pacific coast, stopping at a now defunct site for Brown Wood-Rail that had recently become the scene of construction work. We drove up the coast seeing lots of Magnificent Frigatebirds (I counted over 120!) and turned inland to Selve Alegre. Here we were met and transferred into a boat for the 90 minute journey up river to the lodge at Playa del Oro where we arrived just before dusk as the heavens opened. The lodge was community run and very basic (no electricity although three electricians were working on it) but comfortable and served good food. It was also not as hot as I had feared (perhaps because it was so cloudy and wet) with fewer mosquitoes.
Playa del Oro and Cerro Mongus
21 January. All day at El Tigrillo. We had breakfast as it was starting to get light and spent the morning on a trail behind the lodge. It was nice forest, not too hot and with few insects but birding was hard work, not helped by some heavy showers and few places where the canopy could be viewed. We returned for a good lunch and were ferried across the river to spend the afternoon on a trail there, although the rain was more persistent and it wasn’t very productive. We got back to the lodge late afternoon and the electricians had fitted lights in my room although they were not yet plugged in. Heavy rain prevented any owling so I had an early night. It had been a reasonable if somewhat tiring day and I had good views of my main target species, Sapayoa, but more was heard than seen, not that I knew what most of the calls were. Other birds of note were Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Rose-faced Parrot, Purple-chested Hummingbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, Stub-tailed and Spotted Antbirds, Golden-crowned Spadebill and Stripe-throated Wren.
The Sapayoa, at last, was not the most inspiring-looking bird but one of my main targets due to its uncertain family relationship (currently considered to be an aberrant broadbill). It was something I thought that I might have seen in Ecuador in 1986 but had since had doubts. I had hoped to see it in Colombia in 2014 but circumstances dictated otherwise. A change of fortune at Playa del Oro was more than welcome, especially as it was one of the first birds we saw.
22 January. A much drier day but birds were still proving very hard to find. We spent the morning across the river and the afternoon behind the lodge. Highlights were Crested Guan, Choco Trogon, Choco and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Dot-winged Antwren, Southern Nightingale-Wren and Dagua Thrush. We heard Lanceolated Monklet but were unable to spot it, not that I was completely sure where the sound was coming from. Baudo Guan was another heard only although rather more distant and not so frustrating. We also saw Brown-headed Spider-Monkeys and a Two-toed Sloth disappearing into the canopy. The lights were working in my and Jon’s rooms but Marc and Rod’s were still to be done. We took advantage of a dry evening to walk the trail behind the lodge but only heard Spectacled Owl and Choco Screech-Owl rather distantly.
23 January. We spent our final morning behind the lodge on the trail that we had walked the previous afternoon. We saw quite a few different birds along it but unfortunately none of our particular targets, although the call of Berpelsch’s Tinamou was claimed. We also failed to bring in either of two calling Streak-chested Antpitta, a bird I’d not seen since 1985. Best birds were Plumbeous Hawk, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Collared Aracari, Blue-crowned Manakin, and Ocellated Antbird for Jon who had gone ahead. I had enjoyed our stay but felt we had not done the place justice, not helped by the weather and not finding a good antswarm or decent bird flock. Our bags were packed into the canoe and we motored back to Selva Alegre, taking just over an hour with the flow of the river helping us. Now we were leaving the weather finally seemed to have broken and we saw blue sky again. Gabo collected his vehicle (it had been left for safekeeping at a relative of Julio’s) and we set off for Tunda Loma, a site for Brown Wood Rail. We paid a nominal entrance fee to bird in the grounds of a pleasant-looking lodge, although the area where the Wood-Rails were was by a creek with lots of particularly vicious mosquitoes in residence. Two Wood-Rails were vocally responsive but stayed in cover on the opposite side of the creek while we were increasingly bitten. They moved away and we gave up, Gabo driving us to Salinas. The Oasis Hotel might have been quite nice in daylight but it far exceeded our needs, as we arrived mid-evening and then left well before first light.
24 January. We were up two hours before dawn to drive as close to Cerro Mongus as possible. Gabo had not been before but had good directions and we found ourselves in a scattered hillside village as it was getting light. We were directed to the local shop and persuaded the owner to open early for us. We then probably bought more snacks and biscuits than he sold in a week. He directed us up the road and while it was cobbled it was fine but overnight rain had made it treacherous when it became dirt. Very soon the vehicle lost traction and slipped into a ditch. We left it and started walking after a few attempts to get it out of the ditch failed. It was a steep and slippery 90 minute climb to the start of the forest. We continued, looking for patches of bamboo in which we hoped to find Crescent-faced Antpitta. Before we realised it, we had come out on the other side of the forest and after a brief debate decided to retrace our steps and try more thoroughly. This we did, getting a response slightly more than halfway back through the patch of forest and in an area, like most if it, with hardly any bamboo. After a tense 10 minutes of the bird seeming to come closer but remaining out of view, and me feeling here I go again following similar disappointments in Colombia last year, I noticed a slight movement low down deep in the vegetation. I raised my binoculars and it took a while to realise what the two lines of colour were that I was looking at – the crescent and ear covert bar of the head of a Crescent-faced Antpitta! While I was getting the others onto it, it hopped up onto a more obvious branch where it was pretty much in full view for 10 or 15 seconds. Brilliant, but just when I thought I ought to be trying to get a photo, it dropped out of sight with a second bird, until then unseen, quickly following it. This had been one of my 'hoped for but did not really expect to see' species so I was delighted, as we all were.
We continue back to the tree-line and followed the edge of the forest for about a kilometre to an aquifer with a narrow path alongside which went into the woods. Almost immediately a smallish antpitta hoped across in front of me, most likely a Rufous. We continued along the path to the second scree-slope which was a good place to watch for Chestnut-bellied Cotinga. Here, after the distraction of a calling Tawny Antpitta, we settled down to wait and hope that a cotinga would perch up in view, but it was not to be and halfway through our two hour vigil disaster struck. I’d left my camera in my cap on the path by the aquifer while I walked on 50m to check a different area. On my return there was no sign of my camera, just an empty cap. Jon had unknowingly knocked it into the aquifer and I yanked it out to find it was somewhat waterlogged. In hindsight it was a daft place for me to leave it (Marc had a very good belt clip for his Lumix which would have saved me from leaving mine unattended). The cap, rather than offering protection, only made it easier for it to tip into the ditch. Very annoying as we were barely a week into the trip, although Jon saved the day for me by very kindly lending me his camera for the rest of the trip, an SX50, the previous Powershot model. We started back down with Gabo going ahead to try and get his car sorted, something he succeeded in doing just as we arrived. There had been a bit of sunshine which had dried the road out a little, probably making the difference. We decided to return to Pululahua to try again for the Buff-fronted Owl as the owner Renato, a birder, would be there and might be able to suggest better areas to look. We arrived at 21:00, had a good meal and went owling at a new site but with no success.
Pululahua, Yanacocha and San Isidro
25 January. We were up at 05:00 for a final attempt at Buff-fronted Owl but again failed to even hear one. A very distant calling Rufous-banded Owl was no compensation and we returned to Pululahua Hostal for an excellent breakfast. We were keen to see Rusty-breasted Antpitta, a nice bird I had seen last year in Colombia, with the added attraction of it being an isolated population. Renato knew exactly where best to go which made all the difference and we quickly heard one in bamboo a short way down a trail near the caldera's rim. We repositioned ourselves and Renato soon pulled the bird in, giving good views although not for long enough to get images. A Chestnut-crowned Antpitta was calling nearby and we soon had good views of it too, along with Burrowing Owls, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and Golden-rumped Euphonia. We left Pululahua more impressed with the area than on our first visit, although stops on the way up to the rim of the crater were just as unproductive. We drove a section of the Nono-Mindo road making several stops. At one an Ocellated Tapaculo was calling and I managed to see it low down in a small gap but unfortunately it moved out of view before anyone else could get onto it. I had hoped to see another as my previous view, in 1999, had been good but rather brief. An Ash-coloured Tapaculo performed better giving views to all and we also saw Gorgeted Sunangel, Green-and-Black Fruiteater and two juvenile Cock-of-the-Rocks in their roadside nest. We needed to be at Yanacocha the following morning before dawn so Gabo asked around in Nono and found us an excellent place to stay, saving us having to return to Quito (and giving us an extra 45 minutes in bed in the morning). Gabo left us at the Eco Estancia Nido del Quinde to make a lightening return visit to his wife and baby daughter in Quito. We had our best meal by far in Ecuador and our stay was one of the cheapest of the trip.
26 January. We were up at 04:00 and met Gabo outside the Estancia. For someone who had been up since 03:00 Gabo was remarkably chipper. He drove us to Yanacocha where it was still completely dark. We had a 2km, half-hour walk along the main track which followed the underground aquaduct contouring around the hillside. We reached a cliff face, not obvious in the dark, and waited. At 05:45, as the first glimmers of light appeared in the sky, we heard an Imperial Snipe drumming as it flew over, high-up. It took two or three further passes before it was light enough to see anything and even then those of us who managed to get onto the bird saw very little on it. Fortunately, views improved with the light and at least two birds were involved up to 06:05. We were almost at the tunnel, where the aquaduct cut through the hillside, and spent the next three hours birding there and back to the entrance where we were parked. There were hummingbird feeders near the tunnel but all were empty, although hummers were still much in evidence with Sword-billed, Great Sapphirewing, Buff-fronted Startfrontlets and Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs. Rufous Antpittas were fairly common with three seen between us; mine hopped down the path towards me, stopping almost fully obscured behind low vegetation and then just when I had the camera ready and focusing, it melted away. We returned to Nono for an excellent breakfast, packed and drove to Quito. Here we spent a couple of hours paying a deposit for our forthcoming visit to Rio Bigal and the balance of our stay at Sani. At the office for the latter Jon and I managed to send emails home.
From Quito we drove to Papallacta, spending an hour around the radio station, sometimes in the clouds, looking unsuccessfully for Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. A Tawny Antpitta hopping across the road, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant and Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant were some consolation. We continued on to Guango, an expensive lodge where Gabo's brother worked, and were told where Mountain Avocetbill had most recently been seen. The best site was by some red flowers along one of the trails, although they were occasionally seen on the feeders and Jon glimpsed one there. Our timing could have been better and we had to settle for Sword-billed Hummingbird, Chestnut-breasted Comet and Buff-tailed Coronet. We drew a blank on the flowers and drove back to Papallacta where we stayed in the inexpensive Coturpa Hostel (a tip from Gabo's brother).
27 January. We left the hostel at dawn and drove for 15 minutes to Guango. After a short check of the feeders we made for the Avocetbill stakeout. I was a little ahead of the others and disturbed an antpitta from the trail, probably Chestnut-crowned. We spent half an hour at the flowers without seeing anything before returning for Chestnut-crowned Antpitta feeding. As expected it was excellent. Jon and I headed straight back to the Avocetbill site while Gabo, Marc and Rod took a more circuitous route along a trail by the river. After an hour at the flowers we heard a hummingbird fly in and Jon picked it up at the back of the flowers - Mountain Avocetbill! We saw it for a few minutes before it disappeared. I wrote a note for the others and we were leaving when it reappeared below us giving better views. Two minutes later with it still on view Gabo, Marc and Rod arrived. Good timing, although I was quite gripped that they had seen Fasciated Tiger-Heron by the river. We had time so Marc took Jon and me straight there. It had moved, but not far and we had excellent views. I also saw White-capped Dipper which they had seen, but we ran out of time to look for their Torrent Duck. On the walk we saw Rufous-breasted and Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrants before overshooting the turning to Guango and coming out higher up the road. We returned to Papallacta for a late breakfast and then tried a road, which soon became a dirt track, into the National Park looking for Masked Mountain- Tanager but very few birds were in evidence - a Shining Sunbeam the best. We met a tour-group who had come in from the other direction and in quick succession, but at least an hour earlier, seen Mountain Tapir and Spectacled Bear! We continued with low expectations and saw a ... rabbit. With time against us we drove to Baeza and left our bags at the Hostal la Casa de Rodrigo, another inexpensive tip from Gabo's brother. We drove to San Isidro but as it was clear decided to try Guacamayos Ridge where White-chested Swifts can be seen cruising over in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, although it was clear at San Isidro the ridge was in the clouds. We headed back down and half-way to Baeza noticed swifts flying low over the valley. A quick stop revealed three species involved including White-chested and Chestnut-collared – a very lucky break. Back in Baeza we bought supplies for the next day's lunch (and snacks) and partook of a very ordinary meal in the restaurant next to our hostel.
28 January. Leaving Baeza at 05:00 we drove to San Isidro where we were getting a 'day pass' to use their trails. We walked a trail in the dark to reach an area where the rare Peruvian Antpitta had been recorded the previous year but there was no response to playback. We returned to the lodge where there was lots of activity from first light with Crested Quetzal, Inca Jay and migrant Swainson's Thrush and Blackburnian and Canada Warblers. Seven-thirty was antpitta feeding time, and this one was White-bellied, a bird I had tried very hard to see in Colombia but only managed a flight view. It was superb and brought in a fully grown juvenile, absolutely brilliant and another top target seen. We checked out a few hummingbird feeders, seeing Bronzy Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Long-tailed Sylph. The rest of the day was a bit of an anticlimax. We birded the road past San Isidro and a trail opposite the lodge entrance, seeing Andean Guan, Merlin, White-throated Quail-Dove, White-throated (Emerald) Toucanet and Dusky Piha. Both areas were good for Black-billed Mountain-Toucan but we were not fortunate. A few km along the road there was a trail where a Barred Ant-thrush responded to playback and gave Marc a half-decent view, Rod and I just seeing an ant-thrush shape. Our attempts to pull the bird across the track failed and there was hardly anywhere where the vegetation was open enough to see the ground where one might see it coming in. We tried clearing a small ride with no success either - very frustrating. Returning to the lodge after dark, we flushed a Rufous-banded Owl from the road while the San Isidro Black-banded Owl was calling around the lodge and gave good views from the roof, although only Marc had thought to take his camera. A long day that started and finished very well, we returned to our hostel in Baeza, via the shops for more supplies, and the indifferent restaurant next door.
29 January. We left Baeza at 06:15, 15 minutes later than intended and drove straight to the trail for the Barred Ant-thrush. We soon had a response with the bird slowly getting closer and closer. A movement was finally spotted behind a thick patch of vegetation. Moving our position slightly revealed part of the bird but it was very obscured. I kept on it barely daring to move in case it did, but Marc took a chance and found a gap where the bird was in full view. It was superb watching it put every effort into calling. Jon was especially pleased as it was a tick and he had brought it in with his Olympus recorder, a feat he had failed at several times elsewhere. The rest of the day alternated between birding the road in the hope of a mountain-toucan and visiting Guacamayos Ridge to find it in cloud (twice). Generally it was light showers at San Isidro and heavy showers at Guacamayos. In the afternoon, after our second drive along the road, the others decided to head back to Guacamayos. I decided to stay and walked the best mountain-toucan stretch of the road four times over two hours seeing White-throated Toucanet (which caused a brief panic) and Andean Guan. I then walked back towards San Isidro and was met by Gabo, Jon and Rod. They had seen little along the ridge, the weather still being poor, but Marc had walked the road near the lodge and seen a Black-billed Mountain-toucan. We drove back to the area but no sign - I was very gripped. A final night in Baeza and my least favourite restaurant.
30 January. We packed and left Baeza soon after 06:00 driving straight to Guacamayos Ridge. It was raining hard when we arrived, no surprise there, so we had breakfast in the car and after half an hour it eased off. We birded along the ridge from 07:00-08:40 seeing Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant and Grass-green Tanager, and hearing a distant Slate-crowned Antpitta. Gabo then drove us to Loreto stopping just outside town to look unsuccessfully for the uninspiringly named Brown-rumped Foliage-Gleaner, although we may not have got the exact site. In Loreto we met Thierry, a very likeable ex-pat Frenchman, at the only obvious hotel in Loreto at around noon. He was taking us to his lodge at Rio Bigal, after a packed lunch in the hotel lobby. A large pickup taxi was summoned and we all piled in with our stuff in the back. Thierry and Cesar, his cook, were dropped at the local market to buy final provisions while the taxi driver took us to his house to pick up a large gas cylinder. We collected Thierry and Cesar who joined the bags of supplies and Gabo in the back, giving Jon a cardboard tray of eggs to nurse. We headed east out of town and after a few kms turned north onto a dirt road which we followed for twenty minutes or so. Two mules and their muleteer were waiting to take our gear and supplies the final 5-6 km to Rio Bigal and while they were being loaded we started walking. The track immediately became very muddy, treacherously so in places, and it was clear why we could not have driven any further. Most of the walk, which took about two hours, was through cleared areas with scattered trees that did not seem particularly productive although we did see Green-backed Trogon, Many-banded Aracari and Violaceous Jay. We did not enter decent forest until shortly before the turn-off to the lodge, having been passed by the mules a few minutes earlier. The turn-off was not at all obvious, a narrow almost invisible trail despite the fact that two mules had just gone down it. So much so that Jon, who was some way ahead at this stage, walked right past it, Gabo catching up with him 0.5 km further on. The trail was dark, muddy and steep in places but after five minutes we came to the lodge set in a small clearing. It was a very basic open-ended affair with a downstairs living area, and upstairs sleeping area where Thierry set-up tents, mattresses and sleeping bags and adjacent shower and toilets. The setting was brilliant, just my sort of place to be right on site. After sorting-out our stuff we headed back to the entrance track and continued further down it for the final hour or so of daylight, seeing Blackish and Western Wood Pewees and Lafresnaye’s Piculet. We had an excellent meal and an early night.
31 January. After an early breakfast we spent the morning dodging showers as we birded along some of the narrow trails at Rio Bigal. They included the intriguing Hot Lips trail, named for a plant. Our main target was Pink-throated Brilliant but they were not playing ball and a probable fly-past for some was the best we managed. A male Ecuadorian Piedtail was good consolation for me and I also saw Sooty and Spot-backed Antbirds, Amazonian Umbrellabird and Striped Manakin. We returned for lunch and in the afternoon tried our luck further along the entrance track, first calling in at a shelter where we disturbed a roosting Blackish Nightjar. Pink-throated Brilliant had been seen on some flowers a km or so along the entrance track but few hummers were in evidence. One that was, was a male Gould's Jewelfront - the same genus as the Brilliant and even better looking. We had spread out a bit when Gabo got a good view of a perched Pink-throated Brilliant but it immediately flew (I heard it go) and with no flowers in the immediate vicinity did not return. Disappointing but it would have been more so had I missed the jewelfront. The track was more open than the trails and we saw Paradise, Golden and Masked Tanagers and Moriche Oriole while I had a brief view of a male Fulvous Shrike-Tanager. A vocal Musician Wren was tempted to fly across the track but it dived into thick vegetation where it was impossible to see. After another good meal and as it was not raining Jon and I went out spotlighting with Thiery and Gabo. By walking slowly and looking carefully at hanging leaves Thiery pointed out lots of insects and bugs, a thin snake and an impressive Monkey Frog but foolishly I had not thought to take the camera. Another impressive sight was a giant earthworm nearly a metre in length.
1 February. We spent a very wet morning along the track again hoping for Pink-throated Brilliant with Jon and Marc being successful. The Blackish Nightjar was in its usual place and I managed to get some photographs without disturbing it. The afternoon was not quite so wet and the rain even stopped before it got dark although there was still not a lot of activity. I did see a female Wire-crested Thorntail, Ornate Flycatcher, the usual Pewees, Golden-headed and Blue-rumped Manakins, and Green & Gold, Swallow and Opal-crowned Tanagers. As the light was fading I was watching a Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager in some dense vegetation (2-3 had been in the lodge clearing on previous evenings). It was moving slowly then stopped in a vertical position with its head pointing down. It remained visible but unmoving in this position until the light completely went at least fifteen minutes later. It seemed certain that it had gone to roost. Thierry showed us some of the photos taken by camera traps taken near the lodge. Amongst a selection of very impressive animals - Jaguar, Spectacled Bear, Tapir - he had some of Grey-winged Trumpeters. Thierry told us they were a nuisance, setting-off his camera traps and sometimes when he was at the lodge on his own he had seen a group walking up the path and into the clearing. It was one of my most-wanted birds but not something I thought I had a realistic chance of seeing, so hearing that they were fairly common in the area was not something I wanted to know when we were leaving. I had not thought to ask Thierry about trumpeters and was now regretting it, not that two days creeping around his trails was likely to have been successful (a trumpeter will always see me and scarper before I see it). Sadly our stay (and our time with Gabo) was almost over as we had to leave Rio Bigal next day at first light. It was a very nice area with an excellently positioned lodge but we had not stayed long enough to do it justice, although long periods of heavy rain had not helped.
2 February. We had breakfast before it was light and left our bags in the lodge. We were going out as we had come, us walking the entrance track to meet a taxi at 08:00 and our bags going by mule. We said goodbye to Thierry and Cesar, excellent hosts, who were staying to pack things away, and left Rio Bigal as it was getting light at 06:15. From the track we saw a noisy, mobile group of at least 17 Military Macaws, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Speckled Chachalacas, Chestnut-eared Aracari and 100+ White-collared Swifts. Jon flushed a White-throated Tinamou from the forest edge while walking ahead. After an hour or so a single mule and rider passed us, going to collect our bags. We reached the pick-up point at 07:55, the mule with our bags at 07:58 and the taxi at 07:59. Impressive. We stopped on the way back to Loreto for a White Hawk and once there quickly transferred into Gabo's vehicle. We had two hours to get to Coca which was an hour's drive away but wanted another look for Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner on the way. We tried the same area as previously but with no more success. We arrived in Coca dead on 11:00 but some ATM difficulties and a road being dug-up requiring us to walk the last 200m, meant we did not get to the rendezvous at La Mision Hotel until 11:20. No rush as another passenger was awaited and his flight had been delayed. We met Domingo who would be our guide at Sani Lodge and said a sad farewell to Gabo who had been excellent and was now driving back to Guango to stay with his brother, and then to Quito where he was meeting two more clients. It was no surprise that Gabo was much in demand being a very good birder, organiser and driver, very easy going and a thoroughly nice bloke too.
The final destination of our trip, Sani Lodge, was over two hours by motorboat down the Rio Napo. Our gear was put into plastic bags and loaded into a long, covered motorised canoe. We boarded and just after mid-day the other passenger arrived, it was Phil Rostron, Jon’s main World List rival (and good friend)! We set off speeding down the Rio Napo which, unlike in 1986 when I had visited with Nick Preston, was busy with a variety of craft. One of my most wanted birds was Collared Puffbird, on the Sani list but at San Isidro we had met two very keen Finnish birders who had just come from Sani and had not seen one (the first thing I asked). They had been with Domingo concentrating on restricted range species and had seen Harpy Eagle and Grey-winged Trumpeter. Judging by their reaction to meeting ‘the Jon Hornbuckle’ he is something of a folk hero amongst list-oriented Finns! With thoughts of what we might see spinning through my head we motored down the Rio Napo, passing Primavera (now apparently an oil exploration area), Limoncocha and La Selva.
We arrived at the docking point for Sani and were led for ten minutes or so down a boardwalk to a small creek. The boardwalk had a central strip of green matting which was essential to prevent slipping – the rest of it was really treacherous as I found out when inadvertently stepping onto it. Maybe it is OK when dry but it didn’t appear to have been dry for quite some time. Here canoes were waiting to transfer us and our gear, which was following in a hand-pulled cart, down the Challuayacu creek and lake to the lodge. At times the creek was completely enclosed by trees and Marc, who was in front, briefly saw a Green & Rufous Kingfisher before it disappeared. A Ringed Kingfisher was much more obliging. It soon started raining and a flock of about 70 Greater Anis flew over as we were approaching the lodge. That seemed the queue for the rain to increase in intensity. We were welcomed and after a complementary drink were told we were going to the camp-site for our first two nights. We had chosen to camp for part of our stay to be in a different area of the forest (and as it was a bit cheaper). It seemed like a good idea to do it first although the weather wasn’t ideal. After being issued with ponchos (we didn’t need the offered rubber boots) Domingo and his assistant Pepe loaded us and our bags into the canoe and paddled us to the campsite. It took about 45 minutes during which time the heavens completely opened. I was a bit slow putting Jon’s camera into a plastic bag and some water got into it so it stopped working. We qot quite wet too as water found its way in around the ponchos. It was clear that there had been a lot of rain as the campsite jetty was almost completely underwater. It was only a couple of minutes walk to the campsite where tents were set-up under covered platforms. A nice setting although the heavy rain had made everywhere muddy. We had a warm drink in the dining hut, sorted out our stuff and watched the rain until it got dark. I managed to get the camera to work again although it seemed a bit temperamental and would probably have benefitted from some direct sunlight. Jon had given Domingo a hit list of the 15 or so species listed for Sani that he had not seen. Domingo was quite encouraging about most of them mentioning areas where they might be seen, with the odd smile suggesting we’d be lucky with some. A similar list from me would have been over 50 so I asked about the two I most wanted to see - Collared Puffbird and Grey-winged Trumpeter. Domingo appeared quite confident about the puffbird but just smiled when I mentioned the trumpeter - at least it hadn’t been a shake of the head that Jon got when asking about Festive Coquette. We were given a good meal and had an early night, the rain showing little sign of abating.
3 February. It stopped raining at some point during the night but was very overcast at dawn. We were up and into the forest as it was getting light trying to track down a Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl that was calling from near the toilet block but we inadvertently flushed it. We headed down the main trail and had not gone more than 10 minutes when Domingo heard a Collared Puffbird calling. We were instructed to stay on the path while he and Pepe went in to look for it. An anxious three minutes later (it seemed like 30) Pepe came back to tell us Domingo had found it but just as we got there it flew. It hadn’t gone far and was quickly relocated sitting on a branch looking down on us. It gave good views, albeit in not brilliant light. We had hardly been at Sani any time at all and a long ambition had been realised although the camera deciding not to work rather took the edge off it. Perhaps my putting it in a plastic bag hadn’t helped with the humidity it was already suffering from? Walking back to the trail we disturbed a pair of Crested Owls, another ambition bird, and not long after Domingo asked if we had seen Rusty-belted Tapaculo before. Only Jon had so it was quickly tape-lured and slowly circled us giving good views. Next up a calling Purplish Jacamar was tracked down ... Things clearly couldn’t continue this way and they didn’t, Black-spotted Bare-eyes only gave fleeting glimpses and Domingo tried playing Lanceolated Monklet (I’m not sure if he had heard one or was trying an area where he knew they were). No response it seemed although something about the right size and shape flew into the top of the tree above us. At the same time Domingo heard Sapphire Quail- Dove, one of Jon’s target birds, further down the trail and everyone moved off. I had seen Sapphire Quail-Dove at Primavera and stayed a couple of minutes looking for the monklet but to no avail. Even if it had been in view I doubt my eyesight would have been keen enough to spot it. I caught the others up before they disappeared down an almost invisible side trail and after tracking the calling Quail-Dove for 15 minutes we had good views of it walking on the forest floor. We went back to the camp very satisfied with a brilliant first foray into the Amazon rain forest. We took the canoe back along to the Challuayacu creek to look for Cocha Antshrike and once there quickly found a responsive pair which gave good views (another smart bird). We returned to the camp for lunch and afterwards saw a Lawrence’s Thrush singing from a tree top while two small groups of Blue & Yellow Macaws flew over. We had only a short period of rain but it remained dull all day and not (camera) drying weather. We went out again on the forest trails mid-afternoon and all but Marc couldn’t believe our good fortune when Domingo saw a Salvin’s Curassow on a log crossing the trail ahead of us. Unfortunately Marc, who by the luck of rotation was last at this point and unsighted, didn’t see it. I was just in front of Marc and saw it after it had dropped onto the other side of the log – a thick black neck and head with a bright red bill. It then quickly walked away giving me diminishing back-on views of the whole bird. Not something that had really been on my radar or Jon had really rated his chances of seeing. An hour or so later Domingo froze in a slightly more open area and muttered trumpeter and pointed. I panicked and saw a trumpeter shape go across the trail ahead of us. I got my bins up and briefly saw its back, grey wings and pale brown saddle before it disappeared. We ‘chased’ it for 100m before it flew up into a tree, although all I saw was a shape flying up. Thinking it would be like a Crowned Pigeon and be located sitting high up looking down on us I was disappointed to find it had kept going. Hardly great views and I was very keen for better but I had seen most of my most wanted bird in South America. Marc, who again had been unsighted, only saw it fly up. Later I asked Domingo if it was unusual to see just one trumpeter as they usually go around in reasonable sized groups. I was a bit shocked when he said there had been 10-15. I had just caught the back end of presumably the last one. I hoped it showed how very good Domingo was rather than how hopeless we were but I suspect there was some of the latter there too. Collared Puffbird and views of Grey-winged Trumpeter on my first day, the pressure for me was really off and I hoped to thoroughly enjoy the rest of our stay. I almost floated back to camp where we arrived at dusk. The day wasn’t over though as the Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl started calling by the campsite within a few minutes of us returning and this time we successfully spotlighted it. What a brilliant day!
4 February. We were up at 03:45 and following Domingo into the forest by torch light to look/listen for Nocturnal Currasow. We walked steadily for half an hour, or as steadily as one could by torchlight on muddy trails and across a couple of streams on fallen logs. It was a damp morning with some light rain and nothing was calling at all, not even in response to playback. We covered a reasonable amount of ground before turning back and returning to the camp site somewhat disappointed. We were back at 05:30 to find breakfast being prepared and presumably the same Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl in full voice. We packed and after breakfast left for the canopy tower in the canoe, the weather being no brighter. A Common Potoo on the way was a good start. The tower was reached by a 10-15 minutes walk up a low ridge from a narrow creek part-way back towards the lodge. It was in a very impressive tree with a very substantial caged metal staircase going up to it. The staircase seemed endless although I was pleasantly surprised that it was only 202 steps. At the top was a large platform with stunning views over the canopy in every direction. Sadly no Harpy Eagles were sitting out but we saw Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Black-headed Parrot, Mealy and Orange-winged Amazons, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Spangled and Plum-throated Cotingas and best of all a roosting Great Potoo. Marc also saw a calling Long-billed Woodcreeper but it had gone from view by the time I crossed the platform. We dragged ourselves away and spent a couple of hours on a circular trail but were frustrated not to see a Golden-collared Toucanet that was calling (and moving around) in the canopy above us for at least ten minutes. We were more successful with a female Blue-crowned Trogon. We returned to the canoe and were paddled back along the creek and across the lake to the lodge. As well as the usual Hoatzins and Black-capped Donacobius we saw two Bare-necked Fruitcrows distantly perched, then in flight. Sadly they were to be the only ones we saw. At the lodge we were greeted by a tame trumpeter. I never discovered how it came to be at Sani but was told it had been there for six months. It was so brilliant I was tempted to try and bring it home! Domingo showed us a pair of roosting Tropical Screech-Owls and we were then taken to our cabins, Rod and I had #6 and Jon and Marc #5. They were very pleasant. We had mosquito nets over the beds but did not really need them as we were not troubled by insects at all. After lunch we were paddled down the main channel and back along the boardwalk. It was as slippery as when we had arrived. Towards the Rio Napo end of the boardwalk a White-lored Antpitta was calling, one of our main targets. It seemed no more than 40m away in a particularly thick patch. Domingo imitated it but it didn’t move so we tried approaching from various angles, making quite a bit of noise in the process. I would have thought we would have put anything to flight but we got to within 10m before disturbing it. We never saw it move but next heard it calling from some way off. We were rather downbeat but Domingo seemed unperturbed, suggesting we tried another territory. This one was only a few hundred metres away off a track to the west. Another bird was soon responding but it was in an even thicker patch. No messing about this time and with a call of ‘Pepe, machete’ we moved in. I wasn’t at all convinced that this strategy would work but was very pleased to be proved wrong. A combination of carefully hacking a narrow trail in and Domingo’s superb eyesight enabled him to spot the bird before we entered its comfort zone and we all got good views, although by the time I thought to try for photographs it had moved on. We continued down the track which was through mainly secondary forest, seeing some Black-spotted Bare-eyes well in one of the better forest patches and trying in several places for Black-banded Crake. We had responses from two birds without seeing them. On the walk back we were more fortunate with an impressive Rufous-headed Woodpecker, one of Jon’s most-wanted birds.
It had dried out as the day progressed but remained heavily overcast and the light was failing fast by the time we got back to the canoe. We spotlighted Common Potoo and Ringed Kingfisher on our return to the lodge. After a good meal we enquired about staying at Sani for an extra day or two as we had a small contingency we thought we might have needed for Crescent-faced Antpitta. When we had seen Yanyls in Quito to pay the balance she had indicated that it would be OK to stay an extra day as Sani was not fully booked at this time and we agreed on a daily rate if we wanted to. Sani was so good that we did want to stay longer but needed to make sure connections would work with our international flights. Sani’s skype connection seemed better than email (Jon and I had tried unsuccessfully to email home) and we were told they would have information about flights by the following evening.
5 February. We were up at 05:00 for breakfast and left in the canoe in the dark at 05:30 with Phil and his guide Carlos. We arrived at the boardwalk 15 minutes later and just about managed the walk without a torch, although it was useful to have it to hand. We took a motorboat across the Rio Napo and upstream to Yasuni NP where we spent a long morning, initially with Phil and Carlos, on and off very muddy trails and crossing small rivers on fallen logs. Our main quarry was Ochre-striped Antpitta but we were distracted by other species and Phil and Carlos went on ahead. We heard an antpitta below us in a valley. ‘Pepe, machete’ and we went down for it but despite spending a couple of hours, during which time we got very close, we were unsuccessful. We did have good views of a Brown-rumped Foliage-Gleaner, a new bird for Domingo and not on the Sani list. I was more impressed with Brown Nunlet, Brownish Twistwing, Black-tailed Leaftosser and brilliant views of a superb Collared Puffbird although frustratingly the camera was reluctant to focus on it. We returned to the boat for an excellent packed lunch. Phil had beaten us back, having seen the antpitta well with Carlos. We all tried a site for Ecuadorian Cacique without success and called in at one of the river islands on the way back while Phil and Carlos headed back. The river island was disappointing with Castelneau’s Antshrike our best sighting. It was quite a hot day with a few showers which probably didn’t help. We were back at the lodge as it was getting dark, seeing Capped Heron and me missing a Least Bittern on the lagoon. We had another good meal and visit to the office. I decided to go for an earlier, mid-day, flight from Coca to Quito but was told that would require a special boat from Sani which would cost me $300! After several skype conversations with Yanyls in Quito and Miguel (their agent in Coca) I decided to have one extra day at Sani and travel back to Quito on an overnight bus (not only cheaper $10 v $100 but also saving me having to find a hotel). Jon and Rod went for two extra nights at Sani and a slightly more risky connection.
6 February. Repeating yesterday’s itinerary we had breakfast at 05:00 and canoe at 05:30 to the boardwalk. We arrived at the Rio Napo just as it was light but couldn’t start the motorboat we had used previously. Domingo had no more success than Pepe and after almost half an hour we transferred to their bigger ($300!) boat. We headed straight up and across the river to the Yasuni National Park trails we had been on yesterday. We took an arduous-short cut over a ridge (Domingo appearing to relish using the machete) to get to the area where we had heard the Ochre-striped Antpitta. One was again vocalising in the distance and we headed off-trail towards it with a bit of machete work on the way. We got quite close but it seemed to be keeping its distance so Domingo and Pepe split up, after Pepe was instructed what to look for (he was not a bird guide). After an anxious 20 minutes or so it seemed to settle in an area where Pepe could see it. He beckoned us over and I had a brief view before it moved on again. This time Domingo saw where it went and ensured we all had excellent views of it calling back at him. Now we had seen the main bird I thought it an appropriate time to mention a few other birds to Domingo that I hoped to see. He was quite positive although I did get a sort of ‘wish you’d told me before’ response. We returned to the trail and continued along it to a flatter ridge where he played a recording of Banded Antbird. Immediately one flew in and landed in front of us in full view, to no sooner fly off again. A stunning bird that eventually gave us prolonged views. At the same place an Ash-throated Gnateater started calling and gave good views. For a while I didn’t know where to look as both species were on my wanted list. Then we headed off-trail for a calling Thrush-like Antpitta but failed to see it - still a very good morning. We then met Phil who by his expression had not been successful on his quest with Carlos to see Nocturnal Curassow, despite a 03:00 start and 90 minute walk on muddy trails and across slippery logs in the dark. They had heard one calling before dawn but only a local village boy who had accompanied them glimpsed it. It was a hot dry day but the trails were still very muddy and the difficult terrain made it hard work even when not off-trail. We had a late lunch then returned to the Ecuadorian Cacique site further along the river. We again drew a blank but Marc and I saw a smart White-eared Jacamar. It was Marc’s last full day and so we decided to finish at the canopy tower, after returning to the lodge. We arrived there at 16:00, seeing Purple-throated Fruitcrow on the way. It was quite good but disappointing compared to our first visit, with light from the lowering sun making viewing to the west difficult. The Great Potoo looked as if it hadn’t moved while Domingo pointed out a very distant Slate-coloured Hawk, the closest we would get to a Harpy Eagle. We were back at Sani Lodge in daylight, just in time for my daily fix of the tame Grey-winged Trumpeter.
7 February. We were up at 04:00, or should have been, to go and listen for Zigzag Heron. Both Rod and I slept through our alarms and were woken by Marc and Jon, joining them in under 10 minutes. Zombie-like I followed Domingo and the others along and off a trail behind the lodge for about 20 minutes. We heard a distant Zigzag Heron calling but it was in an area that we could not reach so we returned to the lodge. After breakfast, at the usual 05:00, Jon, Rod and I said a sad farewell to Marc who was leaving that morning and had chosen to join the other ‘departees’ in visiting a parrot clay-lick and the village community centre. He had been an excellent and very level-headed travelling companion. Domingo took us to a new cacique site along the Napo, a 15 minute walk involving a submerged boardwalk that had been below wellington level a couple of days before. We met Phil and Carlos there, Phil with a big smile on his face - they had returned to the Nocturnal Curassow site and had very good views of one by torchlight. After a while we spread out to look for the Cacique; Domingo heard one calling which Jon and I saw briefly. It dropped out of sight and did not reappear in a couple of hours - not the most inspiring bird, and at the range we saw it probably only identifiable on call. I was much more impressed with the Silvered Antbird we had seen on the way there. Jon spent some time with Domingo trying to get a good view of an Orange-eyed Flatbill that Domingo had found. We returned to the Rio Napo and headed up stream to a different river island. This was much more successful, probably helped by the time of day. We saw many of the river island specialities in fairly quick succession - Parker’s and White-bellied Spinetails, Black & White Antbird and Olive-spotted Hummingbird were all new, although I only had poor views of River Tyrannulet and only Domingo saw Lesser Hornero. By now it was very hot and we had lunch on the island. In the afternoon we returned to the start of the boardwalk and took the track to where we had heard Black-banded Crakes. We flushed an Undulated Tinamou on the way and after two failed attempts to see responsive crakes a third pair was more obliging, crossing an opening on the forest edge several times. We returned to the lodge, and the tame trumpeter, as the light was fading - a dry day although the trails remained very muddy.
8 February. My last full day at Sani: breakfast at 05:00 and canoe at 05:30 to the canopy tower. Spotlighting on the lagoon revealed the eyes of a Ladder-tailed Nightjar but it flew as we approached and we saw little else of it. At the canopy tower from 06:20-08:10 we saw Slender-billed Kite, Bat Falcon, Pied Puffbird, Chestnut-fronted Macaw and the Great Potoo, with a chick this time. We were paddled across the lagoon to a long trail opposite where we spent the rest of the morning. It was very hot and tiring as we covered a lot of ground but some excellent birds made it very worthwhile. First we had good views of Dot-winged Antwren, then a Thrush-like Antpitta started calling some way off-trail. This led to the inevitable ‘Pepe machete’ and we homed in on it. Despite a certain amount of crashing around on our part it stayed faithful to a small area where I glimpsed it crossing a gap but my view was more frustrating than useful. Domingo told us to stay put while he very slowly edged forward and after five minutes of intense peering he beckoned us over to where he could see it through a small gap. Amazing skill on his part. We all had good views but it moved out of sight before any of us could go back for seconds. A short time later we came across a pair of Chestnut-belted Gnateaters that responded to Domingo’s calls. They were brilliant too. We returned to the lodge for lunch and a 90 minutes break. It was still very hot and sunny so I put my camera out hoping to dry it out, with no appreciable improvement. I wandered into the nearby forest but saw very little, the one downside of the Lodge was that the better accessible habitat was always a canoe away whereas at the campsite it was on the doorstep. I returned to our cabin and was visited by the tame trumpeter although it didn’t seem overly impressed with the bit of dry biscuit I offered. We departed for the boardwalk at 15:00 taking a trail from its start that headed NE towards the Rio Napo. We had reached its furthest point without seeing anything when the weather broke and we returned at 16:30 in heavy rain. Any remaining thoughts we might have had about trying for Phil’s Nocturnal Curassow in the morning were scuppered, not that any of us were overly keen given the effort involved and small chance of success. Domingo had been very reluctant when we floated the idea with him too. It rained all evening and all night. As I would be leaving Jon and Rod tomorrow I returned Jon’s camera with grateful thanks.
9 February. Although we were up for breakfast at the usual 05:00, we had to wait for an hour for the rain to ease before setting off. Domingo and Pepe paddled us to the boardwalk and we then motored to the better river island for a 45 minutes blitz which was generally successful, seeing River Tyrannulet and Riverside Tyrant which we had missed previously. We then continued to the Yasuni trails looking for antwrens. We were walking along a ridge when Domingo heard a Grey-winged Trumpeter calling from quite close. He imitated it and it boldly strutted in expecting to see off a rival – amazing! We had superb views of it calling back to Domingo, almost in full view, but how I regretted not having kept Jon’s camera to the bitter end, especially as he had not brought it out due to the rain. The trumpeter then quickly walked off shaking its wings and grunting in irritation! We continued on without finding any flocks or antswarms (one of the few disappointments with our time at Sani) before returning the way we had come. The trumpeter was in the same area as we heard it calling as we approached. It ran in angrily at Domingo’s imitation before realising it was us again and strutted off. An unbelievable performance that rates with my all-time best. It was then time for me to be dropped at the Community Centre where I said a fond good-bye to Domingo and Pepe, Domingo being the best bird guide I’ve come across. Jon and Rod had another day and I hoped to see them at Quito airport the next evening. Others leaving Sani were given a traditional lunch at the Community Centre but I opted to wander around the clearing instead. My trip changed from amazing to tedium in a short period of time. We were loaded into a fast boat and left at 12:50, arriving upstream at Coca at 15:00. My wellingtons went no further as on changing them I realised that both soles had cracked – no wonder I had got wet feet that morning. Everyone was taken to the airport in a bus with all our luggage following in a pickup taxi. The others were flying back to Quito but I’d opted to save money by getting the overnight bus and was dropped at the bus station at 15:30. I heard their plane depart on time at 17:30 and wondered if my caution in leaving a day early had really been necessary. It was a comfortable bus station, partly air conditioned and not particularly busy. My bus left at 20:30 by which time I’d finished my book and a packet of biscuits. The bus didn’t get out of the bus station before being pulled over and we all had to get off and line-up and half the passengers were questioned and/or searched. It was a long uncomfortable journey with speed-bumps and hairpin bends making it hard to sleep. Much nicer in daylight I’m sure.
10 February. The bus arrived at Quito’s northern bus terminal at 03:30. It was pretty much deserted but most of the other passengers soon disappeared. There was no obvious sign of where buses left for the airport so I waited until it got light, starting to read a book. When it was light I couldn’t see a stand for the airport bus and no one I asked knew where it was so I got a taxi for $20. I arrived at the airport at 07:00, only 11 hours before check-in. There was no left-luggage, the information office told me that they were not allowed to keep an eye on my bag and a couple of tours of the airport failed to locate anywhere I felt that I could safely dump it. As my priority now was to get home with my stuff I didn’t feel that walking out of the airport to go birding in the scrubby hillsides nearby was really an option, especially as it soon got quite hot. The book lasted me all day as did a fruit malt loaf. I checked in at 18:00 and then went down to arrivals to meet Jon and Rod. Their flight was on time. I was sure that it would be but would have worried all day about missing my flight home if I’d chanced it. They had seen a few new birds for me but none that really hurt. They checked in for their flight to Lima and I noted that Iberia was still checking in for my flight. My flight was barely half-full and I had the centre block of 4 seats to myself so after having a meal I was able to lie down and sleep solidly for 4-5 hours.
It had been a brilliant trip but I was pleased when I arrived home.
Many thanks to Jon Hornbuckle for putting the trip together and having me along, to Marc Brew and Rod Martins for excellent companionship and Gabo Bucheli and Domingo for brilliant guiding. It had been my most enjoyable South American trip to date.
JH: another 24 hours at Sani
9 February. Leaving Richard at the Community Centre, we returned to the Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we went back along the Napo to try for better views of Ecuadorian Cacique and Orange-eyed Flatbill. Birding was rather slow and even Domingo could not find either bird this time. We saw a few honeycreepers and tanagers but the only new bird for the trip was a Spotted Tody-Flycatcher. We returned to the lodge in day-light for a change.
10 February. Our final morning had to be another crack on the Yasuni trails as we knew Dugand’s and Chestnut-shouldered Antwrens were there and it was likely to be the best site for 3 other key birds for me: Buckley’s Forest-Falcon, Hairy-crested Antbird and Purple-throated Cotinga. Rod and I had packed our bags so they could be transported to the Community Centre and we left in the dark for Yasuni. While paddling to the boardwalk we saw a heron flying across the creek at canopy level. Domingo spot-lighted it and called Agami Heron, a much-wanted bird for Rod, but it was a barely tick-able view. Arriving at Yasuni saw the start of 6 gruelling hours in which we hardly stopped walking up and down the hillside, often off-piste, frequently crossing streams, while Domingo played back the calls of all the key birds. His first success was in locating a Dugand’s Antwren but it was impossible to see it clearly, moving about in the high canopy. Fortunately two other Dugand’s were found and this time Domingo induced one to come down lower for a good view. Later, a Chestnut-shouldered was heard in the canopy; Domingo saw it but could not bring it down, try as he might, so we had to leave it, reluctantly. There was no response from the other playbacks but we did see a Black-eared Fairy, a very local bird here, a male Blue-backed Manakin and a Wing-barred Piprites, all new for the trip.
At 12.30 we returned to the boat and crossed the river to the Community Centre. Here we were offered some delicacies including fat grubs which I declined but Rod tried, declaring them almost inedible. Then after saying goodbye to Pepe, who had been a great help, we boarded the speed-boat to take us back to Coca with Domingo and a few locals. It rained hard most of the time, delaying the journey a little, but we arrived in good time and transferred to Coca airport. Domingo checked us in and we finally said our farewells to him. He had been an unforgettable, superb guide, without whom I would have seen very few of my 14 new birds. Our flight left a little late but we reached Quito almost on time and soon saw Richard for a chat. He continued home while we flew to Lima, and booked a cheap hotel via the helpful tourist office, still open at 11pm at the airport! We spent the following morning on a boat trip on the ocean, visiting a few nearby islands, and the afternoon birding along the coast, the highlight being the 1000s of Franklin’s Gulls, many in their pink breeding plumage. Our Air France flights to Heathrow via Paris were delayed by some two hours so I ended up having to take an overnight bus home, having missed the last train. A minor inconvenience after a most enjoyable and rewarding trip, in excellent company.
RECORDS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Status quotes are from The Birds of Ecuador by Ridgely and Greenfield (2001).
White-throated Tinamou, Tinamus guttatus
Uncommon to locally fairly common. One was flushed from the forest edge by JH when walking back from Bigal River – it flew some distance along the edge.
Berlepsch's Tinamou, Crypturellus berlepschi
Rare to locally uncommon in the NW. It is regularly seen at Playa de Oro so we were disappointed to miss it; Gabo and RM said they heard one calling.
Salvin's Curassow, Mitu salvini
Rare to locally fairly common. One on the track near the campsite at Sani was the only sighting.
Dark-backed Wood-Quail, Odontophorus melanonotus
One (2 for RF) at the feeding station at Paz de las Aves.
Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Tigrisoma fasciatum
Rare and local. A juv. gave great views on the river at Guango Lodge.
Agami Heron, Agamia agami
One flash-lit by Domingo as it flew from the high canopy across the river on the last morning as we paddled from the lodge to the boardwalk to the Rio Napo.
Zigzag Heron, Zebrilus undulatus
Heard calling near the lodge at Sani around dawn when we were trying unsuccessfully to see one.
Hawk, Accipiter sp.
A smallish brown Accipiter flew low from the ground near the lodge at Pululahua. It could well have been the rare Semicollared Hawk A.collaris, I later realized, as it was too high for Grey-bellied Hawk, A. poliogaster or Tiny Hawk, A. superciliosus, the other likely candidates. I should have tried harder to re-locate it!
Grey-winged Trumpeter, Psophia crepitans
Rare to uncommon and local. Mega views were had of single birds, including display, at Sani after a brief view of a party of several flying off on an earlier date.
Brown Wood-Rail, Aramides wolfi
Rare and very local in the W. Two responded to play-back at Tunda Loma in the afternoon but would not show; a morning visit might have been more successful.
Black-banded Crake, Anurolimnas fasciatus
Rare to locally fairly common in the NE. After failing one afternoon at Sani to see any of the 5 responsive crakes, we tried again 3 days later and eventually saw a pair, thanks to Domingo’s persistence.
Imperial Snipe, Gallinago imperialis
Rare and local from 2700 to 3800m. Two or 3 lekked from 05.45 to 06.05 in a clear sky at Yanacocha, difficult to see till the light was reasonably bright, about 06.00.
Sapphire Quail-Dove, Geotrygon saphirina
Rare to uncommon inside terra firme forest. Domingo enticed one into view after lengthy play-back.
White-throated Screech-Owl, Megascops albogularis
One flew in on our first morning at Pululahua while we were trying to attract attention from a Buff-fronted Owl, one of which Phil Rostron saw fly in silently, responding to play-back, at a site in the South.
Crested Owl, Lophostrix cristata
Uncommon. Two were seen by chance in daylight on the first morning at Sani Lodge.
Black-banded Owl, Ciccaba huhula
One showed very well in the evening at San Isidro. It is now thought to be an undescribed form of this species rather than a new species.
Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Glaucidium nubicola
Uncommon in the canopy on the W slope at 1400 to 2000m. One responded to playback at Paz de las Aves but was very difficult to see in the canopy. Angel finally got me on it after a lot of play-back, in time for me to see it perched then fly away.
Blackish Nightjar, Caprimulgus nigrescens
Rare to uncommon in or near rocky areas. There was an adult with a young juv at Rio Bigal, must have nested on a large rocky ledge by a seated observation site overlooking the main road.
White-chested Swift, Cypseloides lemosi
In 2001 it was only known from a few sightings in Napo on the E slope of the Andes and the lowlands further E but is now known to occur regularly with other Cypseloides swifts. We saw a swift feeding flock between San Isidro and Baeza with at least 3 species and watched it for some 10 mins. There appeared to be at least 10 of this species flying fairly low.
Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Schistes geoffroyi
Rare to uncommon and somewhat local. 2 at Paz de las Aves.
Black-eared Fairy, Heliothryx auritus
Uncommon to fairly common in E lowland and foothills. One in terra firme at Sani.
Ecuadorian Piedtail, Phlogophilus hemileucurus
Uncommon to fairly common and local in the E foothills. Up to 5 daily at Rio Bigal.
Mountain Avocetbill, Opisthoprora euryptera
Rare and local on the E slope. Great views of one perched on a bush near red flowers it had been feeding on.
Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Urosticte benjamini
Rare to uncommon on the W slope. 4 at Paz de las Aves.
Pink-throated Brilliant, Heliodoxa gularis
Very rare to rare and local along the eastern base of the Andes in N Ecuador, Rio Bigal is one of the few sites where it is known to occur. We had only 3 sightings, on different days: one flew past, Gabo saw one perch but it flew off before anyone else could get on it, and one caught insects at canopy level, returning to canopy perches, for 15-20 mins. The last two sites were close together so may have involved the same bird.
Gould's Jewelfront, Heliodoxa aurescens
Rare to uncommon on the eastern lowlands. One was seen well at Rio Bigal, perched and feeding.
Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Leucippus chlorocercus
Uncommon to fairly common on islands in the Rio Napo. One or 2 were seen on two islands near Sani.
Purplish Jacamar, Galbula chalcothorax
Rare to locally fairly common in the E lowlands. Only one sighting at Sani.
Collared Puffbird, Bucco capensis
Rare to locally uncommon in lowland terra firme in the E. One or 2 at Sani on 3 dates.
Lanceolated Monklet, Micromonacha lanceolata
Rare and local, heard in nearby canopy at Playa de Oro but remained invisible.
Brown Nunlet, Nonnula brunnea
Rare to uncommon in E lowlands. A single good sighting at Sani.
Five-coloured Barbet, Capito quinticolor
Locally not uncommon in lowlands of extreme NW of Ecuador. Heard calling in the canopy at Playa de Oro but could not be seen.
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Andigena nigrirostris
Rare to uncommon, mostly at 1500-2300m. Only one was seen, by MB, along the road at San Isidro.
Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Celeus spectabilis
Rare and local in the E lowlands including river islands. Domingo heard one calling near the Napo at the Black-banded Crake site and was able to show it to us and call it in closer, a fine achievement.
Buckley's Forest-Falcon, Micrastur buckleyi
Rare and local in the E lowlands. Heard calling distantly a few times on 2 out of the 3 visits to the tower at Sani but there was no response to numerous playback attempts there and elsewhere.
Military Macaw, Ara militaris
Rare to uncommon and local. A noisy flock of 17 was seen on the walk-back from Rio Bigal.
Sapayoa, Sapayoa aenigma
Rare to uncommon and local in the NW lowlands. Surprisingly common at Playa de Oro with up to 5 seen daily.
Cocha Antshrike, Thamnophilus praecox
Uncommon and very local in varzea. A pair was seen while paddling in the canoe near Sani Lodge on 3rd and we had another sighting of one in a similar situation the next day.
Banded Antbird, Dichrozona cincta
Rare to locally uncommon. One at Sani on 5th.
Rio Suno Antwren, Myrmotherula sunensis
Rare to locally uncommon in the E lowlands. One in a mixed-species flock at Sani.
Yasuni/Brown-backed Antwren, Myrmotherula fjeldsaai
First described in 1999 and named after Jon Fjeldsa, fairly common within Yasuni NP (HBW vol 8). We saw a pair at Sani on 6th.
Dugand's Antwren, Herpsilochmus dugandi
Uncommon to fairly common in terra firme canopies. Heard in the canopy on two days at Sani before a determined effort by Domingo on my last day succeeded in locating 2 birds, the first too high for a good view but the second came down to mid-storey.
Chestnut-shouldered Antwren, Terenura humeralis
Rare to locally uncommon in the canopy of terra firme forest. Only heard on my last day but stayed in the canopy so only Domingo had a tickable view.
Stub-tailed Antbird, Myrmeciza berlepschi
Uncommon to locally fairly common in the NW lowlands. Seemed fairly common at Playa de Oro but rather difficult to see.
White-cheeked Antbird, Gymnopithys leucaspis
An ant-following bird, split from G.bicolor, apparently not uncommon at Sani although we only saw one.
Bicoloured Antbird, Gymnopithys bicolor
Apparenly rare in W Ecuador now, mainly found in the SW. We saw at least one in a small antswarm at Playa de Oro.
Ocellated Antbird, Phaenostictus mcleannani
Rare to uncommon in the NW, this obligate ant-follower was heard a few times at Playa de Oro but only one was seen by JH when alone.
Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Conopophaga aurita
Uncommon and inconspicuous in E lowland terra firme. One pair was responsive to playback at Sani.
Ash-throated Gnateater, Conopophaga peruviana
Uncommon and inconspicuous in E lowland terra firme. One bird was responsive to playback at Sani.
Giant Antpitta, Grallaria gigantea
Apparently rare. Angel Paz perfected the art of feeding antpittas with worms on this species. In recent months seeing it has not been so reliable – RF missed it on his first day but we all saw it very well on the next morning.
Moustached Antpitta, Grallaria alleni
Rare to locally fairly common, we saw one collecting worms for young at Paz de las Aves.
Scaled Antpitta, Grallaria guatimmalensis
Uncommon to fairly common. RF saw one high in a tree at Paz de las Aves on 18th.
Ochre-striped Antpitta, Grallaria dignissima
Rare to uncommon in terra firme lowland forest. Great views of one on our second day of trying at Sani.
Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Grallaria flavotincta
Rare to locally uncommon on the W slope. One being fed at Paz de las Aves.
White-bellied Antpitta, Grallaria hypoleuca
Uncommon to fairly common on the E slope. An adult and a juv were being fed at San Isidro.
Rufous Antpitta, Grallaria rufula
Uncommon to fairly common mostly from 2200m to 3300m, favouring Chusquea bamboo. More than one species is likely involved (Ridgely and Greenfield). 3 singles were seen at Yanacocha, and one at Cerro Mongus.
Tawny Antpitta, Grallaria quitensis
Fairly common at 3000-4500m and quite easy to see. One at Cerro Mongus was very obliging, and one crossed the road at Papallacta.
Streak-chested Antpitta, Hylopezus perspicillatus
Rare to locally fairly common. Two were heard calling at Playa de Oro but were not responsive, although we did not try for long.
White-lored Antpitta, Hylopezus fulviventris
Not uncommon at Sani judging by the calls, and one was called in without too much difficulty.
Thrush-like Antpitta, Myrmothera campanisona
Fairly common in terra firme at Sani but difficult to see. Domingo eventually enticed one in by playback.
Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Grallaricula flavirostris
Uncommon to locally fairly common, with several forms. Two were being fed at Paz de las Aves
Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Grallaricula ferrugineipectus
Unknown in Ecuador until a small population of a new form was found recently in the Pululahua caldera. Renato helped us to find 2 calling on our second attempt, with one seen well.
Slate-crowned Antpitta, Grallaricula nana
Uncommon at 2000–2900m. Heard calling on Guacamayos Ridge but too far down to bring in.
Crescent-faced Antpitta, Grallaricula lineifrons
Rare to fairly common in the temperate zone of the E slope. We saw a pair, with some difficulty, at Cerro Mongus in SE Carchi.
Barred Antthrush, Chamaeza mollissima
Rare, on the Eastern slope, responsive to playback but rarely coming close enough to see. Our first lengthy attempt at San Isidro failed but fairly early the next morning we succeeded, giving me my first ever tickable bird.
Black-tailed Leaftosser, Sclerurus caudacutus
Uncommon to locally fairly common in E lowlands. One of these very inconspicuous birds was seen at Sani.
Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Automolus melanopezus
Rare to uncommon and local in E lowlands. We twice visited where Roger Ahlman had seen it near Baeza but failed. I played it to Domingo and he later identified one singing in terra firme forest at Sani, then spotted it when I played back. It was a new bird for him and the Sani list, as well as us.
Parker's Spinetail, Cranioleuca vulpecula
We failed to find this river island specialist on our first attempts in an afternoon on the Napo but saw 3 when we returned in the morning.
Brownish Twistwing, Cnipodectes subbrunneus
Rare to uncommon but widespread up to 600m in the E. Only one found in the terra firme at Sani.
Orange-eyed Flycatcher/ Flatbill, Tolmomyias traylori
Rare and local in varzea and riparian woodland in the E lowlands. Only seen once at one of the Ecuadorian Cacique sites.
Blackish Pewee, Contopus nigrescens
Very local along Eastern base of the Andes. Up to 6 seen daily at Rio Bigal.
Riverside Tyrant, Knipolegus orenocensis
Rare, on river islands, only one was seen in Rio Napo.
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca diadema
Uncommon, 2 seen on Guacamayos Ridge, only heard at Pululahua.
Grey-tailed Piha, Snowornis subalaris
Rare to uncommon, heard several times at Bigal but only seen once by RM.
Dagua Thrush, Turdus dauae
Local and uncommon in the NW lowlands, this thrush is considered to be a subspecies of White-throated Thrush T. assimilis by Clements but a full species by IOC. A few were heard at Playa de Oro but only one seen, in the canopy – a new bird for me.
Black-eared Hemispingus, Hemispingus melanotis
Rare to uncommon, 3 were seen on 28th at San Isidro.
Black-capped Tanager, Tangara heinei
Uncommon, one at San Isidro.
Rufous-winged Tanager, Tangara lavinia
Uncommon to locally common in the NW lowlands. One seen at Playa de Oro.
Slaty Finch, Haplospiza rustica
Uncommon and local. One was seen at Yanacocha.
Caqueta Seedeater, Sporophila murallae
Rare to uncommon. A male was perched up on the first river island we explored but no more were identified.
Large-billed Seed-Finch, Oryzoborus crassirostris
Rare to uncommon and very local. Only one identified at Sani.
Paramo Seedeater, Catamenia homochroa
Rare to uncommon and local. RM spotted one at Cerro Mongus.
Grey-browed Brush-Finch, Arremon assimilis
Fairly common but inconspicuous in the Andes, a split off Stripe-headed, A.torquatus. Singles at Guango and above Quito on 26th.
Olive Oropendola, Psarocolius bifasciatus
Rare to uncommon, a few were seen at Sani.
Ecuadorian Cacique, Cacicus sclateri
Rare and local in the E lowlands. Two sites near Sani Lodge were known to Domingo. They were visited a few times by us and Phil Rostron but only one bird was seen once by RF and JH after Domingo heard and located it.
List of other birds
Great Tinamou, Tinamus major 1 Playa de Oro, heard Rio Bigal & Sani
Little Tinamou, Crypturellus soui 1 P d O
Undulated Tinamou, Crypturellus undulates 1 Sani
Torrent Duck, Merganetta armata 3 Guango, 1 San Isidro
Andean Guan, Penelope montagnii 4 Moyabamba, 2 San Isidro, heard Cerro Mongus
Baudo Guan, Penelope ortoni 4 heard P d O
Spix's Guan, Penelope jacquacu 1 Sani
Crested Guan, Penelope purpurascens 1 P d O
Sickle-winged Guan, Chamaepetes goudotii 3 Angel Paz (RF)
Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Pipile cumanensis 1 Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Speckled Chachalaca, Ortalis guttata 2 San Isidro, 8 Rio Bigal, 4 Sani
Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail,Odontophorus speciosus Heard Rio Bigal
Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens 120+ NW coast
Neotropic Cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus Few Selve Alegre near P d O, 1 Guango, 2 Sani
Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis Few Selve Alegre
Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Tigrisoma lineatum heard Sani
Boat-billed Heron, Cochlearius cochlearius 5 Sani
Least Bittern, Ixobrychus exilis 1 Sani
Striated Heron, Butorides striata 1 P d O & Sani
Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis Widespread in small numbers
Cocoi Heron, Ardea cocoi 1 Sani
Great Egret, Ardea alba A few
Capped Heron, Pilherodius pileatus 1 Sani
Snowy Egret, Egretta thula Few P d O, 1 Sani
Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea 1 P d O
Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura Common
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Cathartes melambrotus 1 Sani
Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus Common
King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa 1 near Sani (RF)
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus 2 P d O, 1 Sani
Pearl Kite, Gampsonyx swainsonii 1 Rio Bigal
Hook-billed Kite, Chondrohierax uncinatus 1 San Isidro
Grey-headed Kite, Leptodon cayanensis 2 P d O
Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus Up to 4 throughout
Slender-billed Kite, Helicolestes hamatus 1 Sani
Double-toothed Kite, Harpagus bidentatus 1 Sani
Plumbeous Kite, Ictinia plumbea 1 Sani
Plumbeous Hawk, Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea 1 P d O
Slate-coloured Hawk, Buteogallus schistaceus 2 Sani
Roadside Hawk, Rupornis magnirostris Up to 4 throughout
Variable Hawk, Geranoaetus polyosoma 1 Papallacta
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Geranoaetus melanoleucus 3 Papallacta
White Hawk, Pseudastur albicollis 2 Rio Bigal
Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus 3 San Isidro
Short-tailed Hawk, Buteo brachyurus 1 near Loreto
Limpkin, Aramus guarauna 1 Sani
Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Aramides cajaneus Heard Sani
Chestnut-headed Crake, Anurolimnas castaneiceps Heard Sani
Sunbittern, Eurypyga helias Heard Sani
Pied Lapwing, Vanellus cayanus 2 Sani
Southern Lapwing, Vanellus chilensis 20 San Isidro
Andean Lapwing, Vanellus resplendens 2 Papallacta
Collared Plover, Charadrius collaris 3 Sani
Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius Few P d O & Sani, 2 Guango
Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca 1 Sani
Wattled Jacana, Jacana jacana 1 Sani
Laughing Gull, Leucophaeus atricilla Few Selve Alegre
Ruddy Ground-Dove, Columbina talpacoti A few throughout
Band-tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata Common in the Andes
Pale-vented Pigeon, Patagioenas cayennensis Common Sani
Plumbeous Pigeon, Patagioenas plumbea 1 Rio Bigal
Dusky Pigeon, Patagioenas goodsoni Heard P d O
Eared Dove, Zenaida auriculata A few throughout
White-tipped Dove, Leptotila verreauxi Scattered records
Grey-fronted Dove, Leptotila rufaxilla Few Sani
Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Geotrygon veraguensis 1 P d O
White-throated Quail-Dove, Geotrygon frenata 1 San Isidro
Ruddy Quail-Dove, Geotrygon Montana 1 Sani
Hoatzin, Opisthocomus hoazin 10 Sani
Squirrel Cuckoo, Piaya cayana 1 San Isidro & Sani, heard at P d O
Greater Ani, Crotophaga major 70 Sani
Smooth-billed Ani, Crotophaga ani Fairly common Loreto to Coca and at Sani
Tropical Screech-Owl, Megascops choliba 2 Sani Lodge
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Megascops watsonii 1 Sani camp site
Choco Screech-Owl, Otus centralis Heard P d O.
Spectacled Owl, Pulsatrix perspicillata Heard P d O
Band-bellied Owl Pulsatrix melanota Heard Rio Bigal
Rufous-banded Owl, Ciccaba albitarsis 1 San Isidro and heard Pululahua
Andean Pygmy-Owl, Glaucidium jardinii Heard Yanacocha
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Glaucidium brasilianum Heard Sani
Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia 5 Pululahua
Great Potoo, Nyctibius grandis Adult with juv Sani tower
Common Potoo, Nyctibius griseus 2 Sani
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Lurocalis rufiventris 2 Angel Paz
Common Pauraque, Nyctidromus albicollis 1+ Sani
Band-winged Nightjar, Caprimulgus longirostris Heard Angel Paz & Yanacocha
Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Hydropsalis climacocerca 2 Sani
Chestnut-collared Swift, Streptoprocne rutila Few near San Isidro
White-collared Swift, Streptoprocne zonaris Common near San Isidro, 100+ Rio Bigal, 1 Sani
Band-rumped Swift, Chaetura spinicaudus Few P d O
Grey-rumped Swift, Chaetura cinereiventris Few P d O & Sani
Short-tailed Swift, Chaetura brachyuran Few Sani
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Tachornis squamata Few Sani, 10 Rio Bigal
White-necked Jacobin, Florisuga mellivora 1 Angel Paz & Sani
Rufous-breasted Hermit, Glaucis hirsutus 1 Sani
Band-tailed Barbthroat, Threnetes ruckeri 1 P d O
Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Threnetes leucurus 2 Rio Bigal
Stripe-throated Hermit, Phaethornis striigularis 2 P d O
Reddish Hermit, Phaethornis ruber 1 Sani
White-whiskered Hermit, Phaethornis yaruqui Few P d O
Green Hermit, Phaethornis guy 2 Rio Bigal
Tawny-bellied Hermit, Phaethornis syrmatophorus 1 Angel Paz & San Isidro
Straight-billed Hermit, Phaethornis bourcieri 1 Sani
Great-billed Hermit, Phaethornis malaris 2 Sani
Green Violetear, Colibri thalassinus 2 San Isidro
Sparkling Violetear, Colibri coruscans Few Yanacocha, Pululahua & San Isidro
Purple-crowned Fairy, Heliothryx barroti 1 P d O (RF)
Gorgeted Sunangel, Heliangelus strophianus 1 Nono-Mindo, road;
Tourmaline Sunangel, Heliangelus exortis 6 Guango
Wire-crested Thorntail, Discosura popelairii 1 Rio Bigal (RF,RM)
Green Thorntail, Discosura conversii 2 en route to P d O
Speckled Hummingbird, Adelomyia melanogenys Few throughout the Andes
Long-tailed Sylph, Aglaiocercus kingi 1 Pululahua, 4 San Isidro
Violet-tailed Sylph, Aglaiocercus coelestis Few Angel Paz
Black-tailed Trainbearer, Lesbia victoriae 1 Pululahua
Blue-mantled Thornbill, Chalcostigma stanleyi 1 Papallacta
Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Chalcostigma herrani 1 Pululahua
Tyrian Metaltail, Metallura tyrianthina 1 Yanacocha & Guango
Glowing Puffleg, Eriocnemis vestita 1 Guango
Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Eriocnemis luciani 4 Yanacocha
Golden-breasted Puffleg, Eriocnemis mosquera 1 Cerro Mongus, 2 Yanacocha
Shining Sunbeam, Aglaeactis cupripennis 1 Papallacta
Bronzy Inca, Coeligena coeligena 2 San Isidro
Brown Inca, Coeligena wilsoni Few Angel Paz
Collared Inca, Coeligena torquata 1 Pululahua, 5 Guango, 3 San Isidro
Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Coeligena lutetiae Few Yanacocha, common Guango
Sword-billed Hummingbird, Ensifera ensifera 1 Pululahua & Yanacocha, 2+ Guango
Great Sapphirewing, Pterophanes cyanopterus 1 Yanacocha, 2 Guango & San Isidro
Buff-tailed Coronet, Boissonneaua flavescens Few Angel Paz, Pululahua & Guango
Chestnut-breasted Coronet , Boissonneaua matthewsii Common Guango & San Isidro
Velvet-purple Coronet, Boissonneaua jardini 3 Angel Paz, 1 Pululahua
Booted Racket-tail, Ocreatus underwoodii Few Angel Paz, 2 Pululahua
Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Heliodoxa rubinoides Common Angel Paz, 3 San Isidro
Green-crowned Brilliant, Heliodoxa jacula Few Pululahua
Empress Brilliant, Heliodoxa imperatrix 2 Angel Paz
Long-billed Starthroat ,Heliomaster longirostris 1 Sani
White-bellied Woodstar, Chaetocercus mulsant 2 Yanacocha, 5 Guango
Purple-throated Woodstar, Calliphlox mitchellii Few Angel Paz, 2 Pululahua
Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Thalurania furcata 1 Rio Bigal
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Amazilia tzacatl 2 Angel Paz, 1 Pululahua
Andean Emerald, Amazilia franciae Common Angel Paz, 1 Pululahua
Glittering-throated Emerald, Amazilia fimbriata 1 Sani
Purple-chested Hummingbird, Amazilia rosenbergi 2 P d O
Crested Quetzal, Pharomachrus antisianus 1 San Isidro
Golden-headed Quetzal, Pharomachrus auriceps 2 Angel Paz
Choco/Blue-tailed Trogon, Trogon comptus 1 P d O
Black-tailed Trogon, Trogon melanurus 1 Sani
Green-backed (Amazonian White-tailed)Trogon, Trogon viridis 2 Rio Bigal, 3 Sani
Blue-crowned Trogon, Trogon curucui 1 Sani
Black-throated Trogon, Trogon rufus 1 P d O
Masked Trogon, Trogon personatus 1 Guango & San Isidro
Ringed Kingfisher, Megaceryle torquata 1 P d O & Sani
Amazon Kingfisher, Chloroceryle amazona 1 Sani
Green Kingfisher, Chloroceryle mericana 1 Sani
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Chloroceryle inda 1 on arrival at Sani (MB)
Rufous Motmot, Baryphthengus martii Heard Rio Bigal & Sani
White-eared Jacamar, Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis 1 Sani
White-chinned Jacamar, Galbula tombacea Heard Sani
Coppery-chested Jacamar, Galbula pastazae Heard San Isidro
Pied Puffbird, Notharchus tectus 2 Sani
White-whiskered Puffbird, Malacoptila panamensis 2 P d O
Black-fronted Nunbird, Monasa nigrifrons 2 Sani
White-fronted Nunbird, Monasa morphoeus 1 Sani
Yellow-billed Nunbird, Monasa flavirostris 1 Sani
Swallow-winged Puffbird, Chelidoptera tenebrosa 2 Sani
Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Capito aurovirens 1 Sani
Gilded Barbet, Capito auratus 2 Sani
Red-headed Barbet, Eubucco bourcierii 1 Angel Paz (RF)
Toucan Barbet, Semnornis ramphastinus Angel Paz (RF), 1 Pululahua, heard Yanacocha
Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus haematopygus 5 Angel Paz (RF)
White-throated (Emerald) Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus albivitta 3 San Isidro
Choco Toucan, Ramphastos brevis 3 P d O
Channel-billed Toucan, Ramphastos vitellinus Heard Rio Bigal
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Ramphastos swainsonii 1 P d O
White-throated Toucan, Ramphastos tucanus 3 Sani
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Andigena laminirostris 3 Nono-Mindo road, heard Yanacocha.
Golden-collared Toucanet, Selenidera reinwardtii Heard at Sani
Collared/Stripe-billed Aracari, Pteroglossus torquatus 7 P d O
Chestnut-eared Aracari, Pteroglossus castanotis 10 Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Many-banded Aracari, Pteroglossus pluricinctus 2 Rio Bigal, 5 Sani
Lettered Aracari, Pteroglossus inscriptus 1 Sani
Lafresnaye's Piculet, Picumnus lafresnayi 1 Rio Bigal & Sani
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Melanerpes cruentatus 2 San Isidro, 1Rio Bigal & Sani
Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Melanerpes pucherani 2 P d O
Red-rumped Woodpecker, Veniliornis kirkii 2 P d O (RF)
Little Woodpecker, Veniliornis passerines 1 Sani
Red-stained Woodpecker, Veniliornis affinis 2 Sani
Golden-olive Woodpecker, Colaptes rubiginosus 2 Pululahua
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Colaptes rivolii 1 Pululahua, 2 San Isidro
Cinnamon Woodpecker, Celeus loricatus Heard P d O
Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Celeus grammicus 1 Sani
Chestnut Woodpecker, Celeus elegans 2 Sani
Lineated Woodpecker, Dryocopus lineatus 2 Sani
Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Campephilus melanoleucos 1 San Isidro & Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Guayaquil Woodpecker, Campephilus gayaquilensis 1 P d O
Laughing Falcon, Herpetotheres cachinnans 1 Sani, heard P d O & Cerro Mongus
Collared Forest-Falcon, Micrastur semitorquatus Heard Sani
Red-throated Caracara, Ibycter americanus 4+ Sani
Carunculated Caracara, Phalcoboenus carunculatus 1 Sani
Black Caracara, Daptrius ater 1 Sani
Yellow-headed Caracara, Milvago chimachima 3 Sani
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius A few scattered sightings
Merlin, Falco columbarius 1 San Isidro, a scarce migrant
Bat Falcon, Falco rufigularis 1 Sani
Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Ara ararauna 10 Sani
Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao Few Sani
Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Ara severus 2 San Isidro, 4 Sani
Red-bellied Macaw, , rthopsittaca manilata 40 Sani
Dusky-headed Parakeet, Aratinga weddellii 3 Sani
Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Pyrrhura melanura Heard P d O
Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Brotogeris cyanoptera Few Sani
Black-headed Parrot, Pionites melanocephalus 5 P d O, 3 Sani
Rose-faced Parrot, Pyrilia pulchra Few P d O
Blue-headed Parrot, Pionus menstruus 5 P d O, 2 Sani
Red-billed Parrot, Pionus sordidus 1 Angel Paz, 2 San Isidro
White-capped Parrot, Pionus seniloides Flock of 50 at San Isidro
Yellow-crowned Parrot, Amazona ochrocephala Few Sani
Orange-winged Parrot, Amazona amazonica 20+ Sani
Scaly-naped Parrot, Amazona mercenaries 1 Cerro Mongus
Mealy Parrot, Amazona farinose Common P d O, Rio Bigal & Sani
Western Slaty-Antshrike, Thamnophilus atrinucha 1 P d O
Castelnau's Antshrike, Thamnophilus cryptoleucus 1 Sani
Northern Slaty-Antshrike, Thamnophilus punctatus 2 Sani
Black Bushbird, Neoctantes niger Heard Sani
Plain Antvireo, Dysithamnus mentalis Heard Sani
Spot-crowned Antvireo, Dysithamnus puncticeps 1 P d O
Dusky-throated Antshrike, Thamnomanes ardesiacus 2 Sani
Cinereous Antshrike, Thamnomanes caesius 2+ Sani
Spot-winged Antshrike, Pygiptila stellaris 1 Sani
Checker-throated Antwren, Epinecrophylla fulviventris 2 P d O
Rufous-tailed Antwren, Epinecrophylla erythrura 1 Sani
Pygmy Antwren, Myrmotherula brachyuran 1 Sani
Moustached Antwren, Myrmotherula ignota 1 P d O
White-flanked Antwren, Myrmotherula axillaris 2 P d O
Slaty Antwren, Myrmotherula schisticolor 2 Sani
Dot-winged Antwren, Microrhopias quixensis 1 P d O, 2 Sani
Streak-headed (Long-tailed split) Antbird, Drymophila striaticeps 2 San Isidro
Yellow-browed Antbird, Hypocnemis hypoxantha 1 Sani
Blackish Antbird, Cercomacra nigrescens 1 Rio Bigal
Black-faced Antbird, Myrmoborus myotherinus 1 Sani
Black-and-white Antbird, Myrmochanes hemileucus 2 Sani
Silvered Antbird, Sclateria naevia 1 Sani
Spot-winged Antbird, Schistocichla leucostigma 1 Sani
Chestnut-backed Antbird, Myrmeciza exsul 2 P d O
White-shouldered Antbird, Myrmeciza melanoceps 2 Sani
Plumbeous Antbird, Myrmeciza hyperythra 2 Sani
Sooty Antbird, Myrmeciza fortis 1 Rio Bigal
Spotted Antbird, Hylophylax naevioides 3 P d O
Spot-backed Antbird, Hylophylax naevius 2 San Isidro, 1 Rio Bigal
Dot-backed Antbird, Hylophylax punctulatus 1 Sani
Scale-backed Antbird, Willisornis poecilinotus Hea 4 Sani
Undulated Antpitta, Grallaria squamigera Heard Yanacocha and Cerro Mongus
Plain-backed Antpitta, Grallaria haplonota Heard regularly Rio Bigal
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Grallaria ruficapilla 1 Pululahua, 1 fed Guango, 1 with juv fed San Isidro,heard Angel Paz
Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Grallaria nuchalis Heard Yanacocha
Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Liosceles thoracicus 1 Sani
Ocellated Tapaculo, Acropternis orthonyx 1 Papallacta (RF)
Ash-coloured Tapaculo, Myornis senilis 1 Nono-Mindo, road
Blackish Tapaculo, Scytalopus latrans 1 Yanacocha, heard Pululahua & San Isidro
Long-tailed Tapaculo, Scytalopus micropterus Heard Guacamayos Ridge
Nariño Tapaculo, Scytalopus vicinior Heard Angel Paz
Spillmann's Tapaculo, Scytalopus spillmanni 1 Guacamayos Ridge
Rufous-capped Antthrush, Formicarius colma Heard Sani
Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Formicarius rufipectus 1 fed Angel Paz
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Glyphorynchus spirurus 1 P d O, San Isidro & Sani
Cinnamon-throated Wodcreeper, Dendrexetastes rufigula 1 Sani
Long-billed Woodcreeper, Nasica longirostris 1 Sani tower (MB)
Striped Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus obsoletus 1 Sani
Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus guttatus 1 Rio Bigal & Sani
Elegant Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus elegans Heard Sani
Black-striped Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus 1 P d O
Spotted Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus erythropygius 1 P d O
Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus triangularis 2 San Isidro;
Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus promeropirhynchus 3 Angel Paz (RF)
Brown-billed Scythebill, Campylorhamphus pusillus 1 P d O
Montane Woodcreeper, Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger 1 Angel Paz, Moyobamba & Guango, 2 San Isidro
Plain Xenops, Xenops minutes 1 P d O
Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii 1 Angel Paz, 2 Moyobamba & Guacamayos Ridge
Chestnut-winged Cinclodes, Cinclodes albidiventris 2+ Papallacta
Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Syndactyla subalaris 2 San Isidro, heard Angel Paz
Western Woodhaunter, Hyloctistes virgatus 1 P d O
Flammulated Treehunter, Thripadectes flam mulatus 1 Angel Paz
Spotted Barbtail, Premnoplex brunnescens 2 Guacamayos Ridge
Pearled Treerunner, Margarornis squamiger 3 Guango, 2 San Isidro
White-browed Spinetail, Hellmayrea gularis Heard Guango
Azara's Spinetail, Synallaxis azarae 3 Pululahua, 1 Guacamayos Ridge, heard Moyabamba
Rufous Spinetail, Synallaxis unirufa 1 San Isidro
Slaty Spinetail, Synallaxis brachyuran Heard Angel Paz
White-bellied Spinetail, Synallaxis propinqua 2 Sani
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Tyrannulus elatus 2 Sani
Grey Elaenia, Myiopagis caniceps Heard Sani
White-tailed Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus poecilocercus 1 Yanacocha, 2 San Isidro
White-throated Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus leucophrys 3 Cerro Mongus, 1 Yanacocha
Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Mecocerculus minor 1San Isidro
Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Anairetes parulus 2 Pululahua
Torrent Tyrannulet, Serpophaga cinerea 2 Guango, 3 San Isidro
River Tyrannulet, Serpophaga hypoleuca 1 Sani
Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Zimmerius gracilipes 2 Sani
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Phylloscartes ophthalmicus 1 Guango
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Phylloscartes gualaquizae 2 Rio Bigal
Streak-necked Flycatcher, Mionectes striaticollis 1 Pululahua & Papallacta
Olive-striped Flycatcher, Mionectes olivaceus 1 P d O (RM) & Rio Bigal (RF)
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Leptopogon rufipectus 1 Guango & San Isidro
Ornate Flycatcher, Myiotriccus ornatus 10 Rio Bigal
Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Myiornis ecaudatus Heard Sani
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Lophotriccus pileatus 1 San Isidro, 2 Rio Bigal
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Poecilotriccus ruficeps 2 San Isidro
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum maculatum 1 Sani
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum 1 Sani
Golden-crowned Spadebill, Platyrinchus coronatus 1 P d O
Flavescent Flycatcher, Myiophobus flavicans n 1 San Isidro (MB)
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Terenotriccus erythrurus 1 P d O
Cinnamon Flycatcher, Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus 2 Pululahua, 3 Guango, 6 San Isidro
Handsome Flycatcher, Nephelomyias pulcher 2 San Isidro
Fuscous Flycatcher, Cnemotriccus fuscatus 2 Sani
Olive-sided Flycatcher, Contopus cooperi 1 Rio Bigal
Smoke-coloured Pewee, Contopus fumigates 2 Angel Paz, 1 Papallacta, 2 San Isidro
Western Wood-Pewee, Contopus sordidulus 1 San Isidro & Rio Bigal
Eastern Wood-Pewee, Contopus virens 1 Rio Bigal
Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans 3 Angel Paz, 4 San Isidro
Streak-throated, Bush-Tyrant, Myiotheretes striaticollis 10 Pululahua
Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Myiotheretes fumigates 2 Cerro Mongus, 1Yanacocha
Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Cnemarchus erythropygius 1 Papallacta
Masked Water-Tyrant, Fluvicola nengeta 1 P d O
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris 1 Guango (MB,RF)
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca rufipectoralis 1 Guan;go
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca fumicolor 2 Papallacta
Long-tailed Tyrant, Colonia colonus 2 P d O, 1 San Isidro & Rio Bigal
Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Myiozetetes cayanensis 2 P d O (RF)
Social Flycatcher, Myiozetetes similis 1 P d O & Sani
Grey-capped Flycatcher, Myiozetetes granadensis 2 Sani
Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus Few Rio Bigal & Sani
Lesser Kiskadee, Pitangus lector 2 Rio Bigal, 5 Sani
Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Myiodynastes chrysocephalus 1 Pululahua & San Isidro
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Myiodynastes luteiventris 2 Sani
Boat-billed Flycatcher, Megarynchus pitangua 2 Sani
Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus Common throughout
Pale-edged Flycatcher, Myiarchus cephalotes 2 San Isidro
Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Myiarchus tuberculifer 1 Angel Paz (RF)
Cinnamon Attila, Attila cinnamomeus Heard Sani
Greyish Mourner Rhytipterna simplex 1 Sani
Green-and-black Fruiteater, Pipreola riefferii 2 Nono-Mindo road, heard San Isidro
Scaled Fruiteater, Ampelioides tschudii 1 Angel Paz (plus 4 more for RF)
Red-crested Cotinga, Ampelion rubrocristatus 2 Cerro Mongus
Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruvianus 4 displaying Angel Paz, 2 juv at nest Nono-Mindo road
Grey-tailed Piha, Snowornis subalaris 1 Rio Bigal (RM)
Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Querula purpurata 5 Sani
Amazonian Umbrellabird, Cephalopterus ornatus 2 Rio Bigal, 1 Sani
Plum-throated Cotinga, Cotinga maynana 1 Sani
Spangled Cotinga, Cotinga cayana 3 Sani
Dusky Piha, Lipaugus fuscocinereus 1 San Isidro
Rufous Piha, Lipaugus unirufus Heard P d O
Screaming Piha, Lipaugus vociferans 1 Rio Bigal (RM), heard Sani
Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Gymnoderus foetidus 1 Sani
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Tyranneutes stolzmanni 1 Sani
Golden-winged Manakin, Masius chrysopterus 1 Angel Paz
Striped Manakin, Machaeropterus regulus 2 Rio Bigal
Blue-crowned Manakin, Lepidothrix coronate 1 P d O (RF) & Sani
White-bearded Manakin, Manacus manacus 1 P d O
Blue-rumped Manakin, Lepidothrix coronate 1 Rio Bigal (RF)
Golden-headed Manakin, Dixiphia erythrocephala 1 Rio Bigal (RF) & Sani
Blue-backed Manakin, Chiroxiphia pareola 1 Sani (RM)
Green Manakin, Xenopipo holochlora 1 P d O (RF,RM)
White-crowned Manakin, Pipra pipra Heard Rio Bigal
Red-capped Manakin, Pipra mentalis Heard P d O
Black-tailed Tityra, Tityra cayana 2 Sani
Masked Tityra, Tityra semifasciata 2 P d O, 1 San Isidro
White-browed Purpletuft, Iodopleura isabellae 2 Sani
Cinnamon Becard, Pachyramphus cinnamomeus 1 Pululahua & P d O
One-coloured Becard, Pachyramphus homochrous 1 Angel Paz
Wing-barred Piprites, Piprites chloris 1 Sani
Black-billed Peppershrike, Cyclarhis nigrirostris Heard San Isidro
Brown-capped Vireo, Vireo leucophrys 1 Angel Paz
Red-eyed Vireo, Vireo olivaceus 1 Sani
Yellow-green Vireo, Vireo flavoviridis 4 Sani
Turquoise Jay, Cyanolyca turcosa 2 Nono-Mindo road, Guango & San Isidro
Violaceous Jay, Cyanocorax violaceus 4 San Isidro, 1+ Rio Bigal, 4+ Sani
Green/Inca Jay, Cyanocorax yncas 10 San Isidro, 1 Sani
Blue-and-white Swallow, Pygochelidon cyanoleuca Locally common
Brown-bellied Swallow, Orochelidon murina Widespread in the Andes
Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Common P d O, 2 Rio Bigal
Grey-breasted Martin, Progne chalybea 5 Sani
White-winged Swallow, Tachycineta albiventer 5 Sani
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica Few Sani
Scaly-breasted/Southern Nightingale-Wren, Microcerculus marginatus 1 P d O
Wing-banded Wren, Microcerculus bambla Heard Rio Bigal
House Wren, Troglodytes aedon A few
Mountain Wren, Troglodytes solstitialis 2 San Isidro, heard Angel Paz & Guango
Thrush-like Wren, Campylorhynchus turdinus 4 Rio Bigal, 3 Sani
Plain-tailed Wren, Pheugopedius euophrys 1 Pululahua, heard San Isidro
Stripe-throated Wren, Cantorchilus leucopogon 4 P d O
Bay Wren, Cantorchilus nigricapillus Heard San Isidro
Rufous Wren, Cinnycerthia unirufa 1 Guango (RM)
White-breasted Wood-Wren, Henicorhina leucosticte 1 P d O, heard elsewhere in the lowlands
Grey-breasted Wood-Wren, Henicorhina leucophrys Common in the Andes
Musician Wren, Cyphorhinus arada 1 Rio Bigal, hard to see
Half-collared/Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Microbates cinereiventris 1 P d O (RF,RM)
Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Polioptila schistaceigula 1 P d O (RF)
Black-capped Donacobius, Donacobius atricapilla 10 Sani
White-capped Dipper, Cinclus leucocephalus 2 Guango
Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus dryas 1 Rio Bigal (MB)
Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus 4 San Isidro, 1 Rio Bigal
Hauxwell's Thrush, Turdus hauxwelli Heard Sani
Ecuadorian Thrush, Turdus maculirostris Few Angel Paz & P d O
Lawrence's Thrush, Turdus lawrencii 1 Sani
Black-billed Thrush, Turdus ignobilis 1 Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Great Thrush, Turdus fuscater Common in the Andes
Glossy-black Thrush, Turdus serranus 4 Guango
Dagua Thrush, Turdus dauae 1 seen, others heard P d O
White-necked Thrush, Turdus albicollis Heard Rio Bigal
Magpie Tanager, Cissopis leverianus 5 Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Black-headed Hemispingus, Hemispingus verticalis 3 Cerro Mongus
Orange-headed Tanager, Thlypopsis sordid 4 Sani
Grey-headed Tanager, Eucometis penicillata 3 Sani
D;usky-faced Tanager, Mitrospingus cassinii Few P d O
Tawny-crested Tanager, Tachyphonus delatrii Few P d O
White-lined Tanager, Tachyphonus rufus 1 Tunda Loma
Scarlet-browed Tanager, Heterospingus xanthopygius 1 P d O
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Lanio fulvus 1 Rio Bigal & Sani
Masked Crimson Tanager, Ramphocelus nigrogularis 8 Sani
Silver-beaked Tanager, Ramphocelus carbo A few
Blue-grey Tanager, Thraupis episcopus A few
Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum A few
Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Thraupis bonariensis 2 P d O, 4 San Isidro
Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Buthraupis Montana 2 San Isidro
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Anisognathus igniventris 2+ Cerro Mongus, 6 Yanacocha
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Anisognathus somptuosus 2 Angel Paz, 4 San Isidro
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, Anisognathus lacrymosus 2 San Isidro
Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Anisognathus notabilis 1 Guango
Grass-green Tanager, Chlorornis riefferii 4 Guacamayos Ridge
Golden-crowned Tanager, Iridosornis rufivertex 1 Cerro Mongus, 2 Guango
Golden-naped Tanager, Tangara ruficervix 2 Angel Paz
Masked Tanager, Tangara nigrocincta 1 Rio Bigal (RF)
Golden-hooded Tanager, Tangara larvata 1 P d O (RF)
Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis 2 Pululahua, I San Isidro
Blue-and-black Tanager, Tangara vassorii 2 An 2 Pululahua, 1 Guango & San Isidro
Metallic-green Tanager, Tangara labradorides 3 Angel Paz
Paradise Tanager, Tangara chilensis 5 Rio Bigal, 1 Sani
Opal-rumped Tanager, Tangara velia 2 Sani
Opal-crowned Tanager, Tangara callophrys 1 Rio Bigal, 2 Sani
Saffron-crowned Tanager, Tangara xanthocephala 6 San Isidro
Flame-faced Tanager, Tangara parzudakii 1 Angel Paz
Green-and-gold Tanager, Tangara schrankii 4 Rio Bigal
Golden Tanager, Tangara arthus 2 Angel Paz, 1 Rio Bigal
Swallow Tanager, Tersina viridis 1 Rio Bigal
Black-faced Dacnis, Dacnis lineate 1 Rio Bigal & Sani
Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Dacnis flaviventer 3 Sani
Blue Dacnis, Dacnis cayana 2 Sani
Purple Honeycreeper, Cyaneres caeruleus 2 Rio Bigal, 1 Sani
Green Honeycreeper, Chlorophanes spiza 1 Sani
Yellow-backed Tanager, Hemithraupis flavicollis 1 Rio Bigal (RM)
Cinereous Conebill, Conirostrum cinereum 1 Yanacocha
Blue-backed Conebill, Conirostrum sitticolor 2 Guango
Capped Conebill, Conirostrum albifrons 1 Guango
Glossy Flowerpiercer, Diglossa lafresnayii 1 Cerro Mongus, few Yanacocha, 2 Guango
Black Flowerpiercer, Diglossa humeralis 1 Pululahua
White-sided Flowerpiercer, Diglossa albilatera 1 Angel Paz, 2 Pululahua
Bluish Flowerpiercer, Diglossa caerulescens 2 Guango, few San Isidro
Masked Flowerpiercer, Diglossa cyanea 1 Pululahua & Yanacocha, 2 Guango, 3 San Isidro
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Phrygilus unicolor 2 Yanacocha
Slaty Finch, Haplospiza rustica 1 Yanacocha
Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarina 2 Rio Bigal
Variable Seedeater, Sporophila corvine Few Pululahua
Black-and-white Seedeater, Sporophila luctuosa 2 Rio Bigal
Thick/Large-billed Seed-Finch, Oryzoborus funereus 1 Sani
Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, Oryzoborus angolensis 1 Rio Bigal, 30 Sani
Bananaquit, Coereba flaveola Widespread in small numbers
Dusky-faced Tanager, Mitrospingus cassinii 1+ P d O (MB)
Slate-coloured Grosbeak, Saltator grossus Heard Sani
Buff-throated Saltator, Saltator maximus 1 Pululahua & Rio Bigal
Black-winged Saltator, Saltator atripennis 1 Angel Paz, 2 P d O
Greyish Saltator, Saltator coerulescens Heard Sani
Rufous-collared Sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis Common in the Andes
Yellow-browed Sparrow, Ammodramus aurifrons 2 Rio Bigal, 1 Sani
Slaty Brush-Finch, Atlapetes schistaceus 1 Guango
Tricoloured Brush-Finch, Atlapetes tricolor 3 Angel Paz
White-winged Brush-Finch, Atlapetes leucopterus 2 Angel Paz (RF)
Common Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus ophthalmicus 6 San Isidro
Dusky Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus semifuscus 2 Angel Paz
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus flavigularis 3 San Isidro, 1 Rio Bigal
Grey-hooded Bush Tanager, Cnemoscopus rubrirostris 1 San Isidro
Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra 3 Cerro Mongus, 2 San Isidro, 1 Rio Bigal & Sani
Scarlet Tanager, Piranga olivacea 1 P d O & Sani, 2 Rio Bigal
White-winged Tanager, Piranga leucoptera 2 Angel Paz
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Habia rubica 1 Rio Bigal
Lemon-spectacled Tanager, Chlorothraupis olivacea 1 P d O
Golden-bellied Grosbeak, Pheucticus chrysogaster 2 Pululahua, Nono-Mindo road & P d
Tropical Parula, Parula pitiayumi 1 Angel Paz & Rio Bigal
Blackpoll Warbler, Dendroica striata 2 Sani
Blackburnian Warbler, Dendroica fusca 2 Angel Paz, 5 San Isidro
Canada Warbler, Wilsonia Canadensis 3+ San Isidro, 2 Rio Bigal
Slate-throated Redstart, Myioborus miniatus 2 Angel Paz, 3 San Isidro
Spectacled Redstart, Myioborus melanocephalus Few on the East slope of the Andes
Black-crested Warbler, Basileuterus nigrocristatus 1 Pululahua, 3 Guango, 2 San Isidro
Russet-crowned Warbler, Basileuterus coronatus 1 Guango, heard San Isidro
Buff-rumped Warbler, Phaeothlypis fulvicauda 1 Pululahua (RF,RM)
Russet-backed Oropendola, Psarocolius angustifrons Few P d O
Crested Oropendola, Psarocolius decumanus 3+ Rio Bigal, 10 Sani
Mountain Cacique, Cacicus chrysonotus 3 Guango, 5 San Isidro
Yellow-rumped Cacique, Cacicus cela 3 Rio Bagil, few Sani
Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Cacicus uropygialis Heard P d O
Orange-backed Troupial, Icterus croconotus 2 Sani
Moriche Oriole, Icterus chrysocephalus 1 Rio Bigal, 3 Sani
Oriole Blackbird, Gymnomystax mexicanus 2 Sani
Giant Cowbird, Molothrus oryzivorus 50 Sani
Shiny Cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis 6 San Isidro
Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus Few P d O
Lesser Goldfinch, Astragalinus psaltria 2 Pululahua
Hooded Siskin, Spinus megellanica Few en route to Papallacta
Thick-billed Euphonia, Euphonia laniirostris 2 Angel Paz & Pululahua
Golden-rumped Euphonia, Euphonia cyanocephala 2 Pululahua
White-lored (Golden-bellied) Euphonia, Euphonia chrysopasta 1 Sani
Orange-bellied Euphonia, Euphonia xanthogaster 2 P d O, Rio Bigal & Sani
Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Euphonia rufiventris 1 Sani
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Chlorophonia flavirostris 2 Nono-Mindo road & Pululahua.