Ecuador, Tandayapa Scout Trip May 29 - 31, June 1-2, 2006

Published by Forrest Rowland (rowbird2005 AT

Participants: Forrest Rowland, Makenzie Goodman


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Western Emerald
Western Emerald
Tanager Finch
Tanager Finch
White-whiskered Hermit
White-whiskered Hermit
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Purple-throated Woodstar
Purple-throated Woodstar

Tandayapa Lodge and Upper Tandayapa Valley

These two days spent at Tandayapa Lodge were meant to be for scouting only, really. Finding territories, figuring out best trails, birding routes, etc., for the various upcoming tours I am to guide later this Summer. I didn't really expect anything exceptional in just one and a half days birding. Just kind of going through the motions and getting the trail systems down. But, I must say, I saw much more than I expected.

I spent both nights at Tandayapa Lodge, courtesy of Tropical Birding. I birded from 4:45pm to 6:30, round the main lodge and hide, after having arrived around 4pm, from Quito, by bus. I awoke the next morning at 5:00am, breakfasted at 5:30 and was taking photos of Immaculate Antbird and Strong-billed Woodcreeper at the hide, by 6:15. I hit the trails before 7, and did the Antpitta loop, making itback to the lodge around 10am.

May 31st I started hiking up the main Tandayapa road, to Mindo, by 6am, gaining elevation. I hitched after hiking the first 2.5kms, and was up the last 10kms by 7:15, to start birding the Bellavista/Research Road area. Technology can be handy whn staring 10kms at an 15% uphill grade in th eyes. Thank goodness I was able to cath a ride. There are trucks heading uphill from Tandayapa at around 6:30am, that make the return trip around 8am. From then on, you could be on your own. I birded the upper rea, then hiked the 12.5kms down to the Lodge, and was relaxing at the hummingbird feeders by 11am.

I had the good fortune of meeting David Ford, who came a day ahead of the rest of his travelling companions (Mrs. and Mr. Wes Craven, Frank and Sarah Gill, et al) and I guided him around the lodge area and the Antpitta loop for about 2.5 hours that afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to be back in Quito that night, and caught the 5pm bus headed to Quito, from the junction with the main highway, below Tandayapa village.

All told, I birded nearly 12 hours only, finding all but 2 species that I wanted to pin down. Luckily, I found those two today, while writing this, from Alambi. More on Alambi in the next section. To contact Tandayapa and Tropical birding (highly recommended guide services and accomodations....and I-m not just saying that cuz I-m working with them :), write to them through their respective web sites. I definitely suggest getting a guide if travelling to the Valley. If one were to include day trips to lower elevations, and spend 5-6 days in the area, the total species can get up to around 400 species with luck. Most is flock birding, and i.d. skills are definitely helpful. I at least recommend studying up, and prepare yourself for a great stay.

Alambi Lodge and property

Mak (my girlfriend) and I, arrived at Alambi lodge around 4pm June 1. It is very conventiently located, being the first property from the main highway, some 300m up the Tandayapa road, from the highway. It was my very first visit, and I was thoroughly impressed. The owner, Fabian, is a great guy. Very attentive. Realy, some of the best service I've experienced. He offers many things, including his truck, for taking excursions to other areas, to broaden the speies possible to see. Two excursions I highly recommend are to Milpe and Rio Silanche. As we only scouted his property proper, I will not include the birds of these areas here. My nest trip report will be almost exclusively about the two areas.

Alambi has trails at a lower elevation than either Tandayapa Lodge or Bellavista, river access, and a beautiful hacienda-style accomodation. The food was outstanding, and I am very impressed with their pricing structure and capacity limitations. They have accomodation for up to 6 only, and like it that way. Personalized service is made foremost. A great plan would include this area as a more economical option to the other two lodges, though the expenses even out if one were to want day excursions up the valley to varying habitats, which is, again, recommended. Yet another great place to stay at Tandayapa!

Fabian, and his head guide Jairo, price the services accordingly: $35 transfer from Quito to Alambi (if necessary, I always take the TransEsmeraldas bus service...very reliable and inexpensive). $40/night/pp including all meals, juice, water, etc. $20/night/pp to just use the facilities, if one wanted to bring their own food and prepare it themselves, which is an option. $20/day for Jairo/Fabian's guide services to take hikes on the property and bird the Tandayapa Valley. $80/day with food included for day trips (i.e. Milpe and Rio Silanche). To contact Fabian or Jairo, you can check the web site and write to Jairo also receives reservations and has impeccable English. His e-mail is Phone number(s) - 593.02.211.6068 or 593.02.211.6245

Species Lists

The trip list is done taxonomically. I will list all the birds recorded from Tandayapa Lodge and upper Valley/Bellavista Lodge areas (Section 1) first. I will follow up that list with the additional species that were picked up from our short stay at Alambi (Section 2).

Section 1

Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 4
Double-toothed Kite 1
Plain-breasted Hawk 1
Roadside Hawk 2
White-rumped Hawk 1
White-throated Hawk 1
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle 1
Barred Forest-Falcon H
Sickle-winged Guan 4
Dark-backed Wood-Quail 1+
Band-tailed Pigeon ~12
Ruddy Pigeon 1
Plumbeous Pigeon 5+
White-tipped Dove 4
White-throated Quail-Dove 1
Red-billed Parrot 5
White-capped Parrot 2
Scaly-naped Amazon 4
Squirrel Cuckoo 2
Lyre-tailed Nightjar 1
White-collared Swift 8
Chestnut-collared Swift 14+
Swift sp. (Spot-fronted ?) 4
Tawny-bellied Hermit 4
Green-fronted Lancebill 1
Brown Violetear 3
Sparkling Violetear 2
Green Violetear ~8
Western Emerald 4
Green-crowned Woodnymph 1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird ~12
Andean Emerald ~10
Speckled Hummingbird 2
Purple-bibbed Whitetip 2
Fawn-breasted Brilliant 3
Brown Inca 2
Collared Inca 1
Buff-tailed Coronet 2
Gorgeted Sunangel 1
Booted Racket-tail ~12
Violet-tailed Sylph 2
Wedge-billed Hummingbird 1
Purple-throated Woodstar ~6
Little Woodstar 1
Golden-headed Quetzal 3+
Crested Quetzal H
Masked Trogon 2
Red-headed Barbet 4
Toucan Barbet 3+
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan 2+
Crimson-rumped Toucanet 2
Smoky-brown Woodpecker 1
Azara's Spinetail 2
Red-faced Spinetail 1
Spotted Barbtail 3
Rusty-winged Barbtail 1
Lineated Foliage-Gleaner 3
Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner 1
Striped Treehunter 1
Streak-capped Treehunter 2
Uniform Treehunter 1
Strong-billed Woodcreeper 1
Spotted Woodcreeper 1
Montane Woodcreeper 2
Uniform Antshrike 1
Slaty Antwren 2
Immaculate Antbird 4
Rufous-breasted Antthrush 2
Giant Antpitta H
Scaled Antpitta 2
Moustached Antpitta 1
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta H
Ochre-breasted Antpitta 2
Narino Tapaculo 1+
Spillman's Tapaculo 2+
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet 1
Sierran Elaenia 1?
White-tailed Tyrannulet 4
Rufous-winged Tyrannulet 1
Streak-necked Flycatcher 3
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant 1
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant 2
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant 1
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant 3
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher H
Flavescent Flycatcher 2
Cinnamon Flycatcher 2
Smoke-colored Pewee 4
Black Phoebe 2
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant 1
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant 1
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 4+
Black-and-White Becard 1
Barred Becard H
Green-and-Black Fruiteater 1
Scaled Fruiteater H
Olivaceous Piha 2
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock 5
Golden-winged Manakin 2
Turquoise Jay 3+
Beautiful Jay 1
Brown-capped Vireo 5
Andean Solitaire 1+
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush H
Pale-eyed Thrush 1
Glossy-black Thrush 1
Great Thrush 2
Blue-and-White Swallow ~15
s. Rough-winged Swallow 4
Plain-tailed Wren 2
Whiskered Wren H
Sepia-Brown Wren H
House Wren 2
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren 5
Tropical Parula 2+
Slate-throated Whitestart 9+
Spectacled Whitestart 2+
Black-crested Warbler 1
Three-striped Warbler 8
Russet-crowned Warbler 2+
Bananaquit 2
Capped Conebill 2
Masked Flowerpiercer 3
White-sided Flowerpiercer 4+
Rufous-chested Tanager 1
Golden-rumped Euphonia 2
Orange-bellied Euphonia 6+
Golden Tanager ~10+
Flame-faced Tanager 2
Golden-naped Tanager 6
Metallic-green Tanager 2
Beryl-spangled Tanager 6
Black-capped Tanager 3
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager ~12
Grass-green Tanager 2
Blue-capped Tanager 1
White-winged Tanager 2
White-lined Tanager 1
Dusky Bush-Tanager 4
Black-winged Saltator 3
Blue-black Grassquit 4
Yellow-bellied Seedeater ~10
Blue Seedeater 2
Tricolored Brush-Finch 4
White-winged Brush-Finch 2
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch 3
Tanager Finch 2
Rufous-collared Sparrow ~8
Yellow-bellied Siskin 4

Section 2

Rufescent ("Colombian" race) Screech-Owl H
Cloud Forest Pygmy-Owl 1
Pauraque 1
White-whiskered Hermit 3
White-necked Jacobin 2
Green-crowned Brilliant 5
White-bellied Woodstar 1
Rufous Motmot 2
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker 2
Golden-olive Woodpecker 2
Slaty Spinetail 1
Pacific Hornero 4
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 2
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1
Torrent Tyrannulet 2
Fulvous-breasted Flatbill 1
White-winged Becard 2
Green-and-Black Fruiteater 2
Long-wattled Umbrellabird 1
Ecuadorian Thrush 1
Silver-throated Tanager 2
Lemon-rumped Tanager ~8
Blue-gray Tanager 4
Olive Finch 1
Plushcap 1

Species Seen - 166 sp.
Species Heard only - 11 sp.
Total Species Recorded - 177 .sp
Total Hours birding in field ~ 20