Upper Amazonian Ecuador, Harpy Eagle Dash, 9-11 June, 2006

Published by Forrest Rowland (rowbird2005 AT gmail.com)

Participants: Forrest Rowland, Makenzie Goodman, Megan Goodman


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Harpy Eagle nest
Harpy Eagle nest
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Rufous Potoo
Rufous Potoo
Spangled Cotinga
Spangled Cotinga
Yellow-billed Jacamar
Yellow-billed Jacamar

I'd always wanted to see one perched. The Harpy Eagle. Who doesn't, non-birders included? And at a nest. What more could I have asked for? So, when the operator of Gareno Lodge, just past Tena, Ecuador, told me that he had an accessible nest with young, I worked it into my hectic schedule as quick as possible. Turned out that I could only pull away for two nights, having to be back in town for meetings and such. Didn't have much time, but in the short time I was there, I was able to record an outstanding 221sp. in around 11 hours of birding. What a place!!! I took my girlfriend and her sister (newly arrived in Ecuador) to experience the Harpy Eagles and the hilly primary forest there. New for all of us, basically. I had birded extensively thoughout Ecuador, especially the amazon, but never in this area, and I was impressed.

The accomodations were great, as well. Rustic, well done, good food. We really enjoyed the experience overall, and it is set right IN the forest. I had over 70 species right around the cabins, and Spangled Cotinga, Golden-headed and Blue-backed Manakins, and Cinnamon and Bright-tumped Attila all feeding in the tree right behind the cabin!

We arrived late (7:30pm) on the 9th, ate, and went right to bed, wrecked after the journey from Quito. We awoke at 6am the next morning, ate and were birding the grounds by 6:45am. We went first to the Rufous Potoo roost site, then walked to the nest. Tough hikes, but very rewarding. The afternoon we didn't start birding until around 4:30pm, until it got dark in the forest by 6:15. The next morning we birded close to the cabins doing a short walk from 6:30am until 9am, then just birded our back porch and took some pictures of the birds arriving to the tree behind our cabin. Got around 19 species in that one tree, alone. I know we would've seen even more, but we had to head back to Quito. We took off from the Lodge at 11am, got to Tena at 1pm, ate, and took the 3:30 bus back to Quito. We didn't get in until 8:30pm. Total travel time was around 17 hours. Lots of time on the road, but more than worth it. Highly recommended, and the Harpies will be on the nest another 6 months, at least. Take advantage!

To get hold of Mike Sauer and make reservations for the lodge, go through their web site or call Mike at 593.9.765.1377, or at home 593.02.234.4350.

Species Lists

I've given numbers to the best of my ability. It was hard, sometimes, with the flocks, so bear with me. The numbers represent commonality during a very short-term stay, so some things that may seem common may seem so simply because I found a nest and counted nestlings/fledglings, had the birds at a lek, at an antswarm, etc. Exceptional species are italicized (i.e. unexpected species), while species more particular to this hilly, primary forest, habitat are in bold. Heard birds are followed by an H, rather than a number. A plus sign behind the number means more were in the area to be seen, I just didn't count them, but noticed them by vocalization.

Gray Tinamou H
Great Tinamou 1+
Little Tinamou 1+
Bartlett's Tinamou H
King Vulture 4
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture 5
Black Vulture 4
Turkey Vulture 1
Pearl Kite 1
Double-toothed Kite 1
Plumbeous Kite 2
White Hawk 1
Roadside Hawk 1
Harpy Eagle 2
Black Hawk-Eagle 1
Ornate Hawk-Eagle 1
Black Caracara 3
Red-throated Caracara 1
Yellow-headed Caracara 1
Lined Forest-Falcon H
Collared Forest-Falcon H
Bat Falcon 1
Nocturnal Curassow 1
Marbled Wood-Quail H
Ruddy Pigeon 1+
Plumbeous Pigeon 1
Dusky-headed Parakeet 8
Maroon-tailed Parakeet 5
Blue-winged Parrotlet 4
Black-headed Parrot 2
Blue-headed Parrot 6+
Yellow-crowned Amazon 2
Orange-winged Amazon 4
Squirrel Cuckoo 3
Black-bellied Cuckoo 1
Greater Ani 3
Smooth-billed Ani 5
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl H
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl 1
Rufous Potoo 1
Short-tailed Nighthawk 3
Pauraque 2
Blackish Nightjar 1
White-collared Swift 15+
Chestnut-collared Swift 10+
Short-tailed Swift ~20+
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift 3
Great-billed Hermit 2+
Straight-billed Hermit 3
Black-throated Hermit 1
Gray-breasted Sabrewing 2
Blue-tailed Emerald 1
Fork-tailed Woodnymph 2
Golden-tailed Sapphire 1
Black-throated Brilliant 1
Gould's Jewelfront 1
Fiery Topaz 1
Pavonine Quetzal H
Black-tailed Trogon 1
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon 2+
Amazonian Violaceous Trogon 2+
Blue-crowned Trogon 1
Blue-crowned Motmot 1
Rufous Motmot H
White-eared Jacamar 1
Yellow-billed Jacamar 1+
Purplish Jacamar 1
Great Jacamar 1+
Collared Puffbird 1
White-chested Puffbird H
White-fronted Nunbird 7
Yellow-billed Nunbird 2
Swallow-winged Puffbird 3
Gilded Barbet H
Lemon-throated Barbet 2
Golden-collared Toucanet H
Chestnut-eared Aracari 2
Many-banded Aracari 8
Ivory-billed Aracari 4
Channel-billed Toucan 2
White-throated Toucan 1+
Spot-breasted Woodpecker 1
White-throated Woodpecker 1
Scale-breasted Woodpecker 2
Cream-colored Woodpecker 1
Lineated Woodpecker 1
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker 4
Red-stained Woodpecker H
Crimson-crested Woodpecker 2
Red-necked Woodpecker 1
Dusky Spinetail 1
Eastern Woodhaunter 1
Chestnut-winged Hookbill 5
Chestnut-winged Foliage-Gleaner 3
Rufous-rumped Foliage-Gleaner 1
Olive-backed Foliage-Gleaner 2
Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner 1
Brown-rumped Foliage-Gleaner 1
Plain Xenops 1
Black-tailed Leaftosser 1
Short-billed Leaftosser H
Plain-brown Woodcreeper 2
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper 2
Long-billed Woodcreeper H
Cinnamon-throated Woocreeper 3
Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper 1
Striped Woodcreeper 1
Ocellated Woodcreeper 1
Buff-throated Woodcreeper 4
Lineated Woodcreeper 1
Fasciated Antshrike H
Undulated Antshrike 1
White-shouldered Antshrike 3
Plain-winged Antshrike 2
Mouse-colored Antshrike 1
Spot-winged Antshrike 2
Dusky-throated Antshrike 1
Cinereous Antshrike 3
Pygmy Antwren 2
Short-billed Antwren 1
Stripe-chested Antwren 2
Plain-throated Antwren 2
Yasuni Antwren 1
Ornate Antwren 2
Rufous-tailed Antwren 3
White-flanked Antwren 2
Long-winged Antwren 3
Rio Suno Antwren 2
Gray Antwren 3
Gray Antbird 1
Black-faced Antbird 2
Warbling Antbird H
Yellow-browed Antbird 4
Spot-backed Antbird (Terra Firme ssp.) H
Scale-backed Antbird 1
Banded Antbird H
Spot-winged Antbird 3
Chestnut-tailed Antbird 2
Sooty Antbird H
Bicolored Antbird 2
Reddish-winged Bare-eye 1
Rufous-capped Antthrush H
Black-faced Antthrush H
Thrush-like Antpitta 1
Ash-throated Gnateater 2+
Rusty-belted Tapaculo H
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 1
White-lored Tyrannulet 1
Forest Elaenia 1
Mottle-backed Elaenia 1
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher 2
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant H
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant 1
Brownish Twistwing H
Olivaceous Flatbill 2
Zimmer's Flatbill 2
Gray-crowned Flatbill 1
Golden-crowned Spadebill H
Cinnamon Neopipo 1
Black-tailed Flycatcher 1
Bright-rumped Attila 2
Cinnamon Attila 1
Grayish Mourner 3
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Boat-billed Flycatcher 2
Social Flycatcher 6
Dusky-chested Flycatcher 4
Streaked Flycatcher 1
Tropical Kingbird 8
Chestnut-crowned Becard 1
Pink-throated Becard 2
White-browed Purpletuft 2
Cinereous Mourner 1
Screaming Piha 6+
Purple-throated Cotinga 1
Spangled Cotinga 2
Golden-headed Manakin 2+
White-crowned Manakin 1+
Blue-crowned Manakin 3
Blue-backed Manakin 1+
Striped Manakin H
Green Manakin 2
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin 1+
Wing-barred Piprites H
Dusky-capped Greenlet 1
White-necked Thrush H
Gray-breasted Martin 6
Southern Rough-winged Swallow 5+
Thrush-like Wren 2+
White-breasted Wood-Wren H
Southern Nightingale-Wren H
Wing-banded Wren 2
Buff-rumped Warbler 1
Bananaquit 2
Purple Honeycreeper 3
Green Honeycreeper 2
Blue Dacnis 2
Black-faced Dacnis 4
Yellow-backed Tanager 2
Thick-billed Euphonia 2
Orange-bellied Euphonia 2
White-vented Euphonia 4
Rufous-bellied Euphonia 4
Masked Tanager 2
Opal-rumped Tanager 3
Opal-crowned Tanager 6
Paradise Tanager 3
Green-and-Gold Tanager 8
Yellow-bellied Tanager 2
Swallow Tanager 2
Silver-beaked Tanager 4
Flame-crested Tanager 3
Fulvous-crested Tanager 4
White-shouldered Tanager 2
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager 2
Magpie Tanager 1
Buff-throated Saltator 2
Blue-black Grosbeak 2
Blue-black Grassquit 6
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater ~8
Yellow-browed Sparrow 1
Yellow-rumped Cacique 2

Species seen: 195 sp.
Species heard only: 28 sp.
Total Species Recorded: 223 sp.