A birdwatching trip to Ecuador in October 2001 - Andes to Amazon! The humming bird here is the Andean Emerald. On the left is a view of  Volcanes Illiniza (5,266m) and on the right is Gorzacocha, an oxbow lake off the Rio Napo, in the Amazon basin. All photos (C) Ruth Traynor.

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Home -> Diary -> Amazon basin -> Mandicocha

Limpkin at Mandicocha. Photo: Ruth TraynorAmazon Basin Diary
13 - 16 October 2001
9. Mandicocha ("Water Hyacinth Lake")

We visited this lake once, after our early morning trip to the Canopy Tower. Continuing along the trail past the tower, a half-hour walk brought us to the edge of this beautiful, peaceful lake. En route, we were lucky to catch fleeting views of Marbled Wood-quail, Straight-billed Hermit and Squirrel Cuckoo. We also heard the distinctive calls of Sooty Antbird and Black-faced Antthrush (the latter we finally got to see the following day). The single clear note of the Southern Nightingale-wren was also heard well.

José baled out the small canoe, and we spent the next 90 minutes travelling peacefully around this small water-hyacinth fringed lake and its narrow Manidicocha. Photo: Ruth Traynorbackwaters. There were a few Hoatzins around Mandicocha, but nothing like as many as by Garzacocha. A Striated Heron perched briefly on a low branch over the water, before flying away. Less nervous was the Limpkin, we approached to around 20 feet, seeing clearly the white streaks on its neck. The bird was being irritated by a wasp and was not really interested in us.

We had brief but clear views of Amazon Kingfisher (a crackling call) and the large Ringed Kingfisher, but these were the only other water birds that we saw at Mandicocha; all the rest were forest birds. Some we had already seen elsewhere, such as White-chinned Jacomar (excellent view), Black-capped Donacobius, Tropical Kingbird (2) and Lesser Kiskadee.

Others were new to us, either on the trip, or 'lifers'. The latter included:

  • Social Flycatcher - didn't make an impression on us!
  • Grey-capped Flycatcher - another completely forgettable bird!
  • Variegated Flycatcher - heavily streaked underparts - we saw a number of them along one of the backwaters.
  • Masked Crimson Tanager - a poor, in-flight view
  • Silver-beaked Tanager - heard only.. sounded a bit like a Chiffchaff!
  • Ferruginous Pygmy-owl - good views of it perched on a lakeside branch. Responded well to tape luring.

Baling out the canoe at Mandicocha. Photo: Ruth TraynorOn our return to the landing stage, we looked at the nearby lakeside trees, and had an excellent view of a Common Piping-guan, with its huge tail, white wing patches, long neck and bare face patch. Our walk back to the Lodge produced a female Dusky-throated Antshrike and good views of a Dusky Titi Monkey - we heard the loud screeching, roaring calls of the rest of the troupe not far away.

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