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 -> Rio Napo islands

Vegetation on a Rio Napo island. Photo: Ruth TraynorAmazon Basin Diary
13 - 16 October 2001
4. The Rio Napo islands

We passed many islands, both on our journey to and from Coca, and on our crossings of the river to the south bank. On the bare shingle-and-mud islands, we often saw herons, both Snowy Egret and Cocoi Heron. The islands were also good for Yellow-headed Caracara.

But we only 'landed' on one island. I say 'landed' because we actually walked across to it across a dried-up river channel from near the Lodge's landing area. The larger river islands support várzea forest, but the smaller ones, including this one, only have coarse grasses and dense, low bushes - a very different habitat. It was, incidentally, the only time that José asked to use some of our insect repellent!

Not surprisingly with all these grasses, there were seedeaters present, and we saw both Variable and Chestnut-bellied Seedeaters, neither of them being striking views.

It was also a good area for funariids, and, after a bit of a hunt, we had reasonable views of Lesser Hornero, flying across the dried-up river channel, and landing in the grasses. White-bellied Spinetail was harder to see, but we eventually, after following its call for some time, we had reasonable views of one, and noted its chestnut wings. Another Spinetail (I forget which one) eluded us completely, despite José's tape-luring attempts.

Ladder-tailed Nightjar was a surprise (as we were to it, no doubt!); our views were restricted to a bird flying rapidly away. More confiding was a Greyish Saltator, which perched in a low tree.

Less memorable were brief views of an Olive-spotted Hummingbird and a Black-billed Thrush, both 'lifers' for us, and both restricted to an entry in the notebook! José pointed out to us the call of a Silver-beaked Tanager, but we failed to see it (we'd seen many in Trinidad). Another bird which we had seen in Trinidad was Giant Cowbird; we saw one flying over the island. Two Oriole Blackbirds also flew over.

On the shore, we had excellent views of two Collared Plovers, looking very much like our Ringed Plovers. There was also a Lesser Yellowlegs by the edge of the water, and Yellow-browed Sparrows hopped along the shore. Nearby was a juvenile Yellow-headed Caracara.

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