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13 - 16 October
difficult to draw boundaries around La Selva, since some of the
várzea we saw was from the Canopy Tower, and from the lakes.
So I'm going to describe the birds that we saw which were NOT from
these two habitats, but when we were walking around en route from
one place to another, and around the Lodge.
doubt, the most frequently walked trail that you will do will be
from the Rio Napo along the boardwalk to where you embark on the
paddle canoe to cross Garzacocha to the Lodge - and back. Counting
there-and-back separately, we walked this route six times!
a small area of cultivated land, and a house, near the river, and
in the tall trees near here we heard (but failed to see) the Goldcrest-sized
Orange-fronted Plushcrowns. But in this same area, we had
excellent views of the spectacular Scarlet-crowned Barbet,
with its yellow throat and red crown, and a repeated, loud, short,
purring call. We also saw a Little Woodpecker near here twice,
once perched on a bare tree, looking extremely tiny, like a Lesser-spotted
boardwalk produced some good birds, but not without a lot of effort
from José! Purplish Jacomar took some finding, despite
hearing well its clear series of double descending notes. We saw
and heard a number of Trogons from the boardwalk, but our best views
of this family were in the terra firma forest (see that section).
immediate area around the Lodge is not prolific, with the exception
of the noisy colony of Yellow-rumped Casiques, nesting in
a tree just outside the bar. These birds provided us with great
entertainment, and, for Ruth, some fine photo opportunities. There's
always some drama going on in a Casique colony! We did have excellent
views of a pair of Gilded (formerly considered conspecific
with Black-spotted) Barbets in a tree just outside our cabina.
These seemed to be fairly common in the várzea forest.
the balcony outside the bar, there's a good view over Garzacocha,
and from here we saw a pair of Red-throated Caracaras, Greater
Yellow-headed Vultures, and frequently saw the resident pair
of Ospreys. White-winged Swallows were frequent visitors
to the lake, in parties of 5 - 10 birds. We quite often saw Smooth-billed
Ani flying in pairs.
song from the Lodge was good. We frequently heard both Greater
and Lesser Kiskadees (we knew the former well, but struggled
with the latter), Hoatzin's weird calls were not far away
from us, and we belatedly learnt the strange call of the Screaming
Piha. One call heard frequently, from the Lodge, out in the
várzea forest and from a canoe on Garzacocha was the long,
single descending note of the Long-billed Woodcreeper; despite
hearing this bird frequently, we never did see a single one - although
we saw, during our stay, both Wedge-billed (twice) and Buff-throated
(heard once, seen twice) Woodcreepers. But the Long-billed's
call was so distinctive.
day, we walked from the Lodge to the Canopy Tower, and then to Mandicocha.
A pair of Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers was a nice find, although
I have to say that they didn't make a lasting impression on me (birding
overload!). Eastern Kingbird added to our flycatcher list,
and a fly-over of two Yellow-crowned Parrots gave us good
views. Those sightings were between the Lodge and the Canopy Tower.
next leg of the várzea forest journey (quite a short walk
really) produced some good birds. After I had left my scope and
tripod behind a tree (to be collected later, covered in ants!),
we had some fleeting views of Marbled Wood Quails. José
saw 5, I glimpsed 2 and Ruth, a few feet behind me, dipped completely
- they are so difficult to see, although described as 'common' in
the area. We had similar fleeting views of a Squirrel Cuckoo
(we later heard the chattering call of another bird) and heard only
Sooty Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush and Nightingale
Wren (a single, very clear note). In a tree on the edge of Mandicocha,
we had an excellent view of a Common Piping-Guan, showing
its huge tail, white in the wings long neck and white face patch
- all the ID features; the Ecuador birds belong to a population
that has sometimes been separated as a separate species, and you
may see it described as Blue-throated Piping Guan (Pipile
cumanensis). Whatever you call it, it was a good view of a confiding
bird! On the way back to the Lodge, we had 'tick' views of a female
Dusky-throated Antshrike and a Wedge-billed Woodcreeper.