Ecuador 1000

English text revision by Salvador Cases

INSTRUCTIONS

By clicking on the following links, you can go directly to the Ecuador 1000 challenge day that you would like to read about. They are 75 days in total!:

Introduction | Day 0 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Day 26 | Day 27 | Day 28 | Day 29 | Day 30 | Day 31 | Day 32 | Day 33 | Day 34 | Day 35 | Day 36 | Day 37 | Day 38 | Day 39 | Day 40 | Day 41 | Day 42 | Day 43 | Day 44 | Day 45 | Day 46 | Day 47 | Day 48 | Day 49 | Day 50 | Day 51 | Day 52 | Day 53 | Day 54 | Day 55 | Day 56 | Day 57 | Day 58 | Day 59 | Day 60 | Day 61 | Day 62 | Day 63 | Day 64 | Day 65 | Day 66 | Day 67 | Day 68 | Day 69 | Day 70 | Day 71 | Day 72 | Day 73 | Day 74 | Day 75 |

* To see more pictures of the challenge, you can access Facebook.

*At the end of the text, if you click on the phrase Go back to the beginning >, you will return to the beginning of the blog.

*When the place of the challenge appears in colour khaki, you can click on it and go directly to the website of the lodge or reserve. For example: January 11, 2019, Ayampe River Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation.

*A word or a phrase that appears in the text highlighted in khaki is a link and if you click on it, you can get more information about it.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella

Day 0

January 10, 2019

Passengers in transit

At six in the morning, Miquel Bonet (45 years old), Eduardo Soler (47) and I (45) fly from Barcelona to Amsterdam, where we meet Jens Ole (Danish, 75) to take the flight to Guayaquil.

In Quito we meet María Clara (Colombian, 36), Dave (50) and George (69), both Americans.

One of the two cars of the team goes straight to Las Tunas, while Edu, Clara and I wait for my brother Tomàs (37), who has flown from Mexico.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Tomàs Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 1/75. 94 species

January 11, 2019, Ayampe River Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

A paradise for birds and birdwatchers!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Esmeraldas Woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschi)

Hi everyone,

First of all, I have to say that I am not a fan of bird watching but I love my brother and I saw a chance to spent more time with him.

Last night I arrived to Guayaquil at 22:30 and after meeting part of the team we were driving for more than 3 h starting our Ecuador adventure. We arrived to Las Tunas and by the time I reached my bed it was already 3:30 am. But something I learned on my first day is that birds like to wake up early, now I understand why in golf the discount for the first tee time at 6:45 am is called early bird!

Well, at 5:30 we woke up and Eugeni was very excited to start the challenge. I wished to stay in bed for a few more hours, but finally I jumped out from bed.

Photo: Eugeni CapellaThe Ayampe River Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

One hour later we were meeting in Ayampe our local guide from Jocotoco Foundation, René. Nice guy, very friendly and an expert of the area. We start the morning walk and the birds start showing up. Everyone had their binoculars ready and started pronouncing weird names (bird names).

I took my binoculars as well just to fit in the team. But few minutes later I start enjoying the beauty of the first hummingbird. It seems that the star of the day was a hummingbird, the esmeraldas woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschi), estrellita in the local language.

From left to right: Charlie Vogt, Roger Ahlman, Eugeni Capella, Jens Ole, Miquel Bonet, George Wagner, René Zambrano, Eduardo Soler, María Clara Díaz, Dave Ward and Tomàs Capella.

After walking for a couple of hours everybody was looking for more birds while I was thinking about the dream of having a double espresso. But I enjoyed the morning walk. Later on, it has started raining and what I though it would be bad news, has become the best news!!!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus)

Because of the rain, we decided to take a break for lunch. It seems that this group skips lunchtime many times, just to feed the hunger of watching more and more birds. After lunch, I decided to walk the beach and visit the small village while the group went for a second round of birds.

There is no better way to start the challenge of watching 1000 species of birds here in Ecuador, than having with us the top-birder Roger Ahlman, who is just 3 birds away from reaching the 1600 species in Ecuador! Also congratulate our friend Charlie Vogt because today he reached the number of 1500 with our star of the day, the esmeraldas woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschi).

It seems that tomorrow, it will be a great day as well, we will keep you posted  😉

Main targets seen:

  • Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) (20 – m.60)
  • Blue Ground-dove (Claravis pretiosa) (35 – s.35)
  • Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis) (50)
  • Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Juliamyia julie) (40 – m.60)
  • Esmeraldas Woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschi) (65)
  • Yellow-crowned Night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea) (55 – m.75)
  • Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) (30 – m.85)
  • Grey-lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus) (15 – m.50)
  • Whooping Motmot (Momotus subrufescens) (25 – m.75)
  • Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) (25 – s.25)
  • Red-masked Parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys) (50 – m.70)
  • Plain Antvireo (Dysithamnus mentalis) (40 – m.50)
  • Red-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) (25 – m.30)
  • Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus) (8)
  • Black-tailed Flycatcher (Myiobius atricaudus) (10 – m.30)
  • Tawny-fronted Pygmy-tyrant (Euscarthmus fulviceps) (55 – m.60)
  • Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster) (65 – m.80)
  • Pacific Elaenia (Myiopagis subplacens) (20 – m.60)
  • Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias griseiceps) (25 – m.40)
  • Sooty-crowned Flycatcher (Myiarchus phaeocephalus) (33 – m.65)
  • Mouse-grey Flycatcher (Myiophobus crypterythrus) (30 – s.15)
  • Masked Water-tyrant (Fluvicola nengeta) (75 – s.75)
  • Western Tropical Pewee (Contopus punensis) (65 – s.30)
  • Speckle-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius paucimaculatus) (50 – m.65)
  • Long-tailed Mockingbird (Mimus longicaudatus) (65 – m.80)
  • Black-striped Sparrow (Arremonops conirostris) (50 – s.25)
  • Yellow-billed Cacique (Amblycercus holosericeus) (12)
  • Yellow-tailed Oriole (Icterus mesomelas) (55 – m.75)
  • Black-lored Yellowthroat (Geothlypis auricularis) (6 – m.30)
  • American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) (70 – s.20)
  • Crimson-breasted Finch (Rhodospingus cruentus) (35 – m.55)
  • Parrot-billed Seedeater (Sporophila peruviana) (20 – m.80)
  • Chestnut-throated Seedeater (Sporophila telasco) (10 – m.85)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 2/75. 118 species

January 12, 2019, Isla de la Plata

Out to sea

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

After a good resting night, we have met in Puerto López harbor at 7.30. Cloudy day with a very calm sea. Some fishing boats are starting their work, so there is a lot of activity with pelicans, gulls and terns, nice show but no rare species.

Our boat is a fast two engine boat, and in one hour we are 32 miles out heading west, in the edge of the continental platform; on the way, we have seen a big group of nazca booby (Sula granti), lifer for many including me, together with dolpins. Jens, having this lifer, has become sea-sick and spend the rest of the day feeling very bad.

Afterwards, a solitary brown bobby (Sula leucogaster) has delighted our Equatorian fellows, because it is a very rare bird for them; for me, it was the only possible bobby I had already seen. It is strange how a bird can be so exciting for some and so little for others.

Clara watched a very far away storm petrel, Miquel incredibly took a good picture on it, resulting a Markham’s storm-petrel (Hydrobates markhami). In this area we have started drifting throwing chum out, a disgusting mixture of rotten fish mixed with pop corn so it doesn’t sink.

Immediately, some frigate birds appeared eating all the fish. Drift has worsened Jens state and turned Tomàs into bad mood, feeling betrayed by his brother because he promised him a fantastic day in a paradise island.

Only some Blyth whales foam and two shearwaters have amused two hours of sun and sea.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna pacifica)

Again, pictures taken by Miquel have shown wedge-tailed shearwater (Ardenna pacifica), second sight of the species for Ecuador, and meaning species number 1598 observed by Roger Ahlman in the country.

At eleven, we have headed towards the island, and in our way we have seen two tropicbirds.

Isla de la Plata is a piece of dry land, with shrubs and cactuses, which rises approximately 200 meters high. We have landed in the beach and despite the strong midday heat, we have walked two hours crossing the island towards the south side. Targets were short-tailed woodstar (Myrmia micrura), with bad views of one bird flying far away over some trees, and collared warbling-finch (Poospiza hispaniolensis), very abundant all over. 

Some species of tyrants have shown up, and the endemic subspecies of mockingbird was very abundant. A peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was the only raptor of the day.

In the south side of the island, blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) nest on the ground and you can walk nearby. The babies are very rude and screaming, and they try to attack you on your dangerous parts.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii)

I remembered the film Master and Commander, with the captain and the doctor talking on Galapagos surrounded by bobbies.

It was really hot when we climbed on the boat again, eating some sandwiches while around 10 Pacific green turtles were swimming eating some pieces of water melon we had thrown for them.

We have sailed towards a cliff to try red-footed bobby (Sula sula) from the sea, which were located after a very comic explanation made by Eugeni on their position.

Afterwards, one hour return towards the port, very fast against the waves, so we have jumped a lot and seen nothing. 

In the end, few species but some very beautiful and an incredible sea day, very hot and pacific.

Clara, Tomàs and I have returned to the hotel, enough sun for today, but the hardcore team have kept on birdwatching, trying again an itinerary which was done early in the morning by Dave, who wouldn`t share the pelagic tour due to its aversion to sea-sickness. During the day, Dave got his 6000 species in the world.

They have come back very happy well in the night with many new good birds, including scrub nitghtjar (Nyctidromus anthonyi) and saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii).

Main targets seen:

  • Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) (85)
  • Short-tailed Woodstar (Myrmia micrura) (75 – s.15)
  • Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) (55)
  • Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) (100 – s.15)
  • Nazca Booby (Sula granti) (90)
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (25 – s.25)
  • Grey-and-white Tyrannulet (Pseudelaenia leucospodia) (10 – m.70)
  • Collared Warbling-finch (Poospiza hispaniolensis) (95 – s.65)

Unexpected targets:

  • Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)
  • Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna pacifica), 2nd sighting for Ecuador
  • Markham’s Storm-petrel (Hydrobates markhami)
  • Scrub Nightjar (Nyctidromus anthonyi)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 3/75. 155 species

January 13, 2019, Ayampe River Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation, Pacoa, the Chocolatera and Salinas

A beach day with binoculars and without swimwear

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris)

This morning the weather was cloudy and cool.

Everyone of us, but Tomàs went to re-visit Ayampe, short walk of two hours and a half, when two targets were achieved, adding good views of three guayaquil woodpeckers (Campephilus gayaquilensis) and ecuadorian trogon (Trogon mesurus).

Returning to la Barquita Hosteria, quiet breakfast, packing and check out.

Road to Ecuasal and Pacoa Salt Pans was short; as a surprise, one stop to scan the beach found an ill seabird; we could approach it and even grab it, being a sooty shearwater (Ardenna grisea). Once written down in the list we took it to the sea, hoping it could recover from its apparent weakness.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

In the disgusting edge of one petrol refinery, we found peruvian thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris), just after convincing security guards that, despite our intriguing aspect, we were not dangerous terrorists. One  burrowing owl was also looking at us even more terrified. In this ugly place of dump sites, an unexpected group of sulphur-throated finch (Sicalis taczanowskii) showed up. Further on the way we stopped at the salt-pans and the list increased a lot with flamingos, spoonbills and all kinds of shorebirds.

Despite driving along the beach and passing by dozens of interesting restaurants, there wasn’t any time to waste, and we drove straight to Salinas, where we achieved the beautiful Chocolatera cape completely hungry. We could hydrate in a bar, while groups of bobbies glided over the sea, mostly blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii), maybe some peruvian. Miquel’s photos will solve the doubts. One quick visit to some rocks where sea lions were resting added the wandering tattler (Tringa incana).

Clara, Tomàs and me surrendered and went to have some beers and talk about all kind of important things while the rest of the team visited the salt pans to add some more species. At 7 p.m., we met in the hotel and rested.

Day of transition and road, with many unimportant species, to increase the global list, specially wildfowl and shore birds, but also some nice targets.

Main targets seen:

→ Ayampe:

  • Ecuadorian Piculet (Picumnus sclateri) (15 – m.55)
  • Black-capped Sparrow (Arremon abeillei) (70 – s.60)

Ecuasal Saltponds i Pacoa Saltponds:

  • White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis)
  • Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) (80)
  • Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) (55 – s.50)
  • Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) (45 – s.20)
  • Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris) (10)
  • American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) (70)
  • Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) (75 – s.50)
  • Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) (70 – s.35)
  • Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) (33)
  • Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) (35 – s.35)
  • Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) (66)
  • Sanderling (Calidris alba) (45 – s.45)
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) (75 – s.20)
  • Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) (60 – s.10)
  • Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus(15)
  • Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) (3 – m.30)
  • Willet (Tringasemipalmata) (55 – s.35)
  • Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) (70 – s.60)
  • Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) (80 – s.40)9
  • Grey-headed Gull (Larus cirrocephalus) (60 – s.20)
  • Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) (12 – m.60)
  • Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) (13 – s.10)

La Chocolatera

  • Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana)

Unexpected targets:

  • Sooty Shearwater (Ardenna grisea)
  • Sulphur-throated Finch (Sicalis taczanowskii)
  • Short-tailed Field-tyrant (Muscigralla brevicauda), Pacoa.
  • Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), La Chocolatera.

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Tomàs Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 4/75. 185 species

January 14, 2019, Atahualpa and Enguna and lago Chongón

Another day, getting up at six o’clock in the morning!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Sulphur-throated Finch (Sicalis taczanowskii)

Another day waking up at 5:30.

Definitely, all the team have a crash for those birds. I have never seen a group so excited to wake up so early!

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Eduardo Soler, our pilot with the Dakar style

Today we drive to Atahualpa, Enguna and Lake Chongon. On one of the tracks the rain took half of the road but luckily we had our Dakar’s style driver Eduard Soler, that bravely drove both cars without blinking. Thanks to our hero we saw the sulphur-throated finch (Sicalis taczanowskii), the white-tailed jay (Cyanocorax mystacalis) and many other new species to reach the incredible number of 185 in just 3 days!!! Yes, no food, no sleep but a lot of birds!!!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. White-tailed Jay (Cyanocorax mystacalis)

Finally, the rain sent us home and we could enjoy a walk on the Malecon in Guayaquil during the evening, and we saw another new bird!!! black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). It looks like this team never rests.

Tomorrow, more birds, more stories and hopefully less rain!

Have a good night!

Main targets seen:

→ Atahualpa / Enguna:

  • Short-tailed Woodstar (Myrmia micrura) (30 – m.80)
  • Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) (20 – m.25)
  • Necklaced Spinetail (Synallaxis stictothorax) (80 –s.10)
  • Band-tailed Sierra-finch (Corydospiza alaudina) (25 – s.20)
  • Sulphur-throated Finch (Sicalis taczanowskii) (35)

→ Lago Chongon:

  • Fulvous Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) (40 – m.50)
  • Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) (60 – s.50)
  • Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) (25 – m.55)
  • Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) (70 – m.85)
  • White-tailed Jay (Cyanocorax mystacalis) (20 – m.75)
  • Chestnut-collared Swallow (Petrochelidon rufocollaris) (12 – m.30)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 5/75. 198 species

January 15, 2019, Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco and Reserva Ecológica Manglares Churute

The Mosquito Coast

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Grey-capped, Cuckoo (Coccyzus lansbergi)

We left the hotel in Guayaquil at 5:45 a.m. and, fortunately, we crossed the city fast to arrive in Cerro Blanco at 6:30 a.m. Cloudy morning, when it drizzles there are few mosquitoes. Low bird activity, but in the parking place we got a peruvian pygmy-owl (Glaucidium peruanum) coming at the call of the playback. George found the target of the day, a pair of grey-capped cuckoos (Coccyzus lansbergi)which was the first lifer for all the people in the group all together. One coffee in the park house, accompanied by some hermits in the hummingbird feeders made the morning. After some brief stops, we headed for Churute Mangroves at 10 a.m., arriving there at 13 a.m.

An impressive herd of mosquitoes welcomed us. The small track towards the boats, in which we saw no bird, was a little introduction to what was going to come. 

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Tomàs Capella walking through mangroves, Churute

As it was early, we returned to the cars to drive tracks and add some new common species. At 15:00 h. we started to walk Aulladores track, in a very nice forest, and of course accompanied by the impressive sound of howler monkeys. We were literally eaten by millions of mosquitoes, but we managed to find jet antbird (Cercomacra nigricansand Pacific royal flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis), before returning to the cars. 

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Pacific Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis)

Although there was still one more hour and a half of daylight, the little blood left in our bodies managed to irrigate our brains and made us decide that we had had enough, and that we shouldn’t die there. We took the road south, arriving to the unexciting town of Santa Rosa at 20:30 h. We had a great dinner in a café and went to sleep in a suspicious hotel, but without mosquitoes.

Main targets seen:

→ Cerro Blanco:

  • Ecuadorian Hermit (Phaethornis baroni) (30 – m.35)
  • Grey-capped Cuckoo (Coccyzus lansbergi) (15)
  • Peruvian Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium peruanum) (30 – m.40)
  • Scarlet-backed Woodpecker (Veniliornis callonotus) (65 – m.75)
  • Western Olivaceous Woodcreeper (Sittasomus griseus) (45 – m.55)
  • Yellow-olive Flatbill (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) (60 – s.60)

→ Manglares Churute:

  • Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) (22 – m.35)
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) (7 – m.15)
  • Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus) (10)
  • Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) (45 – s.8)
  • Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) (25 – s.25)
  • Jet Antbird (Cercomacra nigricans) (30 – s.25)
  • Pacific Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis) (28 – s.10)
  • Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) (20 – m.35)
  • Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) (15 – s.15)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >



Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 6/75. 229 species

January 16, 2019, Santa Rosa Ponds, La Tembladera and Puerto Jelí

Almost a crash!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Large-billed Tern (Phaetusa simplex)

We all survived the hotel. Sunny morning, we depart at 6.00 without having breakfast, toward fish and shrimp farms of Santa Rosa. We negotiated the entrance with some terrified workers and, following the banks along the pools, we started to add new species of shorebirds, ducks, storks… Temperature was nice and there were good opportunities to take pictures. A dry tree was full of iguanas and anhingas.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

I almost crashed the car when one of Eugeni’s shoes, left by him to dry at the roof of the car, fell on the screen and shocked me.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Shrimp ponds, Santa Rosa

After finishing this place, and before going back to pick up Tomàs, we reached Puerto Jelí, an area of mangroves. There we saw other birds such as Wilson’s plover (Charadrius wilsonia) and large-billed tern (Phaetusa simplex), the last being the first sight for the species in the Oro province. Clara and I drank a good coffee in a small shop, talking with the lady there. The same items all around the world: immigration and its problems.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola)

We pick Tomàs and go to Tembladera wetlands, where more species are added, amongst them horned screamer (Anhima cornuta).

Then, in just one hour, despite George’s GPS, we start climbing the mountains, and we arrive to the humid forest of Buenaventura. Here, a new birding world starts, and we will explain it in the next chapter.

Main targets seen:

Santa Rosa Ponds:

  • Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) (20 – m.65)
  • Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) (50)
  • Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) (10 – m.60)
  • Common Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) (50 – m.70)
  • Brown-chested Martin (Progne tapera) (10 – s.10)

→ La Tembladera:

  • Great Grebe (Podiceps major)
  • Horned Screamer (Anhima cornuta)

→ Puerto Jelí:

  • Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)
  • Large-billed Tern (Phaetusa simplex), primera cita a la província de El Oro.

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >



Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 6-8/75. 263 species

January 16-18, 2019, Buenaventura Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

The paradise of a very special parrot

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Juliamyia julie)

Arriving at Buenaventura, we were received by the incredible feeders there, with hundreds of hummingbirds flying around and even other interesting birds coming to eat bananas, such as araçarirufous-headed chachalaca (Ortalis erythroptera) and red-masked parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys).

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Pale-billed Araçari (Pteroglossus erythropygius)

A playful group of coatis also wanted their ration of banana. After lunch, in the drizzle, our guide Leo took us to see long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), two males were sighted. It was a very nice day. 

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger)

The following day, good breakfast and driving high to El Oro parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) area. We could see a dozen of them, but with the scope. Also, a grey-backed hawk (Pseudastur occidentalis) flew in the distance for a while. Higher on a muddy track, we tried a long time with the ecuadorian tapaculo (Scytalopus robbinsi), but no response. We stopped in another high area where there are more hummingbirds feeders with other species, amongst them the spectacular violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis).

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Violet-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis)

Lunch and rest, and birding in the afternoon along the roadside, adding new species, in such a humid environment that clothes who had been washed the day before, were even more humid. It was a calm birding, with few small groups. One of the top moments was when Jens found close to his cabin a black-and-white owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata), which was well seen and photographed. Dinner and rest.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata)

In the morning, a group birding added new species, such as crested guan (Penelope purpurascens), esmeraldas antbird (Sipia nigricauda), club-winged manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus) and others.

It was a fair day, even sunny sometimes. Lunch at 11 and long drive to the south. We stopped in an area with tropical dry forest, El Empalme, after having climbed to 2000 m  inside the fog. El Empalme produced no new species.

Road and arriving to Jorupe at 19:00 h, just for dinner. A lot of pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) were singing all over and so did spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), which we couldn’t see.

Main targets seen:

  • Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) (30 – m.40)
  • White-tipped Sicklebill (Eutoxeres aquila) (8 – m.10)
  • Brown Violet-ear (Colibri delphinae) (60 – s.50)
  • Green Thorntail (Discosura conversii) (60 – m.80)
  • White-vented Plumeleteer (Chalybura buffonii) (3 – m.8)
  • Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) (35 – m.78)
  • Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae) (50 – m.60)
  • Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata) (15)
  • Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea) (35 – m.38)
  • Grey-backed Hawk (Pseudastur occidentalis) (25 – s.20)
  • Golden-headed Quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps) (40 – m.50)
  • El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) (40)
  • Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha) (45 – s.40)
  • Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps) (40 – m.65)
  • Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus) (35 – m.55)
  • Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger) (45 – s.20) 
  • Whiskered Wren (Pheugopedius mystacalis) (25 – s.25)
  • Common Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus flavopectus) (50 – m.75)
  • Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris) (45 – m.55)
  • Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (Geothlypis semiflava) (30 – m.40)
  • Three-banded Warbler (Basileuterus trifasciatus) (10 – m.70)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Tomàs Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 9/75. 277 species

January 19, 2019, Jorupe Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

A catchy birdsong

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Pale-browed Tinamou (Crypturellus transfasciatus)

Good morning everyone!

Today I abandoned the group twice. First during the morning when I decided to go by myself to explore the 3 stories bamboo tower. And later in the afternoon, when it started raining and I ran 1 Mille to the lodge. Overall we had a successful day.

In the morning we had a nice breakfast at the Urraca Lodge from the JOCOTOCO family. They are taking great care of us, it starts feeling home and I will miss their delightful menus.

Today we saw lot of targets to keep increasing our 1000 challenge. We spent more than an hour listening the Watkins’s antpitta (Grallaria watkinsi). I kept whistling the sound all day long. It seems that this special bird is as good at whistling than in hiding, even thought it couldn’t escape from the expert eyes of Miquel, Dave and George.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Guayaquil Woodpecker (Campephilus gayaquilensis)

After lunch, we were very lucky, as we saw the  pale-browed tinamou (Crypturellus transfasciatus), and not once, twice! The first time we saw it walking and the second time flying, I believe that Miquel took pretty good pictures as usual. Also, one of the highlights was spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), beautiful.

I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with great views on the porch and a cold beer on my hand.

Tomorrow we have to wake up super early, I will think twice about it.

Main targets seen:

  • Pale-browed Tinamou (Crypturellus transfasciatus) (60 – s.55)
  • Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) (35 – s.17)
  • Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus) (12 – s.10)
  • Watkins’s Antpitta (Grallaria watkinsi) (60 – s.20)
  • Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner (Syndactyla ruficollis) (35 – s.30)
  • Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner (Clibanornis erythrocephalus) (60 – s.10)
  • Blackish-headed Spinetail (Synallaxis tithys) (60)
  • Slaty Becard (Pachyramphus spodiurus) (45 – s.17)
  • Grey-breasted Flycatcher (Lathrotriccus griseipectus) (45 – s.20)
  • White-edged Oriole (Icterus graceannae) (45 – m.60)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 10/75. 288 species

January 20, 2019, Zapotillo and Sozoranga reserves

Talking with Doug Wechsler, one of the precursors of the Jocotoco Foundation

From left to right: Tomàs Capella, Eduard Soler, Doug Wechsler, Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet.

We wake up really early, breakfast at 4:30 h and departure at 5:00 h towards Zapotillo, a dry scrub area close to Peru border. Avoiding crashing against cows, pigs and bumps in the road, we arrive at 6:45 h. Quickly we gain two of the targets, tumbes hummingbird (Leucippus baeri) and tumbes sparrow (Rhynchospiza stolzmanni), but later it becomes more difficult. It is not until 10:30 h that everyone can see elegant crescentchest (Melanopareia elegans).

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Zapotillo, a dry land

Heat increases, and we stop for a moment in the river side, to watch some American comb duck (Sarkidiornis sylvicola), which is one of the day’s targets.

Back at Jorupe at 13:00 h in time to see the pale-browed tinamou (Crypturellus transfasciatus) coming again to the feeders. At 14:30 h, part of the team go to Sozoranga, 32 km away and 1700 m over sea level. The fog is thicker than Lleida in the worst days, and it’s raining. Despite the bad conditions, we get three new species, including tumbes tyrannulet (Phaeomyias tumbezana) and Peruvian tyrannulet (Zimmerius viridiflavus), identified like ghosts in the fog, due to their singing and spectral pictures taken by Miquel.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Birding in the rain

We go down again to reach Jorupe for dinner, when we meet Doug Wechsler and his wife. Doug is one of the founders of the Jocotoco Foundation, who took the first good pictures of Jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi), 20 years ago. Very kindly, he tells us the story of success of this foundation. www.dougweschler.com.

Main targets seen:

→ Zapotillo:

  • American Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis sylvicola) (60 – s.14)
  • Tumbes Hummingbird (Leucippus baeri) (60)
  • Elegant Crescentchest (Melanopareia elegans) (70 – s.40)
  • Tumbes Sparrow (Rhynchospiza stolzmanni) (65)

→ Sozoranga:

  • Chapman’s Antshrike (Thamnophilus zarumae) (40 – m.85)
  • Peruvian Tyrannulet (Zimmerius viridiflavus) (50)
  • Tumbes Tyrannulet (Phaeomyias tumbezana) (45 – s.15)
  • Three-banded Warbler (Basileuterus trifasciatus)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the econd best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eduardo Soler and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 11/75. 310 species

January 21, 2019, Utuana Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

An invincible cloud of hummingbirds

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Purple-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus viola)

Hi, me again…

Today we wake up at 4:00am… This is not funny!

But anyway, is the first time I had breakfast at 4:30 am without having gone clubbing.

Then, we said goodbye to the Leo and Alex from Jocotoco Urraca Lodge, and we drove for an hour and a half to meet our new guide in Utuana. Angel was waiting for us, and he jumped into the car carrying the syrup to feed some hummingbirds that would join us for lunch.

He had great stories to tell, two of them are my favourites. The UFO that appears on the sky from time to time and nobody knows what it is (please see the picture by yourself) and the falcon that was kicked out by a cloud of organized hummingbirds. That shows that the weak ones organized are stronger than any big bully.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. UFO, Utuana

After few hours of birding (for me birding means spending time with my brother looking up on the trees and enjoy the peace of nature while they start talking about weird names), we decided to enjoy our picnic at the Hummingbird Garden, a beautiful place.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Rainbow Starfrontlet (Coeligena iris)

The addicts kept birding after that, but I had enough… Siesta time in the car!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Jelski’s Chat-tyrant (Silvicultrix jelskii)

Long drive through the Andes to reach our new spot, Tapichalaca, where the famous jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi) will be waiting for us on the next morning…

Main targets seen:

  • White-throated Quail-dove (Zentrygon frenata) (35 – s.35)
  • Purple-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus viola) (85 – s.20)
  • Green-tailed Trainbearer (Lesbia nuna) (20 – s.10)
  • Rainbow Starfrontlet (Coeligena iris) (75 – s.14)
  • White-rumped Hawk (Parabuteo leucorrhous) (20 – s.20)
  • Grey-headed Antbird (Ampelornis griseiceps) (40)
  • Line-cheeked Spinetail (Cranioleuca antisiensis) (60 – s.60)
  • Red-crested Cotinga (Ampelionrubrocristatus) (70 – s.33)
  • Sierran Elaenia (Elaenia pallatangae) (15 – s.15)
  • White-crested Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps) (50 – m.66)
  • Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet (Phyllomyiasuropygialis) (12 – s.10)
  • Jelski’s Chat-tyrant (Silvicultrix jelskii) (75)
  • Glossy-black Thrush (Turdusserranus) (20 – m.50)
  • Hepatic Tanager (Piranga hepatica) (10 – m.40)
  • Black-cowled Saltator (Saltator nigriceps) (65 – s.45)
  • Piura Hemispingus (Sphenopsis piurae) (15 – s.10)
  • White-sided Flowerpiercer (Diglossaalbilatera) (35 – s.35)
  • Blue-capped Tanager (Sporathraupis cyanocephala) (75 – s.33)
  • Silver-backed Tanager (Tangara viridicollis) (15 – m.50)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Tomàs Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 12-13/75. 344 species

January 22-23, 2019, Tapichalaca  reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

The famous jocotoco!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi)

January 22

Hellooo!

Today I am kind of excited, we will go finding the famous jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi). It is a bird that was discovered in 1997 and then was founded the foundation to protect it were we find the lodges we have been staying in for the last few nights.

We start our walk through the jungle under the rain. Luckily they gave me plastic boots because the track is all muddy. Today another crew joined us, we are an expedition of 14 people with umbrellas, ponchos and huge cameras walking under the rain.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Boissonneaua matthewsii)

We arrived to the spot and then the guide took some worms and like a magic trick the first jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi) showed up. After a while, its partner joins us as well. Thousands of pictures were shot today, especially when one of the birds decided to take a bath into the river.  

For being my last day of birding it was a great day.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Miquel Bonet posing with a hummingbird

Tomorrow, I will have to say goodbye to my lovely brother. And it is his birthday!!! Something will have to be arranged 😉

January 23

Hello,

Today we also woke up early, but it was a different feeling. Maybe I start getting used to it…

Eugeni’s birthday

We had a green birthday pie that matched my brother outfit hahahaha, some presents and some tears as well to say good bye to Eugeni and the rest of the group.

Guys, keep working hard and good luck with the challenge! I will miss you but not the early wake ups 😉

Main targets seen:

  • Bearded Guan (Penelope barbata) (20 – m.35)
  • Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelusamethysticollis) (60 – s.16)
  • Little Sunangel (Heliangelus micraster) (60 – s.33)
  • Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Boissonneauamatthewsii) (65 – m.85)
  • Golden-plumed Parakeet (Leptosittaca branickii) (42 – s.18)
  • Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallariaridgelyi)(38)
  • Chestnut-naped Antpitta (Grallaria nuchalis) (50 – s.33)
  • Chusquea Tapaculo (Scytalopus parkeri) (60 – s.50)
  • Rufous Spinetail (Synallaxis unirufa) (35 – s.22)
  • White-banded Tyrannulet (Mecocerculusstictopterus) (30 – m.50)
  • Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant (Silvicultrix diadema) (17 – m.18)
  • Pale-naped Brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidinucha) (15 – m.83)
  • Northern Citrine Warbler (Myiothlypis luteoviridis) (38 – m.83)
  • Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) (20 – m.66)
  • Grey-hooded Tanager (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris) (40 – m.50)
  • Slaty Finch (Spodiornis rusticus) (5 – s.4)
  • White-sided Flowerpiercer (Diglossaalbilatera) (35 – s.35)
  • Lacrimose Mountain-tanager (Anisognathuslacrymosus) (55 – m.66)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 14/75. 373 species

January 24, 2019, Zumba to Balsa

Non-stop!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Maranon Crescentchest (Melanopareia maranonica)

Today has been a very long day, two and a half hours to Zumba and another hour to the border with Peru to find the maranon specialities. Jens and Dave have preferred the Tapichalaca comfort than the bumpy track, where incomprehensibly twenty buses have passed. After two days of rain, the cloudy weather has been appreciated.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Woman riding a donkey, Zumba

The secondary forests are being replaced by pastures and agriculture leaving less space for the birds. However, we found a good number of the birds we were looking for. Maranon thrush (Turdus maranonicus) has been the most abundant near endemic. Later, 12 km from Zumba, in a small remnant wood patch, we found the maranon spinetail (Synallaxis maranonica), and after this the maranon crescentchest (Melanopareia maranonica), which was easier than the elegant crescentchest (Melanopareia elegans) that we found in Zapotillo. Finally, we were entertained quite a bit with the difficult group of elaenies, which surely had some species overlooked.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Maranon Spinetail (Synallaxis maranonica)

Back at the lodge, everyone has already had dinner, and my brother, Edu and Clara wait in Guayaquil to take their return flight.

Main targets seen:

  • Lafresnaye’s Piculet (Picumnus lafresnayi) (20 – m.60)
  • White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacaraleucophthalmus) (40 – m.60)
  • Northern Slaty Antshrike (Thamnophiluspunctatus) (60)
  • Maranon Crescentchest (Melanopareiamaranonica) (40)
  • Maranon Spinetail (Synallaxis maranonica) (50)
  • Lesser Elaenia (Elaenia chiriquensis) (18)
  • Maranon Thrush (Turdusmaranonicus) (80)
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) (30 – m.50)
  • Purple-throated Euphonia (Euphonia chlorotica) (35)
  • Maranon Sparrow (Arremon nigriceps) (20)
  • Wedge-tailed Grass-finch (Emberizoides herbicola) (20)
  • Dull-colored Grassquit (Asemospiza obscura)(40 – s.40)
  • Red-crested Finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus) (40 – s.25)
  • White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus) (50 – s.45)
  • Black-faced Tanager (Schistochlamys melanopis) (60)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 15/75. 388 species

January 25, 2019, Cerro Toledo and Old Loja — Zamora Road

American birdwatchers help us find the most important bird of the day!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Variegated Bristle-tyrant (Pogonotriccus poecilotis)

Today we left the cold wet weather at Tapachalaca Jocotoco Lodge for the even colder and wetter weather of Cerro Toledo! 

The road up was in great shape with beautiful sunny skies but once on top it was very windy and cold with horizontal rain. 

Despite this George decided to walk the road, while the smarter people kept to the car, to search for his only target neblina metaltail (Metallura odomae).

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Birding in Cerro Toledo

We were very lucky by meeting some American birders who were in Ecuador target birding. They gave us good directions to where they had just seen neblina metaltail (Metallura odomae) so we focused on this area that was somewhat sheltered from the wind. 

After some time we finally called one in for great looks, while Jens stayed warm and dry in the car.  After this we were more than happy to head down the mountain for the warmer, calmer and dryer climes of Old Loja—Zamora Road.  Along this little used road we easily found a few more target birds before it became dark.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. The Zamora river, Old LojaZamora Road

We then arrived at Capalinga Jocotoco Lodge as usual after dark.

Main targets seen:

→ Cerro Toledo:

  • Neblina Metaltail (Metallura odomae) (50)
  • Glowing Puffleg (Eriocnemis vestita)(95 – m.100)
  • Crowned Chat-tyrant (Silvicultrix frontalis) (50 – s.34)
  • Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa) (16 – s.9)

Old Loja—Zamora Road:

  • Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata) (25 – m.35)
  • Variegated Bristle-tyrant (Pogonotriccus poecilotis)(6 – m.20
  • Cliff Flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea) (25 – s.15)
  • White-capped Dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus) (20 – m.40)
  • Short-billed Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus parvirostris) (20 – s.18)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 16-17/75. 433 species

January 26-27, 2019, Copalinga Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation and Río Bombuscaro

Many new birds

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Photo: Miquel Bonet. Golden-eared Tanager (Tangara chrysotis)

January 26

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Band-bellied Owl (Pulsatrix melanota)

Today we spent the first few hours of the day at the feeders of Jocotoco Copalinga Lodge. 

Seeing many new birds from here we then moved the short distance up the road to Podacarpus NP where we have seen many other new birds including George’s nemesis bird the lanceolated monklet (Micromonacha lanceolata). He prefered to stay at the lodge and look for the white-necked parakeet (Pyrrhura albipectus) which never showed.

After lunch, we went back to the park and had 15 or so parakeets at the clay wall.

Some of us went into town for the spangled coquette (Lophornis stictolophus), but we failed to see it.  We then went back to the lodge for dinner and sleep.  

January 27

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Coati

The next day was basically a repeat of yesterday except Eugeni decided to follow closely the same Americans form Cerro Toledo and their guide for over an hour in the NP until he was politely told to not follow them and they paid a lot for this trip and that they were one group and he was with another group. 

Despite this they were nice enough to let us know that they had just found orange-crested flycatcher (Myiophobus phoenicomitra). After lunch everyone basically birded on their own. 

Main targets seen:

  • Grey Tinamou (Tinamus tao) (28)
  • Sickle-winged Guan (Chamaepetes goudotii) (30 – m.80)
  • Grey-fronted Dove (Leptotila rufaxilla) (30 – m.45)
  • Blackish Nightjar (Nyctipolus nigrescens) (10 – m.40)
  • Grey-chinned Hermit (Phaethornis griseogularis)(9 – m.25)
  • Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy)(40 – m.55)
  • Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) (8 – m.50)
  • Wire-crested Thorntail (Discosura popelairii) (30 – m.55)
  • Black-throated Brilliant (Heliodoxa schreibersii) (15 – m.50)
  • Violet-fronted Brilliant (Heliodoxa leadbeateri)(70 – s.35)
  • Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti)(50 – m.70)
  • Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata) (35 – m.70)
  • Golden-tailed Sapphire (Chrysuronia oenone)(35 – m.70)
  • White-bellied Woodstar (Chaetocercusmulsant) (20 – m.80)
  • Highland Motmot (Momotusaequatorialis) (40 – s.30)
  • Black-streaked Puffbird (Malacoptilafulvogularis) (35 – s.33) 
  • Lanceolated Monklet (Micromonacha lanceolata) (7 – s.7)
  • White-necked Parakeet (Pyrrhuraalbipectus) (25 – s.10)
  • Yellow-breasted Antwren (Herpsilochmusaxillaris) (7 – m.33)
  • Montane Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthiastriaticollis) (30 – m.55)
  • Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus) (60 – m.85)
  • Amazonian Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus ornatus) (45 – s.30)
  • Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant (Pogonotriccusophthalmicus (20 – m.60)
  • Fulvous-breasted Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus) (12 – m.30)
  • Orange-crested Flycatcher (Myiophobusphoenicomitra) (6 – s.3)
  • Olivaceous Greenlet (Hylophilusolivaceus) (15 – m.38)
  • White-necked Thrush (Turdusalbicollis) (50 – m.75)
  • Bronze-green Euphonia (Euphonia mesochrysa) (20 – m.60)
  • Red-crested Finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus) (25 – m.40)
  • Spotted Tanager (Tangara punctata) (75 – s.45)
  • Yellow-bellied Tanager (Tangara xanthogastra) (20 – m.45)
  • Golden-eared Tanager (Tangara chrysotis) (50 – s.50)

*Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 18-20/75. 478 species

January 30, 2019, Paquisha and Yankuam

A restaurant with a chef who has worked in El Celler de Can Roca and in El Bulli!

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Yankuam

 Day 18

Today we woke up early again only to have Eugeni play with his computer as Jens complained he could have slept longer.

Then, when finally ready to leave the car would not start for about half an hour because of the security system.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Landscape, Paquisha

Finally, the car started, and we left Copalinga for Paquisha only to be stopped short by a landslide in the Santa Cecelia trail, so walked the rest of the way, but never really knowing if we reached the proper birding spot, but we still have seen a few new birds.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus)

After this, we drove to Cabanas Yankuam, where we had enough time to do some birding in Maycu Reserve, where most briefly saw the orange-throated tanager (Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron).

Day 19

The next, we woke up early to bird the Shaime area, which was for the part a waste of time, but we still added a few new birds.

After this, we went back to Maycu, where we spent the rest of the day walking up and down the road adding a few new birds here and there.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Purplish Jacamar (Galbula chalcothorax)

Day 20

That night it rained quite hard, but we still got up early and went up to the top of the road at Maycu, but we soon retreated back to Yankuam because of the rain.

We were notified that the main road was closed due to land slide, so we stayed at Yankuam till noon to give the workers time to clear the road.

From left to right: Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella at the ShamuiCo Espai Gastronòmic, Saraguro restaurant

They had cleared the road by the time we arrived, so we continued to drive to Saraguro, where Eugeni uncharacteristically had us stay in the best hotel in town.

We then went to ShamuiCo Espai Gastronomic restaurant a Catalan high class restaurant, where some were happy, but George left for cheaper options and Jens had a $9.50 soup.

Main targets seen:

→ Paquisha, Santa Cecilia Trail and ‘Jacamar’:

  • Spectacled Prickletail (Siptornis striaticollis) (80)
  • Ash-browed Spinetail (Cranioleuca curtata) (60 – s.30)
  • Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) (6 – s.6)
  • Yellow-throated Tanager (Iridosornis analis) (40 – s.4)
  • Orange-eared Tanager (Chlorochrysa calliparaea) (60 – m.80)

→ Cabañas Yankuam / Tepui Trail / Reserva Maycu (17):

  • White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis) (8 – m.55)
  • Green-backed Trogon (Trogon viridis) (45 – m.55)
  • Purplish Jacamar (Galbula chalcothorax) (40 – m.45)
  • Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus) (45 – m.80)
  • Red-stained Woodpecker (Veniliornis affinis) (9 – m.30)
  • Black Caracara (Daptrius ater) (35 – m.60)
  • Dusky-billed Parrotlet (Forpus modestus) (4 – s.2)
  • Lined Antshrike (Thamnophilus tenuepunctatus) (35 – m.60)
  • Plain-winged Antshrike (Thamnophilus schistaceus) (18 – m.45)
  • Peruvian Antwarbler (Hypocnemis peruviana) (35 – m.45)
  • Fiery-throated Fruiteater (Pipreola chlorolepidota) (7 – m.15)
  • Black-and-white Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus capitalis) (22 – m.30)
  • Short-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus ferox) (6 – m.30)
  • Musician Wren (Cyphorhinus arada) (9 – m.30)
  • Flame-crested Tanager (Islerothraupis cristata) (33 – m.80)
  • Orange-throated Tanager (Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron) (65 – s.30)
  • Yellow-bellied Tanager (Tangara xanthogastra) (45 – s.45)
  • Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana) (33 – m.45)
  • Donacobius (Donacobius atricapilla) (30 – m.60)

 

→ Shaime:

  • Gould’s Brilliant (Heliodoxa aurescens) (15 – m.45)
  • Greater Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes melambrotus) (60 – m.75)
  • White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis) (30 – m.55)
  • Red-stained Woodpecker (Veniliornis affinis) (30 – s.9)
  • Peruvian Antwarbler (Hypocnemis peruviana) (45 – s.35)
  • Fiery-throated Fruiteater (Pipreola chlorolepidota) (15 – s.7)
  • Slaty-capped Shrike-vireo (Vireolanius leucotis) (60 – s.20)
  • Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana) (45 – s.33)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 21/75. 489 species

January 31, 2019, Acanama

We have found authentic jewels!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Crescent-faced Antpitta (Grallaricula lineifrons)

Another early start to the day. Today we ventured up Cerro Acanama for the day ticking off a few more targets. The weather was much better than Cerro Toledo and the road was in good shape.

After the initial excitement of a few more targets such as great looks at both western tawny antpitta (Grallaria quitensis) and crescent-faced antpitta (Grallaricula lineifrons),  the day soon became less exciting with long waits for the red-faced parrot (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops), which never showed itself or called.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Golden-crowned Tanager (Iridosornis rufivertex)

That night, we retreated back to our hotel, where some went back for Catalan food, while the rest went for way too much chicken and French fries to eat for $5.

Main targets seen:

  • Greater Band-winged Nightjar (Systellura longirostris) (15 – s.15)
  • Tyrian Metaltail (Metallura tyrianthina) (50 – m.85)
  • Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria rufula) (38 – m.65)
  • Crescent-faced Antpitta (Grallaricula lineifrons) (40)
  • White-throated Tyrannulet (Mecocerculusleucophrys) (33 – m.83)
  • Rufous-breasted Chat-tyrant (Ochthoecarufipectoralis)(23 – m.33)
  • Grass Wren (Cistothorusplatensis) (30 – m.60)
  • Black-headed Hemispingus (Pseudospingusverticalis)(15 – m.66)
  • Eyebrowed Hemispingus (Thlypopsissuperciliaris) (10 – m.52)
  • Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager (Anisognathuslunulatus) (45 – m.85)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 22/75. 506 species

February 1, 2019, Cerro de Arcos

500 birds!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Blue-throated Hillstar (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus)

We left the hotel early again today (5:15 AM) for the long drive on gravel roads to Cerro de Arcos.

We made it to Arcos no problem but on the road up to the refugio the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) could not make it up a wet slope, so we parked the car and walked the last 3 km up.

After an initial rest at the refugio, we went off in search of the hillstar where 2 young kids who were by themselves from the refugio showed us the location.  We  quickly have seen the “new” blue-throated hillstar (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus) plus a few more targets, so we walked back down the mountain to our waiting vehicle.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Black-billed Shrike-tyrant (Agriornis montanus)

We then drove the shortest way towards Yanguilla going down a spectacularly steep dry valley eventually making it to Santa Isabelle for the night.

Main targets seen:

  • Blue-throated Hillstar (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus) (80)
  • Black-tailed Trainbearer (Lesbia victoriae) (95 – s.85)
  • Viridian Metaltail (Metallura williami) (18 – s.18)
  • Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis) (60 – s.60)
  • Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) (80 – s.16)
  • Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria rufula)(40 – m.65)
  • Western Tawny Antpitta (Grallaria quitensis) (60 – m.80)
  • Chestnut-winged Cinclodes (Cinclodesalbidiventris) (40 – m.80)
  • Streak-backed Canastero (Asthenes wyatti) (80 – s.22)
  • Brown-backed Chat-tyrant (Ochthoeca fumicolor) (60 – m.75)
  • Black-billed Shrike-tyrant (Agriornis montanus) (95 – s.40)
  • Paramo Pipit (Anthusbogotensis) (17 – m.50)
  • Plumbeous Sierra-finch (Geospizopsis unicolor) (60 – m.80)
  • Plain-colored Seedeater (Catamenia inornata) (40 – m.50)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Day 23/75. 517 species

February 2, 2019, Yunguilla Jocotoco Foundation Reserve

A quiet day

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (Grallaria ruficapilla)

Today we left the hotel to meet the ranger of the Yunguilla reserve of Jocotoco Foundation, so he could open the gate at 6AM. 

From left to right: Eugeni Capella, the ranger of the Yunguilla reserve of Jocotoco Foundation and Miquel Bonet

We quickly have seen the pale-headed brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidiceps) in the brush and at coming to the bread put out for it. 

Later, a chestnut-crowned antpitta (Grallaria ruficapilla) also showed up to eat bread. 

We birded around the reserve till 2PM. 

The pale-headed brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidiceps) are much easier to see now than 20 years ago when George was last here and only 6 or 7 existed. 

After this we drove to Cuenca where we were in our hotel for the next 2 days by 4PM, so an early end to birding today.

Main targets seen:

  • Black-chested Buzzard-eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)(30 – m.55)
  • Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (Grallaria ruficapilla) (65 – s.62)
  • Line-cheeked Spinetail (Cranioleuca antisiensis) (60 – s.60)
  • Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush (Catharus fuscater) (70 – s.40)
  • Hooded Siskin (Spinus magellanicus) (50 – s.40)
  • Grey-browed Brush-finch (Arremon assimilis) (70 – s.35)
  • Pale-headed Brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidiceps) (75)
  • Rufous-chested Tanager (Thlypopsis ornata) (70 – s.30)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Dave and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 24/75. 531 species

February 3, 2019, Cajas National Park

Dave already gets 94 lifers!

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Cajas National Park

Today, we had breakfast at 7AM our latest start of the trip, so we got to sleep in some! 

After breakfast, we made our way up to Cajas National Park where we spent a fine day finding more new birds including the endemic violet-throated metaltail (Metallura baroni)which showed well for all and was a life bird for all.  

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Violet-throated Metaltail (Metallura baroni)

This was Dave´s last full day of the trip.  His goal was 100 new birds and by the end of this day he was at 94, so he is contemplating staying a few more days in the Quito area to reach his goal.  

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Andean Duck (Oxyura ferruginea)

After this, we had dinner at the same place as last night and stayed in the same hotel, which has the nicest toilets yet of any place so far in Ecuador.

Main targets seen:

  • Andean Duck (Oxyura ferruginea) (55 – m.80)
  • Yellow-billed Pintail (Anas georgica) (40 – m.90)
  • Andean Teal (Anas andium) (70 – s.60)
  • Ecuadorian Hillstar (Oreotrochilus chimborazo) (55 – m.65)
  • Blue-mantled Thornbill (Chalcostigma stanleyi) (50 – s.30)
  • Violet-throated Metaltail (Metallura baroni) (55)
  • Andean Coot (Fulica ardesiaca) (35 – m.95)
  • Andean Gull (Larus serranus) (50 – m.75)
  • Carunculated Caracara (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) (28 – m.90)
  • Stout-billed Cinclodes (Cinclodes excelsior) (65 – m.80)
  • Andean Tit-spinetail (Leptasthenura andicola)(35 – m.45)
  • Giant Conebill (Conirostrum binghami) (33 – s.15)
  • Ochraceous Conebill (Conirostrum fraseri) (28 – m.40)
  • Plumbeous Sierra-finch (Geospizopsis unicolor) (80 – s.80)
  • Streaked Dacnis (Xenodacnis petersi) (80)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written and photographs by Eugeni Capella

Day 25/75. 546 species

February 4, 2019, Cuenca-Gualaceo Road-Cuenca-Ambato-Tena

Balance of the challenge

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Cuenca-Gualaceo Road, landscape

At five in the morning we left the hotel to Gualaceo to cross the Andes to Limón and stop on our way for speciality like the masked mountain-tanager (Tephrophilus wetmorei).

It was raining and there were warnings of landslides and rock falls. We had a road signs that warned that the road was cut, but we did not pay attention because yesterday we checked the Cuenca-Limón-Macas bus line.

After
an hour’s journey we reached a barrier that prevented us from continuing. In case there was any doubt, two hundred meters away, in the silence of the morning we could hear the rocks crashing down where the road once continued. It was an ongoing land slide.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Cuenca-Gualaceo road was cut off

Resigned, and without an alternative to make the road, we have returned to Cuenca where Dave left us at the terminal to take a bus to Ambato at eight AM.

We have been 11 hours in two comfortable coaches ($9 + $6.25) with a change of five minutes. The trip crossed beautiful Andean landscapes and allowed us to count the species to realize that we had 546 species, 6 species less than expected, and 30 species that were only seen by Miquel or myself but not both. Originally, in our counts, we permitted ourselves only 5 % of the species to be observed by one person but not both.

Therefore, at this point in our quest we are 3 birds above the 5% threshold.
Without a doubt, the landslides of Paquisha and Gualaceo plus the bad weather of Cerro Toledo made us lose a handful of species, but we will have to compensate this with more determination or luck, and also to spend more time birding together and not drift apart as has happened on some occasions.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Jens and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 26-28/75. 613 species

February 5-7, 2019, Gareno Lodge

Having lunch with the Harpy Eagle!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)

We had no idea, how it was at Gareno lodge. We found out, it was very rustic and simple for the money we had to pay. I was though very exited, cause the list of birds there had 80 species that I had never seen before. I got 6 of them. The biggest targets were rufous potoo (Nyctibius bracteatus) and harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja). I had dreamed of that eagle since my youth.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Rufous Potoo (Nyctibius bracteatus)

To go into the nesting area was extremely hard for me due to my age (75). The trail was long and steep and smooth. I almost gave up, but we all wanted so much to see that bird.

When we came to the nesting place, there was no eagle. We walked so far, so we would give it 2 hours before returning. After half an hour, I did not believe, we would see it. By accident our guide looked up in the tree we were sitting below. The Harpy eagle was sitting on the top of that tree looking down at us. Then it was lunchtime. While we were eating, the eagle was looking at us.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Miquel Bonet, Gareno Lodge

I had never tried before to eat lunch with a Harpy eagle looking at us.

Great day for all of us.

Main targets seen:
  • Ruddy Ground-dove (Columbina talpacoti) (6 – m.25)
  • Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis) (6 – m.20)
  • Rufous Potoo (Nyctibius bracteatus) (40)
  • Black-eared Fairy (Heliothryx auritus) (15 – m.30)
  • Black-bellied Cuckoo (Piaya melanogaster) (30 – s.6)
  • Ferruginous Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) (7 – m.40)
  • Tropical Screech-owl (Megascops choliba) (10 – m.30)
  • Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) (8)
  • Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) (25 – s.20)
  • White-fronted Nunbird (Monasa morphoeus) (45 – s.22)
  • Yellow-billed Nunbird (Monasa flavirostris) (13 – s.13)
  • Swallow-winged Puffbird (Chelidoptera tenebrosa) (15 – m.30)
  • Cuvier’s Toucan (Ramphastos cuvieri) (55 – s.55)
  • Red-necked Woodpecker (Campephilus rubricollis) (7 – m.25)
  • Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos) (30 – m.35)
  • Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus) (27 – s.15)
  • Chestnut Woodpecker (Celeus elegans) (15 – m.20)
  • Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera) (55 – s.45)
  • Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius) (6 – m.8)
  • Black-headed Parrot (Pionites melanocephalus) (55 – s.22)
  • Dusky-headed Parakeet (Aratinga weddellii) (6 – m.50)
  • Moustached Antwren (Myrmotherula ignota) (23 – s.20)
  • Cinereous Antshrike (Thamnomanes caesius) (22 – s.22)
  • Mouse-colored Antshrike (Thamnophilus murinus) (30 – s.10)
  • Yellow-browed Antwarbler (Hypocnemis hypoxantha) (60 – s.9)
  • Sooty Antbird (Hafferia fortis) (27 – m.6)
  • Lafresnaye’s Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus guttatoides) (30 – m.40)
  • Western Striped Manakin (Machaeropterus striolatus) (27 – s.10)
  • Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) (42 – s.20)
  • Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata) (70 – s.30)
  • Blue-backed Manakin (Chiroxiphia pareola) (45 – s.9)
  • Bare-necked Fruitcrow (Gymnoderus foetidus) (7 – m.22)
  • Chestnut-crowned Becard (Pachyramphus castaneus) (12 – s.12)
  • Cinnamon Manakin-tyrant (Neopipo cinnamomea) (2 – s.2)
  • Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) (18 – m.25)
  • Golden-winged Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus calopterus) (5 – m.60)
  • Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus) (25 – s.25)
  • Sulphury Flycatcher (Tyrannopsis sulphurea)(4 – m.6)
  • Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus) (15 – s.15)
  • Rufous-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia rufiventris) (22 – s.22)
  • Short-billed Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus parvirostris) (8 – m.20)
  • Green Oropendola (Psarocolius viridis) (5 – m.30)
  • Orange-backed Troupial (Icterus croconotus) (6 – m.25)
  • Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) (20 – m.45)
  • Short-billed Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes nitidus) (6)
  • Masked Crimson Tanager (Ramphocelus nigrogularis) (40 – m.45
  • Opal-crowned Tanager (Tangara callophrys) (20 – s.15)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 29-33/75. 690 species

February 8-12, 2019, Shiripuno Lodge

A unique place in the world

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Miquel Bonet hugs the rain

February 8. Written by Eugeni Capella

Today, Ana Trabalón, the girlfriend of Miquel Bonet, has joined the challenge.

Of all the places in Ecuador, this is the one that made me most enthusiasm of them all, probably because of its distance from the “civilized” world. A curiosity increased by the closure of the National Park two years ago when an uncontacted Indian killed a man who was canoeing. I imagined an Indian shooting with an arch or a snail from the forest to whom he dared to step on his domains.

During the two hours, however, that lasted the journey from El Coca to the pier, the events took shape. Two “uncivilized” Indians killed with a harpoon a “civilized” Indian that was cutting a tree with a chainsaw. As a retaliation, the “civilized” Indians killed the “uncivilized” Indian with firearms and thus the matter was solved.

At the pier of Shiripuno they gave us a short talk and a leaflet about what we had to do if we meet uncontacted Indians, that is: if we found remains of fire, footprints, a corpse or if they attacked us.

There they gave me a different version of how were resolved the events of two years ago. The revenge was in another case and now to avoid it, the government built a house to compensate the family of the death civilized Indian. The concept of civilized or not is the following one: not civilized, does not speak Spanish, uses blowpipes and harpoons and does not use modern technology; Civilized, speak Spanish and use modern technology, including firearms.

Once we embarked on the Siripuno River, it began to rain for an hour of navigation until we stopped a moment for lunch. The problem is that they did not find lunch in the boxes, so we continued to sail an hour more with the rain and wind. When some people were trembling stopped raining and the remaining two hours we could enjoy some parrots, toucans and guans.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Cuvier’s Toucan (Ramphastos cuvieri)

We had left at 11 o’clock El Coca and at five o’clock, when we arrived at Shiripuno, it was almost time for dinner.

There we spent four unforgettable nights. Not only for birds, but for the sensation of being in a unique place in the world.

February 9. Written by Ana Trabalón

At 5.30 we have breakfast and at 6 am we are already walking through the jungle.

I just joined these hardcore birders and I’ll be with them for a month.

The start has been very impressive: we dive into the deep jungle illuminated with candles.

Suddenly, I see that they have a large satellite dish installed in the lodge and excited I ask if they have Wi-Fi. The answer is that they have this type of communication in case they are attacked by the “uncontacted” Indians.

When we begin the jungle walk, which will last 7 hours, Pablo, our local guide, warns us about not treading any snake and being careful when we touch the leaves, let us not sting the conga ant, also known as ant bullet. The sting of this ant produces great pain for about four hours! Fortunately, we save both dangers.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Common woolly monkey

Instead, Pablo was bitten by a mosquito that it leaves under his skin what tomorrow will be a worm.

On the way back, we have lunch a great meal that we receive with a special happiness.

Relaxation is short. In an hour, we climb the boat and go down stream to continue looking for a new path.

February 10. Written by Ana Trabalón

We have breakfast at 5.30, when is still black night.

Then we climb the boat and go up the river to find a new path. The route is spectacular, although it rains cats and dogs and refreshes too much. Gum boots are indispensable every day, as we cross streams and often sink our feet into the mud.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Salvin’s Curassow (Mitu salvini)

When we return to the lodge, a delicious meal help us to take forces again.

The hardbirders continue working in the afternoon and I stay at the accommodation socializing with three women: two from Texas and one from Germany. We spent the afternoon talking lied down in the hammocks.

February 11. Written by Ana Trabalón

Of course, we have breakfast at 5.30, as every day. Today, however, Eugeni and Miquel, at 4 o’clock, have come out as a bullet in search of the nocturnal curassow (Nothocrax urumutum), which was heard singing closely. The exit has been a success, since they have found it, and they have photographed it. So, they breakfast with a special joy.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum)

We finish breakfast and immediately we meet the boatman who takes us to a new trail, the one of the viewpoints. In order to achieve the best views, we must first walk along the slope with muddy land. Fortunately, we wear gum boots, which now are as of the family.

After dinner, we observe the evolution of the worm that Pablo has under his skin, which is palpitating. Carlos, his brother, who is also a guide, tightens him and tries to get his worm out, while I light up with a flash light, the German woman takes photos with a super camera and the rest of the group watches with great attention everything what is happening. The worm does not come out.

February 12. Written by Ana TrabalónToday we leave Shiripuno. At 5 o’clock we have breakfast. Then, we sail by boat to El Coca, even at night.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Birdwatching by boat with the local Shiripuno lodge guide

It is a four-hour journey and I just wish it did not rain as it happened when we went. We are lucky and my wish comes true.

When disembarking, a taxi takes us to El Coca. It is a two-hour journey.

Main targets seen:

  • Great Tinamou (Tinamus major)(20 – m.55)
  • Undulated Tinamou (Crypturellus undulatus) (65 – s.22)
  • Spix’s Guan (Penelope jacquacu) (25 – s.20)
  • Blue-throated Piping-guan (Pipile cumanensis) (33 – s.20)
  • Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum) (25 – s.17)
  • Salvin’s Curassow (Mitu salvini) (16)
  • Fork-tailed Palm-swift (Tachornis squamata)(25 – m.55)
  • Fiery Topaz (Topaza pyra) (12 – m.33)
  • Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber) (3 – m.12)
  • Straight-billed Hermit (Phaethornis bourcieri) (6 – m.22)
  • Great-billed Hermit (Phaethornis malaris) (9 – m.50)
  • Grey-breasted Sabrewing (Campylopterus largipennis) (15 – m.22)
  • Grey-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans) (6 – m.12)
  • Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)(10 – m.50)
  • Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)(4 – s.4)
  • Tawny-bellied Screech-owl (Megascops watsonii) (40 – s.15)
  • Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga) (5 – s.5)
  • Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) (12 – m.20)
  • Cerise-crowned Jacamar (Galbula chalcocephala)(22 – s.15)
  • Black-fronted Nunbird (Monasa nigrifrons) (45 – m.75)
  • Yellow-ridged Toucan (Ramphastos culminatus) (27 – m.50)
  • Many-banded Araçari (Pteroglossus pluricinctus) (20 – m.45)
  • Red-bellied Macaw (Orthopsittaca manilatus) (20 – m.45)
  • Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) (40 – s.40)
  • Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) (35 – s.20)
  • Western Stipple-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla haematonota) (6 – s.6)
  • Rufous-tailed Antwren (Epinecrophylla erythrura) (12 – s.12)
  • Pygmy Antwren (Myrmotherula brachyura) (6 – m.12)
  • Moustached Antwren (Myrmotherula ignota) (12 – m.23)
  • Amazonian Streaked Antwren (Myrmotherula multostriata) (20 – s.10)
  • Plain-throated Antwren (Isleria hauxwelli) (9 – m.12)
  • Dusky-throated Antshrike (Thamnomanes ardesiacus) (17 – s.17)
  • Dugand’s Antwre (Herpsilochmus dugandi)(4 – s.4)
  • Riparian Antbird (Cercomacroides fuscicauda) (3 – s.3)
  • Spot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax naevius) (12 – m.25)
  • Dot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax punctulatus) (5 – m.15)
  • Silvered Antbird (Sclateria naevia) (12 – s.10)
  • White-shouldered Antbird (Akletos melanoceps) (12 – m.21)
  • Southern Wing-banded Antbird (Myrmornis torquata) (1)
  • Spot-winged Antshrike (Pygiptila stellaris) (9 – s.9)
  • White-lored Antpitta (Hylopezus fulviventris) (3 – s.3)
  • Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis) (6 – m. 30)
  • Long-billed Woodcreeper (Nasica longirostris) (4 – m.20)
  • Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner (Automolus infuscatus) (3 – m.6)
  • Dwarf Tyrant-manakin (Tyranneutes stolzmanni) (38 – m.55)
  • Amazonian Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus) (10)
  • Western Black-tailed Tityra (Tityra cayana) (18 – m.35)
  • Brown-winged Mourner (Schiffornis turdina) (6)
  • Cinnamon Manakin-tyrant (Neopipo cinnamomea) (2 – s.2)
  • Wing-barred Piprites (Piprites chloris) (9 – m.20)
  • Ringed Antpipit (Corythopis torquatus) (1)
  • Citron-bellied Attila (Attila citriniventris) (20 – s.16)
  • Lesser Kiskadee (Philohydor lictor) (9 – m.45)
  • Yellow-throated Flycatcher (Conopias parvus) (12 – s.8)
  • Drab Water-tyrant (Ochthornis littoralis) (35 – m.40)
  • Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) (6 – m.22)
  • Yellow-green Vireo (Vireo flavoviridis) (20 – s18)
  • Coraya Wren (Pheugopedius coraya) (35 – m.45)
  • Solitary Cacique (Cacicus solitarius) (3 – m.20)

Unexpected targets:

  • Amazonian Woohaunter

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 33-34/75. 697 species

February 12-13, 2019, Limoncocha

A lagoon of light

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)

February 12

In El Coca, while we are waiting for another taxi to take us to Limoncocha, we have, for lunch, chicken with potatoes and salad for 3.50 dollars and a 1 litter Coca-Cola for $1.50 in Pico Rico. I like the food and I like the price.

When we arrive to the lagoon of Limoncocha, a boat awaits us, with which we take a tour around the lagoon: from north to south, from east to west, from south to north, from east to south … In this way, we spent some hours until the desired zigzag heron (Zebrilus undulatus) appears. In fact, there were two. Even I got excited. So, by this obsessive insistence, people call them hardcore birders!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Zigzag Heron (Zebrilus undulatus)

At night, all the lagoon lights up with glow-worm. A wonderful spectacle. It seems that Christmas has come to the lagoon!

February 13

Well, let’s go! ! We have breakfast at 4.30 am again.

Later, a taxi takes us to the beginning of a trail. It’s still at night and it’s hard to see where we trek. We are looking for new birds and the list is growing. Yes, I confirm that it is not easy. It was a difficult day for Eugeni, who has fallen into a stream and has been sunk in the mud over his knees. We free him, as if we were taking out an onion.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata)

We had an appointment with the taxi driver at 10:30 p.m., but he does not give signs of life, and we wait for him on the road under a suffocating sun. After a while, as he does not show up, Pablo, our local guide, leaves on a motorcycle with a girl to look for someone who saves us from this implacable sun.

Later, they pick us up at the pier, and we go to Napo.

From left to right: Miquel Bonet, Ana Trabalón and Eugeni Capella, waiting at the shipper

When we arrive, we enjoy, during the late afternoon, a spectacular view from the Napo Wildlife Center tower.

Main targets seen:

  • Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) (65 – s.4)
  • Zigzag Heron (Zebrilus undulatus) (8 – m.15)
  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (25 – m.50)
  • Slender-billed Kite (Helicolestes hamatus) (8 – m.25)
  • White-eared Jacamar (Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis) (55 – s.35)
  • Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis)

Unexpected targets:

  • Cinnamon-Throated Woodcreeper (Dendrexetastes rufigula)
  • King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 34-35/75. 720 species
February 13-14, 2019, NapoCulturalCenter
A day not so different

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Grey-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans)

Today I have chosen not to accompany them at work. So I have signed up for a trip with another group of people from the accommodation to enjoy a quieter morning.

First, we visit the women of the community who briefly explain who they are and show us their dances and their crafts.

Then we see a salting room, where hundreds of parrots congregate. It is a very beautiful sight, although I thought I would have a morning free of birds. Hahaha!

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Transportation of goods by Napo river

At 2 pm, we leave towards Sani lodge. On the way, we stop in Napo river islands and the challenge of finding new birds is very hard because of the heat. Extreme climatic conditions that, in addition, cause that there are fewer birds.

When we arrive at Sani Lodge, it’s night. The welcome they make us is spectacular: lit candles decorate the pier, and they offer us a cocktail.

Eugeni comments that Diana, his partner, would have loved this reception. Of course! Who would not?

Shakira and Piqué could be in the cabin next door!

Main targets seen:

  • Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) (10 – m.50)
  • Rufescent Tiger-heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) (40 – s.32)
  • Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (Chloroceryle inda) (20 – m.35)
  • White-chinned Jacamar(Galbula tombacea) (8 – m.18)
  • Amazonian Black-breasted Woodpecker (Celeus occidentalis) (15 – s.10)
  • Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala) (40 – s.10)
  • Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica) (30 – m.50)
  • Black-spotted Bare-eye (Phlegopsis nigromaculata) (3 – m.10)
  • Lunulated Antbird (Oneillornis lunulatus) (6 – s.3)
  • Yellow-crowned Elaenia (Myiopagis flavivertex) (4 – m.12)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 35-39/75. 776 species

February 14-18, 2019, Sani Lodge and Napo river islands

Jungle days

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Cocha Antshrike (Thamnophilus praecox)

We stay four nights at Sani Lodge and I spend them with a relative tranquillity.

I enjoy a spectacular environment. I see giant otters, which are called “wolves” here; piranhas; I look at Lucy, a caiman who goes round the lodge, to whom a Norwegian host gave that name, etc.

They also tell me that a couple of Ecuadorian newly-weds had the unfortunate idea of ​​bathing in the lagoon and were attacked by a caiman.

In addition, a fisherman when collecting the nets ran the same misfortune that the mentioned couple.

Well, it is clear that here you can only use the shower water to have a bath.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Girl from the Ecuadorian jungle

The team of birdwatchers is happy with the accommodation of these three days. They have been able to see the ecuadorian cacique (Cacicus sclateri) and many other species.

To achieve this, they have suffered intense rains and have endured hard sorrows that only a hardcore birder knows what I mean.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Ecuadorian Cacique (Cacicus sclateri)

In addition, these days they have reached Ecuador Challenge 1000 equator, that is, they are halfway through the trip.

In particular, Miquel has exceeded the number of species photographed on a trip. He is taking a run-up!

Main targets seen:

Sani Lodge:

  • Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)(9 – s.6)
  • Rufous-breasted Hermit (Glaucis hirsutus) (15 – m.30)
  • Black-throated Hermit (Phaethornis atrimentalis) (3 – m.5)
  • Black-banded Crake (Porzana fasciata) (3)
  • Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) (8 – m.17)
  • Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) (16 – m.20)
  • Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) (13 – s.5)
  • Black Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus)
  • Slate-colored Hawk (Buteogallus schistaceus) (20 – m.30)
  • Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus) (14 – m.18)
  • American Pygmy-kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea) (20 – s.10)
  • Chestnut-capped Puffbird (Cyphos macrodactylus) (3 – m.12)
  • Collared Puffbird (Bucco capensis) (3 – m.6)
  • Brown Nunlet (Nonnula brunnea) (7 – s.3)
  • Cocha Antshrike (Thamnophilus praecox)
  • Plumbeous Antbird (Myrmelastes hyperythrus) (31 – s.12)
  • Rufous-capped Antthrush (Formicarius colma) (3 – s.3)
  • Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) (17 – s.6)
  • Striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus) (25 – s.10)
  • Elegant Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus elegans) (8 – s.4)
  • Straight-billed Woodcreeper (Dendroplex picus) (12 – s.8)
  • Screaming Piha (Lipaugus vociferans) (12 – m.50)
  • Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana) (25 – m.30)
  • Orange-eyed Flatbill (Tolmomyias traylori) (3)
  • Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum) (10 – m.18)
  • Slender-footed Tyrannulet (Zimmerius gracilipes) (26)
  • Cinnamon Attila (Attila cinnamomeus) (20 – s.15)
  • White-rumped Sirystes (Sirystes albocinereus) (2 – m.4)
  • White-lored Euphonia (Euphonia chrysopasta) (20 – s.9)
  • Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) (23 – s.20)

Unexpected species:

  • Ecuadorian Cacique (Cacicus sclateri)!

→  Napo river islands:

  • Olive-spotted Hummingbird (Leucippus chlorocercus) (80)
  • Grey-breasted Crake (Laterallus exilis) (9 – s.4)
  • Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus) (10 – m.35)
  • Pied Lapwing (Hoploxypterus cayanus) (20 –s.10)
  • Brown Jacamar (Brachygalba lugubris) (20 – m.35)
  • Little Woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus) (12 – m.35)
  • Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus) (20)
  • Castelnau’s Antshrike (Thamnophilus cryptoleucus) (60)
  • White-bellied Spinetail (Mazaria propinqua) (40)
  • Spotted Tody-flycatcher (Todirostrum maculatum) (70)
  • Fuscous Flycatcher (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) (40)
  • Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) (85)
  • Oriole Blackbird (Gymnomystax mexicanus) (85 – s.25)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 39-42/75. 787 species

February 18-21, 2019, Bigal river biological reserve

Rain and mud days

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Pink-throated Brilliant (Heliodoxa gularis)

February 18

The mule that carries the luggage to the reserve of the Bigal River

We leave Sani Lodge and in three hours we arrive at El Coca. Here our partner Jens leaves us. He had planned to continue with us, but because of the difficulty of the challenge, he decides to continue the trip at his own pace.

A taxi takes us for an hour by road, while it’s raining cats and dogs, and another hour by forest track until a point where they wait for us with a mule to transport the backpacks.

Then, we walked for another hour on mud roads. At a certain moment, I am sunk in the treacherous mud and thanks that they pulled me, I do not spend the night sunk in the mud.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. A path with mud from the Bigal river biological reserve

Finally, we arrive to the Bigal river biological reserve. And I think it’s a good decision that Jens decided not to come because of all the days that I’ve been accompanying Eugeni and Miquel, today has been the hardest.

February 19

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Cabin of the Bigal river biological reserve

The Bigal river conservation project began in 2009, together with the Sumac Muya Foundation. Its goal is the protection of the biodiversity of a primary forest area in the so-called Bigal River Biological Reserve.

Today Eugeni and Miquel leave first thing in the morning. During the night, it has been raining heavily. So I stay chatting with Thierry Garcia, one of the people who created this project.

After having lunch, I accompany them to birding. They are adding some new species, but the habitat is difficult. Fortunately, at least the rain has given us a little respite this afternoon.

February 20

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus)

Miquel and Eugeni go out to birding when it is still dark.

I am quieter than them, and I leave at eight o’clock in the morning with the two Frenchmen who are here volunteering and with Patricio, who guides us and who cleans the path with his machete.

Our walk lasts five hours and I suffer two falls. As a result, I return coated in mud and with an ankle sprain. Despite all this, we have enjoyed watching a good group of woolly monkeys, who seemed a little angry with us because they threw things at us, including a branch of a tree.

After I have lunch, and I have a cold shower, I recover my strength, but there is no way anybody will take me out into the jungle in the afternoon.

At night, the team looking for birds arrives, sweaty and ecstatic, without adding many additions, but happy to have seen one of the most difficult birds to see.

February 21

From left to right: Thierry García, Eugeni Capella, Michael Moens, Miquel Bonet and the representative of a Danish entity that has a reserve of 1,500 hectares.

We arrive at the Bigal river biological reserve in the rain, and we also leave in the rain.At eleven thirty in the morning the mule comes to transport our luggage. I’ve been wanting all the morning to stop it from raining, but my desire is not fulfilled, and we started to descend with the rain on and with the mud under.

The taxi picks us up at the agreed time, but before getting on we have to push it for a long time, because it has been stuck in the mud.

Finally, we go to Wildsumaco, where we arrived at late afternoon, still with time to do a bit of birding.

I get strength back: here there is electricity and even running water.

Travelling with a hardcore birder is a little hard. But if you travel with three or four together and trying to get a challenge, this is one degree of insanity!!!! 😂😂😂

Main targets seen:

  • Blue-fronted Lancebill (Doryfera johannae) (55 – s.20)
  • Ecuadorian Piedtail (Phlogophilus hemileucurus) (65 – s.40)
  • Pink-throated Brilliant (Heliodoxa gularis) (25)
  • Black-throated Brilliant (Heliodoxa schreibersii) (10 – m.50)
  • Napo Sabrewing (Campylopterus villaviscensio) (5 – m.55)
  • Military Macaw (Ara militaris) (20 – m.25)
  • Foothill Antwren (Epinecrophylla spodionota) (33 – s.15)
  • Grey-crowned Flatbill (Tolmomyias poliocephalus) (6 – m.15)
  • Double-banded Pygmy-tyrant (Lophotriccus vitiosus) (25 – m.45)
  • Euler’s Flycatcher (Lathrotriccus euleri) (10 – s.8)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 42-45/75. 813 species

February 21-24, 2019, Wildsumaco Lodge

Last days of rainforest

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Grey-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus)

February 22

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Wire-crested Thorntail (Discosura popelairii)

We woke up with some sudden movements in bed. As we are housed in the staff area, we thought that the washer might vibrate. It has been, however, an earthquake!

During the day, we have been walking along paths, which compared to those of the Bigal river biological reserve, are glory.

In the afternoon, Jaume Castellà, a Catalan ornithologist, has joined the Challenge Ecuador 1,000.

February 23

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Bay-headed Tanager (Tangara gyrola)

We continue staying at Wildsumaco and today it has been a quiet day.

In the morning, we cross the FACE trail, where the team enjoys the largest mixed flock of birds of the whole trip and is adding new species.

Later, just after lunch, it is raining cats and dogs!, and the afternoon work is delayed for a while. I take this opportunity to enjoy the dining room, which is very welcoming and has a huge chimney on the ground, while it is raining heavily outside and the water makes so much noise that it is difficult to listen to each other when we talk.

When clouds scatter, we approach the community, made up of a hundred people, close to the lodge. We are looking for a bird that seems to be seen in this place. We can not find it.

Finally, after we get one’s strength back with dinner, we go back out. On this occasion, to look for an owl, which we do not see either.

February 24

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Butterflies, Wildsumaco

We spent the morning in Wildsumaco: we inspect through in surroundings looking for birds, and we have a good lunch.Then, we leave to Narupa.

Main targets seen:

  • Many-spotted Hummingbird (Taphrospilus hypostictus) (60 – s.60)
  • Amethyst Woodstar (Calliphlox amethystina) (5 – m.10)
  • Coppery-chested Jacamar (Galbula pastazae) (20 – m.40)
  • Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus fumigatus) (15 – m.28)
  • Barred Forest-falcon (Micrastur ruficollis) (8 – m.15)
  • Rufous-rumped Antwren (Euchrepomis callinota) (8 – m.22)
  • Plain-backed Antpitta (Grallaria haplonota) (50 – s.50)
  • Ochre-breasted Antpitta (Grallaricula flavirostris)(20 – m.55)
  • White-crowned Tapaculo (Scytalopus atratus) (38 – m.60)
  • Olive-backed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus triangularis) (35 – s.35)
  • Black-billed Treehunter (Thripadectes melanorhynchus) (35 – s.23)
  • Dusky Spinetail (Synallaxis moesta) (30 – s.25)
  • Blue-rumped Manakin (Lepidothrix isidorei) (35 – m.40)
  • Rufous-naped Greenlet (Pachysylvia semibrunnea) (30 – s.15)
  • Grey-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus) (12)
  • American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) (30 – s.10)
  • Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) (40 – s.12)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 45-46/75. 820 species

February 24-25, 2019, Narupa reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation

First days of mountain

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Fasciated Tiger-heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum)

February 24

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Hollin Waterfall

On the way to Narupa, they tell me that we will sleep at Casita Susanita and I wonder if there are coloured lights hanging on the wall. This is the image that the name suggests to me. While there is light, we stop from time to time to see birds.

So, we arrived late afternoon at Casita Susanita, and we stayed in two cottages, just in front of the Hollin Waterfall. The fear of finding coloured lights was unfounded, since the cottage is great, and we pay $20 per person and Susanita makes dinner for us for $3.5.

When we finish having dinner, two boys from the Narupa Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation visit us. They have known that we have arrived and want to arrange the tomorrow visit.

When we had arranged the visit, we go to rest because before sunrise we have to be back in move.

February 25

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Torrent Duck (Merganetta armata)

We get up and leave to the Narupa reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation. One of the boys we had met last night, is waiting for us at the door.

Then, we take a tour of the paths of the reserve. We are the only visitors. This is the feeling that I have everywhere we go, whether it is housing, places where we are going … We are always alone, I guess this, and other aspects, makes people very kind to us. They welcome the only guests, the only diners, the only visitors …

From left to right: Jaume Castellà, Miquel Bonet, Mario (guide of the Narupa reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation) and Eugeni Capella.

We come back to having lunch at Casa Susanita with Mario, the guide of the Narupa Reserve, who has accepted our invitation with pleasure.

After lunch, we try to see a hawk, which stops at a long distance.

Later, we drive to Cosanga, doing some stops. When we arrive, we stay at the Hospedaje Nancy, where we pay $12 per person.

Then, we leave the luggage, and we go to Cabañas San Isidro, a lodge where I would surely be better than Nancy, although we can not pay the price it costs.

Mr. Alejandro, who is in charge of Cabañas San Isidro, welcomes us with great kindness and gives us interesting instructions to find the birds we are looking for in this area.

After having dinner, we go in search of an owl, which ends successfully.

Main targets seen:
  • Gorgeted Woodstar (Chaetocercus heliodor) (25 – s.25)
  • White-fronted Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias zeledoni) (3 – s.3)
  • Blue-naped Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia cyanea) (10 – m.18)
  • Deep-blue Flowerpiercer (Diglossa glauca) (65 – s.50)

Unexpected species:

  • Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 47-49/75. 850 species

February 26-27, 2019, Cabañas San Isidro, Guacamayos ridge trail and the Bermejo river

The dream of a river

Photo: Miquel Bonet. San Isidro Owl (Strix sp. nov.)

February 26

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii)

Full day in Cabañas San Isidro: we walk trails, feeders, roads, forests, mud, trails … And back again.

Mr. Alejandro, who is in charge of Cabañas San Isidro, gives us an exquisite attention, despite we are not housed there. He is more than kind, very kind. Repeat continuously that we can feel at home, that we can drink coffee and whatever we want. If someone has the opportunity to come here, do not doubt it: Cabañas San Isidro.

As I said, the day is very complete and at night we keep looking for nocturnal birds, although without much success: we hear them close by, but we do not see them.

Already exhausted, we had dinner at Casa Nancy and rested.

February 27

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Black-billed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis nigrirostris)

In the morning, we go by car to Guacamayos ridge trail. We want to walk the Jumandi trail. The name is in honour of one of the Quijos warriors, a nation that was living in the region before the Spanish conquerors arrived to subdue the Quijos, a warrior people, proud and never submissive. Jumandi led the struggle for the freedom of the people and soon realized that the more they rebelled against their subjugation, slavery and other barbarities, the Spaniards were harder with them. Therefore, as they think that it was impossible to fight against the forces of conquest, they penetrated into the Amazon jungle.

The visit to Guacamayos ridge trail is quick, since the fog does not allow birding. For that reason, we chose to go to the Cabañas San Isidro and return to the Guacamayos mid-morning.

I stay in Cosanga and walk through the community. I go to the river, walk the four streets, cross the river and visit the cemetery, where I am struck by the fact that in the niches the names of the deceased are written on a piece of paper with a pen and stuck with adhesive tape.

In the afternoon, we go to Baeza, stopping for a while in Bermejo.

When we arrive by car at the planned accommodation, el Nido del Cóndor, the entrance gate is locked with a padlock. We honk with great insistence, but nobody opens. Then, we call by phone and nobody answers us either.

So, we continue driving to Baeza, where we are looking for a place to have diner. We bring in the Gino restaurant, and they tell us that they also have rooms. So it seems a good idea to stay for the night.

The accommodation is full of kayaistas, as people who practice kayaking are called here, because the rivers in this area are ideal for practising this sport.

We ate trout, which is the house speciality. They are exquisite!

February 28

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)

Starting the first light of day, we go to the San Rafael waterfall, the largest in Ecuador and, almost arriving, we stopped for breakfast: a natural juice, a cheese sandwich, a fried egg and a coffee. All for 2.5 dollars.

The path that goes to the waterfall is 1.5 km long, and at the end an extraordinary wonder of nature waits for us. Then, we take the road to the Cueva de los Tayos. We met a man at the picnic who tolds us that there is an hour to walk to get there and that we will find a guide who will charge us $5.

We start the trail, which has a steep slope downwards, waterfalls, rocks, mud … Suddenly, we come across a river about 5 meters wide and with a strong current. On the other side, we see the continuation of the path. We look everywhere again and again because we think there must be a way to cross the river. But no, we can not find a way to get through it, so we turn around.

When we arrive at the bar, we commented that we have reached the river, but we have not found the crossing. “No, there is no crossing. You have to through it”, they say. “How? It’s quite deep, and the water covers our rubber boots… How far does the water go?” I ask in surprise. “Up to here”, and he points just below the waist.

Then, I hallucinate because the night before I had dreamed that we had to cross a deep river. The only two differences between them were that the river of my dream was turbid and this river is transparent, and that in the dream everyone crossed the river, except me. Let’s see if I concentrate tonight to dream the lottery number that will come out!

Later, we continue to Guango Lodge, making a stop in the Chaco to buy something to eat in a store.

After spending all afternoon at Guango Lodge, we return to the hostel, where we have a delicious trout for dinner.

 Main targets seen:

→ Cabañas San Isidro:

  • San Isidro Owl (Strix sp. nov.) (25)
  • Greyish-throated Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus albivitta) (25 – m.60)
  • White-bellied Antpitta (Grallaria hypoleuca) (43 – s.22)
  • Blackish Tapaculo (Scytalopus latrans) (30 – m.55)
  • Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (Leptopogon rufipectus) (23 – m.32)
  • Rufous-crowned Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) (35 – m.40)
  • Ashy-headed Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) (10 – s.5)
  • Pale-edged Flycatcher (Myiarchus cephalotes) (48 – s.25)
  • Flavescent Flycatcher (Myiophobus flavicans) (18 – m.20)
  • Black-billed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis nigrirostris) (40 – s.25)
  • Mountain Wren (Troglodytes solstitialis) (40 – m.60)
  • Andean Solitaire (Myadestes ralloides) (30 – m.40)
  • Subtropical Cacique (Cacicus uropygialis) (58 – s.33)
  • Black-eared Hemispingus (Sphenopsis melanotis) (32 – s.25)
  • Black-capped Tanager (Tangara heinei) (23 – m.50)
  • Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala) (52 – s.42)

Guacamayos ridge trail and Pass:

  • Spotted Barbtail (Premnoplex brunnescens) (35 – s.20)
  • Green-and-black Fruiteater (Pipreola riefferii) (66 – s.60)
  • Black-capped Hemispingus (Kleinothraupis atropileus) (40 – s.33)
  • Hooded Mountain-tanager (Buthraupis montana) (70 – s.65)

→ San Rafael waterfall:

  • White-tipped Swift (Aeronautes montivagus) (8 – s.3)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Ana Trabalón and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 50-52/75. 887 species

March 1-3, 2019, Papallacta and Puembo birding Garden

Miquel, champion: 700 photographed species!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Andean Potoo (Nyctibius maculosus)

March 1

Photo: Miquel Bonet. White-chinned Thistletail (Asthenes fuliginosa)

We get up and go back to Guango Lodge, where we spend the whole morning.

At noon, we went to Papallacta to find somewhere to eat, since today we have not eaten anything. So, in the first restaurant we saw, we stopped. They served us soup, trout and a natural juice for 3 dollars.

Since we are close to the accommodation, they leave me at Hostal Coturpa, and they go back to Guango. I make check-in and I have to pay the room in advance. They also talk to me about a higher price than Booking. I pay my room and calmly I work out numbers of what is left to pay, because I am afraid that when arrive they will have to pay more.

Then I’m going for a walk around the town. I visit its hot springs and I keep walking 2.5 km up to the hot springs of Papallacta, where I ask that they let me see them, and they kindly let me pass.

Back in the village, I drink a juice of sugar cane at the junction of the road, where it seems that the greatest activity of the place is concentrated. There are many people selling meals for the passengers of the buses that stop at the crossing.

Later, I return to the accommodation and soon after all of them arrive. Then, my fears come true: the guy at the reception asks for more money for the rooms. I insist that we will not pay more than what the reservation says, and he insists that the price is higher, that he is losing money, that Booking has made a mistake … I tell him that we are guests that we have bought at a price and that the hostel business or the Booking business is not our problem. He insists, we insist, he insists, and we stand firm. Finally, he calls the boss and accepts our price. I just hope he does not spit out at our breakfast! Hahaha!

Then, they leave the luggage in the rooms and the whole team go to have a pizza. We celebrate that Miquel has already photographed 700 species!

March 2

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Masked Mountain-tanager (Tephrophilus wetmorei)

Before having breakfast, that they offer us at 7:30 am, we go out to look for new birds.

After having breakfast, we go to Las Antenas in the Cayambe-Coca National Park. We are at about 4,700 meters and when we got off the car we can feel the intense cold and see  the fog covering everything from time to time.

A coyote walks a few meters from us, but the bears don’t show up. The birds also do not show much and the fog does not help.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Coyote

Then, we return to Papallacta to eat the trout of the day.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Papallacta

Afterwards, we return to the Cayambe-Coca National Park, but this time through the entrance to the Papallacta hot springs. Once there, we walk towards a swamp. Georges goes ahead and suddenly warns by walkie-talkie that he has seen the  masked mountain-tanager (Tephrophilus wetmorei), one of the wanted birds. Then, suddenly, everybody sprints to where Georges is. And, bingo! There it is. It seems that it is a difficult bird to see, although we can contemplate and photograph it very well.

There is joy in the group and, as the daylight is running out, we are going to celebrate the productive day with a swim in the Papallacta hot springs, which culminates with a calm dinner at Don Wilson’s Shack.

March 3

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Scrub Tanager (Tangara vitriolina)

Today we get up late, at seven in the morning, and return again to the Cayambe-Coca National Park, entering through the hot springs. In a small lagoon, Eugeni puts on his rubber boots and goes to skirt it. The lagoon is treacherous, and he sinks in the mud, falling on his backside. He is wearing white trousers that have suddenly turned brown. We all appreciate the funny show that he offers us.

Afterwards, we return to Las Antenas and again the fog visits us. Then, we continue on our way to Puembo, near Quito. When we arrive, we look for Puembo Birding Garden, a small lodging with a spectacular garden full of birds, where the owner, Mercedes, attends us with a lot of kindness and sympathy. Soon, a strong storm falls, and we stay to eat. When it clears, Mercedes accompanies us to another garden where we can find new birds. Also, before leaving, it tells us where we can see other birds.

Then, we kept our way to Tambo Cóndor, in Antisana. We arrived at night. So we had dinner before going down to the cabin where we will stay, which is about 300 meters from the dining room.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Quito seen from Tambo Cóndor

The cabin is spectacular and the location is amazing. It seems to be hanging over the lake. In addition, to the right, there are some spectacular cliffs with a small waterfall, where there is a condor and its young. It has 5 bedrooms, 6 toilets, balcony, terrace, 2 fireplaces … The best of all is that it is full of giant windows. From any corner of the cabin you can enjoy spectacular views!

Main targets seen:

→ Papallacta:

  • Great Sapphirewing (Pterophanes cyanopterus) (15 – m.80)
  • Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (Attagis gayi) (28)
  • White-chinned Thistletail (Asthenes fuliginosa) (33)
  • Agile Tit-tyrant (Uromyias agilis) (10 – m.25)
  • Plain-capped Ground-tyrant (Muscisaxicola alpinus) (33 – m.75)
  • Red-rumped Bush-tyrant (Cnemarchus erythropygius) (10 – m.33)
  • Stolzmann’s Tanager (Urothraupis stolzmanni) (15)
  • Ochraceous Conebill (Conirostrum fraseri) (25 – m.40)
  • Masked Mountain-tanager (Tephrophilus wetmorei) (10 – s.8)
  • Black-chested Mountain-tanager (Cnemathraupis eximia) (25 – m.55)

Other birds:

  • Paramo Tapaculo (Scytalopus opacus)

→ Puembo Birding Garden:

  • Blue-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon mellisugus) (75 – s.12)
  • Golden-rumped Euphonia (Euphonia cyanocephala) (30 – m.45)
  • Green-mantled Tanager (Pipraeidea darwinii) (75 – s.35)
  • Scrub Tanager (Tangara vitriolina) (70)

Guango Lodge:

  • Andean Guan (Penelope montagnii) (30 – m.85)
  • Tourmaline Sunangel (Heliangelus exortis) (90 – s.45)
  • Mountain Velvetbreast (Lafresnaya lafresnayi) (18 – m.35)
  • Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) (30 – m.70)
  • Buff-tailed Coronet (Boissonneaua flavescens) (75 – s.63)
  • Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Boissonneaua matthewsii) (85 – s.65)
  • Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus) (25 – m.40)
  • Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan (Andigena hypoglauca) (30 – m.60)
  • Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris) (25 – s.20)
  • Northern Mountain Cacique (Cacicus leucoramphus) (65 – s.55)
  • Capped Conebill (Conirostrum albifrons) (30 – m.33)

Unexpected species:

  • Andean Potoo (Nyctibius maculosus)
  • Buff-winged Starfrontlet (Coeligena lutetiae)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 53/75. 894 species

March 4, 2019, Antisanilla Reserve of the Jocoto Foundation and Antisana

A difficult bird was seen!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii)

Early morning, Fernando and Pancho from the Jocotoco Foundation appear in the idyllic Tambo Cóndor.

GPO-Grallaria Team with Fernando and Pancho, Foundation Jocotoco guides

We have stopped in different spots of the reserve Antisanilla until in an area of ​​meadows we have stopped to look for the most difficult bird: the curve-billed tinamou (Nothoprocta curvirostris). We have spread out to find it and after a long time Miquel has found one. The team has cornered it until we have realized that it had slipped away. After a while, another one has appeared, which this time was seen by Miquel, first, and George, later. For a while, we’ve lost it again. Luckily, we have finally moved closer and Miquel has seen his head. Then, a pair has left flying, with a jump so slow that we have even been able to observe the curvature of the beak.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Looking for Curve-billed Tinamou (Nothoprocta curvirostris)

With the most interesting bird seen, we go to Antisana, where we found the rest of the birds we were looking for, accompanied by snow-capped peaks that occasionally jutted out from the clouds.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Antisana

From there we have gone to Yanacocha.

Main targets seen:

  • Northern Silvery Grebe (Podiceps juninensis) (60)
  • Black-winged Ground-dove (Metriopelia melanoptera) (75)
  • Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas) (65)
  • Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii) (85)
  • Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens) (80)
  • Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) (6 – m.10)
  • Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) (80 – s.15)

Unexpected species:

  • Curve-billed Tinamou (Nothoprocta curvirostris)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange:the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 54/75. 897 species

March 5, 2019, Yanacocha Reserve of the Jocoto Foundation

Analysis of results when the third stage ends

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Eriocnemis luciani)

Today the third stage of the trip has ended and, between the general fatigue and that I am not feeling very well, we have only made a short visit in the Yanacocha Reserve of the Jocoto Foundation, located at 3,400 meters above sea level. There are many paths to discover. We have chosen the easiest part, and we have taken the path of the Inca Trail, located between the first and second drinking water dispenser for hummingbirds.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Golden-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera)

After lunch, we went to Quito, where we analyse the results of the challenge. We have two tracking indicators. One at a glance, and another more detailed one based on a previous statistical work that tells us each day how we are doing in relation to the forecast.

Regarding the analysis at a glance, we had the goal to leave the first reserves of Jocotoco with 400 species, the south with 500, the Amazon jungle with 800 and reach Quito with 900 species seen. Except at the end of the visit to the Amazon jungle, in the rest of the stages we have fulfilled our expectations quite well.

Regarding the more detailed and precise analysis, in each place we can see if we go above or below expectations, regardless of the total number of species seen.

We have visited the South in the best time and the Northwest in the worst. So, we expected to leave the South with an advantage, keep it in the jungle and in the Eastern Andes and take advantage of this surplus in the most inactive days because of the rains of Chocó.

Despite these forecasts, we left the south with a negative result of 6 species, so we panicked. We finished the Amazon rainforest with a positive result of 21 species that we started to lose at the beginning of the Eastern Andes, reaching +18. But after a bad start, as we went up the Andes, we were gaining advantage, and we have reached Quito with 27 more species than predicted.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)

For this reason, although we do not know if there will be a margin of sufficient species taking into account the beastly rains that people comment that there are in the Chocó at this time, we decide to visit the historical centre of Quito.

Main targets seen:

  • Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Eriocnemis luciani) (85 – s.35)
  • Golden-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera) (75 – s.20)
  • Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx) (25 – m.50)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 55/75. 901 species

March 6, 2019, Virgen de Calacalí

All in favour and with surprises

Photo: Miquel Bonet. White-tailed Shrike-tyrant (Agriornis albicauda)

Today in the morning we met in Calacalí, in front of the Mitad del Mundo monument, with Xavier Amigó, a Catalan from Northern Catalonia who has been living in Quito for two decades and is the manager of the Nature Experience company.

GPO-Grallaria Team with Xavier Amigó, Nature Experience manager, in front of the Mitad del Mundo monument in Calacalí.

Xavier has helped us a lot in the design of the trip itinerary, with numerous comments to improve it.

Today we have all met -except Ana, who has chosen to visit Quito- to go birdwatching to Calacalí.

With Xavier, we visit the dry environments of the inter-Andean valley, and he helps us to find some really difficult species.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis)

Also, after having breakfast in Calacalí, we receive a 4×4 Chevrolet from Nature Experience to travel during the last 21 days of the challenge.

Then, we say goodbye to Xavier and Jaume, who, as well as Ana, returns to Catalonia after doing part of the challenge with us and having helped us find some species.

The rest of the group continues the trip, leaving for Bellavista.

Bellavista is the ideal place to watch birds in the fog forests of Chocó. This is the first ecolodge that was built in Ecuador and currently conserves 700 hectares of forest partially recovered from pastures. Also, on all the trips I do with Dave Ward, he is wearing a T-shirt from Bellavista with the toucan barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus) drawn. So, for me, the visit to this place is long awaited. And Bellavista is much better than I had imagined!

GPO-Grallaria Team with Juan Carlos Figueroa, Bellavista Lodge guide

The announced rains have stopped and the sun has even shone. In addition, Sani Lodge, as it had been promised to me, has sent to me to this lodge the insole that I had forgotten in a boot and the lantern that was lost. Likewise, one of the guides, Juan Carlos Figueroa, greeted us in this extraordinarily friendly way: “You are the Catalans! I knew that sooner or later you would show up here and I could help you”.

Main targets seen:

  • Purple-collared Woodstar (Myrtis fanny) (40 – s.10)
  • White-tailed Shrike-tyrant (Agriornis albicauda) (15 – s.15)
  • Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis) (50 – s.8)
  • Rusty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa sittoides) (2 – m.20)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 55-57/75. 929 species

March 6-8, 2019, Bellavista (Pacha Quindi and Birdwatchers House are included)

The rain respects us

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Plate-billed Mountain-toucan (Andigena laminirostris)

Thanks to Juan Carlos Figueroa, the first day, and Juan Carlos Crespo, the second day, we observe most of the Bellavista birds. They are both resident guides of the lodge and, in addition to being experts in the birds of the area, they are dear conversationalists with whom we stay talking late at night.

GPO-Grallaria Team with Juan Carlos Crespo, Bellavista Lodge guide

In addition to the Bellavista Forests, we also visited Pacha Quindi, the first hummingbird garden in Ecuador. They are old pastures that a German couple has transformed into a forest and where it is essential to go to observe the rufous-gaped hillstar (Urochroa bougueri).

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Rufous-gaped Hillstar (Urochroa bougueri)

We have also visited the BirdWatchers House, an ideal place to photograph birds, in search of some hoary puffleg (Haplophaedia lugens).

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Hoary Puffleg (Haplophaedia lugens)

And the rain? Although it has rained every day, especially it has rained at night, removing from us very few hours of bird watching. March, the rainiest month in the rainiest area, has turned out to be, at the moment, very pleasant.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Gorgeted Sunangel (Heliangelus strophianus)

Main targets seen:

  • Tawny-bellied Hermit (Phaethornis syrmatophorus) (20 – m.40)
  • Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) (8 – m.50)
  • Gorgeted Sunangel (Heliangelus strophianus) (40)
  • Rufous-gaped Hillstar (Urochroa bougueri) (4 – s.2)
  • Purple-bibbed Whitetip (Urosticte benjamini) (16 – m.45)
  • Empress Brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix) (8 – m.60)
  • Purple-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox mitchellii) (30 – m.43)
  • Plate-billed Mountain-toucan (Andigena laminirostris) (70 – m.100)
  • Toucan Barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus) (45 – m.60)
  • Striped Treehunter (Thripadectes holostictus) (6 – m.14)
  • Rufous-headed Pygmy-tyrant (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) (15 – m.66)
  • Plain-tailed Wren (Pheugopedius euophrys) (35 – m.83)
  • Sharpe’s Wren (Cinnycerthia olivascens) (13 – m.25)
  • Tanager Finch (Oreothraupis arremonops) (20)
  • Dusky Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus semifuscus) (60 – s.60)
  • Chestnut-capped Brush-finch (Arremon brunneinucha) (17 – m.30)
  • Choco Brush-finch (Atlapetes crassus) (10 – m.40)
  • White-winged Brush-finch (Atlapetes leucopterus) (20 – m.45)
  • Western Hemispingus (Sphenopsis ochracea) (25)
  • Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix) (20 – m.63)

Other birds:

  • Hoary Puffleg (Haplophaedia lugens)
  • Western Wedge-billed Hummingbird (Schistes albogularis)
  • Crested Quetzal (Pharomachrus antisianus)
  • Scaled Fruiteater (Ampelioides tschudii)
  • Striated Antbird (Drymophila devillei)
  • Lineated Foliage-gleaner (Syndactyla subalaris)
  • Black-winged Saltator (Saltator atripennis)
  • Yellow-faced Tanager (Tangara lunigera)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 58/75. 932 species, 771 with photo

March 9, 2019, Refugio Paz de las Aves

The luck to meet Roger Ahlman

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Yellow-breasted Antpitta (Grallaria flavotincta)

Today we left very early in the morning towards Paz de las Aves, where at the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek we were lucky enough to meet Roger Ahlman. Without any doubt, without him we would have not found the giant antpitta (Grallaria gigantea). Obviously, Angel Paz has found it, although without Roger’s insistence we would not have been three hours looking for her on slippery and difficult terrain. It was worth it!.

However, the time spent on the giant antpitta (Grallaria gigantea) has been subtracted from other species, much easier to find in the different feeders that Angel Paz has spread throughout their territories.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Dark-backed Wood-quail (Odontophorus melanonotus)

In the afternoon, we arrive at Casa Divina, a hidden place in Mindo, that we decide to visit because is the best place in the world for Coopman’s elaenia (Elaenia brachyptera), one of the 25 least observed birds in Ecuador.

It has not stopped raining, so we could not add any more birds to the list.

Main targets seen:

  • Dark-backed Wood-quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) (65 – s.20)
  • Giant Antpitta (Grallaria gigantea) (40)
  • Yellow-breasted Antpitta (Grallaria flavotincta) (65 – s.40)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 59/75. 939 species, 780 with photo

March 10, 2019, Casa Divina (Mindo)

Coopman’s elaenia and first documented record in Ecuador of black-throated green warbler

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

After a night when it has not stopped raining, we are bird watching around Casa Divina. Miquel has found a Choco tyrannulet (Zimmerius albigularis), a bird that, at first, I thought that I had seen in the Colombian Chocó, but later I realized that the bird I saw in Colombia was a golden-faced tyrannulet (Zimmerius chrysops), that sings differently.

Then, I looked for it insistently and when I thought that I had relocated it I was disappointed to find a male black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens), wich I wasn’t aware that we could see on this trip, although any bird adds up in the list of the challenge. He warned Miquel of the discovery and then … I realized that it was a vagrant! We lost it and the urge to find it to photograph it increased. We got a little desperate until we found it again and Miquel machine-gunned it with his camera.

Until breakfast time, we have been observing and discussing whether the elaenias that we have photographed in a place where only Coopman’s had been recorded are Coopman’s elaenia (Elaenia brachyptera) or yellow-bellied elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster).

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster)

We cleared up the matter when we had breakfast at Casa Divina, where Jaime Arias has thrown cold water to us by telling us that they were all yellow-bellied elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster).

Luckily, as a good guide, he knows where we can find Coopman’s Elaenia (Elaenia brachyptera) and after a while looking for it, we saw and heard to a couple.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Coopman’s Elaenia (Elaenia brachyptera)

With the most important bird ticked and others seen around Casa Divina, we say goodbye, and we go to Pacto Loma, where we meet Sergio Basantes.

From now on, any bird counts. So, we will no longer list the main birds seen, but any specie that is new to the trip.

Targets seen:

→ Casa Divina y alrededores:

  • Olivaceous Piculet (Picumnus olivaceus) (12 – m.20)
  • Coopman’s Elaenia (Elaenia brachyptera) (15 – s.8)
  • Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola) (60 – s.35)
  • Choco Tyrannulet (Zimmerius albigularis) (60 – s.60)
  • Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

Especies nuevas vistas inesperadas:

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet

Days 60/75. 954 species, 796 with photo

March 11, 2019, Mashpi and Amagusa

A very productive visit to the Sergio Basantes’s family farm

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Moss-backed Tanager (Bangsia edwardsi)

Very early in the morning, we went with Sergio Basantes to the family farm, where we spent a very pleasant day watching birds and talking about how the forest is recovering an old pasture area or how a group of people want to take advantage of Sergio and his neighbour’s lands. These are the squatters here, but with more expeditious methods than in Catalonia. They beat Sergio, threatened him with death and asked him for money if he did not want to have problems. But here everything is more civilized than in the Amazon and, for now, no death has had to be lamented.

Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet with Doris, Amagusa reserve owner and guide

I do not remember if in some place we have visited during the trip we have seen 71 species in one morning, what we did not expect was to increase the list of the challenge in 17 species at this point of the trip. Of course, this was possible thanks to the help of Sergio and his partner, Doris, great imitator of the indigo flowerpiercer (Diglossa indigotica) chirp.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis lyra)

At three thirty in the afternoon, it started to rain, and we went to the next destination: the organic cocoa farming Mashpi Shungo farm.

Targets seen:

  • Barred Hawk (Morphnarchus princeps)
  • Rose-faced Parrot (Pyrilia pulchra) (33 – m.55)
  • White-thighed Swallow (Atticora tibialis)
  • Lyre-tailed Nightjar (Uropsalis lyra)
  • Pacific Tuftedcheek (Pseudocolaptes johnsoni) (33)
  • Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps) (33 – m.60)
  • Golden-winged Manakin (Masius chrysopterus) (25 – m.30)
  • Slaty Antwren (Myrmotherula schisticolor)
  • Orange-breasted Fruiteater (Pipreola jucunda) (50 – s.18)
  • Choco Vireo (Vireo masteri) (4)
  • Bay Wren (Cantorchilus nigricapillus)
  • Choco Warbler (Myiothlypis chlorophrys) (33 – m.55)
  • Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)
  • Ochre-breasted Tanager (Habia stolzmanni) (33 – m.50)
  • Glistening-green Tanager (Chlorochrysa phoenicotis) (60 – s.15)
  • Moss-backed Tanager (Bangsia edwardsi) (60)
  • Rufous-throated Tanager (Tangara rufigula) (33 – m.50)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 61/75. 957 species, 799 with photo

March 12, 2019, Mashpi Shungo Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve

The “Chunguito”, the Andrés Morán’s rufous-crowned pittasoma

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Rufous-crowned Pittasoma (Pittasoma rufopileatum)

At seven o’clock, we have arranged to meet Andrés Morán, a Madrilenian who has been living in Ecuador for two years. The first thing he asked us is if we follow the Catalan politicians trial. Often, I wonder if only open-minded people travel.

The aim of the meeting is to look for the rufous-crowned pittasoma (Pittasoma rufopileatum), out of which Andrés has become an expert cricket hunter and earthworm collector. Rock stars are not satisfied with mealworms.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Andrés Morán collecting crickets for the “Chunguito”

Despite this, do not think that the “Chunguito”, the rufous-crowned pittasoma (Pittasoma rufopileatum) that can be seen, immediately approaches us as if it were a chicken. It took us more than an hour to go up and down, going forward and back, following where it was singing to finally find it. Confident with Andrés, although always hidden, it has allowed itself to be seen. Of course, it has been very difficult to photograph it.

On the way back, Andrés, a forestry engineer by profession, has been explaining the process of cutting down the primary forest in the area and the commitment to conservation of Mashpishungo.

The people interested only in birds can think, as I thought before coming, that they do not have to waste their time visiting the agricultural experience. But, when Andrés has opened the fruit of a ripe cocoa, and we have sipped the interior, and he has offered us fruits of unrecognizable names and flavours that have excited our palate, we have immediately changed our opinion.

Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet with Alejandro and Andrés,  Mashpi Shungo people in charge.

Obviously, Miquel and I have provided ourselves with excellent chocolate.

However, George, for whom it seems that this exquisite chocolate has the same value as an envelope of Noodles or well-cooked spaghetti or a roast chicken, has waited for us contemplating our tasting, which for him was only a waste of time.

Targets seen:

  • Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus) (33 – m.60)
  • Bicolored Antbird (Gymnopithys bicolor)
  • Rufous-crowned Pittasoma (Pittasoma rufopileatum) (90)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 62-63/75. 983 species

March 13-14, 2019, Milpe-RíoSilanche

The spectacular observation of a very special cuckoo

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Banded Ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus)

March 13

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Milpe

At six in the morning, we were already inside a bird viewpoint waiting for the arrival of some banded ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus). When we got there, George was already in there. He had arrived at four in the morning, just in case the special bird arrives before.

When we planed this trip, we imagined various extreme situations. In no case we had anticipated that a waiter would bring us tea at 6:15 AM while we were waiting for the banded ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), which is what really happened. Nervous as we are, we took the opportunity to ask Luis, the waiter, if it rains a lot, as it is raining now, whether the cuckoo will come.

— “Yes, it knows how to come!” With this blunt sentence, it leaves us a little calmer.

At 6:30 AM, at the scheduled time, the banded ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) appears, as a ghost, to eat the moths that accumulate in the illuminated white fabric that has been put to attract it. It is walking and jumping for 18 minutes in front of us. Then, when it disappears, we let go a tear, we understand that we will never see a show like this again.

So much so that several people are planning to take a plane from Europe or from the United States to see this mysterious bird, before it fades in the forest, with no option to watch it ever again.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Rufous-fronted Wood-quail (Odontophorus erythrops)

Later, it returns twice more, but nothing comparable to the first time. So, after this unforeseen show and having added 3 more species to the list, we go to Rio Silanche, which is managed by the same entity that manages the Milpe Bird Sanctuary: Mindo Cloudforest Foundation.

In the afternoon, however, we do not see any other important species. Despite this, Miquel reaches the 800 species photographed. Now his new challenge is to photograph 850 species, and thus equal the maximum number of species seen by him on a trip: in the year 2010 for two months and ten days in Peru.

March 14

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Pale-billed Araçari (Pteroglossus erythropygius)

We spend the night in Pedro Vicente Maldonado and early in the morning we return to Silanche River, in the rain, which has not stopped for hours. It is very true that birds are more active when it rains than when the sun shines, although looking for birds under the umbrella and with the glasses on is not the funniest way to birdwatch.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus)

Luckily, finally, the rain stopped, and, from the observation tower, we can birdwatch most of the birds that we have been looking for.

In addition, we added a few more species in two mixed flocks that we found along the way.

From here, we go to another reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation: Río Canadé.

Targets seen:

→ Milpe:

  • Rufous-fronted Wood-quail (Odontophorus erythrops) (28 – m.33)
  • Banded Ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) (7 – s.4)
  • Tawny-chested Flycatcher (Aphanotriccus capitalis) (17 – s.10)
  • Spotted Nightingale-thrush (Catharus dryas) (28 – m.35)
  • Tawny-faced Gnatwren (Microbates cinereiventris)

→ Rio Silanche:

  • Purple-crowned Fairy (Heliothryx barroti) (40 – m.45)
  • Purple-chested Hummingbird (Amazilia rosenbergi) (60 – m.65)
  • Tiny Hawk (Accipiter superciliosus) (10 – m.30)
  • Choco Toucan (Ramphastos brevis)
  • Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum) (33 – s.30)
  • Barred Puffbird (Nystalus radiatus) (20 – m.25)
  • Dusky-winged Woodpecker (Hylatomus fuscipennis) (45 – s.20)
  • Red-rumped Woodpecker (Veniliornis kirkii) (33 – s.30)
  • Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis) (55 – s.45)
  • Checker-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) (30 – m.50)
  • Western Woodhaunter (Automolus virgatus) (30 – s.28)
  • Yellow-winged Flatbill (Tolmomyias flavotectus) (35 – s.30)
  • Brown-capped Tyrannulet (Ornithion brunneicapillus) (28 – m.40)
  • Pale-legged Shrike-vireo (Vireolanius mikettae) (45 – m.80)
  • Slate-throated Gnatcatcher (Polioptila schistaceigula) (30 – s.12)
  • Dusky-faced Tanager (Mitrospingus cassinii) (38 – m.75)
  • Scarlet-browed Tanager (Heterospingus xanthopygius) (60 – s.30)
  • Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (Dacnis berlepschi) (30– m.35)
  • Tawny-crested Tanager (Chrysocorypha delatrii) (55 – m.65)
  • Thick-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila funerea) (25 – m.60)
  • Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) (45 – s.45)
  • Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia) (30 – m.35)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 64-66/75. 1001 species, 850 with photo

March 14-17, 2019,  Canandé river reserve of Foundation Jocotoco

 1,000 birds

Photo: Miquel Bonet. White-whiskered Hermit (Phaethornis yaruqui)

March 14

Photo: Miquel Bonet. One-colored Becard (Pachyramphus homochrous)

Canandé river reserve is not a place close to Quito. And, in addition, if it rains a lot, the Canandé river goes down too hard for the ferry, called gabarra in the local language, to work, in such a way that a group of tourists was stranded yesterday.

We, on the other hand, are lucky: we can cross the river without problems and by mid-afternoon we are already in the lodge, taking advantage of the last hours of daylight to add a few species to the list of the challenge from the balcony.

March 15

Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet with Alcides Zambrano, Fundación Jocotoco forest warden.

In the morning, we visited the reserve, going with Alcides Zambrano, guardian of the Jocotoco Foundation. Near a stream, Alcides jumped back and then ran back for two metres. We were scared and it was not for less, a terciopelo snake (Bothrops asper) was planted in the middle of the road with an aggressive attitude. Able to pierce your boots and kill you in a few hours, after injecting its venom. It is worth being afraid of a venomous snake. We observed it: shortly after, it slid in the stream and after going back a few meters it returned to the forest. Luckily, Alcides carried an antivenom in his backpack, capable of extending the life of a person victim of an attack for a few hours until arriving at the hospital.

In the afternoon, Michael arrived with the Rainforest Connection team and a film crew to document the installation of 10 mobile phones installed on top of trees 30 meters high, where with the help of a solar panel and a specially designed program they should detect chainsaws or shots and send a signal directly to the guards. It should also serve to record and identify all the birds, amphibians and mammals that inhabit them.

March 16

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Orange-fronted Barbet (Capito squamatus)

In the morning, we walked the track of Botrosa, and we met again a venomous snake, the redtail coralsnake (Micrurus mipartitus). However, this one is unable to pierce your boots and if nobody disturbs it, does not attack.

At one point, we believed we had seen our species number 1000, a female and two males: orange-fronted barbet (Capito squamatus).

However, at night, after filtering all the species we have seen so far, we realized that the orange-fronted barbet (Capito squamatus) was the 998 species and the 1000 species was, in reality, a scarlet-thighed dacnis (Dacnis venusta), which we had seen in the afternoon, near the lodge, when we were going back from the forest with Alcides Zambrano.

Having 33 species that had only been seen by Miquel or me, we decided to extend the challenge up to 1000 species seen by Miquel and 1000 species seen by me.

Despite this new challenge, we celebrated  after dinner the 1000 species achieved by the team!

March 17

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Canandé river

Miquel had already photographed 850 species and after eating, we left Canandé.

Finally, after crossing the river with two ferries and driving for a long time on a track, we arrived at Las Peñas, where we spent the night.

Targets seen:

  • Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis)
  • Dusky Pigeon (Patagioenas goodsoni) (75 – s.50)
  • Band-rumped Swift (Chaetura spinicaudus) (30 – m.75)
  • White-tailed Trogon (Trogon chionurus) (45 – m.65)
  • White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis) (25 – m.28)
  • Orange-fronted Barbet (Capito squamatus) (35 – m.50)
  • Pacific Antwren (Myrmotherula pacifica) (40 – m.55)
  • Spot-crowned Antvireo (Dysithamnus puncticeps) (50 – s.40)
  • Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) (30 – m.50)
  • Slaty Spinetail (Synallaxis brachyura) (40 – m.70)
  • Choco Manakin (Cryptopipo litae) (20)
  • Rufous Piha (Lipaugus unirufus) (35 – s.20)
  • Pacific Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus pacificus) (5 – m.22)
  • Stripe-throated Wren (Cantorchilus leucopogon) (20 – m.25)
  • Pacific Cacique (Cacicus pacificus) (30 – m.50)
  • Scarlet-thighed Dacnis (Dacnis venusta) (35 – s.35)  BIRD 1,000 !!!
  • Slate-colored Grosbeak (Saltator grossus) (20 – m.60)
  • White-vented Euphonia (Euphonia minuta)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 67/75. 1006 species

March 18, 2019, Majagual

The most impressive mangroves in the world

Eugeni Capella surrounded by the impressive mangroves of Majagual

Today we should find a few species and, although we added 5 new species to the list, only one, the Panama flycatcher (Myiarchus panamensis) was a target of the place.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Panama Flycatcher (Myiarchus panamensis)

We visited the mangroves of Majagual, which are the highest in the world and the only ones I have seen with roots higher than people. Here, the mangroves are not giant shrubs, but immense trees!

They are building a bridge and, although it is unfinished, they let us through. To do this, we had to grab the cables, full of grease, and we realized that, in addition, the screws were not fixed. The situation reminded me of the greased poles (les cucanyes), a childhood Catalan game!

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Miquel Bonet crossing the bridge, half built, of Majagual

On the way to Selva Alegre, we stopped at the Restaurant-Hosteria “El Rancho”, whose regent is a fan of birds. So it is an establishment that I recommend to birdwatchers to eat ($3.5) and / or sleep ($7.5 / $10).

Targets seen:

  • Plumbeous Hawk (Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea)
  • Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus)
  • Panama Flycatcher (Myiarchus panamensis) (15)
  • Choco Grey Elaenia (Myiopagis parambae)
  • Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 68-70/75. 1026 species, 870 with photo

March 19-21, 2019, Playa de Oro

1000 birds per head!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Five-colored Barbet (Capito quinticolor)

March 19

Photo: Eugeni Capella. The canoe that transports GPO-Grallaria Team to Playa de Oro

With the update that Roger Alhman had given us of his visit to Playa de Oro the previous week, we climbed in a canoe, governed by Julio Ramiro, to go up the Santiago River to Playa de Oro. It is a village that, instead of cutting the forest, has decided to protect its 10,400 ha, where you can see some unique species in the country.

The lodge is located in Playa Rica, a few more minutes of canoeing upstream. As expected, we arrived there in the rain.

Then, we went through the Pueblo trail, where we found a five-colored barbet (Capito quinticolor) male, the most important bird of the place, since, except here, you can not see it anywhere else.

On our way back, Miquel stopped me and with a deep voice told me: I have to give you very important news for you. Without telephone connection or of any other kind with the outside world, it did not seem that he could tell me anything very important. Well, he did: “the barbet is your species 1000”, he told me.

In the afternoon, we walked the Paila trail waiting to see which one will the species 1000 for Miquel be, but it near-winds with 999.

However, an hour after dinner George Wagner turned up, who had gone into the forest looking for the Choco poorwill (Nyctiphrynus rosenbergi). Since we have turned off the walkie-talkies, he has had to come back to tell us that he had found the one that will be the 1,000th species for Miquel: the vermiculated screech-owl (Megascops vermiculatus) or Choco SO for the Clements followers.

March 20

Photo: Eugeni Capella. An original graffiti on the front of the house in Playa de Oro

We spent this day to track the most beautiful, spectacular and relaxing path: the Santo del Pena trail or the path of the viewpoint. For the second consecutive day, we enjoyed the luck of the almost absence of rain.

March 21

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Vermiculated Screech-owl (Megascops vermiculatus)

It seemed a normal day, that is, it rained a lot. So we decided to leave at nine in the morning, although, as the river flowed down very hard, they told us that we have to wait.

Then, George communicated to us by the walkie-talkie that he had heard a uniform crake (Amaurolimnas concolor). We went where it was, and we heard it, although it could not be seen.

Two hours later, they told us that we could go with the canoe. The river remained the same, but Julio, Braulio and the rest of the people had already had time to pack their luggage to go down with us.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena)

In the afternoon, before we arrived to San Lorenzo — Tundaloma lodge no longer exists — we stopped at the Yalare forest. Specifically, we visited a place indicated by Roger Alhman, where, in a short time, we watched three exclusive species of the place on this trip.

Targets seen:

→ Playa de Oro:

  • Baudo Guan (Penelope ortoni) (5 – s.5)
  • Bronzy Hermit (Glaucis aeneus) (10 – m.35)
  • Band-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri) (22 – m.40)
  • Vermiculated Screech-owl (Megascops vermiculatus) (4 – m.10)
  • Choco Trogon (Trogon comptus) (22 – m.60)
  • Stripe-billed Araçari (Pteroglossus sanguineus) (35 – m.65)
  • Five-colored Barbet (Capito quinticolor) (6)
  • Sapayoa (Sapayoa aenigma) (35 – s.20)
  • Spotted Antbird (Hylophylax naevioides) (35 – s.5)
  • Stub-tailed Antbird (Sipia berlepschi) (22 – m.40)
  • Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) (12 – m.25)
  • Rufous Mourner (Rhytipterna holerythra) (5 – m.20)
  • Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri) (22 – s.20)
  • Lemon-spectacled Tanager (Habia olivacea) (35)
  • Blue-whiskered Tanager (Tangara johannae) (12 – m.18)

→ Yalare Road:

  • Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena) (75)
  • Black-breasted Puffbird (Notharchus pectoralis) (55)
  • Lesser Pied Puffbird (Notharchus subtectus) (65)

*Prioridad colométrica:

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 71/75. 1031 species, 880 with photo

March 22, 2019, Awa-La Union Road

The potatoes field road

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Lita Woodpecker (Piculus litae)

After stopping in early morning at km 42, we entered the Awa-La Union Road. Until two years ago it was a “potatoes field” impracticable for cars, where people birdwatched on the first kilometre with waterproof boots. However, now things have changed: the first two kilometres have been covered with stone and now it can be drived. On the other hand, the habitat is increasingly degraded, because trees are being cut everywhere. After two kilometres they are building a road, but for now you can only go by with waterproof boots.

Awa-La Union Road

It is a good forest, although with the sun the birds do not move. Only after five in the afternoon, we had added on the list some of the most wanted birds.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Brown-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus pusillus)

At the evening, we arrived to Lita, where we spent the night.

Targets seen:

  • Lita Woodpecker (Piculus litae) (50 – s.40)
  • Brown-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus pusillus) (20 – s.14)
  • Scarlet-and-white Tanager (Chrysothlypis salmoni) (60)
  • Golden-chested Tanager (Bangsia rothschildi) (80)
  • Emerald Tanager (Tangara florida) (80 – s.35)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 72/75. 1037 species, 887 with photo

March 23, 2019, Chical Road

Two unexpected species in an unexpected place

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus)

Today we had gone up the road to Chical, where we were fortunate to meet Daniel Valencia and a group of naturalists and collaborators from different conservationist foundations. They had stayed with us for the rest of the day.

Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet with Daniel Valencia, who is smiling in the centre of the photo.

The forest is quite beautiful, although at one in the afternoon we had seen 28 species and none of the 18 that we were looking for.

Suddenly, Miquel saw a rufous-crested tanager (Creurgops verticalis) and just at that moment, Daniel announced a purplish-mantled tanager (Iridosornis porphyrocephalus). Miquel ran away to look for it with the camera, but disappeared without a trace. In short, we spent half of the day without seeing any new spices and, suddenly, two show up at the same time, with only 5 seconds of difference.

Luckily, an hour later, we found a pair of purplish-mantled tanagers (Iridosornis porphyrocephalus) and Miquel got a lifer.

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta)

We do not plan to see the red-ruffed fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus) because we do not have time to arrive to the border with Colombia. However, Daniel told us a nearby place where we could find it, and we could also see the beautiful jay (Cyanolyca pulchra). Although it had seemed a little implausible place, we had gone to where he had told us: the Santa Rosa river as it passes through Juntas.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. the Santa Rosa river as it passes through Juntas

When we arrived, it was raining and George preferred to wait for us without getting out of the car. We went birding and spotted an unidentified black shadow that left us with doubt. As a consolation prize, we saw a beautiful jay (Cyanolyca pulchra). Indeed, consolation, was is a saying, because we thought that we had lost it in Bellavista (Mindo) and we had recovered it in the most unexpected place.

In addition, backed to the car, as ghostly beings, we could see a pair of red-ruffed fruitcrows (Pyroderus scutatus).

Of course, at no time it had stopped raining.

Targets seen:

  • Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus) (1)
  • Beautiful Jay (Cyanolyca pulchra)
  • Rusty-winged Barbtail (Premnornis guttuliger)
  • Rufous-crested Tanager (Creurgops verticalis) (20 – s.15)
  • Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta) (40)
  • Purplish-mantled Tanager (Iridosornis porphyrocephalus) (40)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

Go back to the beginning >


Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 73/75. 1040 species, 890 with photo

March 24, 2019,  Cerro Mungus

Victory!

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (Doliornis remseni)

Yesterday we decided not to go to Cerro Mungus (too long for only one species) or to the Bonita Road (too far). However, in the end, instead of taking a break, we stepped on the accelerator to the bottom and at five in the morning we left Ambuqui towards Cerro Mungus, where after crossing a few tracks and wrong roads, we arrived at the páramo, and we started looking for the chestnut-bellied cotinga (Doliornis remseni). This is like looking for a needle in a haystack! We separated and each one of us looked in a different place, in order to explore more terrain, as if it were a wild boar hunt.

At twelve, the walkie-talkie sounded. George had found a pair of chestnut-bellied cotingas (Doliornis remseni)! This way, we found one of the most difficult birds in Ecuador and even more: we saw both the male and the female five meters away! What else could you ask for?

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Miquel Bonet celebrating, euphoric, that he has finally seen the chestnut-bellied cotinga (Doliornis remseni).

With the prize in the pocket, we drove to El Carmelo, near the border with Colombia, further east from where the tours usually go. Libardo Tello and Marcelo convinced us to spend two days in this area.

Xavier Amigó, from NatureExperience, was right when he told us that we have gone through this area very fast. So, since we had arrived so far away, it’s worth taking advantage of the fact that we were already there.

Targets seen:

  • Tawny-breasted Tinamou (Nothocercus julius)
  • Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (Chalcostigma herrani) (65 – s.65)
  • Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (Doliornis remseni) (80 – s.7)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

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Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Days 74-75/75. 1047 species, 896 with photo

March 25-26, 2019, El Carmelo-Bonita-Sofia Road

The border with Colombia

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Red-hooded Tanager (Piranga rubriceps)

March 25

Photo: Miquel Bonet. American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

The day began at a quarter to five in the morning, with Libardo and Marcelo. Together we went to La Bonita and then to Sofia Road.

Eugeni Capella and Miquel Bonet with Libardo Tello Ruales

On the other side of the river, the mountains of Colombia are lied down, in many areas with intact forests. The landscape, especially when we took the detour to the Sofia Road, looked promising, although later we did not find any of the main birds. However, we spotted an unexpected eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus).

We only added three species to the trip list and Miquel the possibility of getting 900 photographed species.

March 26

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Black-billed Mountain-toucan (Andigena nigrirostris)

Today we started the day on the right foot, also going with Libardo and Marcelo. Around the town of El Carmelo we found and photographed the four species that we were looking for.

So, at half past ten, we left El Carmelo, and we went to San Pablo lagoon.

Targets seen:

  • White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
  • Black-billed Mountain-toucan (Andigena nigrirostris) (40 – s.30)
  • Streak-throated Bush-tyrant (Myiotheretes striaticollis) (20 – s.15)
  • Smoky Bush-tyrant (Myiotheretes fumigatus) (40 – m.50)
  • Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
  • Black-backed Grosbeak (Pheucticus aureoventris) (3 – s.3)
  • Red-hooded Tanager (Piranga rubriceps) (25)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

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Written by Eugeni Capella and photographs by Miquel Bonet and Eugeni Capella

Day 75/75. 1050 species, 900 with photo

March 26, 2019, Palacara river and San Pablo lagoon

The end

Photo: Miquel Bonet. Subtropical Doradito (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis)

On the way to the San Pablo lagoon, we realized that going to the Palacara River only meant 8 km of detour. So we went there to try to see the Gray’s hummingbird (Amazilia grayi). When we arrived, George found a handsome male who let itself be photographed and Miquel‘s eyes open wide: up to now he had photographed 897 species. If today he got to photograph subtropical doradito (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis), Ecuadorian rail (Rallus limicola aequatorialis) and American moorhen (American) he will get 900 photographed species.

Without having lunch, we arrived at the lagoon, we stopped, and we entered it. Immediately, we realized that we were walking through a vegetal carpet that floated on the lake and without knowing if below there is a meter of water or 10 meters. The feeling got you a little sick!

Soon, we saw an Ecuadorian rail (Rallus limicola aequatorialis) flying and then another, but we could not take a photo. Suddenly, a subtropical doradito (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis) stood out among the vegetation to observed what was happening. Then, Miquel jumped suddenly to my vegetal carpet, which began to move, while looking for a good angle, but the subtropical doradito (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis) went back to hide and did not show up any more.

At four in the afternoon, we had already seen all the birds that we had to see in this place. However, it seemed that we could not add any more pictures.

Photo: Eugeni Capella. Ecuadorian Rail (Rallus limicola aequatorialis)

Then, we changed location, and we stopped at another place, where it seemed that there is a better view. It quickly showed up an Ecuadorian rail (Rallus limicola aequatorialis) that let itself be photographed. Suddenly, two subtropical doraditos (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis) turned up, which Miquel also managed to photograph.

It was five o’clock in the afternoon and there was only one more hour of light and one more species to photograph: common gallinule (Gallinula galeata), very similar to the gallinule that can be found in Catalonia.

Two kilometres away, there is a jetty, another point where you can see the common gallinule (Gallinula galeata). Yes, that’s right, we have finished the last day of the challenge looking for a gallinule. Undoubtedly, this is not an epic ending for a trip through Ecuador of 75 days.

So, we parked near the jetty, and we separated looking for it in all corners

— “A gallinule!”, I had communicated euphoric to Miquel on the walkie-talkie.

Photo: Mique Bonet. Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)

Although Miquel did not listen well to what I am saying, he came running to where I was and, from a footbridge, he took his last photo of the challenge: two gallinules. In total, his challenge in this trip to Ecuador has become a double success: 1,050 species seen, 900 photographed.

For everything, the trip has been a success. So, although there was still half an hour of daylight, we drank a lemonade in the lagoon to celebrate it.

Targets seen:

  • Ecuadorian Rail (Rallus limicola aequatorialis) (50 – s.30), un possible split de la Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
  • Gray’s Hummingbird (Amazilia grayi)
  • Subtropical Doradito (Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis) (50)

* Colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

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English text revision by Salvador Cases

Written by Eugeni CapellaJanuary 10, 2019

INTRODUCTION TO THE TRIP

How many species are there in Ecuador? How many can we find?

The number of species that exist in Ecuador varies depending on the taxonomies used and the newly incorporated and vagrant species. We use the taxonomy of HBW Alive (1622 species in Ecuador).Other systematics give slightly different figures: eBird2017: 1,635; Clements 2017: 1,638, and IOC 8.2: 1,663. These three are the other most important taxonomies for us.

However, of these 1622 species according to HBW, how many can actually be seen on an ornithological trip through Ecuador during 75 days?

If we don’t count the 63 vagrant species, we have 1,559, counting 4 introduced species.

A perhaps more realistic approximation of the species that can be searched during a trip to Ecuador in a 75-day trip are the 1422 species recorded in 4180 complete lists entries in eBird in Ecuador during the first quarter of 2018. This would be a fairly real approximation of the number of species susceptible to be sought during our trip. Even so, although Ecuador is a relatively small country, in 75 days you can not go to all possible places to watch birds.

A less stratospheric number is 1162 species, which were detected by 431 teams on May 13, 2018. However, the chances of reaching different places are greater for 431 teams during 24 hours than for us in 75 days.

Although the initial goal was to travel most of the environments of Ecuador, seeing that the maximum that was documented were 962 species detected (942 of which were seen) in 2012, it seemed motivating to set the goal of finding 1000 in the same period. In addition to this challenge, Miquel Bonet also proposed another one concerning the number of photographed species: 700. I don’t have any reference to know whether this is possible, but I think it is also difficult.

After a lot of sifting, we made a list of the species that we can find in the 59 “main” sites during our stay in Ecuador. In total, we have analysed the result of 2268 lists.

In addition to these lists, we have analysed others, which are either from sites that we have finally discarded or from sites where we have simply written down their main birds.

Now, with these complete lists, we have an idea of the probability of finding each bird in each place and, they also serve to detect which species don’t show up anywhere.

Obviously, the probability of detecting a species depends on the time spent trying to (unknown parameter) and our ability at finding it. We can dedicate more or fewer hours than average, and be worse or better observers, but the probability of detecting an easy bird must be bigger for everyone, while detecting a difficult one must be smaller for everyone. This premise allows us to sort the birds by their probability of detection and to control how well we are doing in our trip.

To adjust a bit the time factor, in each place where we will be a whole day, we will equate the probability of going there twice.

An element that distorts the real probability of finding a bird is intentionality. This can cause some highly sought after species by birders to yield higher percentages of apparent occurence than other species that could be in practice more likely to be found.

We have removed from the table 98 species because there is no chance to find them for different reasons: very few or no records in eBird or in places where we will not go, scarce migrants, all records in other months or with very few records to places close to international borders where we will not go. And so, we have made a list of 1472 species that we may find.

In fact, the number of species with some probability of being found is 1418, because we have maintained 54 species without any record in the places where we are going, but that are hard to remove: it is not the same to remove a North-American migrant, than a rare species in Ecuador and in the rest of the world!

With this analysis we have 36 species with a 100% theoretical probability of being detected, 379 with a probability higher than 99%, 673 with a probability higher than 90%, 828 with a probability higher than 80% and 930 with a probability higher than 70%. And the species 1000, Giant Conebill (Conirostrum binghami), has a probability of being detected of 60.91% and, therefore, 39% of not being detected; the species 1072, 50%; the 1146 a 40%; the 1220 a 30%; the 1295 a 20%; the 1367, 10%; the 1430 1%, and so until we reach the species 1456 to 1472 which have a 0% theoretical probability.

With all this information, plus some complementary info about other places where we will go occasionally to look for a particular species, we have generated a list of goal birds by place with the following colorimetric prioritization:

  • In red: species exclusive (or virtually exclusive) from a single site.
  • In orange: the best place to find a species (a percentage is specified of the following best place behind a hyphen and an ‘s’ in front) or one of the two best places when they are tied (the percentage after the hyphen will be the same).
    Easy species or with decent percentages in more than 4 sites are excluded. At the most, in these cases, the only marked place is the best place.
  • In green: the second best place in cases in which there are only two decent places to see the species. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.
  • In black: another good place for the species. It can be the second, third or fourth place of species that have only 3 or 4 sites with minimally decent percentages. In this case, the percentage of the best place (behind a hyphen and with an ‘m’ in front) is also specified.

I explain this because every day, apart from the explanation of how the trip goes, we will list the new species we have seen, and the colours and percentages will help to better understand the rarity of each new species.

The names of the species will be expressed only in English, because we will have enough work to keep the information up to date. However, if someone wants to collaborate in writing their name in Catalan, scientific or Spanish, he can let us know.

The calculation of the probability of detection of a species allows the species to be sorted and thus allow us to have an index that indicates if we are above or below the expected number of species needed to reach 1,000. For example, any species seen from the bird 1001 — Northern Mourner (Schiffornis veraepacis) — will mean a positive point (+), while any species above the 1000 species that will not be detected will mean a negative point (-).

This tracking index will allow us to know if we can relax a little or if we have to work harder. Of course, it should be taken into account that this index has a positive delay over time, since an unexpected detected species will automatically be a positive point, while an expected species that is failing will not imply a negative point until it fails in the last place where it is possible to be gotten. That is, in the hypothetical case that we have reached 1000 species, we would expect the trip to start with a positive index in the first part that would be reduced to zero on day 75. Obviously, if after three weeks, we are in negative, there will be no chance to reach 1000 species.

With a positive attitude, we hope to face the unprecedented challenge of seeing 1000 different species of birds in Ecuador in 75 days without the use of airplanes.

Whatever happens, what is for sure is that we will enjoy a very special trip.

Will we make it?

We will all know soon enough!


ECUADOR 1,000

English text revision by Salvador Cases

Written by Eugeni Capella

The first time I heard about a trip in which 1,000 species could be seen was in March 2016 in Colombia. Even though 1,000 species are a dazzling figure, I agreed with Jonhier, the Colombian guide who told me about this, that I would not like to attempt this record neither as a client nor as a tour guide, due to the possible stress it can imply and the limited time I would have to enjoy each species.

The following year, also in Colombia, Roger, another guide, explained to me the disappointment he had observed in the members of one of these tours when they realised that it would be impossible to reach that goal.Therefore, I prefer to take my time to observe birds and, even then, I never see everything that I could see.

When, in January 2018, I considered visiting many of Ecuador’s bird-watching sites to watch the greatest number of species, an inevitable challenge appeared. It seemed that just by adding a visit to a few other places, the door is opened to glimpse the magical figure of the 1,000 species on a trip to Ecuador, a milestone never reached.Without telling him about this, Miquel Bonet, with whom I planned the trip, had come independently to the same conclusion. That came as no surprise, as in 2012 he took a sabbatical year to break the record of the number of birds species seen in Catalonia in 365 days.The fact of wanting to find 1,000 birds could affect the possibility of  getting an especially difficult lifer, as the time that we will be able to dedicate to each species is limited. In addition, it forces us to visit a greater diversity of environments.Therefore, first of all, we got ourselves informed whether it was really possible to see 1,000 species in Ecuador in one trip.Miquel and I want to travel with some peace of mind, as we want to see all the endemic species and, moreover, we want to take pictures of them.

For this reason, we have planned a  more than two months long “gymkhana”.The most similar expedition is that made by Teunen in 2012, in which in 75 days they saw 962 bird species.In 2003, Roger Arham had seen 1,012 species in six months and a half, ten weeks of which he stayed in Mindo learning Spanish.With the help of this pioneer and others, as well as with the valuable information provided by websites such as eBird, we made a table with the places to be visited and the species that should be seen there, in order to assess whether the challenge was possible.

On May 13, 2018, Ecuador, with 1,162 species, ranked third in Global Big Day among the countries where the most birds had been seen in one day, just behind Colombia and Peru, countries that have much more surface area and that I have already visited. To be precise, the number reached was 1,162 species observed in one day by 431 teams. We want to achieve watching 1,000 species with one team in 75 days.

At the end of June 2018, we met in the Azores (Portugal) a group of enthusiastic birdwatchers, and we made the first sketch of the trip. Shortly after, we devised the itinerary.As the project was getting solid, other aspects were being incorporated into the idea of ​​seeing 1,000 species in Ecuador in 75 days: spreading the huge diversity of birds that this country has, collecting funds for a conservation project and keep our girlfriends, so we tried to design some part of the itinerary for “city girls”.Later, a foundation asked us if we could locate a species not detected in the last 30 years. Of course! A new challenge inside the great challenge. One more reason for us to be enthusiastic about this trip.

Information leaflet about Ecuador 1000 challenge

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