Welcome to Birdquest

REMOTE ECUADOR

Saturday 9th September - Sunday 1st October 2006

János Oláh

Birdquest has operated a very long series of successful tours to Ecuador with ever changing itineraries over the last ten years. This was the first time though when a trip was constructed to see some of the most enigmatic and localized birds of the country. This superb new trip immediately set the standard against which all future tours will be judged with a great selection of rare birds. We saw a good number of Ecuador’s specialties, recording 735 species during the three weeks tour, of which 645 were seen and indeed this was another memorable visit to this very special country.

We had countless fantastic observations of rare, little-known or hard-to-come by birds, which have been seen only by a handful of birders in Ecuador before. In the first part of the tour we visited the bird rich Chocó region on the western slope of the Andes and the adjacent lowlands. Here we saw some mega-specialities like the secretive Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, the rare Baudó Guan, the little known Chocó Poorwill, the gaudy Five-coloured Barbet and the enigmatic Broad-billed Sapayoa. In addition to the breathtaking encounters with these seldom-seen birds more classic birds that performed beautifully were Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Rose-faced Parrot, Choco Trogon, Lita Woodpecker, Toucan Barbet, Lanceolated Monklet, Pacific Tuftedcheek, Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird, Stub-tailed Antbird, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Pacific Flatbill and some of the scarce tanagers like Lemon-spectacled, Golden-chested, Moss-backed, Blue-whiskered, Scarlet-and-white and the Scarlet-breasted Dacnis! Then we travelled to the northern part of the country to search for two species of rare and localized antpittas: the Bicolored Antpitta which was thought to be a Colombian endemic until recently and the localized Crescent-faced Antpitta, both of which we were lucky enough to see. In the second part of the tour we took a dramatic flight over the Andes down into the vast expanse of the Amazon basin to explore the little-known surroundings of Kapawi Lodge. Our quest with rare birds continued here with Slender-billed Kite, Bicolored Hawk, Starred Wood-Quail, Sungrebe, Red-fan Parrot, Pheasant Cuckoo, Black-throated Brilliant, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Pearly Antshrike, Ancient Antwren, Black Bushbird, Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Hairy-crested Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, Black-and-White Tody-Flycatcher, Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant, Caquetá Seedeater and Ecuadorian Cacique to name but a few. Due to the amazing cross-section of habitats combined with a multitude of hummingbird feeders we racked up a list of 55 species of hummingbirds whilst within the steamy lowland and foothills jungles, featuring hundreds of tree species, we found an enormous diversity of antpittas, antthrushes, antshrikes, antwrens and antbirds, and came across a staggering total of 72 species. Other ‘family’ totals to highlight this year’s tour were 11 species of trogons, six jacamars (including Purplish and Great), 12 species of puffbirds, seven species of barbets, 25 species of woodpeckers (with point-blank views of Red-necked and Powerful), 30 species of ‘furnarids’, an incredible total of 91 species of tyrant flycatchers and as many as 80 species of tanagers!

Add to all this a keen party of Birdquesters, breathtaking mountain scenery, action-packed Amazonian boat journeys and an interesting variety of non-feathered creatures like poison-arrow frogs, insects and mammals, and this combined to make ‘Remote Ecuador’ a trip of a lifetime.

(NOTE: This itinerary included a visit to Kaspawi in Amazonia. As of 2008, Kapawi is no longer included in our Remote Ecuador tour which instead has an expanded itinerary in the northwest of the country.)