On ornithological virgin soil

During January 2016 I guided a bird watching tour in the south of Ecuador which nearly lasted 3 weeks. For me this meant to explore a lot of new habitats and bird species....

Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Foto: Pedro Peñafiel)

Jocotoco Antpitta (Foto: Pedro Peñafiel)

Wet Montane Forest (Foto: Pedro Peñafiel)

Xerophytic forest (Foto: Pedro Peñafiel)

Last year August I scouted this trip accompanied by Pedro mainly in order to reconnoitre part of the areas, to get to know the lodges and their surrounding reserves, and to familiarise myself with the driving route.  This investment in time and money was worthwhile. My companion Walter from Switzerland whom I guided for the third time was fascinated by this trip. In total we ran 2.000 km by car, explored so different habitats as semidesert, xerophytic forest, subtropical forest, lowland rainforest, montane elfin forest, etc. and managed to see 445 bird species. I am sufficiently self critical to admit that it could have been a lot more. But I am confident that during the next trip – hopefully in January 2017 – the number will rise significantly. Then I will be more familiar with the bird sites and will try to intensify getting responses from birds by using song recordings. This is something I have done for the first time at all during this trip and so far not yet satisfactorily. Highlights on our quest for Tumbes endemics, rare species and such which have a very restricted distribution in Ecuador for sure were: Gray Tinamou, Pale-browed Tinamou, Comb Duck, many different wader species in Ecuasal, Gray-backed Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Ochre-bellied Dove, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Spectacled and Short-eared Owl, Wire-crested Thorntail, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated and Little Sunangel, Violet-throated Metaltail, Little and Esmeraldas Woodstar, Great Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, Ecuadorian Piculet, Blackish-headed Spinetail, Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, Jet Antbird, Chestnut-naped, Jocotoco and Watkin’s Antpitta, Elegant Crescentchest, Black-crested Tit-tyrant, Jelski’s Chat-tyrant, Slaty Becard, Fiery-throated Fruiteater, Amazonian and Long-wattled Umbrellabird, White-tailed Jay, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, Chestnut-collared Swallow, Tit-like Dacnis, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Orange-eared Tanager, Silver-backed  Tanager, Orange-throated Tanager, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Plushcap, Black-cowled Saltator, Red Pileated-finch, Bay-crowned Brush-finch, Chestnut-headed Oropendola. And – as the cherry on the cake because we saw them totally out of their usual distribution area – Sora and Cinereous Finch. Should you become interested have a look at the link “Birdwatching trips” (at the moment I am elaborating the different trips, but they will be soon finished). Perhaps you find a trip that suits you.