I arrived in Quito on 16th November and after establishing, through BirdLife International, that there were no currently active projects in which I could assist, decided to bird southern Ecuador until my Flemish friends arrived on 29th November. After flying to Loja, I spent a week in Podocarpus National Park, made a two day trip to Pinas to visit Buenaventura , before taking the bus to Cuenca to explore the paramo at Las Cajas National Park.
I saw 277 species (and heard a further 13), of which 83 were not seen subsequently by me (52 "lifers"). Highlights were Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, four species Tapaculo, Tit-like Dacnis and seven species of Mountain -Tanager including the rare Masked. The weather was surpringly good, with no rain - November is a relatively dry month in the south most years, apparently. This allowed continuous 12 hour birding but restricted bird-activity for up to half the daylight hours. I saw no other birders at all!
November 17 Quito - Loja - Cajanuma, Podocarpus NP
20 Cajanuma a.m., to Loja p.m.
21 Loja - Zamora - Bombuscaro, Podocarpus NP
23 Bombuscaro - Zamora a.m., electricity station trail, to Loja p.m., bus to Pinas
25 Buenaventura a.m., Pinas - Loja p.m.
26 Loja - Valladolid - Loja - Cuenca
27 Las Cajas NP
28 Las Cajas a.m., bus to Quito p.m.
November 17 06.00 flight to Loja, via Guayaquil, arrving on time at 07.30 - cost $36. Taxi to Cajanuma, Podocarpus National Park ($15), buying food en route in Loja and passing remains of Vilcabamba bus that crashed 2 weeks earlier, killing all 42 occupants. The ''guard''/warden arrived at the visitor centre on bicycle, charged me $10 and gave me keys to the centre (with gas cooker, utensils and running water) and to a new cabana with 2 beds and 1 mattress.
Walked Antejos (Antpitta) and Mirador Trails but almost birdless apart from Barred Fruiteater, Red-crested Cotinga, Smoky Bush Tyrant and Pale-footed Swallows. Afternoon spent along entrance road, finding birds after 2-3 km, including Bearded Guan, Powerful Woodpecker, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant and Grass-green & Rufous-chested Tanagers. Returned to HQ at dusk to cook food; all nocturnal sounds drowned by noise of generator till turned off at 9.30.
November 18 Started up Lagunas Trail at 05.00 in dark, hoping for owls, Imperial Snipe and quail-doves at dawn but nothing seen or heard. Long climb eventually rewarded by mountain-tanagers, including 2 Masked, plus Golden-crowned Tanager and Plushcap - a stunning sight in the scattered elfin forest near the tree-line. The paramo only held Many-streaked Canastero and Glossy Flower-piercer. Best bird on the way down was Orange-banded Flycatcher. Afternoon on Bosque Nublado Trail was dead, except for crippling view of Ocellated Tapaculo behind the look-out point. Entrance road was quieter today but White-throated Hawk, Bar-bellied Woodpecker and Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant were seen and hummers very much in evidence, including starfrontlets and pufflegs.
According to Pedro, the friendly young guard, birds much more numerous in rainy weather. Walking boots would have been ideal as tracks were stoney, not too muddy.
November 19 Another fine day, with a good dawn chorus below the HQ but no Masked Saltator. The Antejos Trail gave Rufous Antpitta and Golden-plumed Parakeet, but the upper part of the Mirador Trail was again quiet except for a pair of Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant and the undescribed Chusquea Tapaculo (Molgaard et al 1992). Lower down, a mixed flock included Turqoise Jays and Russet-crowned Warblers. Afternoon on the other trails was rewarded by Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucans, Brush-Finches and Hemispinguses, and at dusk, a Chestnut-naped Antpitta was taped in.
No Pedro tonight, so no generator - had to cook by torch-light, hearing an invisible Rufous-banded Owl.
November 20 No antpittas on Antejos Trail at dawn but excellent view of Chestnut-naped pair on Bosque Nublado Trail. Lagunas Trail gave Red-crested Cotinga, Barred Fruit-eater and chat-tyrants in the elfin forest, but only a few mountain-tanagers, while Ash-coloured Tapaculo was seen lower down. As it was Saturday, 3 parties of locals arrived, enabling me to hitch a lift to Loja in the back of a pick-up, departing around 15.00. At Hotel Acapulco, arranged to leave some of my stuff, but abandoned plan of busing it to Zamora when could not find wallet. A total unpack revealed its hiding place, but decided to stay in Loja and leave on first bus in the morning. Dined with Norwegian couple.
November 21 Bus left at 05.05 and reached Zamora at 06.55, much quicker than expected. Hired a "taxi" (a pick-up) for 7 km, then walked remaining 2km to Bombuscaro, during which White-necked Parakeet party flew past. Greeted by unfriendly pair of guards at the HQ where notice stated entrance fee to be $20. They had difficulty in believing I had already paid, at Cajanuma, and had arrived without a pemit from Loja. Found new cabana being built 200m away, so decided to doss there. Walked further 2 km to the cliff and back: Foothill Antwren, Scale-backed Antbird, Coppery-chested Jacamar, flatbills and a good tanager flock. Afternoon walk back to the road, followed by return to the cliff was unrewarding. Troubled by large biting flies.
Cooked rice and soup by candle-light at the HQ (gas but no generator). Remaining guard declined my offer to share in the sumptuous repast.
November 22 Dawn walk to road was birdless and 6 km walk to clearing beyond the cliff was also surprisingly quiet - heard but failed to see Chestnut-tipped Toucanet there.Return leg was much better, with Highland Motmot, Black-billed Treehunter, Black-billed Peppershrike, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo and tanager flock which included a single male Vermilion.
Given lunch of cold rice and diced carrot by the guard, who questioned me again about lack of permit. Hermits, Blue-rumped Manakin and Ornate Flycatchers were active around the cabana but afternoon river watch failed to turn up umbrellabird or guans. Tanagers were plentiful at the HQ before dusk, when a few drops of rain accompanied the occasional thunderclap.
November 23 Decided to leave early, to spend some time on the Loja - Zamora road, after a quick but fruitless walk to the cliff at dawn. Lots of birds on the walk to Zamora but only notables were Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Pale-eyed Blackbird and Red-rumped Cacique. Arrived 09.15 but no bus till 10.00. Too hot by arrival time at the electricity station, at 11.00. Prevented by local employee from climbing the steps (''prohibidado''), so had to struggle up steep scrubby hillside to the flat trail along a watercourse. Only notable birds were Highland Motmot, Black-capped Tyrannulet and Slaty Brush-Finch, but looked promising for cooler time of day.
On the road again at 13.00 but 45 min wait for a lift - in a Landcruiser. Left even more gear, including wellies, at the "Acapulco", before catching 17.00 bus to Pinas - 5 hour journey, costing less than $3, winding up and down mountains all the way. Residencial Dumari - ''the best place in Pinas'' (Lonely Planet) was a bit of a dump but does it matter when you're so tired?
November 24 Out at 05.30 for an early bus but wasn't one till 06.00. Stopped at Santa Maria shrine, Buenaventura at 06.15. Lots of birds along the lower cobble-stone track, including Guayaquil Woodpecker, Scaly-throated and Ruddy Foliage-gleaners, Uniform Treehunter and Antshrike, Golden-winged Manakin, Bronze-Olive Pygmy-Tyrant, One-coloured Becard, Whiskered and Bay Wrens, Yellow-bellied Siskin, Grey-and-Gold and Three-banded Warblers and Black-winged Saltator. Eventually ran into ankle-deep, sticky mud - oh for my wellies! Gave up at the old electricity plant site, where a Scrub Nightjar flushed (split from Little), and soon abandoned the ''good'' side trail due to added ingredient of copious liquid cow dung. Loggers and farmers were doing their best to remove the last few remnant patches of forest. Intermittent low cloud in the morning was not too troublesome.
Returned to the shrine, watched displaying Grey-backed Hawks, then attempted trail across main road, for Club-winged Manakin lek: quiet and impossibly muddy. Took upper road (above cobble-stone track) - a small flock of tanagers held Silver-throated Tanager and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager. After watching static Pygmy Kingfisher on river, washed feet and trainers. Good view of 2 El Oro Parakeets and 3 Crested Caracaras but little else. Returned to lower track - quiet until late afternoon, apart from spectacular hummers - Collared Inca, Violet-tailed Sylph and Purple-crowned Fairy.. A large dark bird flew across with Pale-mandibled Aracaris (Long-wattled Umbrellabird?) but was invisible in the few epiphytic large trees. Rose-faced Parrot, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Tawny-breasted Flycatcher and a rare male Slaty Becard were identified. Bus at dusk back to Pinas - for chicken and chips to celebrate an excellent day.
November 25 Caught the 05.00 bus to Buenaventura. A pair of owls called across the main road opposite the shrine - located one, a Black-and-White! Walked lower track in poor visibility but failed to find any guan, quail-doves or antpittas. Took upper road to get above cloud but only notable birds were Brown Scythebill and Buffy (Pacific) Tuftedcheek. Returned to lower trail, now clear of mist: quieter than yesterday but a few new birds such as Tawny-bellied Hermit, Emerald-bellied Woodnymph, Esmeraldas Antbird and the gripping Dull-coloured Grassquit; best of all was fine view of Ochraceous Attila. Late morning was good for raptors, with soaring Grey-backed and Great Black Hawks, a distant hawk-eagle and hundreds of vultures.
Waited 30 mins for a lift back to Pinas, booked seat on 15.00 bus and had a snack. Travelled through largely deforested mountains, reaching Loja at 19.40. Sleep at "Acapulco" disrupted by noisy wedding party.
November 26 Day of exploration, which proved abortive: travelled south to Valladolid as a butterfly-collector had given directions to forest there holding a good selection of scarce butterflies. Further south, Zumba is known to be ornithologically interesting but could not be done in a day. Up at 04.30 to catch the 05.00 bus, only to find it did not leave till 05.30. At Vilcabamba by 06.50 but then waited 15 mins, a process repeated at the next village, so 09.20 by time bus reached Valladolid. Had skirted the western boundary of Podocarpus for most of the up and down journey, through some good upland forest, flushing Horneros, a few Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers and yellow finches and one Coccyzus cuckoo from roadside verges. Now at lower altitude the forest was very patchy and still being felled.
By the time I had walked to a decent patch it was apparently too hot and sunny for anything but butterflies to be active - and there weren't so many of them. Forded the fast-flowing river, losing water-bottle in the torrent, then experienced considerable difficulty climbing the opposite bank. Only reward was a Torrent Tyrannulet. Returned to the road to catch 13.00 bus which failed to arrive till 14.10. By then I had finally walked up to some primary forest and found a few birds - 14 Swallow-tailed Kites, interacting together for a few minutes, White-whiskered Hermit, White-capped Parrot, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Hooded Siskin and what I thought was a Mountain Elaenia before finding the sp. to be restricted to Colombia and so concluded it was Sierran.
Had given up hope of catching the 18.00 bus to Cuenca but as my bus speeded up from Vilcabamba, there was time to retrieve my bag (and wash) at "Acapulco" before taking the last seat to Cuenca and enjoying ''Home Alone II'' (dubbed in Spanish) on the video. Expected the journey to take at least 6 hours but with 2 drivers we arrived at 22.30. Checked in at nearby Hostal Los Alamos - basic but clean - $3.5 a single.
November 27 A beautiful day in the highlands of Las Cajas N.P. Took a taxi to Bolivar monument at 06.00, as recommended by Kirwan and Marlow. Few vehicles and no bus by 06.30, so chartered a pick-up for $7.5. Drove straight through unmanned National Park entrance gate and overtook the bus near the summit - it must have left around 05.30, much earlier than stated in ''Lonely Planet''. Rather cool at the Refugio at 07.30 but quite tolerable as there was no wind. Soon had the gorgeous Tit-like Dacnis and a few Tawny Antpittas in Polylepis by the lake, but no Giant Conebill, despite trying several woods. Stout-billed and Bar-winged Cinclodes and Plumbeous Sierra-Finches were numerous on the paramo, while the few hummers included Chimborazo Hillstar and Blue-mantled Thornbill. Spent rest of morning walking back along the road and exploring adjacent habitat. Best birds were Unicoloured Tapaculo, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Mouse-coloured Thistletail, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant and Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, while Carunculated Caracara and Red-backed and Puna Hawks appeared when the air had warmed up.
In mid-afternoon hitched a lift further down to the turn-off to Laguna Llavinco. Bushes along the track held several hummers including both Trainbearer sp. and Mountain Velvetbreast. At the end of the c.4 km track, located the Datura flowers where after 10 mins a spectacular Sword-billed Hummingbird appeared and fed for a minute or so. Returned to main road and walked to Park entrance before getting a lift back to Cuenca in a Landcruiser.
November 28 Decided to return to delightful Las Cajas to look for Giant Conebill and the endemic Violet-throated Metaltail, rather than go to the Gualaceo - Macas road which warranted more time. Up at 05.00; taxi to bus terminus where bus left at 05.30. Many locals were picked up en route - appeared to be market day at a town beyond Las Cajas - so that by the time we reached manned Park gate, I was invisible in the crowd, thus avoiding the $10 fee again. Spent first hour of another fine day inside the lovely Polylepis wood opposite the Refugio, which eventually yielded a Metaltail along with Tit-like Dacnis and a noisy Great Horned Owl with fledgling. Walked back on the paramo for a few km, seeing Yellow-billed Pintail and Andean Lapwing, but no snipe or seed-snipe. Continued along the road, but as traffic towards Cuenca was negligible, despite it being a Sunday, decided to try hitching when a vehicle approached at 10.30. It stopped and took me to suburbs where I caught a bus then taxi back to "Los Alamos".
After soup lunch, caught 12.50 bus to Quito ($6). The 9 hour journey passed through dramatic mountain scenery, with scattered hillside villages, deep gorges and finally, just before nightfall, a snow-clad volcano and a wetland holding Andean Gull and many egrets. There was depressingly little forest other than Eucalyptus plantations. Then watched 2 videos: a Chinese Kung-fu movie in English (with Spanish sub-titles) and a gory Mexican cops and robbers tale, complete with naked women. Taxi to "La Casa de Eliza" where I first stayed - a friendly, conveniently positioned hostel with communal hot showers, fridge, cooking facilities and phone (226 602), all for $5 or $6 a night.
The best trip report for this area is Guy Kirwan and Tim Marlow's from 1992. The Danish 1992 report (Molgaard et al) is also very useful, particularly for systematics, eg the tapaculos.
B Buenaventura (Pinas) LC Las Cajas (Cuenca) PB Podocarpus Bombuscaro PC Podocarpus Cajanuma
* indicates new sp. for JH; capitals that sp. was not seen by JH elsewhere on the trip, followed by the Latin name if not recorded in Jan's report; square brackets that the sp. was heard but not seen.
*YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL Anas georgica 4 at LC
Black Vulture Common except at LC, abundant at B
Turkey Vulture Fairly common except at LC
Swallow-tailed Kite 4 at PB and B, 14 together at Valladolid
Plumbeous Kite 3 at PB
*Grey-backed Hawk At least 2 at B with territorial behaviour
GREAT BLACK HAWK Buteogallus urubitinga 2 at B
Roadside Hawk 3 at B
Short-tailed Hawk 1 at B
WHITE-THROATED HAWK Buteo albigula 1 at PC
Red-backed Hawk 1 at LC
Puna Hawk 1 at LC
*Carunculated Caracara 2 at LC
Crested Caracara 5 at B
American Kestrel 1 near Valladolid
*BEARDED GUAN Penelope barbata 1 or 2 daily at PC
Andean Lapwing 2 at LC
Andean Gull 1 between Cuenca and Quito
Band-tailed Pigeon Abundant at PC
Plumbeous Pigeon A few at PB and B
Grey-fronted Dove A few at PC
*GOLDEN-PLUMED PARAKEET Leptosittaca branickii Small parties in flight at PC at least twice
*El Oro Parakeet At least 2 at B
*WHITE-NECKED PARAKEET Pyrrhura albipectus At least one party in flight at PB
*Rose-faced Parrot 1 at B; other parrots in flight may have included this sp.
*Bronze-winged Parrot Several in flight at B
*White-capped Parrot 2 at Valladolid
*Scaly-naped Parrot 15+ at PC
Squirrel Cuckoo A few daily at PC, 2 at B and 1 Loja - Zamora Rd
Smooth-billed Ani Common at B and from buses
[Striped Cuckoo Taped at B]
GREAT HORNED OWL Bubo virginianus Adult with fledgling at LC
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL Ciccaba nigrolineata 1 seen and another heard at B
[Rufous-banded Owl 1 heard at PC]
*SCRUB NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus anthonyi A small nightjar, thought to be this sp., flushed from scrub at B
Chestnut-collared Swift A few at PC and PB
White-collared Swift A few at PB and common at B
Grey-rumped Swift Fairly common at PC, PB and B
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT Aeronautes montivagus 3 at LC
*White-whiskered Hermit 1 at Valladolid
GREEN HERMIT Phaethornis guy Hermits commonly heard calling at PB and seen in flight were thought to be this sp.as 1 was trapped; strangely, others have not recorded it here
*Tawny-bellied Hermit 2 at B
*Grey-chinned Hermit 2 at PB
*EMERALD-BELLIED WOODNYMPH At least 1 at B
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird A few at B
*ECUADORIAN PIEDTAIL Phlogophuilus hemileucurus 1 at PB
*Chimborazo Hillstar 2 at LC
Shining Sunbeam 1 at PC
*Mountain Velvetbreast Singles at PC and LC
GREAT SAPPHIREWING 2 at PC
Collared Inca 2 at PC and 1 at B
*BUFF-WINGED STARFRONTLET Common at PC
*RAINBOW STARFRONTLET 1 at PC
*Sword-billed Hummingbird 1 at Laguna Llaviuco, LC
*TOURMALINE SUNANGEL A few at PC
*PURPLE-THROATED SUNANGEL 1 at LC
GLOWING PUFFLEG A few at PC
*Sapphire-vented Puffleg 2 at PC
Black-tailed Trainbearer At least 3 near Laguna Llaviuco, LC
GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER 2 at PC and 1 at Laguna Llaviuco
*PURPLE-BACKED THORNBILL Ramphomicron microrhynchum 1 at PC
*VIOLET-THROATED METALTAIL 1 at LC
*Viridian Metaltail A few at PC
Tyrian Metaltail Commonest hummer at PC and a few at LC
Blue-mantled Thornbill 2 at LC
*RAINBOW-BEARDED THORNBILL A male at LC
*Violet-tailed Sylph 2 males at B
Purple-crowned Fairy A few at B
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER Chloroceryle aenea 1 on the river at B
*HIGHLAND MOTMOT Momotus aequatorialis 2 at PB and 1 Loja-Zamora
*Coppery-chested Jacamar Only 2 singles, one nesting, at PB
Red-headed Barbet A male at PB
Emerald Toucanet At least 2 at PC
[*CHESTNUT-TIPPED TOUCANET Aulacorhynchus derbianus Taped at PB]
*Crimson-rumped Toucanet 2 at B
*Pale-mandibled Aracari 2 at B
[Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Heard at B]
*GREY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN Andigena hypoglauca At least 6 on 19.11 and 2 on 20.11 at PC
*BAR-BELLIED WOODPECKER Veniliornis nigriceps 1 at PC
Golden-Olive Woodpecker 2 at B
*Crimson-mantled Woodpecker Pair nesting at PC
Lineated Woodpecker 2 at PB
*Powerful Woodpecker 1 at PC
*Guayaquil Woodpecker 1 at B
Olivaceous Woodcreeper A few at PB
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper 1 at B
Strong-billed Woodcreeper 1 at PC
Spotted Woodcreeper 2 at B
*BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL Campylorhamphus pusillus 1 or 2 at B
Bar-winged Cinclodes Common at LC
*Stout-billed Cinclodes Fairly common at LC
*Cinnamon Hornero Fairly common Loja - Vallalodid
*Andean Tit-Spinetail At least 2 at LC
*MOUSE-COLOURED THISTLETAIL 2 at LC
Azara's Spinetail Common at PC; fairly common at B and LC
Slaty Spinetail A few at B
*Rufous Spinetail 1 at PC
*Many-striped Canastero A few at PC and fairly common at LC
Pearled Treerunner A few at PC
BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK Pseudocolaptes lawrencii (may well become Pacific Tuftedcheek P.johnsoni) 2 at B
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii 2 at PC
*Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner 2 at B
*Montane Foliage-gleaner 2 at PB
RUDDY FOLIAGE-GLEANER Automolus rubiginosus 1 at B
*UNIFORM TREEHUNTER Thripadectes ignobilis 1 at B
*Black-billed Treehunter 1 at PB
Plain Xenops 3 at B
Streaked Xenops A few at PC
[Great Antshrike Heard at B]
*Uniform Antshrike A few at B
Russet Antshrike 2 at PB
*FOOTHILL ANTWREN Myrmotherula spodionota A pair at PB
*YELLOW-BREASTED ANTWREN A pair at PB
*Esmeraldas Antbird 1 at B
Chestnut-backed Antbird 1 at B
*SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD Hypophylax poecilonata A pair at PB
[*SHORT-TAILED ANTTHRUSH Chamaeza campanisona Taped at PB]
[*UNDULATED ANTPITTA Grallaria squamigera Taped at PC]
[*PLAIN-BACKED ANTPITTA Grallaria haplonota Taped at B]
[*Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Taped at PC]
*CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA Grallaria nuchalis 3 or 4 at PC
*RUFOUS ANTPITTA Grallaria rufula 3 at PC
*Tawny Antpitta 8 at LC
*ASH-COLOURED TAPACULO Myornis senilis 2 at PC
*UNICOLOURED TAPACULO 2 at LC
*CHUSQUEA TAPACULO Scytalpus sp. nov.(a new sp. soon to be described by N Krabbe et al) 2 at PC
[*Northern White-crowned Tapaculo Taped at PB]
[*Andean Tapaculo Taped at PC]
*OCELLATED TAPACULO Acropternis orthonyx 1 seen at PC and 2 heard
RED-CRESTED COTINGA Ampelion rubrocristatus 4 at PC
*BARRED FRUITEATER Pipreola arcuata Up to 6 daily at PC
*Amazonian Umbrellabird 1 in flight across the river at PB
*BLUE-RUMPED MANAKIN Pipra isidorei Several at PB
*Golden-winged Manakin A pair at B
*CLUB-WINGED MANAKIN Allocotopterusdeliciosus 1 at B
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER Mionectes striaticollis A few at PC
Olive-striped Flycatcher 1 at B
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER Mionectes oleaginea 1 at B
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Singles at PB and B
*BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT Pseudotriccus pelzelni 1 at B
*Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant 1 at PC
*Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant 2 at PC
*BLACK-CAPPED TYRANNULET Phyllomyias nigrocapillus 2 Loja - Zamora Rd
White-crested Elaenia 1 at PC
Sierran Elaenia 1 at Valladolid
White-throated Tyrannulet 2 at LC
White-banded Tyrannulet A few at PC
*Tufted Tit-Tyrant 1 at LC
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant 1 at B
OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL Rhynchocyclus olivaceus 1 at PB
*FULVOUS-BREASTED FLATBILL Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus 1 at PB
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER Tolmomyias sulphurescens 2 at PB
White-throated Spadebill Singles at PB and B
Ornate Flycatcher Fairly common at PB and a few at B
*ORANGE-BANDED FLYCATCHER Myiophobus lintoni 1 or 2 at PC on 18.11
*Tawny-breasted Flycatcher 1 at B
Cinnamon Flycatcher Fairly common at PC and a few at PB
Smoke-coloured Pewee A few at PB and 2 at B
Western Wood-Pewee A few at PB
Black Phoebe Singles on river at PB and B
*CROWNED CHAT-TYRANT Ochthoeca frontalis 1 at PC
*Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant 2 at PC
RUFOUS-BREASTED CHAT-TYRANT Ochthoeca rufipectoralis 2 at PC
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant 4 at PC and fairly common at LC
*Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant 2 at LC
*SMOKY BUSH-TYRANT 1 at PC
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant 1 at LC
Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant 3 at LC
*Ochraceous Attila 1 or 2 at B
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1 at B
Tropical Kingbird Fairly common away from Podocarpus and LC
EASTERN KINGBIRD Tyrannus tyrannus 1 at B
Lemon-browed Flycatcher 1 between PB and Zamora
*SLATY BECARD A male at B
*One-coloured Becard A pair at B
Masked Tityra 2 at PB
*Turquoise Jay Fairly common at PC
Green Jay A few at PB and 1 Loja - Zamora Rd
*Black-billed Peppershrike 1 at PB
*Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo 1 at PB
Brown-capped Vireo Fairly common at PC
*Olivaceous Greenlet A few at PB
Lesser Greenlet A few at B
[Andean Solitaire Several heard at B]
Swainson's Thrush Fairly common at PB and 2 at B
*PALE-EYED THRUSH Platycichla leucops 2 at PB
Great Thrush Common at PC and LC
*Glossy-black Thrush 2 at PC
Black-billed Thrush A few at PB
*Ecuadorian Thrush 2 at B
Long-tailed Mockingbird 1 peering into the shrine at B
*RUFOUS WREN Cinnycerthia unirufa Fairly common at PC
Grass Wren 3 at LC
*Plain-tailed Wren A few at PC
*Whiskered Wren 2 at B
Bay Wren A few at B
House Wren Common at PB and 2 at Valladolid
Mountain Wren Fairly common at PC
White-breasted Wood-Wren 1 seen and several heard at PB
[Grey-breasted Wood-Wren Commonly heard at PC]
SONG WREN Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus 1 taped in at B
Tawny-faced Gnatwren 1 at PC
Tropical Gnatcatcher A few at PB
Brown-bellied Swallow Fairly common at PC and LC
Blue-and-White Swallow Common at PC, PB and B
White-banded Swallow A few at PB
White-thighed Swallow A few at B
*PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW Notiochelidon flavipes A few at PC
Hooded Siskin Several at LC, 2+ at Valladolid
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN Fairly common at B
LESSER GOLDFINCH Spinus psaltria At least 2 at B
Tropical Parula A few at PB, Loja - Zamora Rd and B
Blackburnian Warbler A few at PB
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT Fairly common at B; some may have been Masked
Canada Warbler 2 at PB
Slate-throated Redstart Common at PB and B
Spectacled Redstart Common at PC and fairly common at LC
*Grey-and-Gold Warbler A few at B
*Black-crested Warbler Common at PC
*Russet-crowned Warbler A few at PC
*THREE-BANDED WARBLER Fairly common at B
Rufous-collared Sparrow Common in the highlands
Yellow-browed Sparrow A few at PB
Pale-naped Brush-Finch Fairly common at PC
Rufous-naped Brush-Finch Common at PC and several at LC
*Tricoloured Brush-Finch A few at B
*SLATY BRUSH-FINCH Atlapates schistaceus At least 1 Loja - Zamora Rd
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Common at PC and 1+ at Valladolid
*STRIPE-HEADED BRUSH-FINCH At least 1 at PC
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL 2 at PC
Capped Conebill 2 at PC
*Grass-green Tanager 3 at PC on 17.11
Common Bush-Tanager A few at B
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager Common at PB and B
*Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager A few at PB
GREY-HOODED BUSH-TANAGER Cnemoscopus rubirostris A few at PC
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus atropileus Common at PC
*BLACK-HEADED HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus verticalis 3 at PC
RUFOUS-CHESTED TANAGER Thlypopsis ornata A few at PC
*Ochre-breasted Tanager 2 at B
White-shouldered Tanager 2 at B
Summer Tanager 2 at PB
White-winged Tanager A male at PB
VERMILION TANAGER Calochaetes coccineus A male at PB
Silver-beaked Tanager Fairly common at PB
Lemon-rumped Tanager Fairly common at B
Blue-grey Tanager Fairly common at PB and lower altitudes
Palm Tanager A few at PB
Blue-capped Tanager A few at PC
Hooded Mountain-Tanager A few at PC
*MASKED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER Buthraupis wetmorei 2 at PC on 18 & 20.11
*Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager Fairly common at PC
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager Fairly common at PC
*Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager A few at PB and Loja - Valladolid
*BLACK-CHINNED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER 2 at B
*GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER Iridosornis rufivertex A few at PC
BUFF-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER Dubusia taeniata 2 at PC
Fawn-breasted Tanager 2 at B
*Orange-crowned Euphonia A few at B
Orange-bellied Euphonia Fairly common at PB and a few at B
Orange-eared Tanager Fairly common at PB
Paradise Tanager Fairly common at PB
Green-and-Gold Tanager A few at PB
Golden Tanager Common at PB
Silver-throated Tanager 1 at B
Saffron-crowned Tanager 1 at Valladolid
Golden-eared Tanager Fairly common at PB
Spotted Tanager 2 at PB
Bay-headed Tanager Fairly common at PB and a few at B
Blue-and-Black Tanager Common at PC
Black-faced Dacnis 1 at Valladolid
Blue Dacnis Fairly common at PB
Green Honeycreeper 1 at B
*TIT-LIKE DACNIS At least 10 at LC
Swallow-Tanager A pair at B
*PLUSH-CAPPED FINCH Catamblyrhynchus diadema Fairly common at PC
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Common at LC
Variable Seedeater Common at B
Band-tailed Seedeater Fairly common at LC
Plain-coloured Seedeater Common at PC
*DULL-COLOURED GRASSQUIT 1 at B
White-sided Flower-piercer A few at PC
Glossy Flower-piercer A few at PC
*Black Flower-piercer 2 at LC
Southern Yellow Grosbeak Several Loja - Vallalodid
Buff-throated Saltator A few at PB
*Black-winged Saltator A few at B
Russet-backed Oropendola A few at PB
*Subtropical Cacique (split from Scarlet-rumped) A few at PB
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE Amblycercus holosericeus 1 at PC
Tayra Eira barbara 1 at PC
Forest Rabbit Sylvilagus brasiliensis A few at PC and LC
Tropical Red Squirrel Sciurus granatensis A few at both PC and PB
Squirrel sp. Sciurus igniventris 1 at PC
My last full day in Ecuador was mainly spent along the dusty road between Papallacta and the Alder Forest. There was low cloud on the pass but it was dry lower down. I reached Papallacta on the first bus from the main terminal; it left at 06.15 and passed the traffic island at Colon / Coruna close to where I was staying (at the highly recommended Casa Eliza, new tel. no. 233602) at 06.30. Buses run about once an hour but I had to hitch a lift back as the bus I wanted to catch did not stop.
I failed to find my four target species - Rufous-breasted Seed-Snipe (found below the microwave above the pass, according to Niels Krabbe), White-browed Spinetail (in the bushes above Papallacta, and Dusky Piha and Red-hooded Tanager (members of the Alder Forest feeding flock, which I couldn't find) - but did see the following birds of interest:-
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE 1 at Papallacta (P)
Carunculated Caracara 1 at Papallacta Pass (PP)
Giant Hummingbird 1 at PP
Mountain Velvetbreast 10 at P
Sword-billed Hummingbird 1 at P
Viridian Metaltail 1+ at the Alder Forest (AF)
[Masked Trogon Heard at AF]
Andean Tit-Spinetail 1 at PP
Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet 1 at P
Turquoise Jay 1 at AF
Pale-naped Brush-Finch Several at P and lower down
*OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus frontalis 1 in bushes above the AF
*BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS Hemispingus melanotis 1 in bushes above the AF
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 2 at AF
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager A few at P
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 5 at P
Saffron-crowned Tanager 2 at AF
Beryl-spangled Tanager 1 at AF
Blue-and-Black Tanager 5 at AF
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH Sicalis luteola 1 near PP
Bluish Flowerpiercer 1 at AF
Mountain Cacique A few at AF
This is not a full list but concluded a memorable trip. I saw a total of 721 species, 274 of which were new, and heard an additional 34, of which 28 were new.
Many thanks to Paul Coopmans, Guy Kirwan, Niels Krabbe, Mark Pearman, Mark Welfare and Nigel Wheatley for all their help, Graeme Green for a copy of his report, and my friends Jan, Eric and Vital for their excellent companionship and assistance.
ADDITIONS TO THE SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS
The Systematic List was produced by Jan on the basis of his personal observations. There were occasions when I birded separately and consequently had different records. The most significant of these are listed as follows, along with a few suggested modifications.
52. HARRIS' HAWK 6 at Punta Camero.
66. CARUNCULATED CARACARA 2 at Yanacocha.
80. GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE More likely to be WHITE-THROATED CRAKE L albigularis (per NK)
137. PALLID DOVE 2 singles at Manta Real.
PARAKEET spp. 100+ flying around the salt-lick on the river Napo were probably WHITE-EYED A.leucophthalmus and DUSKY-HEADED A.weddellii.
145. EL ORO PARAKEET 3 at Manta Real.
174. PERUVIAN PYGMY-OWL 2 perched on telegraph wires by the main road east of Guayaquil late p.m.
LESSER NIGHTHAWK Chordeiles acutipennis 1 at La Selva.
193. WHITE-WHISKERED HERMIT 2 at Manta Real.
195. LONG-TAILED HERMIT 1 at La Selva.
202. GREEN THORNTAIL 1 at Manta Real.
207. VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD 1 at the Cordillera de Chongon.
214. GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT 1 at Manta Real.
HOARY PUFFLEG Haplophaedia lugens 1 at the Nono-Mindo Road.
235. TYRIAN METALTAIL 2 at Yanacocha.
276. CRIMSON-RUMPED TOUCANET 2 at Tinalandia.
303. PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER 2 at Tinalandia, not at La Selva.
LESSER HORNERO Furnarius minor Heard on a river island at La Selva.
324. DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL 1 at La Selva.
344. STREAK-CAPPED TREEHUNTER 1 at Tinalandia.
348. PLAIN XENOPS 1 at Tinalandia.
WESTERN SLATY ANTSHRIKE Thamnophilus atrinucha 1 at Tinalandia.
367. SLATY ANTWREN 1 at Tinalandia and 2 at Manta Real.
DUSKY ANTBIRD Cercomacra tyrannina 2 at Tinalandia.
BLACK-THROATED ANTBIRD Myrmeciza atrothorax 1 at La Selva.
DOT-BACKED ANTBIRD Hylophylax punctulata 1 heard at La Selva.
418. WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN 1 seen and others heard at Tinalandia.
DWARF-TYRANT-MANAKIN Tyranneutes stolzmanni 1 heard at La Selva.
436. MOUSE-COLOURED TYRANNULET Heard at Engunga Hills, Progresso.
453.TUFTED TIT-TYRANT 1 at Cotopaxi.
456. MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT 2 at Tinalandia and 1 at Manta Real.
462. WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL 2 at Tinalandia.
463. ROYAL FLYCATCHER The form we saw was O.occidentalis - PACIFIC ROYAL FLYCATCHER - a split from O.coronatus.
467. BRAN-COLOURED FLYCATCHER 1 at Tinalandia and a few at Engunga Hills.
474. WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE 1 at Manta Real.
498. BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER 2 at Manta Real.
503. STREAKED FLYCATCHER 1 at Manta Real.
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH Turdus albicollis 1 heard at La Selva.
542. PALE-VENTED THRUSH Not recorded. [Misidentified as Ecuadorian Thrush by JH.]
564. SOUTHERN NIGHTINGALE-WREN Several heard at Tinalandia and 1 heard at Manta Real.
566. TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN 1 at Tinalandia.
603. ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW A few at Tinalandia.
610. CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH 2 at Yanacocha.
621. DUSKY BUSH-TANAGER 1 at Mindo.
623. ASHY-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER A few at Manta Real.
637. BLUE-CAPPED TANAGER 1 at Nono-Mindo Road and 2 at Cordillera de Guacamayos.
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAINTANAGER Buthraupis eximia 2 at Yanacocha.
YELLOW-TUFTED DACNIS Dacnis egregia - a split from Black-faced Dacnis: 2 at manta Real.
672. BLUE DACNIS 1 at La Selva.
676. CRIMSON FINCH-TANAGER [typing error]
679. BAND-TAILED SIERRA-FINCH 3 at Punta Carnero
680. COLLARED WARBLING-FINCH 1 at Punta Carnero and 2 at Cerro Alto.
696. WHITE-SIDED FLOWER-PIERCER 3 at Yanacocha.
698. BLACK FLOWER-PIERCER 2 at Cotopaxi.
713. SLATE-COLOURED GROSBEAK Heard at Tinalandia, La Selva and Manta Real.
718. CRESTED OROPENDOLA Not recorded at Manta Real.
ADDITIONAL SPECIES RECORDED AT LA FLORIDA MARSHES, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA ON 16TH NOV (06.15 - 07.30) on my way home
Spot-flanked Gallinule 1+
Bogota Rail 1
Yellow-hooded Blackbird 50+
Eastern Meadowlark 10
Apolinar's Marsh-Wren 2 heard
Andean Siskin 20+
Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch c.10
This site is adjacent to Bogota Airport.