6 weeks in Ecuador Trip Report (long)

Subject: 6 weeks in Ecuador Trip Report (long)
From: Trevor Quested <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 97 23:14:38 +1100 (EST)
I accompanied Gerry Richards on the trip.  It took 41 hours to go from
Sydney to Quito. Whilst in Los Angeles John and Irma LeVine took us out for
4 hours and then to an excellent dinner afterwards.  Thank you Birdchat!
Gerry planned the trip meticuously, studied Spanish for a year but as I'm on
the internet and he isn't, I'll give you the report.

We hired a Chevrolet (Suzuki) Vitara for US$78 per day from Budget in Quito.
We took with us a tape recorder each with a directional microphone, and one
100 watt spotlight which we were able to clip onto the car battery
terminals.  I took an angled 613 Kowa telescope and a camera with 400mm AF
lens.  In addition, Gerry took an altimeter watch which was extremely
helpful.  He also took night bird tapes and some other tapes which friends
had given to him.  

Often our method of birding was to be at the site at dawn, have breakfast
there, walk the trails if possible, return to the vehicle for a bite of
lunch around 1-2pm then bird somwhere nearby until dusk. Return to a town
and eat at a restaurant. Wherever possible we spotlighted. When it came time
to move we always did it in the afternoon and tried to do a reconnaisance of
the area first. We had good luck with the weather with only one day in six
weeks being a washout. 

We only camped twice. Once in Cerro Blanco so we could see Scrub Nightjar
and Peruvian Pygmy Owl, and once we slept in the car as it was snowing in
Cotapaxi National Park to see Noble Snipe. We stayed overnight at Cajanuma,
Podacarpus National Park to see Rufous-banded Owl and Band-winged Nightjar.

We stayed in Quito at the Hotel Majestic (US$19 per night) and left the next
morning heading east.  We stopped at a large supermarket at Tumbaco.  Here
we bought powdered milk and breakfast cereals. We used information in "A
Birders Guide to Ecuador" by Keith Taylor, and an excellent trip report by
Alan Lewis of a 3 month trip he and Richard Rollins did in 1995.
(Unfortunately only 10 copies were made of this report)

The areas which are mentioned in "A Birders Guide to Ecuador" by Keith
Taylor which we visited and the time we spent in each area are as follows:

Papallacta Pass                         1 afternoon
Cuyuja beside Maspa Chico River         1 morning       
Baeza radio mast trail                  1 morning
Guacamayos Ridge                        4 days  
San Rafael Falls                        1 day
Loreto Road around quarry at 2.8 km 
and along trails at 4.6km and 11.2km    4 days
Tena, around Auca lodge & beside river  2 days  
Jatun Sacha on the Napo River           4 days
Las Cayas Recreation area               1 day
Cajanuma, Podocarpus National Park      3 days
Bombuscara, Podocarpus National Park    2 days
Sabiango, Sozoranga & Utana             3 days  
Buenaventura                            1 day
Cerro Blanco Nature Reserve             2 days
Santa Elana Peninsula & around Zabotal  2 days
Rio Palenque Scientific Research Stn.   2 days
Tinilandia                              3 days
Mindo area                              5 days
Yanacocha                               1 afternoon and evening
Cotopaxi area                           2 days

Combined we saw 695 species. We saw 4 species of Tinamou, 31 species of
raptor, Sunbittern, Noble snipe, 23 waders, 12 pigeons and doves, 15
parrots, 9 owls, 2 potoos, 7 nightjars and nighthawks, 5 swifts, 63
hummingbirds, 5 quetzels and trogons, 3 motmots, 2 jacamars, 4 puffbirds, 1
monklet, 1 nunbird, 5 barbets, 4 toucans, 3 toucanets, 3 mountain-toucans, 2
aracari, 4 piculets, 13 woodpeckers, 10 woodcreepers, 3 scythebills, 2
cinclodes, 1 hornero, 1 tit-spinetail, 2 thistletails, 9 spinetails, 2
canastero, 1 prickletail, 2 greytails, 2 barbtails, 1 treerunner, 2
tuftedcheek, 1 woodhaunter, 8 foliage-gleaners, 3 treehunters, 2 xenops, 9
antshrikes, 2 antvireos, 11 antwren, 12 antbirds, 1 antthrush, 8 antpittas,
7 tapaculos, 2 cotingas, 3 fruiteaters, 1 fruitcrow, 1 umbrellabird, 1
cock-of-the-rock, 8 manakins, 85 tyrant-flycatchers, 1 schiffornis, 5
becards, 2 tityra, 6 jays, 1 peppershrike, 1 shrike-vireo, 2 greenlets, 1
dipper, 2 solataire, 2 nightingale-thrush, 10 thrush, 1 mockingbird, 1
donacobius, 18 wrens, 1 gnatwren, 2 gnatcatchers, 7 swallows, 3 siskins, 15
warblers, 6 sparrows, 9 brush-finches, olive finch, 4 conebill, 85 tanagers
and allies, crimson finch tanager, 17 finches and seedeaters, 7
flower-piercers, 4 grosbeaks, 5 saltators, 2 oropendolas, 5 caciques, 2
orioles, peruvian meadowlark, plus other common birds.

Ecuador is a well birded country so I won't put a full day by day list on
the internet but should anybody want more information I can provide it. I
found the birding very hard simply because I had so much to take in everyday
for six weeks. I also saw some of the best birds on this earth. 
Trevor Quested 
Sydney Australia                        
Phone. +61 2 9955 6266                  
Fax. +61 2 9959 4005                            

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