The following report is based on a trip to La Selva Lodge on the Napo River Amazon area from Oct 14-18, 2000. I had a number of requests from chatters to comment on the state of La Selva’s facilities and their new observation tower.
La Selva seems well organized in providing adequate food and shelter for up to 25 guests daily. The meals were quite good and varied. The cabanas were adequate but very basic. The trails were extensive, and although the main trail near the lodge obviously has high use, the animal life doesn’t seem seriously degraded. There are also extensive trails farther from the lodge as well as across the Napo River, which receive far less use.
The tree, which supported the old observation tower, had developed a crack and the tower became unusable earlier this year. La Selva has built a new tower which is about fifteen minutes walking distance from the lodge. It seems like a good placement is high enough to look down onto the main part of the canopy.
During my stay there, there was a tour group from Birdquest with their own very competent leader while the rest of the guests were not primarily birders. This resulted in my being able to spend all my time there exclusively with a local native guide named Olger. He had extensive knowledge of the birdlife including their calls, and a remarkable ability to imitate and attract birds. This was invaluable in pulling in hard to see Antbirds, Ovenbirds, Antthrushes and Woodcreepers.
In talks with others concerning La Selva and nearby La Sacha, the general conclusion seemed to be that the cabanas and food were of higher standard at La Sacha, but that birds were more extensive at La Selva.
The following list contains a few species, which were heard only (as marked), I have included them as they may be of interest.
Undulated Tinamou …Heard only
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Spix’s Guan …Heard only
Hoatzin Numerous around lake by Lodge
Rufous-sided Crake …Heard only on river islands
Sungrebe …On Lake by Lodge
Black Skimmer …Sand bars on Napo River
Sapphire Quail-Dove …Heard only
Sand-colored Nighthawk … Dusk on lake by lodge
Ladder-tailed Nightjar …Easily approached on river islands
Pale-tailed Barbthroat …Another dining room visiter
Great Jacamar … Calling but very hard to finally locate
Cocha Antshrike …A wary bird finally whistled in
Chestnut-belted Gnateater .. With thanks to Birdquest group for the heads up
Rusty-belted Tapaculo …Heard only
Amazonian Umbrellabird …On River island
F ork-tailed Flycatcher
Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch … On sandy river banks
Yellow-browed Sparrow …On sandy river banks
Giant Cowbird …On Small River islands
Oriole Blackbird …On River islands.
In addition we saw Red Howler Monkeys, Spider monkeys, Black Mantled Tamarins and Gold Mantled Tamarins.
All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix