Nature Notes

August 11, 2015

Ecuador – La Selva

Filed under: Birds,Ecuador — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Tropical Screech-Owl

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.


Sunbittern, Eurypyga helias

Great Tinamou
Cinereous Tinamou
Undulated Tinamou …Heard only
Variegated Tinamou
Bartlett’s Tinamou
Capped Heron
Cocoi Heron
Great Egret

Striated Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Turkey Vulture

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture

Swallow-tailed Kite

Slate-colored Hawk
Black Caracara
Red-throated Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara

Barred Forest-Falcon

Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon
Little Chachalaca
Spix’s Guan …Heard only

Grey-winged Trumpeter

Gray-winged Trumpeter, Psophia crepitans

Marbled Wood-Quail
Hoatzin Numerous around lake by Lodge
Rufous-sided Crake …Heard only on river islands
Gray-necked Wood-Rail

Sungrebe …On Lake by Lodge
Southern Lapwing

Lesser Yellowlegs

Least Sandpiper

Yellow-billed Tern
Black Skimmer
…Sand bars on Napo River
Pale-vented Pigeon

Plumbeous Pigeon
Ruddy Pigeon
Ruddy Ground-Dove

White-tipped Dove

Sapphire Quail-Dove …Heard only
Ruddy Quail-Dove
Blue-and-yellow Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Chestnut-fronted Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw
Dusky-headed Parakeet
Dusky-billed Parrotlet

Blue-necked Tanager

Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis

Cobalt-winged Parakeet
Black-headed Parrot
Orange-cheeked Parrot
Blue-headed Parrot
Yellow-crowned Parrot

Orange-winged Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo

Greater Ani

Smooth-billed Ani

Tropical Screech-Owl

Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Long-tailed Potoo
Sand-colored Nighthawk … Dusk on lake by lodge
Ladder-tailed Nightjar …Easily approached on river islands
White-collared Swift

Pale-rumped Swift
Short-tailed Swift
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift
Pale-tailed Barbthroat …Another dining room visiter
Straight-billed Hermit

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Rufescent Tiger-Heron,Tigrosoma lineatum

White-necked Jacobin
Fork-tailed Woodnymph
Olive-spotted Hummingbird
White-tailed Trogon

Violaceous Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Blue-crowned Trogon1
Ringed Kingfisher

Amazon Kingfisher

Blue-crowned Motmot

White-eared Jacamar
White-chinned Jacamar
Purplish Jacamar
Great Jacamar … Calling but very hard to finally locate
Collared Puffbird
White-fronted Nunbird
Yellow-billed Nunbird
Black-spotted Barbet
Lemon-throated Barbet
Ivory-billed Aracari
Many-banded Aracari
Golden-collared Toucanet

Golden-headed Quetzal

Golden-headed Quetzel, Pharomachrus auriceps

Cuvier’s Toucan
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker
Little Woodpecker
Chestnut Woodpecker
Cream-colored Woodpecker
Crimson-crested Woodpecker

Lesser Hornero
Dark-breasted Spinetail
Rufous-tailed Foliage-gleaner
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Black-tailed Leaftosser
Plain-brown Woodcreeper

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Long-billed Woodcreeper
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper
Straight-billed Woodcreeper
Striped Woodcreeper
Buff-throated Woodcreeper
Great Antshrike
Cocha Antshrike …A wary bird finally whistled in
White-shouldered Antshrike
Mouse-colored Antshrike
Cinereous Antshrike

Golden-headed manakin

Golden-headed Manakin, Pipra erythrocephala

Short-billed Antwren
White-flanked Antwren

Banded Antwren
Black-faced Antbird
Warbling Antbird
Plumbeous Antbird
White-shouldered Antbird
White-plumed Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Spot-backed Antbird
Dot-backed Antbird
Scale-backed Antbird
Black-spotted Bare-eye
Rufous-capped Antthrush
Black-faced Antthrush
Striated Antthrush
Ochre-striped Antpitta
Thrush-like Antpitta
Chestnut-belted Gnateater .. With thanks to Birdquest group for the heads up
Rusty-belted Tapaculo …Heard only
Screaming Piha

Plum-throated Cotinga
Spangled Cotinga

Red-capped Cardinal

Red-capped Cardinal, Paroaria gularis

Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Amazonian Umbrellabird …On River island
Wire-tailed Manakin
Blue-crowned Manakin
Golden-headed Manakin

Striped Manakin
Orange-crested Manakin
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Slender-footed Tyrannulet
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher
Ringed Antpipit
Gray-crowned Flycatcher
Euler’s Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher

Cinnamon Attila
Bright-rumped Attila

Lesser Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Boat-billed Flycatcher

Social Flycatcher

Gray-capped Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird

Red-rumped Cacique

Red-rumped Cacique, Cacicus haemorrhous

Eastern Kingbird
ork-tailed Flycatcher
Greater Schiffornis
White-winged Becard

Pink-throated Becard
Black-tailed Tityra
White-winged Swallow
White-banded Swallow
Barn Swallow

Black-capped Donacobius
Buff-breasted Wren

White-breasted Wood-Wren
Scaly-breasted Wren
Black-billed Thrush
Lawrence’s Thrush
Hauxwell’s Thrush
Long-billed Gnatwren
Violaceous Jay
Red-eyed Vireo

Orange-headed Tanager
Gray-headed Tanager

Fulvous Shrike-Tanager
Flame-crested Tanager
Summer Tanager

Silver-beaked Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager

White-lored Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Rufous-bellied Euphonia
Paradise Tanager
Green-and-Gold Tanager

Yellow-bellied Dacnis
Blue Dacnis

Green Honeycreeper

Purple Honeycreeper

Variable Seedeater

Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch … On sandy river banks
Red-capped Cardinal

Yellow-browed Sparrow …On sandy river banks
Grayish Saltator

Slate-colored Grosbeak
Shiny Cowbird

Giant Cowbird
…On Small River islands
Yellow-rumped Cacique

Casqued Oropendola
Crested Oropendola

Russet-backed Oropendola
Oriole Blackbird …On River islands.

In addition we saw Red Howler Monkeys, Spider monkeys, Black Mantled Tamarins and Gold Mantled Tamarins.

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March 29, 2015

Panama – Finca Hartmann

Filed under: Birds,Panama — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Barred Forest-Falcon, Micrastur ruficollis

Barred Forest-Falcon, Micrastur ruficollis

We had started out from Guadalupe early to go to Finca Hartmann , not far from the Costa Rica border. Carlos at Los Quetzals Lodge had arranged for Eto of Karitos Tours to act as our guide.Finca Hartmann is a coffee growing plantation which has operated a shade grown production very beneficial to birds.

Blue-throated Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis

Blue-throated Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis

When we first arrived we were treated to the sight of of a Turquoise Cotinga and a little later an immature Blue Cotinga flew in.Around us White-winged Tanager , Palm Tanager , Cherrie’s Tanager ,and Silver-throated Tanager took bits of fruit from a table when suddenly a Blue-crowned Motmot scattered them and took his share.The song of a House Wren mixed with that of a Clay-colored Robin .

Swallow-tailed Kite with Gecko

Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus

As we walked about we saw a half dozen Blue-headed Parrot feeding on fruit and were joined by the common Orange-chinned Parakeet .A single Crested Oropendola joined them. Suddenly a Swallow-tailed Kite flew over and then dived to take a Gecko. A Green Hermit moved in the flowering bushes along with a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird . They were later joined by the uncommon Long-billed Starthroat .The native Tawny Greenlet and Brown-capped Vireo were joined by a migrating Philadelphia Vireo .Eto noted the sound of a Barred Forest-Falcon ,and a tape brought it charging through the compound and eventually it settled in a tree for a few moments. It is a bird I had only seen previously in brief glimpses.In the creek out back of the buildings, a Buff-rumped Warbler moved about, bobbing its tail.

Long-billed Starthroat, Heliomaster longirostris

Long-billed Starthroat, Heliomaster longirostris

In the afternoon, we moved up into higher ground and picked up some good sightings. An Orange-bellied Trogon came in to look us over. A group of Fiery-billed Aracari came close and we saw that it included a Blue-throated Toucanet .As they left, Sulphur-winged Parakeet came in, a lovely bird. As we moved to more open woodland, we picked up Common Bush-Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia , Scarlet-thighed Dacnis , Blackburnian Warbler , Masked Tityra , and Olive-sided Flycatcher .

Guide to Bird Photography

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January 8, 2013

March 24, 2011

Figs attract Tropical birds, Panama

Filed under: Birds,Panama — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Silver-throated Tanager in Fig tree

Silver-throated Tanager in Fig tree

This strangler fig has used another tree to grow to about 40 feet and put out an abundance of fruit. I had hoped it would attract Golden-browed Chlorophonia )no luck_ but it did provide a meal for a number of interesting species. From the Chiriqui highlands of Panama.

Blue-Gray Tanager

Blue-Gray Tanager

White-throated Thrush

White-throated Thrush

Bay-headed Tanager

Bay-headed Tanager

Silver-throated Tanager

Silver-throated Tanager

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September 10, 2010

Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Harold @ 6:00 am

Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum

Palm Tanager nest

The Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum, is found from Nicaragua to central South America, where it is often common. It is often seen near human habitation and will come to bird tables for fruit. The sexes are alike.

Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum

Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum

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January 18, 2008

Ecuador – Tandayapa

Filed under: Birds,Ecuador — Tags: , , , — Harold Stiver @ 9:22 am
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Andean Cock of the Rock

Tandayapa Birding Lodge in Tandayapa Valley, Ecuador , managed by Iain Campbell and his wife Cristina, sets a very high standard. The lodge is very comfortable and the meals are good. They have set up an excellent system of trails and there is access to the trails at higher elevations. They are in the process of trying to regenerate the remaining pasture areas to forest and this venture seems to be proceeding successfully. The many hummingbird feeders on the patio are a great resource. Perhaps the best resource is Iain Campbell who is very enthusiastic about providing guests with a great birding experience.

I was collected at the airport and transported to the lodge, which is about 2 hours drive north of Quito. In the next few days, we traveled the visited the various trails at different elevations. We also made a visit to Los Bancos and a privately managed forest Mindo Lindas, north of the Tandayapa Valley. This was a lower elevation area.

Some specialties and surprises

Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl
Iain had mentioned that there was the first nestsite of the Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, a new species, on the upper trail of the lodge and we went up to see it. We were thrilled to find a juvenile bird peering from the small hole in an old tree, the first time unfledged young had ever been seen.

One of the lodge’s neighbors had had a few recent sightings of Oilbird, but we were actually looking for Lyre-tailed Nightjar when one flew across the road in front of us.

While 19 species were seen in the area, most were seen from the patio of the lodge where the feeders receive a lot of attention. Its rough duty to sit with a beverage and be able to leisurely study the many hummers close up.

Antthrushs and Antpittas
Although only the Rufous-breasted Antthrush and the Ochre-breasted Antpitta were seen, the Moustached and Scaled Antpittas were heard daily from the lodge trails, and the Giant Antpitta was heard at higher elevations.

Andean Cock-of-the-rock
There is a lek in the immediate area but the best view was of a nesting female adjacent to one of the lodge trails. We were able to approach within a couple of meters to get a great view.

Other animals
There had been a recent report of Spectacled Bear in the area. We saw White-fronted Capuchin, and the first sighting of Woolly Monkey for the area.

Turkey Vulture
Hook-billed Kite
…Los Bancos
Broad-winged Hawk
…Los Bancos
Roadside Hawk

Black-and-chestnut Eagle
Barred Forest-Falcon

Wattled Guan
Sickle-winged Guan
Dark-backed Wood-Quail
Band-tailed Pigeon

Plumbeous Pigeon
White-throated Quail-Dove
Bronze-winged Parrot …Los Bancos
Red-billed Parrot
Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl
Common Potoo
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk
Swallow-tailed Nightjar
Lyre-tailed Nightjar …seen by everyone in the party but me. ARGHH!!
Chestnut-collared Swift
White-collared Swift

White-bearded Hermit
Tawny-bellied Hermit
Green-fronted Lancebill

Brown Violet-ear
Green Violet-ear

Sparkling Violet-ear

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Andean Emerald
White-tailed Hillstar
Buff-tailed Coronet
Brown Inca
Collared Inca
Gorgeted Sunangel
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Booted Racket-tail
Green-tailed Trainbearer
Violet-tailed Sylph
Wedge-billed Hummingbird
Purple-throated Woodstar
Masked Trogon

Green Honeycreeper

Green Honeycreeper, Chlorophanes spiza

Red-headed Barbet
Toucan Barbet ..heard often
Choco Toucan
Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Powerful Woodpecker
Pacific (Pale-legged?) Hornero …Los Bancos area
Azara’s Spinetail
Rusty-winged Barbtail
Spotted Barbtail
Uniform Treehunter
Lineated Foliage-gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner

Montane Woodcreeper
Brown-billed Scythebill
Uniform Antshrike
Slaty Antwren
Long-tailed Antbird
Immaculate Antbird
Rufous-breasted Antthrush
Giant Antpitta …heard briefly at upper elevations
Scaled Antpitta …Heard daily
Ochre-breasted Antpitta
Moustached Antpitta …Heard daily
Narino Tapaculo
Spillman’s Tapaculo
Ocellated Tapaculo …heard briefly at upper elevations
Red-crested Cotinga
Green-and-black Fruiteater
Scaled Fruiteater
Olivaceous Piha
Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Golden-winged Manakin
Club-winged Manakin …Mindo Lindas
Olive-striped Flycatcher …Mindo Lindas
Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant
Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet
Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant …an addition to the valley birdlist (Oct 19th)
Ornate Flycatcher …Los Bancos area
Golden-crowned Flycatcher

King Vulture

King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa

Smoke-coloured Pewee …Mindo Lindas
White-winged Becard
Blue-and-white Swallow

Whiskered Wren …Heard
House Wren

Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
Andean Solitaire
Swainson’s Thrush

Glossy-black Thrush
Tourqoise Jay
Beautiful Jay ..both Jays heard but not seen
Brown-capped Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Black-billed Peppershrike
Tropical Parula
Blackburnian Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Slate-throated Redstart

Spectacled Redstart
Russet-crowned Warbler
Three-striped Warbler
Dusky Bush-Tanager
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager …Los Bancos area
Summer Tanager

Moss-backed Tanager …Los Bancos area
Glistening-green Tanager …Los Bancos area

Purple Honeycreeper

Purple Honeycreeper, Cyanerpes caeruleus

Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
Orange-crowned Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Golden Tanager

Silver-throated Tanager

Golden-naped Tanager
Metallic-green Tanager
Beryl-spangled Tanager
Black-and-white Seedeater
Slaty Finch

White-naped Brush-Finch …Los Bancos area
White-winged Brush-Finch
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch

Rufous-collared Sparrow

Black-winged Saltator

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