SHORT AMAZON BIRD PHOTO TOUR
|5 days, 4 nights
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.
Our Ecuador Amazon Bird Photo Tour is intended as a pre-tour before another of our Ecuador photo tours or as an extension following one of our Ecuador photo tours. If it's a pre-tour, the night of Day 1 is included in the tour price and the night of Day 5 is not. If an extension, then the night of Day 1 is not included in the tour price and the night of Day 5 is included. If you wish to take this tour by itself, then an additional charge will apply for any extra nights in Quito.
DAY 1 - QUITO
DAY 2 - QUITO & NAPO RIVER
International flights arrive by evening. Everyone meets at San Jose de Puembo Hotel. Those arriving a day early have free time to explore the city. Night in Quito.
Short 25-min morning flight from Quito to Coca followed by 2 hour (80km) powerboat ride down the Napo River. Various birds can be spotted along the river including Pied Plover, Southern Lapwing, Yellow-billed Tern, Large-billed Tern, occasional toucans, Swallow-winged Puffbird, and on rare occasions Orange-breasted Falcon. From there walk through varzea (seasonally flooded) forest along a boardwalk with porters carrying your luggage. You should have some opportunities to view and photograph birds en route. Finally, you'll cross a lagoon in dugout canoes to the lodge, situated in a private 2000 hectare reserve adjacent to Yasuni National Park. There should be some time late this afternoon to photograph birds from the viewing platform near the riverfront finca. Here you may find Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Lafresnaye's Piculet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Violaceous Jay, and Red-capped Cardinal. Night at Sacha Lodge.
DAYS 3-4 - SACHA LODGE RESERVE & YASUNI NATIONAL PARK
During your stay at Sacha Lodge you'll spend much of one day going farther down the Napo River to two established parrot clay licks. At the first lick the usual species present are Dusky-headed Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-crowned Amazon, and Mealy Amazon. The second clay lick is located in a cave entrance at a nearby site. The usual species there are Cobalt-winged Parakeets, the most abundant species, and usually a few Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets and Orange-winged Parrots. Sometimes Scarlet Macaws appear as well. The viewing platform at the first clay lick is about 100-150m away and requires at least a 200mm lens with teleconverter or 300mm lens for photography. The viewing area at the second clay lick is somewhat closer. This same day your guide should visit some sandbar islands in the river where it's likely to find Ladder-tailed Nightjar roosting on the sand and White-bellied Spinetail, Parker's Spinetail, Black-and-white Antbird, and Chestnut-bellied Seedeater in the scrub.
One morning will be devoted to the 135-ft. observation tower and the 94-ft high walkway suspended between three towers in the forest. From these vantage points it's possible to see and photograph a variety of canopy birds. Possibilities include Blue-and-Yellow Macaws, Chestnut-fronted Macaws, and Red-bellied Macaws flying above the forest, Black-throated Trogon, Blue-crowned Trogon, and Black-tailed Trogon, Ivory-billed Aracari, Chestnut-bellied Aracari, and Many-banded Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, and White-throated Toucan. Among the many other canopy birds that may appear are Black-bellied Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Gilded Barbet, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker, Spot-winged Antshrike, Spot-backed Antwren, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Spangled Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and White-browed Purpletuft.
On boat trips through the waterways, you can expect to find many aquatic and varzea forest birds including possibly Capped Heron, Cocoi Heron, Agami Heron, the very secretive and hence prized Zigzag Heron, Green Ibis, the bizarrely primitive Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Great Potoo, White-eared Jacamar, Paradise Jacamar, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Silvered Antbird, Dot-backed Antbird, Orange-crested Manakin, Black-capped Donacobius, and Masked Crimson Tanager.
You can walk several trails through both varzea terra firme forest. The variety of habitats supports a good diversity of birds. Many species are uncommon and secretive so every visit produces new surprises. Possibilities include Yellow-billed Jacamar, Collared Puffbird, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Spix's Woodcreeper, Mouse-colored Antshrike, Cinereous Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, Black-faced Antbird, White-shouldered Antbird, Sooty Antbird, Golden-headed Manakin, Wire-tailed Manakin, and numerous flycatchers and tanagers. You should also find a number of mammals around the lodge and along trails. Species of special interest include Black-mantled Tamarin, Common Squirrel Monkey, and Red Howler Monkey. Nights at Sacha Lodge.
DAY 5 - NAPO RIVER & QUITO
On this day depart the lodge early, re-tracing our route across the lagoon, boardwalk, and finally up the Napo River to Coca. Then take a late morning flight back to Quito. The flight normally arrives in early afternoon, leaving some free time that afternoon to relax or explore the city. End of tour at hotel. Night at San Jose de Puembo Hotel included if hotel not included at beginning of tour.