Planning a Birding Trip to Ecuador

 

Planning a birding trip anywhere is a daunting task especially when the it is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet where almost every bird is a lifer. We had one thing we knew from the beginning, we wanted to go to Mindo. Other than that we knew very little about any other area. We began by planning the first part of the trip in Mindo. The specific birding lodges there are more expensive than we had hoped so we looked for alternative options. After surfing airbnb with no luck we learned about the Yellow House a birding hotspot with more reasonably priced accommodation.

© Pruducer.com

One of the marvelous locations we did not want to miss is Refugio paz de las Aves, famous for it’s Andean Cock-of the-Rock lek and reliable Antpittas. Another location I was exited for was the “Cueva De Los Tayos” or in english “Cave of the Oilbirds”. 

After Mindo we are planning to visit the Antisana Reserve where we hope to see an Andean Condor among many other new species we hope to encounter. We will spend the next nights in the small town of Papallacta. Although we had difficulty finding accommodation, airbnb proved to be helpful and we found a nice place to stay for two nights.

Probably the most difficult and logistically challenging part of planning was the Amazon. Many of the high end Birding lodges cost over one thousand dollars per person per night. We were looking for a Lodge at a lower price but we still wanted to see the same birds. We finally found one that fit that description, Shiripuno Lodge located in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve this Lodge has the birds at a reduced price.

Shiripuno Lodge

©TripAdvisor.com

Hopefully this trip will be a very rewarding experience with lots of lifers!

Pelagic Birding

Today we woke up at 4:30 am to leave on the Westport Seabirds trip to Gray’s Canyon. The sea conditions were very good. It was just after sunrise when we left the Marina. We saw high numbers Glaucus-winged Gull x Western Gull hybrids and Brown Pelicans. for the first stretch we saw many Pigeon Guillemots and two Heermann’s Gulls. The first Common Murres were soon accompanied  by Sooty Shearwaters and two quickly flying Cassin’s Auklets.

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Sooty Shearwater

In the distance we could see the shape of a Pink-footed Shearwater. We made our way to a fishing boat that had many seabirds including my lifer Black-footed Albatross and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. A Northern Fulmar also stayed close to our boat.

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Northern Fulmar

A we went further out we saw more Black-footed Albatrosses and four Leach’s Storm-Petrel. We began chumming at the depth of 2,500 feet. We had  both Storm-Petrel species and five more Black-footed Albatross.

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Black-footed Albatross

After about three hours around Gray’s Canyon we headed back it was rather slow bu we did see a Tufted Puffin in the distance. We arrived back just after 3:30 on the way in we saw a squabble of Heermann’s Gulls and just under 1000 Brown Pelicans perched on the walls of the Marina.

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Heermann’s Gulls
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Brown Pelican

All in all I got ten life birds and got seasick  twice so it was a very good day (but not the seasickness).