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Ecuador 2016 (1 Viewer)


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– OCTOBER 7TH 2016

This was an unexpected trip, organised at a week’s notice and we are very grateful to

Christina at Ecuador Nature Expeditions (www.enexpeditions.com) for the excellent


We had been due to go to South Africa on September 2nd but had to cancel the week before

because my doctor wouldn’t let me go, fearing I might have a heart attack. I was gutted. We

had been talking to Lawson’s at Birdfair and they knew how excited it was but I have to say

they were fantastic – well, more specifically, Mavourneen was. She pulled out all the stops to

be helpful and we ended up booking the same trip for next year. Anyway, when I lay in my

hospital bed and discovered I did not have angina after all, I texted the good news to my

husband and by midnight we had booked flights and a holiday in Ecuador!!


Travelling. We flew from Manchester to Amsterdam with Elvis Presley and friends and then

from Amsterdam to Guayaquil with KLM. It was a long journey! Our guide, Norby, was there

to meet us. Beautiful sunset, lots of traffic, interesting street performers. It took Norby an

hour to find our hotel (Hostel Macaw) which was very nice but didn’t do food. The owner

prepared us a plate of fruit though. The hotel was lovely and I would have no hesitation in

recommending it.


Breakfast (wonderful) was at 7 and we were ready to set off by 7h30. The streets were

deserted! No traffic, just lots of street sweepers. We had an interesting drive to the

Manglares Churute Reserve, where we collected our guide, Orlando. Norby was a mine of

information about the coastal area we were travelling through and indeed continued to be so

throughout the trip. By the end of it, I felt I could write a book about Ecuador but I will try not

to rant on in my report. Anyway, Orlando said he didn’t speak English but he was fibbing and

he was an excellent guide too. We picked up a few birds at the Visitors’ Centre ( Fasciated

wren, Red-necked parakeets, Ecuadorian ground dove....)and on the way to the

mangroves we stopped to look at a Pacific pygmy owl and a Limkin, amongst others and

also a family of Coatis rummaging for fruit. Having parked by the Visitors’ Centre, we

scanned the trees nearby and found a few more birds for our list – Yellow-crowned

euphonia, Boat-billed flycatcher, Amazillio hummingbird, Scarlet-backed woodpecker

then walked down to the river through a mist of mozzies, which were nasty little buggars that

bit through your clothes. Nothing to see on the way except for crabs, which were amusing to

watch and there were some really big ones. I don’t envy the men who plod through the

mangroves catching them to sell. Bit pongy in places. Our next stop was up the main road to

a track following the Cerruti River. This was actually dry though it floods in the wet season.

We drove up to a spot with a dam, water and swamp (Laguna El Canclón?) where we saw

lots of water birds and several Horned Screamers, which were on my want list.

Unfortunately we didn’t see one with a good “horn” and we learnt that they also have a hook

on their wings which they use for fighting. After we had dropped Orlando off at home, we

carried on driving through the coastal plain and its scrubland/cultivated fields (bananas, fruit,

sugar cane) to Puerto Inca for some good local food instead of our packed lunch. Our shrimp

ceviche and crab salad were delicious and cost us $21. It was unbelievable how many Snail

Kites we had seen along the route so far – you couldn’t go 100 yards without seeing one! Or

so it seemed. Scrub Blackbirds were also very plentiful along with both Black and Turkey

vultures. We didn’t stop again but pressed on to Umbrella Lodge, arriving late afternoon in

the rain. There were still some hummers feeding so we watched them for a while. Our chalet

looked onto forest and had a nice verandah. The room was smallish but had everything we

needed and the bathroom was very nice with a good shower. While we were sitting in the
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main lodge that evening, a Black and white owl perched on the beam above Roland’s head

and then flew outside. We had fabulous views of him both inside and out. As these owls eat

beetles, he would have been very pleased with those on the mesh screens which had been

attracted by the light. There were also some stunning moths on there. Another nocturnal

visitor was a very cute Kinkajou who came down to a feeding table. Kinkajous are members

of the weasel family. There were also Black Agoutis in the grounds and we saw them on

more than one occasion.

Manglares Churute: This 55213 hectare reserve protects the Churute Lake and its

surrounding deciduous forest and includes a large expanse of Mangrove Forest at the mouth

of Guayas River. The reserve is located in Guayas Province and its elevation ranges from 0

– 700 meters. The area can be easily visited from Guayaquil, though the closest city is

Naranjal. Churute Lake is home to the only population of Horned Screamers on the west

side of the Andes. The park has registered 300+ bird species, including close to 30

Tumbesian endemics only shared with Northern Perú.

There is very little mangrove left in Ecuador. This reserve is surrounded by reclaimed land

which is now used for agriculture, mainly sugar cane, rice and fruit. There are also a lot of

shrimp farms. The houses are built on stilts because of the risk of flooding in the wet season.

24 - Manglares Churute Reserve

Amazilia Hummingbird


Black Vulture

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Black-cheeked Woodpecker

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Blue-and-white Swallow

Blue-grey Tanager

Boat-billed Flycatcher

Cocoi Heron

Comb Duck

Crested Caracara

Croaking Ground-Dove

Ecuadorian Ground-Dove

Fasciated Wren

Fulvous Whistling-Duck

Great Egret

Grey-breasted Martin

Groove-billed Ani

Harris's Hawk

Horned Screamer



Little Blue Heron

Little Woodstar

Magnificent Frigatebird

Masked Water-Tyrant

Muscovy Duck

Neotropic Cormorant


Pacific Hornero

Pacific Parrotlet
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Peruvian Pygmy-Owl

Pied-billed Grebe

Plain-breasted Ground-Dove

Purple Gallinule

Red-billed Tropicbird

Red-masked Parakeet

Ringed Kingfisher

Roseate Spoonbill

Savanna Hawk

Scarlet-backed Woodpecker

Scrub Blackbird

Shiny Cowbird

Snail Kite

Snowy Egret

Spotted Sandpiper

Tropical Kingbird

Turkey Vulture

Wattled Jacana

Yellow-rumped Cacique

24 - Umbrella Lodge

Andean Emerald

Black-and-white Owl

Green Thorntail

Green-crowned Brilliant

Violet-bellied Hummingbird

White-necked Jacobin


We could hear Howler monkeys in the distance when we woke up. Outside it was cool and

cloudy but this gradually cleared to hot and sunny becoming increasingly humid.

Breakfast was at 6 then we hung about for a couple of hours to see what came down into the

trees and on the feeders before going for a walk down the approach road and back. Then

more time hanging about followed by lunch and more time hanging about followed by a walk

uphill and down the Umbrella bird trail and back. This is a good trail, well laid out with steps

where it’s steep and a handrail though it comes to an abrupt stop where a tree has fallen

down and blocked the way. We hardly saw anything on our walk and were back by 4. More

hanging about. We got talking to some other birders that evening and discovered we were in

the company of Arjan Dwarshuis, the Dutch birder on a year’s bird challenge. He was a

really nice lad and was with his girlfriend. We were pleased that Roland had spotted a

Gartered trogon that morning which was a new bird for Arjan. Juan Carlos, who is apparently

THE top guide, arrived tonight with another birder and two Chinese clients who we kept

bumping into as they were following a similar route to ours.

25 - Umbrella Lodge

Andean Emerald


Bay Wren

Bay-headed Tanager

Black-billed Mountain-Toucan

Black-crowned Antshrike

Blue-grey Tanager
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Ann and Roland Go Birding in Ecuador September 2016.pdf
Displaying Ann and Roland Go Birding in Ecuador September 2016.pdf.
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