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Recommendations for birding Ecuador (1 Viewer)

barbet225

Member
I will be going birding in Ecuador this coming year and am wondering what time of year is best to see the largest amount of species and what locations would be best. I'm planning a 7-10 day trip of guided birding there, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
I will be going birding in Ecuador this coming year and am wondering what time of year is best to see the largest amount of species and what locations would be best. I'm planning a 7-10 day trip of guided birding there, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

I don't really think there is a bad time of year to bird-watch in Ecuador, it does not have much in the way of seasons (being right on the equator, doncha know).

My first recommendation would be a general one: in just 7-10 days, I wouldn't try to do too much. The density of new and exciting bird species is quite high in most places, so give yourself a few days to really get to appreciate all of them.

If I were in your shoes, returning to Ecuador for, let's say, 10 days, I would pick just two centres to tour from; one at either high- or mid- elevation, and one in the eastern lowlands (Amazon basin). It's difficult to pick just a few areas, but I will try.

If you want to go for a high-elevation place, I liked the Termas de Papallacta best. It's not really a birder's - type place, more of a spa hotel, but the birding around there was fantastic for us. Plus, it's very handy to the Papallacta pass, for a good chance at some of the really high-altitude specialties. (Bring winter gear, if you plan on visiting the pass; we didn't, and, when it started snowing on us, were very sorry we hadn't).

For mid-elevations, I like the Mindo area (western slope) best. Lots of good accommodation choices there, and it's relatively convenient to Quito.

In the lowlands, I've only been to one spot, Sacha Lodge, so I can't really say anything about how it stacks up against other lodges. But I can safely say this, it was a fantastic place for birds. I was there on a tour, but I think even if you go on your own, the lodge provides guides (in fact, I got the impression that getting away from the guides might be the tricky part!) The towers, esp. the "steel tower" (essentially, a large suspension bridge in the middle of mature forest) were excellent for both bird variety and photography; even having been there already, I can easily imagine myself going back there and just hanging out on the towers for a couple of more days.

Cheers,
Peter
 

lewis20126

Well-known member
Wuith just 7-10 days, I'd be tempted to focus on the west slope, out of Quito, including Mindo, Bellavista, Tandayapa and all the Mashpi sites (less the $1000 / night lodge there!)

cheers, alan
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
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Barbados
I would be tempted to go in the same direction: a little less than half of those day at Bellavista and the rest based in Mindo - during one of our days being based there, we drove with a guide further down the west side visiting the Milpe bird sanctuary and Rio Silanche. In total we spent more or less a week in those areas and feels that there is more to be seen. Going both east and west side would give more ticks but with less depth of coverage so you would likely want to go back to those same areas.

If you choose the east side, also remember places such as Guango lodge and San Isidro.

Niels

Niels
 

lewis20126

Well-known member
On the west side, do make sure you visit the Maspi sites - see Josh Beck's "Birds of Passage" website, for details

If you go east, Wild Sumaco is essential

cheers, alan
 

gdhunter

Well-known member
If you go east, Wild Sumaco is essential

I'm reasonably confident I'm not the only member concurring with that sentiment. It's a great reserve for birding & a well-managed lodge with friendly, helpful staff.

However, I spent far too little time in the Mindo area & adjacent lowlands, and will probably rectify that next time.

Gary H
 

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