• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

What's the best field guide for Ecuador? (1 Viewer)

But electronics does not like humidity and mud.
Yes, but neither does paper. Modern sealed phones are probably more water resistant.

The risk is why I take 2 different models. Through painful experience, I've learnt to save things to SD card and not rely on internal storage.
 
Yes, but neither does paper. Modern sealed phones are probably more water resistant.

The risk is why I take 2 different models. Through painful experience, I've learnt to save things to SD card and not rely on internal storage.
I recall once being in a place in India, which had a few books. When I opened a couple of them, they were badly damaged by the humidity0 moldy and almost falling apart. How do people protect their books if they live in such conditions, aircon helps I suppose?
 
I guess it depends on the actual humidity where the books are placed. I live in the Caribbean, and if I left a book in the area with roof but no walls it would eventually become ruined even with no rain falling on it. Indoors (where I use the AC once in a blue moon) they actually seems to hold up. In my case I believe that the sun on many days heats the room enough that the inside air dries a little and that is enough.

Niels
 
The guide I like is the McMullan guide by Jocotco Publishing but the one I was trying to remember that I also like are just the plates by McMullan. You can see the two field guides side by side although the smaller one is just the plates of a particular area, such as NW Ecuador. Both of these are perfect for 'in the field' as they fit into a binocular case. I like the information on the McMullan as it provides a small map with range, provides elevation, and provides a small habitat narrative. :)
 

Attachments

  • 1 b.jpg
    1 b.jpg
    952.2 KB · Views: 48
  • 2b.jpg
    2b.jpg
    942.4 KB · Views: 46
  • 4.jpg
    4.jpg
    887 KB · Views: 47
For a recent trip to Ecuador, I used Freile and Restall as well as McMullen and Navarette (2nd ed). I found the little "fieldbook" very handy for quick reference, although obviously out of date on many matters. Freile's text is excellent, and I really wish he had gotten into the Lynx FieldGuides series and had their illustrations (Restall's are accurate but mostly look like old skins in a museum drawer). McMullen's plates on wading birds and raptors are very good and a bit leisurely, while his plates for most passerines look out of focus, hurried, and and often have muddy colors. The more generous treatment in the first half is offset by crowding in the second half, where I really wanted the detail. We don't go to Ecuador for terns but tanagers. I would trade a slightly bulkier volume for sharper treatment of passerines. Otherwise, really concise information and useful field tips.

In any case, by chance I ran into Navarette in Quito and asked him if a 3rd edition was coming, and he said yes, in either late 2023 or 2024, and that they were working on improving the plates. He emphasized that they wanted it to work for birders, but that they also had a limited production budget.
 
For a recent trip to Ecuador, I used Freile and Restall as well as McMullen and Navarette (2nd ed). I found the little "fieldbook" very handy for quick reference, although obviously out of date on many matters. Freile's text is excellent, and I really wish he had gotten into the Lynx FieldGuides series and had their illustrations (Restall's are accurate but mostly look like old skins in a museum drawer). McMullen's plates on wading birds and raptors are very good and a bit leisurely, while his plates for most passerines look out of focus, hurried, and and often have muddy colors. The more generous treatment in the first half is offset by crowding in the second half, where I really wanted the detail. We don't go to Ecuador for terns but tanagers. I would trade a slightly bulkier volume for sharper treatment of passerines. Otherwise, really concise information and useful field tips.

In any case, by chance I ran into Navarette in Quito and asked him if a 3rd edition was coming, and he said yes, in either late 2023 or 2024, and that they were working on improving the plates. He emphasized that they wanted it to work for birders, but that they also had a limited production budget.
Good news, this has been my favorite book on the visits I have made (I have the first edition). I have not used the Freile and Restall.
Niels
 
I didn't see this mentioned?

I haven't been to Ecuador yet (soon...), however I have purchased this and IMHO is a good book for pre-trip studying, as the text includes a lot of useful info like specific sites for species, whether something visits feeders, ID (obviously), etc. It's also covering half of the content so less space is devoted to birds you won't see if you are visiting the Mindo region, for instance.

Obvious faults being is that its a photo guide, and not all of the photographs are of equal quality or show the distinctive features well. Also, West-East Divide means that some species you are likely to see at a place like Guango Lodge, which is frequently added to Mindo itineraries, are not illustrated, and stuff from the far southwest is. I think I would like the guide more if it focused on the Northwest and included some adjacent sites frequently on a Mindo-based itinerary, even if they dip onto the east slope.
 
I considered getting the photo guide to Western Ecuador, until I realized its taxonomy was no more accurate than the others; its photo examples were limited compared to the Merlin collection for a given species; and finally the realization that Nick Athanas had authored 600 species in the region for Merlin. It is also bulkier than Freile. Much as I like the idea of the photo guide, it is made redundant in many respects by the Merlin North Ecuador pack. It does have some site-specific tips, but nothing one cannot find through diligent reading of eBird reports by guides and independent birders.
 
I am considering a trip to Ecuador next Dec-Jan, has anyone possibly seen any prepublication tranches of Birds of Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands (Helm Wildlife Guides), which appears to come out 21. March of this year? I have never birded in South America before and own no books for any part of it. I've read the thread and looked around at other sites. I generally prefer paper to apps, because, among other things, I like to make notes in the margins, etc. when I do pre-trip prep/study.
Since I like books generally, I may well buy > 1 book, but I'd like to take just one on the actual trip. So I can live with buying a book or two that may not turn out to be "the best," in case this new volume ends up accompanying that slot (e.g. I will almost certainly buy one or two of the others recommended here - it's the "cost of building anticipation").
 
Get the book… hopefully a true pocketable field guide. If not, there are some I could rec. But birding by App is not easy given no internet in remote locations and without a reference, you are just looking at another bird so close to others, you will never remember. I led many groups in Ecuador birding so know. Also, be prepared to obtain many of your bird species by sound alone so, you need a guide that knows and lives in that area. In foliage areas, you barely catch sight of the bird. Jim

See post 44
 
But birding by App is not easy given no internet in remote locations and without a reference,
Which is why you use "apps" which don't require an internet connection. For example Merlin (if you want photos) and any number of others (now) which are based on the books and have line drawings. Or like me, you can take pdfs... ...So I take as many references as I can, but all of them on my phone
 
I agree that once downloaded the appropriate pack, Merlin is functional offline. The same goes for the Sunbird app for Ecuador birds (this one has positive and negative sides as discussed elsewhere).

This thread has many evaluations of the different books available.
Niels
 
Will this is where some people differ...apps or books. Go for it, what you like. I prefer a book....so enjoy the ap
 
For the record: My post was not intended to say that anyone should use apps exclusively. I was only stating that these apps are available offline.

My preference is to have both a book and an app available in the field.
Niels
 
I am considering a trip to Ecuador next Dec-Jan, has anyone possibly seen any prepublication tranches of Birds of Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands (Helm Wildlife Guides), which appears to come out 21.
Note that the forthcoming Helm guide is NOT a comprehensive field guide ("highlighting more than 320 regularly occurring species that can be seen by most visitors to the country, including the Galápagos"). I'm planning to take the Freile/Restall Helm field guide, the 2nd edition of the McMullan/Navarrete "fieldbook" (very compact) and a plate-only version of the classic Ridgely/Greenfield guide.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top