Is there any better place on earth than the Amazon rainforest? No way. Ecuador’s Sacha Lodge, located on the western rim of the Amazon basin, lies right at the epicenter of the world’s highest known biodiversity. With an area bird list of well over 600 species, a week is just enough time to really get the sense of what this means, and maybe even to get a little overwhelmed. By birding on foot, by paddle and motor canoes, and up at the amazing canopy towers and walkways, we were able to cover a healthy cross section of the microhabitats and vertical strata, each an important contributor to such megadiversity.
Here are a few of the birds that I thought really made the trip special…bet you will have your own as well: Spix’s Guan from above at the metal towers; Agami Heron along a blackwater stream; scoped Ornate Hawk-Eagle; a Chestnut-headed Crake that pranced right out in front of the group; Hoatzin just because it is such a goofy and characteristic bird of the Amazon; the handsome Black-bellied Cuckoo across the river in the terra firme forests; Crested Owls on a day roost; Green-and-rufous Kingfisher; a responsive Chestnut-capped Puffbird; four species of beautiful jacamars, including the Yellow-billed; an impressive array of antbirds, but I think it was hard to beat that Black-spotted Bare-eye; Rusty-belted Tapaculo scoped as it perched at close range; some bizarre cotingas, but how about the Spangled and that Amazonian Umbrellabird?; that gorgeous male Wire-tailed Manakin; those cute little White-browed Purpletufts; Musician Wren in full song; some amazing lowland tanagers like Masked Crimson, Masked, and Opal-crowned; those bright yellow Oriole Blackbirds; and memorable views of all five euphonia species from the wooden tower one glorious morning. It was really a pleasure to bird out of Sacha, one of the Amazon’s most impressive and comfortable lodges.
For Mitch’s complete report and a full list of birds and other creatures seen on the tour, visit our tour page where you may download the triplists for this year as well as for 2010. We’ll offer four Amazonian Ecuador: Sacha Lodge tours in 2012, scheduled for January 13-22, February 3-12, June 29-July 8, and July 27-August 5. They will be guided by Willy Perez, Dan Lane, and Mitch Lysinger. You may check out complete bios for our Sacha guides and their upcoming schedules at this link.