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Field Guides Tour Report
Holiday at San Isidro, Ecuador 2016
Nov 19, 2016 to Nov 28, 2016
Mitch Lysinger

Weather was on our side when we headed up to find Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

On our Thanksgiving getaway tour to Cabañas San Isidro and Guango Lodge we pulled it off once again, with rare and fabulous birds, comfortable lodging, and fantastic food! One of the real advantages of a trip such as this is that there are no long, monotonous drives to endure; the diversity is compact enough to ensure that new birds (and even rare mammals!) will keep coming right up until the last day... which they did! As a case in point, one of the biggest surprises of the trip came when we spotted a Spectacled Bear munching away on a terrestrial bromeliad for a major finale; this shortly after a few rare mountain-tanagers, by the way. The scenery on this trip is also breathtaking, with majestic snow-capped peaks and grassy paramo plains spilling down to the humid forested hillsides that take over at lower elevations and blanket the landscape. We just soaked it all in.

Great birds were in abundance, and each day added a chunk of new species to our list. We all had our favorites, but here is a short list of those that I think really made our trip unique: two different pairs of Torrent Ducks along rushing Andean rivers; a majestic, soaring Black-and-chestnut Eagle in clear morning light; that pair of Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes that first flushed, but then landed for scope studies; the "San Isidro" Black-banded type Owl (after a delicious dinner!); Blackish Nightjar scoped on a day roost; two Oilbirds chasing about in the evening; a diverse array of hummers, with Long-tailed Sylph, Mountain Avocetbill, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Golden-tailed Sapphire, and Gorgeted Woodstar; males of both Golden-headed and Crested quetzals for scope views; that cooperative male Coppery-chested Jacamar in the scope; Yellow-vented and Crimson-mantled woodpeckers; perched Carunculated Caracara in the paramo; a magnificent Military Macaw flyover; that friendly pair of White-bellied Antpittas at San Isidro; the rare and local Greater Scythebill at close range; oodles of flycatchers, but how about those handsome Variegated Bristle-Tyrants, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrants, and Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant; male Green-and-black Fruiteater; Dusky Piha building a nest; some cool wrens, but I think the Plain-tailed put on the best performance; White-capped Dipper on our last day for a little suspense; and an attentive pair of Black-capped Donacobius. The tanagers really stole the show this trip though, with a huge variety (common and rare), just gushing with color and endless patterns! We had a clean run of all of the possible mountain-tanagers -- seven in total -- including the rare Masked; and Golden-eared, Blue-browed, Paradise, Flame-faced, and Vermilion tanagers all dazzled us at one point or another as well.

I could just go on and on, but this is what the list is for, so read on and relive some wonderful memories! I had a blast birding with all of you during our week together, and hope to see you again soon out there somewhere in the field!


Note: The photos illustrating this triplist were shared by guide Mitch Lysinger. They are all species we observed and from sites we visited but may not have been taken during the tour itself.

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Carunculated Caracara is a classic species of the paramo. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
TORRENT DUCK (Merganetta armata colombiana) – A noble bird to start the triplist write-up with! Joe spotted our first pair along the Quijos river on our second day, and we celebrated the wonderful scope views.
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Anas georgica spinicauda) – Plenty of them out on Papallacta Lake; an attractive duck, with that large, yellow bill.
ANDEAN TEAL (ANDEAN) (Anas andium andium) – Alongside the previous species up on Papallacta Lake; this one has a duller plumage, and gray bill.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
ANDEAN GUAN (Penelope montagnii brooki) – Joe was on a roll, and tracked down this sneaky guan species for us at Guango.
WATTLED GUAN (Aburria aburri) – Active and vocal at San Isidro. We had our best looks it this one from the dining room porch one late afternoon as it sang from a visible perch. Sure wish it had been a little closer, but the scope views weren't bad.
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN (Chamaepetes goudotii tschudii) – Seen on two occasions: first along the Loreto road, when one popped into roadside trees, and then again along the trails at San Isidro when we flushed one up into a large canopy tree.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A few out on Papallacta Lake.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT EGRET (AMERICAN) (Ardea alba egretta) – A couple wayward birds perched up along the roadside near Baeza... nice spotting, guys.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
ANDEAN CONDOR (Vultur gryphus) – Stunning views at three juvenile birds as they soared above us across high, rocky slopes on our first day. What a glorious start to the trip!

Training the White-bellied Antpittas at San Isidro to come in for worms has made seeing this elusive species so much easier. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Leslie spotted this elegant species for us in the eastern foothills on one sunny morning.
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus serus) – We spotted a distant soaring bird on the lower slopes of the Guacamayos. It was a tad far, but we were still able to track it in the scope to see its distinguishing marks and shape.
BLACK-AND-CHESTNUT EAGLE (Spizaetus isidori) – Thank you, Leslie... great spotting! This scarce, highland eagle species had eluded us up until the last day when one finally decided to get up and soar at Guango Lodge. The views were exceptional, especially as it glided right in front of the green hillside.
ROADSIDE HAWK (MAINLAND) (Rupornis magnirostris magnirostris) – The common hawk with the rufous wing panels.
VARIABLE HAWK (Geranoaetus polyosoma) – A large hawk that has recently been re-classified as an ally to the next species... Variable Eagle has a nice ring, don't you think? We had our best looks on the first day at both light, and dark morph birds.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis) – Excellent looks of at least 3-4 birds on our first day was a real treat. This chunky eagle has thick wings, and a short tail, almost making it look as if they merge.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (NORTHERN) (Buteo platypterus platypterus) – The most commonly seen hawk; middle elevations are the stronghold for this species this time of the year. [b]
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – We had one soaring bird briefly at San Isidro.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Increasingly common in the pastures at middle elevations; not too long ago, this was a bird only known from the lowlands, but they have really moved up.
Thinocoridae (Seedsnipes)
RUFOUS-BELLIED SEEDSNIPE (Attagis gayi latreillii) – Once we got to the top, it only took us a few minutes of searched to find a pair. Sure, they took us by surprise when I unwittingly flushed them, but luckily flew to a nearby hillside for nice scope studies. We had clear weather this day, so finding them was much easier; on cloudy, windy days, these guys can be really tough.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – One came circling in, and landed for us, at a highland bog near the pass for good looks. [b]

No matter where the taxonomy on the "San Isidro Owls" ends up, there is no denying we saw the bird really well on the tour. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
ANDEAN GULL (Chroicocephalus serranus) – Seen as high flybys.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – A really nice scoped pair in the foothills along the Loreto rd. The colors and patterning of this species are really quite striking.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea bogotensis) [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (RUDDY) (Patagioenas subvinacea ogilviegranti) – One flew right by the group in the foothills.
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (RUDDY) (Geotrygon montana montana) [*]
WHITE-THROATED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon frenata bourcieri) – About half the group got quick, but decent views of this hefty quail-dove as it trotted down the Guacamayos trail.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata hypoleuca) – Abundant in the central valley.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Common in the warmer foothills, and lower montane zones.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (AMAZONIAN) (Piaya cayana mesura) – Scoped from the dining room porch at San Isidro. Always a thrill to see this large cuckoo.
Strigidae (Owls)
"BLACK-BANDED" OWL TYPE (Ciccaba sp. nov. 1) – Wonderful views at this large and splendid owl on our first night at San Isidro. The jury is still out as to how to classify this bird, and we discussed this at length. I just hope that there can be some way to resolve this in the near future, but permit issues and scant specimen material really complicate things.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
RUFOUS-BELLIED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis rufiventris) – A few of us gutted out the fog and rain up in the Guacamayos one evening, and we did snag pretty good views of this powerful nighthawk when it came zooming by - with some daylight to spare - before bagging the nightbird effort.
BLACKISH NIGHTJAR (Nyctipolus nigrescens) – Fabulous scope studies during the day in the foothills! We inadvertently flushed one, but relocated it without too much trouble... nice!
LYRE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Uropsalis lyra lyra) – No crazy, long-tailed males, but we did see one "half-tailed" individual when it zipped by a couple of times. We actually had our best views of a female-plumaged bird on a perch through the scope.
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)
OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – During a nightbird outing along the roadside at San Isidro - where we were hoping for looks at a potoo - we ended up finding this bizarre, nocturnal species, and had nice spotlight views at two birds as they chased about right overhead.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-CHESTED SWIFT (Cypseloides lemosi) – A couple of us could discern the white patch on the chest as they came over us with a group of swifts at San Isidro.
SPOT-FRONTED SWIFT (Cypseloides cherriei) – High overhead - as they often are - at San Isidro.
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila brunnitorques) – A medium-sized swift that we saw pretty well over San Isidro during our first morning there. It is always best to try and spot them as they fly across a hillside, for better looks at that chestnut collar.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – A huge swift species that we had some excellent views at, such as up in the paramo, when they came blasting by us at eye level numerous times.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – Seen a few times in the foothills as they glided overhead; very distinctively shaped.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
TAWNY-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis syrmatophorus columbianus) – Louisa, one of our key spotters for the trip, came through when she got us onto this forest-based species as it fed at a flowering (red) bromeliad along the trails at San Isidro! That long, white tail plume was in evidence.
WEDGE-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Schistes geoffroyi geoffroyi) [*]
LESSER VIOLETEAR (Colibri cyanotus) – What we called "Green Violetear" throughout the trip, and a fairly common bird at San Isidro's feeders. There has been a recent split that essentially eliminates the old name of "Green Violetear". So, there are now two species: Mexican Violetear (Mexico, south to c-Nicaragua), and Lesser Violetear (everything south).
SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans coruscans) – Similar to the previous species, but larger, more colorful, and with a blue chin and belly. We had them numerous times in the highlands, but they were also seen daily at San Isidro's feeders.
TOURMALINE SUNANGEL (Heliangelus exortis) – A staple at Guango's feeders. The males' magenta throat, when seen in the right light, is electrifying!

Sword-billed Hummingbird seems like an understatement. It could be called javelin-billed. Photo by guide Mitch Lsyinger.

SPECKLED HUMMINGBIRD (MELANOGENYS GROUP) (Adelomyia melanogenys melanogenys) – Common at San Isidro's feeders; looks like a White-eared Hummingbird that has been run through the wash one too many times!
LONG-TAILED SYLPH (Aglaiocercus kingii mocoa) – Staggering views of males at Guango and San Isidro.
MOUNTAIN AVOCETBILL (Opisthoprora euryptera) – A rare, high elevation east slope species that can be very difficult to find, as it tends to stay away from feeders, and in the understory of temperate forest. This was one of our targets on the final day since we had missed it on our way down the slope at the beginning of the trip. Along a trail at Guango, patience prevailed, and we had fine studies at a bird visiting its favored flowers.
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – Killer studies at magnificent, long-tailed males in the central valley a couple of times.
VIRIDIAN METALTAIL (ECUADORIAN) (Metallura williami primolina) [*]
SHINING SUNBEAM (Aglaeactis cupripennis cupripennis) – A mostly rufous-colored species of the highlands, but we did luck out when we had a couple of different birds perch in just the right light to show off that rainbow rump.
BRONZY INCA (Coeligena coeligena obscura) – Fairly common around San Isidro, where they hit the feeders with some regularity.
COLLARED INCA (COLLARED) (Coeligena torquata torquata) – Plenty of fine views of this "well-dressed" hummer!
SWORD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Ensifera ensifera) – The king of all hummers! One just has to sit back and marvel at the mechanisms that drove this species to co-evolve with flowers with such ridiculously long corollas... amazing! We were left dumb-struck with the views of that male that came to visit the feeders at Guango.
GREAT SAPPHIREWING (Pterophanes cyanopterus peruvianus) – Quick views as one fed at mistletoe flowers, and then flew through.
BUFF-TAILED CORONET (Boissonneaua flavescens flavescens) – I've never actually seen this bird on the east slope away from feeders... where do they hang out, other than at feeders here? This species has its spots staked out at Guango, and defends them with a vengeance.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CORONET (Boissonneaua matthewsii) – A real feeder hog at both Guango and San Isidro!
WHITE-TAILED HILLSTAR (Urochroa bougueri bougueri) – Although we did track one down for pretty good looks in the Guacamayos, we had our best views in the foothills at feeders.
RUFOUS-VENTED WHITETIP (Urosticte ruficrissa) – One female came to feed at some flowers right overhead on our very active morning along the Guacamayos trail.
FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa rubinoides cervinigularis) – This large-headed, heavy-billed hummer was a regular at San Isidro where they are rather well behaved, unlike the more aggressive coronets!
WHITE-BELLIED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus mulsant) – Common at Guango's feeders where they tended to buzz around certain favorite feeders.
GORGETED WOODSTAR (Chaetocercus heliodor) – This tiny woodstar was seen well numerous times; females were fairly regular at San Isidro's feeders, and a beautiful male popped in to feed at Vervain flowers in the foothills. It seems pretty evident that the sexes have separated out elevationally this time of the year.
WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus) – A beautiful, glittering male on our first day in the gardens around my house as it fed at Abutilon flowers.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti guimeti) – Good looks at this small species at the Vervain flowers in the foothills.
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata viridipectus) – Stunning males at the feeders in the foothills.
MANY-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Taphrospilus hypostictus) – This one can be a tricky bird to spot without feeders. With the feeders, however, they are one of the most numerous species, and we saw them well in the foothills.
GLITTERING-THROATED EMERALD (Amazilia fimbriata fluviatilis) – This turquoise-green throated species put in a couple of nice appearances at the feeders in the foothills; this was the one with the white stripe down the belly.
GOLDEN-TAILED SAPPHIRE (Chrysuronia oenone oenone) – Crippling views of this insanely colored species at the foothill feeders!
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GOLDEN-HEADED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus auriceps auriceps) – Fabulous views at a male that we called in at San Isidro; I couldn't believe how long it sat there for us, allowing prolonged, incredible scope studies.
CRESTED QUETZAL (Pharomachrus antisianus) – After a brush with one along the trails at San Isidro, we later on scored big time with a perched male along a side road near San Isidro for scope views. That red eye and emerald crest really stood out!

We had excellent looks at Stout-billed Cinclodes our first day. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

MASKED TROGON (Trogon personatus personatus) – The resident pair around the gardens at San Isidro cooperated on a daily basis, perching around at close range.
Momotidae (Motmots)
ANDEAN MOTMOT (Momotus aequatorialis aequatorialis) – Heard them a couple of times, but just couldn't ever get them into view. [*]
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
COPPERY-CHESTED JACAMAR (Galbula pastazae) – Beautiful views at a male in the foothills as it perched for scope studies.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (ANDEAN) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus albivitta) – The all green toucanet with the yellow on the culmen (top part of the bill). We had them a few times around San Isidro for scope views.
GRAY-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TOUCAN (Andigena hypoglauca hypoglauca) – This one gave us a hard time at Guango; we only ever caught one as it zipped by high overhead.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos ambiguus) – A flyby in the Guacamayos.
WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos tucanus cuvieri) – Pretty good scope views at a couple of birds as they moved through with Violaceous Jays and oropendolas in the foothills.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) [*]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus fumigatus) – Seen briefly along the trails at San Isidro, where we had a jumpy pair.
LITTLE WOODPECKER (Veniliornis passerinus) – Good looks at one during our very productive morning of birding on the south slope of the Guacamayos.
YELLOW-VENTED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis dignus baezae) – As many as I have ever had on a single trip; this one is usually much trickier to find. We had our fair share of quality views of this handsome little woodpecker.
BAR-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis nigriceps equifasciatus) [*]
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (GOLDEN-OLIVE) (Colaptes rubiginosus buenavistae) – Fine looks at a pair near Baeza one afternoon; another smartly plumaged woodpecker!
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii brevirostris) – Just about everybody got onto this stunner around the cabins at San Isidro... sure wish it had stayed around for a just a few minutes more!

We enjoyed an excellent scope view of Golden Grosbeak. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater) – We had one come flapping right by on the lower slopes of the Guacamayos, where it was right about at its upper elevational limit.
CARUNCULATED CARACARA (Phalcoboenus carunculatus) – Very nice scope studies up in the paramo on our first day when we scoped one as it posed up on a post, and then as it trotted around in the grass in search of food.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – One came zooming by at a distance as we enjoyed the condors!
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
RED-BILLED PARROT (Pionus sordidus corallinus) – After plenty of flyovers, we finally had a couple come in along the roadside at San Isidro on our penultimate day for scope studies.
SPECKLE-FACED PARROT (Pionus tumultuosus) – Never got them perched but we did have a couple of decent flyover encounters.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (BLUE-HEADED) (Pionus menstruus menstruus) – The common parrot in the foothills this visit; I don't remember them in such numbers this high.
SCALY-NAPED PARROT (Amazona mercenarius) – We had a flyover of about 25 birds in the foothills.
MAROON-TAILED PARAKEET (MAROON-TAILED) (Pyrrhura melanura souancei) – Fair looks at birds flying by in the foothills; some even caught the orange on the shoulders.
MILITARY MACAW (Ara militaris militaris) – This was a nice surprise when a single bird came squawking overhead during our day of birding in the foothills. This is a tough bird to find here in Ecuador, but we hit it right. A few nesting cliffs have been identified recently in the area and action is being taken to protect them.
CHESTNUT-FRONTED MACAW (Ara severus) – Two distant birds in flight.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (ANDEAN) (Thamnistes anabatinus aequatorialis) – With a flock in the foothills, and some got onto it as it sneaked about, but it was a devil.
STREAK-HEADED ANTBIRD (Drymophila striaticeps) – The Long-tailed Antbird complex was recently split four ways; "Streak-headed Antbird" is the new name for the form found in Ecuador. We had fine studies of this bamboo-dweller at San Isidro when a pair came in for a look.
BLACK ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides serva) [*]
WHITE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (BLACK-BELLIED) (Pyriglena leuconota castanoptera) [*]
WHITE-BROWED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus leucophrys leucophrys) – Nice views of a male in the foothills.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Grallaria ruficapilla ruficapilla) [*]
CHESTNUT-NAPED ANTPITTA (Grallaria nuchalis nuchalis) [*]
WHITE-BELLIED ANTPITTA (Grallaria hypoleuca castanea) – Hail the worm-fed antpittas! Sure makes seeing them a lot easier, and makes for a stress-free experience, for both sides. We enjoyed point blank views at the regular pair at San Isidro on our first morning there.
RUFOUS ANTPITTA (RUFOUS) (Grallaria rufula rufula) [*]
TAWNY ANTPITTA (Grallaria quitensis quitensis) – A common antpitta of the high paramo. We had a fantastic experience when we called one out onto the road for perfect views.
SLATE-CROWNED ANTPITTA (SLATE-CROWNED) (Grallaricula nana nana) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
BLACKISH TAPACULO (BLACKISH) (Scytalopus latrans latrans) – Tapaculos are often a real trial to see well, but we did find a cooperative pair of this species along the trails at San Isidro for good looks as they darted about.
LONG-TAILED TAPACULO (Scytalopus micropterus) – Almost! [*]
SPILLMANN'S TAPACULO (Scytalopus spillmanni) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BARRED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza mollissima mollissima) – A stealthy understory skulker. We had one very close at San Isidro, and almost got onto to it, but it slinked away all too quickly. [*]

Black-chested Mountain-Tanager was one of seven mountain-tanagers we tallied. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (AMAZONIAN) (Sittasomus griseicapillus amazonus) – Good looks at this small woodcreeper as it moved with a small flock in the foothills.
TYRANNINE WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla tyrannina tyrannina) – A large, hard to find woodcreeper of montane zones; we had fine studies of one along the trails at San Isidro as it hitched up a trunk right next to the trail.
STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (ANDEAN/NORTHERN) (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus promeropirhynchus) – I believe that this was the large woodcreeper that we encountered with our large flock along the Guacamayos trail, but it was just too quick to confirm. Those that saw it best though, were pretty sure that it did not have a noticeably decurved bill.
OLIVE-BACKED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus triangularis triangularis) – A hefty, splotchy plumaged woodcreeper that we had plenty of encounters with at San Isidro.
GREATER SCYTHEBILL (Drymotoxeres pucheranii) – Among the top birds of the trip; not only is it rare and localized, but it is also attractively adorned with rich rufousy tones... and also happens to sport that unbelievable bill! We really lucked out along the Guacamayos trail when we stumbled upon one with a flock for tremendous studies. You probably won't ever see this one again! Note that this species isn't even considered a "scythebill" anymore; now it is known to be more closely allied to the Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper of the Chaco regions.
MONTANE WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes lacrymiger aequatorialis) – The common, slender woodcreeper at middle elevations. We enjoyed them daily around the gardens at San Isidro.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans heterurus) [*]
STREAKED TUFTEDCHEEK (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii orientalis) – Fabulous views of a pair - perched side-by-side - along the trails at San Isidro. This is one of the more flamboyant species of the family, with those fluffy cheek patches.
RUSTY-WINGED BARBTAIL (Premnornis guttuliger guttuliger) – We had fairly cooperative, if somewhat jumpy, pair along the trails at San Isidro one afternoon.
CHESTNUT-WINGED CINCLODES (Cinclodes albidiventris albidiventris) – What was long considered one species - the "Bar-winged Cinclodes" - has been split three ways throughout the Andes. The form in Ecuador has been officially named this. It took us up until our last day to find this rather common paramo species, but we persevered and called in an active and responsive pair for excellent looks.
STOUT-BILLED CINCLODES (Cinclodes excelsior excelsior) – The larger of the two cinclodes species here in Ecuador, and the one with the thick, slightly decurved bill. We had some fine studies of them on our first day as we made our way up to the high paramo.
BUFF-FRONTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor rufum bolivianum) – Good looks at this handsome foliage-gleaner on the south slope of the Guacamayos.

Masked Flowerpiercers were conspicuous at Guango. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

MONTANE FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia striaticollis montana) – Wonderful views at this distinctive foliage-gleaner on the south slope of the Guacamayos.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris mentalis) [*]
STRIPED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes holostictus holostictus) – Quite cooperative along the Guacamayos trail this trip, and we had good looks at them as they crept about in the bamboo tangles.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens brunnescens) [*]
PEARLED TREERUNNER (Margarornis squamiger perlatus) – One of the most beautiful species of the family, with those immaculate white dots on the breast an belly! We had this dazzling, small flock bird a few times, and we never got tired of them!
ANDEAN TIT-SPINETAIL (Leptasthenura andicola andicola) – Killer studies of one when it came blasting in for knee-buckling views up in the paramo.
MANY-STRIPED CANASTERO (Asthenes flammulata flammulata) – Scope views of this streaky paramo species as it sat atop a small bush.
WHITE-CHINNED THISTLETAIL (Asthenes fuliginosa fuliginosa) [*]
ASH-BROWED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca curtata cisandina) – We had good looks at young bird being attended to by an adult along a side road near Baeza.
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae media) – Right next to the dining room at San Isidro, where a resident pair hangs out.
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis rodolphei) – Seen well in flight in the foothills as they slinked about in the grasses! Those bold rufous shoulder-patches were quite evident!
RUFOUS SPINETAIL (UNIRUFA) (Synallaxis unirufa unirufa) [*]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (SOUTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum sclateri) – A sprite little tyrannid that we had wonderful views of in the central valley at my house.
WHITE-TAILED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus poecilocercus) – Seen flitting about in the gardens at San Isidro.
WHITE-BANDED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus stictopterus stictopterus) – A well-marked species that graces the highland temperate forests, and we saw them multiple times for picture-prefect views.
WHITE-THROATED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus leucophrys rufomarginatus) – A large species of tyrannulet of high temperate forests (right up to treeline) that we had fine views of with a flock above Papallacta; the one with the puffy white throat and rufous wing patches.

Giant Conebill is a special prize in the high-elevation Polylepis forest, and we scored a pair straight away. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

SULPHUR-BELLIED TYRANNULET (Mecocerculus minor) – This yellow-bellied tyrannulet (with the long tail) was seen well around San Isidro during some afternoon birding.
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT (Anairetes parulus aequatorialis) – Remember this perky little flycatcher in the chaparral scrub in the central valley... the one with the streaky breast and thin black crest?
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (WHITE-CRESTED) (Elaenia albiceps griseigularis) – One quick flyby in the central valley.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea cinerea) – As its name implies this one is indeed tied to water, and we saw them along rushing streams a couple of times.
STREAK-NECKED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes striaticollis columbianus) – Some had this guy from the dining room porch.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus fasciaticollis) – Replaces the previous species in the foothills, where we found one right along the roadside.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (SUPERCILIARIS) (Leptopogon superciliaris superciliaris) [*]
RUFOUS-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon rufipectus) – Brief views of this one at San Isidro.
VARIEGATED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes poecilotis) – A tricky little canopy flycatcher to get a good look at, but we ran into a family group as they foraged with a flock at San Isidro down below the dining room for excellent scope studies. This species' pale mandible and buffy wing bars readily identify it.
MARBLE-FACED BRISTLE-TYRANT (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus ophthalmicus) – A close relative of the previous species, and often found with it. We had this one right next to the Variegated for nice comparisons; this one has an all black bill, yellowish wing bars, and a paler tone overall.
ASHY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias cinereiceps) [*]
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (GOLDEN-FACED) (Zimmerius chrysops chrysops) – Perched up nicely in the Guacamayos.
BRONZE-OLIVE PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus pelzelni pelzelni) – A shy understory species that we coaxed into full view along the trails at San Isidro.
RUFOUS-HEADED PYGMY-TYRANT (Pseudotriccus ruficeps) – The more attractive relative of the previous species, behaving much like it, but usually at higher elevations. We had an active close pair in the Guacamayos for top-notch views. Just love those rufousy wings and head.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus pileatus) [*]
RUFOUS-CROWNED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus ruficeps) – Almost completely confined to Chusquea bamboo stands. We had a pair put in a nice appearance along the roadside at San Isidro.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum peruanum) – Right along the roadside in the foothills.
CINNAMON FLYCATCHER (Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus pyrrhopterus) – Seen daily on the wires at San Isidro. It may be common, but it is a real beauty.
CLIFF FLYCATCHER (Hirundinea ferruginea sclateri) – At the usual spot in the foothills where they obligingly perched for scope studies.
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER (Nephelomyias pulcher bellus) – Pretty good looks at a small group in the subcanopy at San Isidro as they fed with a flock; the one with the peachy chest and buffy wing bars.
FLAVESCENT FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus flavicans flavicans) – A few of us had this rather drab species right around the cabins at San Isidro on our first morning there.
SMOKE-COLORED PEWEE (Contopus fumigatus ardosiacus) – Regular right around the gardens at San Isidro.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – Seen a few times, but most common in the foothills where they winter. [b]
BLACK PHOEBE (WHITE-WINGED) (Sayornis nigricans angustirostris) – Common along streams and in wet pastures.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (OBSCURUS GROUP) (Pyrocephalus rubinus piurae) – Steve, Joe, and I had a pair briefly in the central valley on our last bit of birding around the gardens at the San Jose.
RED-RUMPED BUSH-TYRANT (Cnemarchus erythropygius erythropygius) – Stunning views at a close bird perched on a wire right at the Papallacta Pass!
YELLOW-BELLIED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca diadema gratiosa) [*]
SLATY-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (SLATY-BACKED) (Ochthoeca cinnamomeiventris cinnamomeiventris) – We had a tough run with chat-tyrants in general, but did score nice views at a pair of this well-marked species for scope views in the Guacamayos.
BROWN-BACKED CHAT-TYRANT (Ochthoeca fumicolor brunneifrons) – Common in the paramo, and seen from all angles!
PALE-EDGED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cephalotes cephalotes) – Common in the gardens at San Isidro as they fed about on moths.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (SOCIAL) (Myiozetetes similis similis) – Common at edges, such as in the foothills.
GOLDEN-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes chrysocephalus minor) – Steve and Joe had good looks at one at San Isidro; the only other one we could find was in the fog.

Glossy-black Thrushes were just outside our doors at San Isidro. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus melancholicus) – An abundant bird throughout the neotropics, and a good bird to learn for comparison to other species.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GREEN-AND-BLACK FRUITEATER (GREEN-AND-BLACK) (Pipreola riefferii chachapoyas) – The male of this species is simply magnificent, and we had scope views of one along the trails at San Isidro that just knocked us out!
BLACK-CHESTED FRUITEATER (Pipreola lubomirskii) – Almost always a tricky one to see well; this species has some sixth-sense of how to stay out of sight, high up in the canopy. But, we persisted and a few of us had some good looks at a male as it darted about, and perched briefly in the open overhead along the trails at San Isidro.
FIERY-THROATED FRUITEATER (Pipreola chlorolepidota) – Leslie and I were the only two to get onto this rare foothill species when a male came blasting in, perching all too briefly.
RED-CRESTED COTINGA (Ampelion rubrocristatus) – Joe spotted this one for us from the bus as we birded our way up to the paramo on our first day. After jumping out to look for it, we soon relocated it for really nice scope studies, red crest and all!
ANDEAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola peruvianus aequatorialis) – Not sure where the regular birds at San Isidro were this trip... chalk it up to bad luck, I guess. We did connect with them in a small way in the foothills when we heard an active group calling in the valley below us, but out of sight. We did our best to try and spot one, and Louisa came through, spotting one, but it got away before we could give directions.
DUSKY PIHA (Lipaugus fuscocinereus) – A rare and large forest piha of the subtropical east slope. This is one of those toughies that we always hope for, but often miss, simply because hitting the right flock is so important. This year we did it, and in a big way, when we spotted them, and even tracked one - with a twig in its bill - all the way to the rudimentary nest it was building right along the Guacamayos trail... wow! [N]
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor versicolor) – Close views at the handsome male a couple of times.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus tenebrosus) – Clean views at a male in the Guacamayos; this eastern race (male) is very black.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLACK-BILLED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis nigrirostris nigrirostris) – Easy around the gardens at San Isidro this trip, where they frolicked about overhead on most days.
OLIVACEOUS GREENLET (Hylophilus olivaceus) [*]
SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius leucotis leucotis) [*]

One of the many colorful tanagers we observed was Saffron-crowned Tanager. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys leucophrys) – Common in the gardens at San Isidro where they come to pluck off the multitude of moths.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TURQUOISE JAY (Cyanolyca turcosa) – Common at Guango where we had many close birds for killer views.
GREEN JAY (INCA) (Cyanocorax yncas yncas) – Raucous and colorful... now this is a bird!
VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus) – Scope views in the foothills, right at their upper elevational limit.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (CYANOLEUCA) (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca) – The common swallow around San Isidro and in the central valley.
PALE-FOOTED SWALLOW (Orochelidon flavipes) [*]
BROWN-BELLIED SWALLOW (Orochelidon murina murina) – The swallow of higher elevations.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis ruficollis) – Common in the foothills.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
WING-BANDED WREN (Microcerculus bambla albigularis) [*]
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon musculus) [*]
MOUNTAIN WREN (Troglodytes solstitialis solstitialis) – A relative of the previous species, but usually more forest-based. Seen very well, not counting the poor bird in-hand that was recovering from a window crash.
SEDGE WREN (PARAMO) (Cistothorus platensis aequatorialis) – A pair came in for good views up in the paramo grasslands.
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus hypostictus) – The explosive, dueted song of this flashy canopy wren has to be heard live to be believed... wow! We got the entire experience in the foothills during a last stop in the afternoon.
PLAIN-TAILED WREN (Pheugopedius euophrys longipes) – We heard them quite close a couple of times, getting rained out on one attempt, so it took right up until the last day at Guango before we clinched the views we were hoping for. It was worth it though, when we found a pair along the trail right below us.
CORAYA WREN (Pheugopedius coraya) [*]
RUFOUS WREN (Cinnycerthia unirufa unibrunnea) – Another belated wren species that we found along the trails at Guango on the last day. We enjoyed some nice close-encounters of a family group.

Participant Judith Lamare shared this image of one of the many elegant orchids we came across.

SHARPE'S WREN (Cinnycerthia olivascens) – Pretty good looks at a sneaky family group along the Guacamayos trail.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (BLACK-CAPPED) (Henicorhina leucosticta hauxwelli) [*]
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (ANDEAN) (Henicorhina leucophrys leucophrys) – These guys were exceptionally tough to see this trip, even though they were vocal everywhere! We glimpsed them, but they were just not interested.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
WHITE-CAPPED DIPPER (WHITE-BELLIED) (Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus) – Finally, on our last day, when we scoped one as it fed along the edges of the Cosanga River.
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla nigrodorsalis) – Another bird that we had in the foothills right at its upper elevational limits. The scope views were more than satisfying of this enigmatic species.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ANDEAN SOLITAIRE (Myadestes ralloides venezuelensis) – We heard them throughout the week, but finally tagged in with tremendous scope studies of a singing bird on our penultimate day during some roadside birding at San Isidro.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – Fairly common in the gardens at San Isidro. [b]
PALE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus leucops) – We had pretty good looks at singing males through the scope at San Isidro, but had our best views in the forest where we came across a couple of agitated pairs that were probably in the process of breeding, or even nest building.
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (AMAZONIAN) (Turdus ignobilis debilis) – The common thrush in cleared areas of the foothills; we scoped one here.
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater quindio) – The largest Turdus; doesn't sound like much of a claim to fame though! This one is common in the highlands, from deep forest, to urban areas.
GLOSSY-BLACK THRUSH (Turdus serranus fuscobrunneus) – Prime scope views of males up and singing at San Isidro.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tolimensis) [*]
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – Good looks at a male on its wintering grounds in the foothills. [b]
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi alarum) – We hit a patch of them near Baeza.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – One of the most common birds this time of the year, and one of the few birds that we saw on everyday of the trip. [b]
THREE-STRIPED WARBLER (THREE-STRIPED) (Basileuterus tristriatus baezae) – Retiring this trip, but we did catch some decent views as they darted about along the trails at San Isidro.
BLACK-CRESTED WARBLER (Myiothlypis nigrocristata) – Superficially similar in plumage to a Wilson's Warbler, with respect to general pattern, but not at all like it behaviorally. It took us a few goes, but we finally connected with a cooperative pair at San Isidro for nice views.
RUSSET-CROWNED WARBLER (Myiothlypis coronata orientalis) – That bright orange crown really explodes when seen well, and the looks we had around the dining room at San Isidro were memorable.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – Common this time of the year in the understory of forested habitats; seen everyday of the trip, with a couple of full-blown males. [b]
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus ballux) – The common resident warbler at middle elevations.

Mountain Wren is a cousin of the more familiar House Wren. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

SPECTACLED REDSTART (Myioborus melanocephalus ruficoronatus) – Replaces the previous species at higher elevations, such as around Guango, but they do slightly overlap.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus leverianus) – Scoped in the foothills; the longest tanager, tailed-aided, of course.
RUFOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Creurgops verticalis) – An uncommon tanager that creeps about in the canopy with flocks. We encountered this distinctive species a couple of times during our birding in the Guacamayos.
BLACK-CAPPED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-CAPPED) (Hemispingus atropileus atropileus) – A chunky olive colored hemispingus that sneaks around with flocks in the understory of temperate forests; we had great looks at them at Guango.
OLEAGINOUS HEMISPINGUS (Hemispingus frontalis frontalis) – An almost markless bird, much the color of pea soup. An active and very vocal pair performed well for us along the trails at San Isidro.
BLACK-EARED HEMISPINGUS (BLACK-EARED) (Hemispingus melanotis melanotis) – The gray and buff hemispingus with the black face. This one is yet another bird that prefers Chusquea bamboo patches where it often runs with flocks; we saw them well a couple of times.
GRAY-HOODED BUSH TANAGER (RUBRIROSTRIS) (Cnemoscopus rubrirostris rubrirostris) – The peculiar tanager of temperate forests that constantly flicks it tail as it forages. It is also a really good looking bird, with its gray head, yellow belly, and pink bill; with the flocks at Guango.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus luctuosus) – Good looks at a bold male in the foothills.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A male perched up for scope views in the foothills.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo carbo) – Common in secondary woodlands in the foothills. The males of this species are especially attractive with that dark reddish, velvety plumage, and bright bill.
VERMILION TANAGER (Calochaetes coccineus) – It is always a thrill to see this brightly colored and uncommon species. This was another one that Louisa found for us, which was a particularly good spot since they were way up the hill. Luckily we were able to get them to come in close for some smashing studies.
HOODED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis montana cucullata) – A large mountain-tanager (the one with those bright red eyes) of highland forests. We got them at Guango - finally - on what was just about our last chance!
MASKED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Buthraupis wetmorei) – Fantastic views of this large and rare species up in the treeline forests... wow! Our final mountain-tanager list looked grim heading into the final day, but we made the right choice with respect to our clean-up plan, and snagged four new species in one morning! The Masked Mountain-Tanager is a special prize, and was the perfect way to round out our list.
BLACK-CHESTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Cnemathraupis eximia chloronota) – Superb scope views at a pair as they fed on mistletoe berries up in the treeline forests; another large and spectacular mountain-tanager that can be tricky to find.

The fancy wing covert patches on a Glossy Flowerpiercer really dress up an otherwise monochromatic bird. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

GRASS-GREEN TANAGER (Chlorornis riefferii riefferii) – Another flashy tanager that gave us a run for our money, but we did end up connecting with a group of three, well into our trip, along the Guacamayos trail.
LACRIMOSE MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (PALPEBROSUS GROUP) (Anisognathus lacrymosus palpebrosus) – Another exciting clean-up tanager that we found on the final day at Guango as one fed with a small flock at eye level.
SCARLET-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus igniventris erythrotus) – Stunning scope views at one in the Papallacta area.
BLUE-WINGED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (Anisognathus somptuosus baezae) – Common at middle elevations, and a real beauty.
BUFF-BREASTED MOUNTAIN-TANAGER (BUFF-BREASTED) (Dubusia taeniata taeniata) – We had one up and singing during some birding in the treeline forests above Papallacta.
YELLOW-THROATED TANAGER (Iridosornis analis) – Seen by some with an explosion of tanager activity in the Guacamayos, but there was so much going, some missed this one since it was sneaking about in the understory.
GOLDEN-CROWNED TANAGER (Iridosornis rufivertex rufivertex) – Wonderful views of this high elevation, colorful species with the same flock as the Masked Mountain-Tanager; that golden cap just blew us away!
FAWN-BREASTED TANAGER (Pipraeidea melanonota venezuelensis) – A few in the gardens at San Isidro.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Pipraeidea bonariensis darwinii) – We had a female plumaged bird on our first day, but managed to top these views on our last day when we scored excellent views at a full-blown male at the San Jose.
ORANGE-EARED TANAGER (Chlorochrysa calliparaea bourcieri) – A stunning male came down to check us out during some flock activity in the Guacamayos. This was the all emerald green one.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (WHITE-EDGED) (Thraupis episcopus coelestis) – Common at edges and secondary woodland; we saw the eastern form, with the white shoulder bar.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum melanoptera) – Common on the lower slopes of the Guacamayos and in the foothills; likes warmer climes!
BLACK-CAPPED TANAGER (Tangara heinei) – Nice scope views of a male in the Guacamayos. The name of this one doesn't accurately convey its true beauty.
SCRUB TANAGER (Tangara vitriolina) – Another tanager that is more attractive than the name implies. This was one of the final new birds of the trip when we snagged a pair at the San Jose, perched right in front of us at eye level.
BLUE-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanicollis caeruleocephala) – The mainly black tanager with the all blue head that we ran into a few times.
YELLOW-BELLIED TANAGER (Tangara xanthogastra) – Very nice studies in the foothills, where we had a pair below eye level!
SPOTTED TANAGER (Tangara punctata zamorae) – A rather drab species, but when seen well, handsome all the same! This one popped in for us in the foothills for close-up views.

Black-backed Bush Tanager was part of our big clean-up on the last day. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

BLUE-AND-BLACK TANAGER (Tangara vassorii vassorii) – A few of us had this high elevation Tangara out along the pipeline trail at Guango for some quality studies.
BERYL-SPANGLED TANAGER (Tangara nigroviridis nigroviridis) – Incredible views of this one in nice light was a treat.
BLUE-BROWED TANAGER (Tangara cyanotis lutleyi) – A tricky east slope species to get since it occurs at a narrow elevational band, and one has to find just the right flock. We had some nice scope views of this wonderful species in the Guacamayos when it came in and perched in the top of a close tree.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (TURQUOISE) (Tangara mexicana boliviana) – Close views at a group of three birds that foraged along the roadside in the foothills.
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis chilensis) – Crippling views at this Allstar tanager species in the foothills.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (BAY-AND-BLUE) (Tangara gyrola catharinae) – We lucked into a fairly close pair as they raided small yellow fruits from a tree just below is in a ravine; Guacamayos.
GOLDEN-EARED TANAGER (Tangara chrysotis) – Smashing views of this gaudy east slope species in the Guacamayos.
SAFFRON-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara xanthocephala venusta) – The most common Tangara of the trip, and seen numerous times right around the gardens at San Isidro.
FLAME-FACED TANAGER (Tangara parzudakii parzudakii) – Unusually scarce this trip, but we did run into a pair, one of which really perched up for memorable scope studies; Guacamayos.
GREEN-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Tangara schrankii schrankii) – One of the many colorful tanagers that we encountered at our active spot early on in the foothills.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis occidentalis) – Seen a few times in the foothills this trip, and a fine looking tanager that perched up in all of its glory for scope views.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus microrhynchus) – A quick flyby only in the foothills.
CINEREOUS CONEBILL (Conirostrum cinereum fraseri) – Our final possible conebill of the trip, and at the eleventh our, when we found one in the gardens at the San Jose.
BLUE-BACKED CONEBILL (Conirostrum sitticolor sitticolor) – Excellent studies at singing birds at eye level in the treeline forests above Papallacta.
CAPPED CONEBILL (Conirostrum albifrons atrocyaneum) – We had the mostly black males as they wagged about with the flocks at Guango.
GIANT CONEBILL (Oreomanes fraseri) – A special conebill that is only found in highland Polylepis groves, where it probes about (nuthatch-like) in search of arthropods under the flakey bark. I couldn't believe our luck when we landed awesome views of a close pair on our very first attempt!

One of the rarest birds of the tour was Masked Mountain-Tanager. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

GLOSSY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa lafresnayii) – The large black flowerpiercer that sports the bluish-gray shoulder patch.
BLACK FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa humeralis aterrima) – The all black flowerpiercer that is common on more humid forested slopes in the central valley.
WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa albilatera albilatera) – Good looks at a male at San Isidro.
RUSTY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa sittoides decorata) – Quick looks at a male in the chaparral of the central valley on our first day, but the few of us that birded out the last day around the gardens at the San Jose landing a superb male as it sat up and sang for us.
DEEP-BLUE FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa glauca tyrianthina) – An intensely colored flowerpiercer of the eastern foothill zones; also known as "Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer". We had some point blank views at one as we birded our way down the slopes of the Guacamayos.
BLUISH FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa caerulescens media) – Nice looks at one feeding in the large Cecropia trees next to the observation deck at San Isidro.
MASKED FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa cyanea cyanea) – A common feeder bird at Guango!
BLACK-BACKED BUSH TANAGER (Urothraupis stolzmanni) – Another last minute score when we found a small group of this high elevation bush tanager foraging right alongside the Masked Mountain-Tanager. What a flock!
PLUMBEOUS SIERRA-FINCH (Phrygilus unicolor geospizopsis) – Most folks got onto this high elevation species in the paramo a time or two, but they were not as obvious as usual.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina splendens) – A male in the foothills.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris) – Common along roadsides in the foothills, where we had scoped males.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis torrida) – Nice looks at a scoped male in the foothills.
BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER (Sporophila luctuosa) – We hit a large feeding group of them in a roadside field on our way to San Isidro for nice looks; the white wing speculum was very evident in flight.
PLAIN-COLORED SEEDEATER (Catamenia inornata minor) – Scoped males and females on our last day as we made our way down to the central valley.
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola intermedia) – We turned up a few of this wide-ranging species.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) [*]
GRAYISH SALTATOR (GRAYISH) (Saltator coerulescens azarae) – We scoped a pair in the foothills as they sat up in a small Cecropia tree along the roadside and sang.

Red-tailed Squirrel is a common sighting at San Isidro. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
YELLOW-THROATED CHLOROSPINGUS (YELLOW-THROATED) (Chlorospingus flavigularis flavigularis) – Note that all of the birds in the genus - that were long known as bush-tanagers - are now called collectively, "chlorospingus"; they have also been transferred out of the tanager family and are now considered members of the new world sparrows. We had this active and vocal species a few times on the slopes of the Guacamayos and in the foothills.
SHORT-BILLED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus parvirostris huallagae) [*]
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (NORTHERN ANDES) (Chlorospingus flavopectus phaeocephalus) – This dull plumaged Chlorospingus was common around the gardens at San Isidro.
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons aurifrons) – Scope views of one in perfect afternoon light near Baeza.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Arremon brunneinucha frontalis) – Leslie spotted one as it fed about along a trail near the cabins at San Isidro.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis costaricensis) – Abundant in secondary, and even urban, habitats.
SLATY BRUSHFINCH (SLATY) (Atlapetes schistaceus schistaceus) – A really fancy brushfinch, with that rich ferruginous cap and black malar streaks. We had them a few times with the flocks at Guango for good studies.
PALE-NAPED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes pallidinucha papallactae) – A pair emerged for us from the thick and gnarled treeline growth up in the paramo for killer looks on our last day... what an absolutely superb clean-up day!
YELLOW-BREASTED BRUSHFINCH (Atlapetes latinuchus) – One quick flyby on our last day.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra rubra) – Common this time of the year at middle elevations; they were regular around the lamp posts at San Isidro as they came in to snatch up moths. [b]
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – Large groups of them along our side road near Baeza, where they at times were one of the most common birds. [b]
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster chrysogaster) – Unforgettable views at a scoped male at my house in the central valley.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – We hit loads of them along our birdy side road near Baeza. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (CHAPMAN'S) (Amblycercus holosericeus australis) [*]
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SUBTROPICAL) (Cacicus uropygialis uropygialis) – Common in the gardens at San Isidro, and what a splash of red they reveal on the rump when they take flight. The "Birds ofEcuador" splits this eastern form out as the "Subtropical Cacique".
MOUNTAIN CACIQUE (GOLDEN-SHOULDERED) (Cacicus chrysonotus leucoramphus) – Plenty of fine looks at birds as they attended nests right next to the lodge at Guango.
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons angustifrons) – Common around San Isidro, and actively nesting around the gardens.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus decumanus) – Many of this mostly black-bodied, pale-billed oropendola in the foothills.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala pelzelni) – Exquisite males (and females) on our first day in the central valley; we had them for encore views as well later on.
BRONZE-GREEN EUPHONIA (Euphonia mesochrysa mesochrysa) – An east slope euphonia, mainly of the foothill zones. A pair came down low for us on one occasion in the Guacamayos, and gave us the full show.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster brevirostris) – One male graced our presence in the gardens at San Isidro.
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea longipennis) – This stunner danced around in some roadside trees in the foothills, but it was jumpy, so not everybody got onto it.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys) – They were close, but ended up to be too difficult to see up in the canopy. [*]
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus capitalis) – Beautiful trip-ending, scope views at a male at the San Jose... officially closing out our birding.
OLIVACEOUS SISKIN (Spinus olivaceus) – A siskin species of the foothills that we saw well at the Cliff Flycatcher spot.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – A common little guy around the gardens at San Isidro.
AMAZON DWARF SQUIRREL (Microsciurus flaviventer) – A few of us caught looks at one in the foothills as we birded a small flock along the roadside.
SPECTACLED BEAR (Tremarctos ornatus) – Bird of the trip... haha! Wow, this doesn't happen everyday, but this rare Andean mammal seems like it might be making a comeback thanks to added conservation measures... let's hope so. We got a tip-off from one of the groups staying at San Isidro that they had seen them right up at the pass, so of course, we had to give it a good scan on our way through on the last day. What do you know? After only about a minute of scanning the hillsides, we found one as it fed on a terrestrial bromeliad, and we enjoyed wonderful scope studies.
KINKAJOU (Potos flavus) – Louisa had one at San Isidro after dinner.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Up near the seedsnipe antennas we spotted the head of a doe as it just barely poked up over a nearby hillside.


Totals for the tour: 308 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa