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Field Guides Tour Report
Amazonian Ecuador: Sacha Lodge II 2018
Jun 29, 2018 to Jul 8, 2018
Mitch Lysinger & local guide

A definite highlight of the trip was our visit to the riverside clay lick, where we saw many parrots of several species. Here, a group of Mealy Parrots is clustered together with Blue-headed Parrots, while Dusky-headed and a few White-eyed Parakeets hang off the vines and clay bank above. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

Sacha continues to be one of those crown jewels in the Ecuadorian Amazon for those with our particular interest, because the birding is simply fantastic, and on top of this, the accommodations are more than anyone could hope for way out in the remote lowlands, bordering on quite luxurious, really! I still cannot think of a more idyllic destination when it comes to canopy birding; the lodge's two king-size tower set-ups never disappoint, and we certainly spent some quality time - both morning and afternoon - up high in the treetops here. Something that one learns pretty quickly in the tropics is how different the birding can be the second, and even the third time, at the same spot. This is especially the case from the towers; each of our visits was complimentary to the other, and added a fascinated new mix of species! As grand of a time as we had high above the forest floor, much of our birding was spent combing the understory of terra firme and flooded forests in paddle canoes, and even out on riverine islands, where there is an entirely different set of birds. The birds stratify out, specializing in different levels and habitat types, and the forests that surround Sacha typify this overwhelming biome.

Birding "touchdowns" are always a matter of opinion, but from a leader's standpoint, here are some species that I thought really helped push our trip into the realm of one of those few that will be tough to beat. Whether rare, or simply just a joy to watch, how about these (?): those crippling scope studies of that rare and shy Zigzag Heron, not to mention those adult Rufescent Tiger-Herons along the blackwater streams; soaring King Vultures in all of their splendor; some fabulous raptors, but how can you beat that pair of Harpy Eagles perched up at the metal towers; that stunning Sunbittern on our last canoe ride out from the lodge, that posed for us at close range; superb views of a Gray-breasted Crake out along the edges of Lake Pilchecocha, which was an unusual place for it, indeed; that striking Large-billed Tern out on the Napo River; those goofy and entertaining Hoatzins on Pilchecocha, that were always a welcome sight; the beautiful Black-bellied Cuckoo from the Kapok tower that came in for a look; four seen owl species, but the pair of active and calling Spectacled Owls really stole the show; an almost clean run of the toucan family possible in the area, such as those calling Golden-collared Toucanets we had in the scope; a pair of Cream-colored Woodpeckers during an afternoon canoe; plenty of parrot family sightings, but that activity out at the Napo clay bank - with hundreds of screeching parrots and parakeets - was the bomb (!); a shy Fulvous Antshrike, of which a male crept in for surprisingly nice views; a scoped and singing Short-tailed Leaftosser as it sang was certainly memorable; a healthy spattering of woodcreepers, but the Long-tailed that was hanging around the lake was by far the winner for aesthetics and excitement; a family group of the rarely seen Orange-eyed Flycatcher; some spectacular male cotingas from the canopy towers, with names like Plum-throated and Spangled; the rare and bizarre Orange-crowned Manakin during our canoe rides along the Orquidea stream; scope views of a stunning male Wire-tailed Manakin that was absolutely one of the big unanimous trip highlights; and a menagerie of colorful tanagers - especially from the towers - but I think Paradise got the most "ooh's" and "aah's".

One of the keys to our birding and logistical successes was our knowledgable local, Quichwa master guide, Oscar. His eagle eyes and surgical birding skills over the years have always helped send our trips over the top... and he can even paddle a canoe in the afternoon heat without breaking a sweat. Now there is a true birding warrior... thanks, Oscar!

Another great perk to the hours out in the field at Sacha are all of the other fascinating organisms that we tend to stumble across and enjoy; no matter who you are, how can you ignore all of those entertaining monkeys, weird insects, and cryptic reptiles? From Red Howler Monkeys to Golden-mantled Tamarins, and those playful Squirrel Monkeys, we had a fantastic run with the primates. Our night walks behind the lodge produced some wacky insects after scouring the foliage in detail, like those alien-like Whip-scorpions, or those colorful fungus beetles. We even managed to find a Cat-eyed Snake right near the cabins one evening thanks to some careful scanning, not to mention those Polka-dot Tree Frogs right around the butterfly house as they silently waited for their insect prey to happen by. All of this was so rewarding and really rounded out a trip to the lowlands of eastern Ecuador... big fun!

I'll sign off by thanking all of you for making this trip such a joy to lead... you really helped make this trip one to remember, and I hope to get out there in the field some time soon with all of you for another round of nature's wonders! So, now is the time to sit back, have a read through the list, and re-live some of our exciting finds. Good birding to all!

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

This Burrowing Owl was a surprise; they are generally not seen along the Napo. Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]
CINEREOUS TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinereus) [*]
UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) [*]
VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus) [*]
BARTLETT'S TINAMOU (Crypturellus bartletti) [*]
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
SPIX'S GUAN (Penelope jacquacu) – The large guan with the red dewlap that we saw well a few times.
BLUE-THROATED PIPING-GUAN (Pipile cumanensis) – Pretty hard to find in the region, so those scope studies from the metal towers were certainly a charge.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Seen soaring by some of us one afternoon.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
ZIGZAG HERON (Zebrilus undulatus) – Probably the bird of the trip for rarity and excitement! Once we had gotten down to ground level - after a wonderful morning up at the Kapok tower - Oscar mentioned to me that he had heard one call from the nearby swamp while we were up in the canopy. Well, it didn't take too much thought to come to an executive decision to make a run for the swamp from where it was calling! After a short hike, we got to the swamp edge, set up, and threw out some sound of the bird. Since this small forest heron is a species that tends to be more active at night, I was not sure of our chances, but I was pretty sure that this was probably an individual that had not had much contact with humans. After a bit of coaxing with sound, the bird actually came closer, but still stayed low to the ground and out of sight. Another few hits with the sound made the difference and convinced the bird to pop right up onto a branch above the swamp; it was a bit obstructed, but the scope views weren't bad. Luckily we were able to move the bird to a nearby perch for some crippling scope studies that we shall all remember... what a score!
RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum) – Fabulous views at close range of this striking swamp habitat heron.
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – A large and attractive heron that we saw out along the Napo.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Common along the edges of Pilchecocha.
CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus) – One seen flying at a distance from the Kapok tower.

We had some great times perched up on this tower! It's really special to be able to get canopy-level views of birds that would otherwise be very difficult to see. Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Seen from the paddle canoes along the Orquidea stream, as they stalked about in the branches above the blackwater.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
GREATER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes melambrotus) – The large, dark, forest vulture that is common in the area. We had fine scope views of them perched from the tower.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Some nice views of them in flight; like a smaller, more colorful condor.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – Nicely in flight from the metal towers.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)
HARPY EAGLE (Harpia harpyja) – Seeing any large forest eagle in the Amazon is always a thrill because they tend to be rare (occurring in very low densities), tough to find, and quite striking physically. Our perches from the canopy towers were ideal for just this, and we really lucked out when we scoped a pair of large eagles at quite a distance. The two birds were obviously very large and sitting in the same tree, unobstructed, and lucky for us, the light was good enough to allow confirmation of the key marks to confirm them as Harpy Eagles... yes!!! We were fortunate to have found them when we did, because after a few group cycles through the scope, the birds sailed off into the forest, one with what appeared to be a prey item. Maybe a nest nearby?
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) [*]
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – Some got to the scope in time for quick scope views from the metal towers when one perched briefly. Wish it had stayed even just 30 seconds longer!
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
SLENDER-BILLED KITE (Helicolestes hamatus) – Fairly common around Sacha; we had them a few times from the paddle canoes and in flight.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)
SLATE-COLORED HAWK (Buteogallus schistaceus) – Awesome scope studies from the metal towers.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
HARRIS'S HAWK (HARRIS'S) (Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi) – Seen in the central valley.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – A gorgeous hawk that we nailed from the metal towers.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – Crippling studies of an individual on our last canoe ride our from the lodge, as it posed for us along the canal, it just seemed to beg for the photographers in the group to soak it in... killer!
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE (Laterallus exilis) – Unbelievable views of a responsive bird out on the grassy islands of Lake Pilchecocha really surprised us; I had never even heard it at this spot, as it is mostly a river island species.
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) [*]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex) – Good looks at this boldly patterned tern feeding about out on the Napo River.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea)

Spix's Guan was seen a few times. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
SAPPHIRE QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon saphirina) [*]
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla)
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Common in central valley.
Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)
HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin) – We enjoyed some close encounters with this goofy and entertaining, turkey-like bird along the edges of Pilchecocha, and even one at a nest. The punk rocker crest and blue around the eyes give this one a look unlike any other species.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – Fine views of this iridescent and large ani species out on Pilchecocha.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO (Piaya melanogaster) – Fine studies of this fancy cuckoo species from the Kapok tower when we coaxed one in.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) [*]
TAWNY-BELLIED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops watsonii) – Oscar spotted this screech-owl for us during some night birding out around the butterfly house for awesome spotlight views.
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) – Amazing views of a bird on a day roost across the river at Anangu, near the parrot salt licks.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – Stunning spotlight views of a pair along the main boardwalk one evening really closed out the day with a bang!
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – The first time I had ever seen this wide-ranging species in the Ecuadorian Amazon; we spotted one perched on a log out on a river island, so somewhat of a regional rarity.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis climacocerca) – Right out on the edge of the Napo River, perched on cane grasses, as they usually are.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – A day roosting bird perched up in a Cecropia made for some spotting practice as they blend in so well.
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)
STRAIGHT-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis bourcieri) – Scoped at a lek behind the lodge.
GREAT-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis malaris) – Also at a lek, but this time across the river at Anangu.

Participant Bruce Cressman got a lovely shot of these two White-winged Swallows perched on a railing.

SPARKLING VIOLETEAR (Colibri coruscans)
BLACK-TAILED TRAINBEARER (Lesbia victoriae victoriae) – Nice views of a male in the central valley at the San Jose Garden Hotel.
GOULD'S JEWELFRONT (Heliodoxa aurescens)
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)
WESTERN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon melanorhynchus melanorhynchus) – Seen in the central valley before our flight to Coca, and fairly recently split from the following species.
BLUE-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon mellisugus) – A swamp edge specialist that we saw along the edges of Pilchecocha lake.
GRAY-BREASTED SABREWING (Campylopterus largipennis)
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata) – The intense, iridescent purples and greens of the male just blew us away.
OLIVE-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Leucippus chlorocercus) – A dull hummer of the river islands; we had perfect studies through the scope.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus) [*]
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – Excellent views of this and the previous species, especially from the towers.
AMAZONIAN TROGON (Trogon ramonianus)

Hoatzins provided us with comic relief when we canoed on Pilchecocha. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) [*]
Momotidae (Motmots)
AMAZONIAN MOTMOT (Momotus momota) – About half of the group got onto a skittish individual of this motmot.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) [*]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) – Nice comparisons of this and the following species from the metal towers. They are very different in size, but share similar black-and-white patterns.
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus)
BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)
WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)
SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
WHITE-EARED JACAMAR (Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis) [*]
WHITE-CHINNED JACAMAR (Galbula tombacea) – Great looks at this swamp forest jacamar during our paddle canoe rides around Sacha.
PURPLISH JACAMAR (Galbula chalcothorax) [*]
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
SCARLET-CROWNED BARBET (Capito aurovirens) – We finally cajoled in a pair out along the river after a few tries for nice scope views.
GILDED BARBET (Capito auratus) – Common from the towers.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis) – The one with the red belly band.
MANY-BANDED ARACARI (Pteroglossus pluricinctus) – This one has two dark breast bands.
IVORY-BILLED ARACARI (Pteroglossus azara) – Awesome looks from the towers.
GOLDEN-COLLARED TOUCANET (Selenidera reinwardtii) – We had a strong trip for seen toucans. Gloria expertly put this one in the scope for us along the Providencia trail one morning as a pair called up above us in the treetops.
WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (CUVIER'S) (Ramphastos tucanus cuvieri) – The largest of the toucans in the area.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (YELLOW-RIDGED) (Ramphastos vitellinus culminatus) – Similar to the previous species, but smaller and with a very different call.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
LAFRESNAYE'S PICULET (Picumnus lafresnayi) – A tiny woodpecker relative that we saw well from the towers.
YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus) – The head pattern of this woodpecker is almost clown-like!
LITTLE WOODPECKER (Veniliornis passerinus) – Out along the Napo in the riparian woodlands.
CRIMSON-MANTLED WOODPECKER (Colaptes rivolii) – In the central valley on our first morning at the San Jose hotel.
SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula)
CREAM-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus flavus) – Probably the biggest hit as far as woodpeckers go for the trip when we tracked down a pair along the Anaconda stream. What a stunner!

Participant Esther Cressman got this image as we sped along the Napo in the motorized canoe.

CHESTNUT WOODPECKER (Celeus elegans) – Sensational views of this chunky woodpecker along the Anaconda stream at close range as it perched for quite some time right above us.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) [*]
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – Excellent scope views of pairs of them from the towers.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater)
RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus) [*]
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – The Lone Ranger of the falcon world, with that black mask.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Very nice views from the towers.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
SCARLET-SHOULDERED PARROTLET (Touit huetii) – We didn't connect with this one at the in-forest parrot clay lick, but we did stumble into a noisy group from the metal tower one morning as they whirled about before taking off to another mysterious feeding site.
COBALT-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris cyanoptera) – Plenty of scope studies, especially from the towers.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – We really hit it right, out at the Napo-edge parrot clay lick, with large numbers of screeching parrots and parakeets on the salt bank; this is not always the case, so we were lucky. This species, Yellow-crowned and Mealy Parrots, and Dusky-headed and White-eyed Parakeets all really put on a grand show for us that we shall never forget!

The Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher is one of the gems we saw well from one of the canopy towers. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala)
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – As fly-overs.
BLACK-HEADED PARROT (Pionites melanocephalus) – Quality scope views from the towers knocked us out.
MAROON-TAILED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura melanura)
DUSKY-HEADED PARAKEET (Aratinga weddellii)
RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus) – A daily sight around Sacha.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – We had our best views one afternoon from the Kapok tower when a pair came flying by.
WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) [*]
FULVOUS ANTSHRIKE (Frederickena fulva) – Split from Undulated Antshrike. We had a cooperative male really put on a show along the canal near the main boardwalk at Sacha, which is unusual, as this one is a very shy bird that can be very difficult to see well... slam-dunk!
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) [*]
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Nice scope views of a calling male out on a river island.
PLAIN-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus schistaceus)
MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus murinus) [*]
CASTELNAU'S ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus cryptoleucus) – A large antshrike of river islands that we managed to tease in for nice views.
DUSKY-THROATED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes ardesiacus)
CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)
PLAIN-THROATED ANTWREN (Isleria hauxwelli) – Very nicely in the understory.
SPOT-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Pygiptila stellaris)
ORNATE ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla ornata) [*]
PYGMY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula brachyura) [*]

Here's the group, posing in front of one of the large trees of the Amazon forest. Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

MOUSTACHED ANTWREN (SHORT-BILLED) (Myrmotherula ignota obscura) [*]
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – With the flocks.
GRAY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula menetriesii) [*]
PERUVIAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis peruviana)
GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens) [*]
BLACK-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus myotherinus) [*]
SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia) – We had some good looks at a number of sneaky antbirds, but this one probably shines with respect to good looks, as they called and fed about along the blackwater streams.
PLUMBEOUS ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes hyperythrus) – Along the blackwater streams.
SPOT-WINGED ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes leucostigma)
WHITE-SHOULDERED ANTBIRD (Akletos melanoceps) – We called one up along the boardwalk on our first afternoon with surprising success.
SOOTY ANTBIRD (Hafferia fortis) – A nice responsive male behind the lodge performed well for us.
DOT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax punctulatus) – Posing quite nicely along the Orquidea stream.

The Black-capped Donacobius along the edge of Pilchecocha were not shy! Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

[SPOT-BACKED] ANTBIRD (NEW SPECIES) (Hylophylax [naevius] sp. nov.?)
COMMON SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Willisornis poecilinotus) – The back pattern of this understory species is so distinctive.
BLACK-SPOTTED BARE-EYE (Phlegopsis nigromaculata) – Brief views along the main boardwalk.
Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)
CHESTNUT-BELTED GNATEATER (Conopophaga aurita) – A tough one to track down, but we pulled in a male behind the lodge for brief, but good views.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
THRUSH-LIKE ANTPITTA (Myrmothera campanisona) [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
RUSTY-BELTED TAPACULO (Liosceles thoracicus) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
STRIATED ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza nobilis) [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
SHORT-BILLED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus rufigularis) – Unforgettable scope views of a singing bird along the main boardwalk, it was certainly a special moment as this can be a tricky bird to see well.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – A few in the canopy.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Essentially no patterning, other than its grayer face.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – The smallest of the woodcreepers that we saw with an understory mixed flock or two.
CINNAMON-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Dendrexetastes rufigula) [*]
LONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Nasica longirostris) – The Goliath of woodcreepers. We chased this one around a bit, but finally tagged in with some exceptional views along the edges of lake Pilchecocha... nice! This species uses its long bill to probe into epiphytes with surgical skill.
BLACK-BANDED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) – A large woodcreeper that we pulled out near the main boardwalk when a pair materialized for fine studies.
STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus) – In the swampy forests.
ELEGANT WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus elegans) – A shy woodcreeper of lower strata, and we called one in for some excellent looks.
BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus guttatus) [*]
DUIDA WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes duidae) – With a flock at Pilchecocha as it foraged about in the canopy.
CHESTNUT-WINGED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor erythropterum) – A canopy flock species that can be tough to see well as it forages high overhead, but we called one down to within only a few meters for staggering studies.
CHESTNUT-WINGED HOOKBILL (Ancistrops strigilatus)

Yellow-rumped Caciques were also frequently seen, and we enjoyed hearing them as well! Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

PARKER'S SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpecula) – Great looks at this and the following species out on the river islands as they skulked about in the riparian growth.
DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis) [*]
AZARA'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis azarae)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
WHITE-LORED TYRANNULET (Ornithion inerme) – Explosive and vocal up at the metal towers, this canopy tyrannid really gave it up for us for some full-frame scope views.
GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps) [*]
MOTTLE-BACKED ELAENIA (Elaenia gigas) – That tall crest was up and sporting that cotton-top that is so distinctive; we had great looks at this one out on the river islands.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
SLENDER-FOOTED TYRANNULET (Zimmerius gracilipes)
GOLDEN-FACED TYRANNULET (Zimmerius chrysops)
SHORT-TAILED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis ecaudatus) [*]
SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum) – Spot-on scope studies of this river island specialist... that amber eye, and intricate plumage really rounds out this handsome little bird.
YELLOW-BROWED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum) – A well-dressed little flycatcher of the canopy. Those towers really allowed us to get right up to where this colorful tyrannid calls home, and we had them from all angles... beautiful!
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (RIVERINE) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens insignis)
ORANGE-EYED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias traylori) – A rarely seen flycatcher of ecotonal forest edges, this species was discovered by the legendary Ted Parker in northern Peru a few decades ago, but was only fairly recently officially described. Not regularly seen in the upper Napo region, we were particularly fortunate to have run into an active family group - with loud, begging young - across the river from the lodge. It took some work to see them, as this species does know how to stay out of sight, but they eventually relented, offering up some excellent scope studies.
GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris)
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) [*]
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (FUSCOUS) (Cnemotriccus fuscatus fuscatior) – Good looks at this drab species out on the river islands.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – Always a joy to see; we had them in the central valley at the San Jose.
DRAB WATER TYRANT (Ochthornis littoralis) – Spectacular in its drabness; out along the edge of the Napo.
RUFOUS-TAILED FLATBILL (Ramphotrigon ruficauda) [*]

Participant Bruce Cressman took this lovely sunset image along the lake one evening.

CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus)
CITRON-BELLIED ATTILA (Attila citriniventris) [*]
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]
GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus swainsoni)
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) [a]
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)

We got some great looks at the lovely Opal-crowned Tanager from the canopy towers. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

DUSKY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes luteiventris)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)
CROWNED SLATY FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus aurantioatrocristatus)
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – An uncommon species that we eventually connected with from the Kapok tower for scope studies.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – Right at the Zigzag Heron spot, when we called in a vocal group for good looks.
AMAZONIAN UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus ornatus) – Always a thrill to see, and we had some terrific looks one morning out along the Napo.
PLUM-THROATED COTINGA (Cotinga maynana) – Many of the male cotingas are simply stunning, with their outrageous blues and purples. This and the following species are no exceptions, and we enjoyed some very satisfying views from the towers a few times.
SPANGLED COTINGA (Cotinga cayana)
SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans) – We got a huge kick as we watched a calling male belt out its deafening lek song... wow!
BARE-NECKED FRUITCROW (Gymnoderus foetidus) – A large cotinga with that distinctive, almost directionless flight; we had some fine scope studies of them, especially from the towers.
Pipridae (Manakins)
DWARF TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes stolzmanni) [*]
BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata)
ORANGE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Heterocercus aurantiivertex) – Good numbers of this almost Ecuadorian endemic along the Orquidea stream and even along the main boardwalk, where I had never had them... must be a new territory. We even got some glimpses of the male's flaming crest!
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) [*]
WIRE-TAILED MANAKIN (Pipra filicauda) – One of the group favorites, when we spied a perched male through the scope behind the lodge as it sat quietly... knee-buckling to say the least.
WING-BARRED PIPRITES (Piprites chloris) [*]
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

Spectacled Caiman lived around the lake, and we even saw them near the dining room. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

WHITE-BROWED PURPLETUFT (Iodopleura isabellae) – Once considered a cotinga, but genetic evidence has shown it to be more closely allied to the becard family. We saw this little canopy beauty at the tower a few times as they flitted about in the treetops.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
PINK-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus minor) – Excellent views of this large becard from the canopy towers.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps)
DUSKY-CAPPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia hypoxantha) [*]
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
VIOLACEOUS JAY (Cyanocorax violaceus) – A large and raucous jay of the lowlands that we saw on most days.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)
WHITE-BANDED SWALLOW (Atticora fasciata) – An elegant swallow of water courses.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

This Great Potoo blends in very well to the Cecropia tree it is perched on. Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus) [*]
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) [*]
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus) [*]
CORAYA WREN (Pheugopedius coraya) [*]
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) [*]
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) [*]
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla) – Plenty of fine studies out along the edges of lake Pilchecocha as they frolicked about in noisy, active pairs.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
HAUXWELL'S THRUSH (Turdus hauxwelli)
BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (Turdus ignobilis)
GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis)
MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus) – The longest tanager!
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)
FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus cristatus) – Eye level views from the canopy towers were a treat, especially with the male's bright red crest.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)
MASKED CRIMSON TANAGER (Ramphocelus nigrogularis) – This one has a velvety aspect to its bold plumage; we had them numerous times for stellar views.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Pipraeidea bonariensis) – Nice scope views of a male in the central valley on our first day.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – We saw the eastern form with the white shoulder bar.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – This one goes to show that not all tanagers are created equal, but hey, it does have its charm when seen in the right light.
YELLOW-BELLIED TANAGER (Ixothraupis xanthogastra) – Wonderful views of a small foraging group from the metal towers on our first full day at the lodge.
MASKED TANAGER (Tangara nigrocincta) – Most common from the Kapok tower, where they perched right above us at close range.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – There isn't much particularly turquoise about this one, but it is a stunner nonetheless.
PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis) – Appropriately named, because one does really feel as if in paradise when in the presence of this electric tanager species. We enjoyed plenty of fine views from the towers.
OPAL-RUMPED TANAGER (Tangara velia) – Fabulous studies of both this and the following species from the canopy towers as they breezed through right at eye level.
OPAL-CROWNED TANAGER (Tangara callophrys)

The beautifully colored and well-named Polka-dot Tree Frogs were some of the interesting non-avian sightings we had. Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

GREEN-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Tangara schrankii) – It took some work after they got away a few times, but we eventually caught up with them at the Kapok tower on our last afternoon.
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis)
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) – A nice trip for the dacnis group, having seen all three of the regularly occurring species; all of them are spectacular in their own ways!
YELLOW-BELLIED DACNIS (Dacnis flaviventer)
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
SHORT-BILLED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes nitidus) – A rare honeycreeper in this part of the Amazon and we hit them a couple of times, but especially from the Kapok tower as a pair foraged about at eye level; must have been some sort of an influx of them during our visit... who knows?
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – The male, with its purple legs is really a knockout!
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)
SAFFRON FINCH (SAFFRON) (Sicalis flaveola valida) – Seen around the San Jose in the central valley, but I'm not sure how valid this population is as I suspect they come from escaped cage birds.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris) – We had fine scope studies of this and the next species out in the riparian habitats on the river islands.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis)
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
GOLDEN GROSBEAK (Pheucticus chrysogaster) – Like a bright yellow light bulb; seen on our first day in the central valley at the San Jose.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) – Nice looks at a male along the Providencia trail that Betsy spotted for us.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RUSSET-BACKED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius angustifrons) – This and the Crested are both common in the lowlands, and we had many nice, repeated studies.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)
SOLITARY BLACK CACIQUE (Cacicus solitarius) [*]
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – A daily sight, and we enjoyed their antics and talented mimicry skills.
CASQUED CACIQUE (Cacicus oseryi) – A few came through and allowed scope views at Providencia; an odd-looking cacique that was for years considered an oropendola.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE) (Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus)

This handsome Spotted Tody-Flycatcher allowed us to study it well when we visited the river island. Photo by guide Mitch Lysinger.

ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL (Icterus croconotus) – I always describe this one as looking like a bottle of Fanta soda! We encountered this colorful member of the blackbird family out along the Napo River edge.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
ORIOLE BLACKBIRD (Gymnomystax mexicanus) – Another over the top blackbird species. This one inhabits the river islands and river edges, and always rounds up its far share of attention!
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – We saw all of the possible euphonia species well, mostly from the canopy towers, where they are most visible. The striking yellow and dark purple patterns of the males of this group really help sort them out; females, with their drab greens and grays, are more challenging.
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala) – This was the only euphonia that we got in the central valley on our first morning around the San Jose. [*]
GOLDEN-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chrysopasta)
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)
RUFOUS-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia rufiventris)
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus) – Quick views in the central valley.

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – We had them on day roosts and flying over the lake at night at Sacha.
GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus) – A large bat that we spot-lighted out on Pilchecocha during a paddle across the lake at night.

Sacha Lodge is a wonderful place; we even had a great time doing our checklists in the evening! Photo by participant Bruce Cressman.

PYGMY MARMOSET (Cebuella pygmaea) – The smallest New World primate, being about the size of an adult fist. This species has shown an alarming population decline in recent years, so researchers are desperately trying to figure out what is going on... hope they get to the bottom of it in time. At any rate, we had some very nice scope studies at the resident group that lives in the trees next to the Kapok tower.
BLACK-MANTLE TAMARIN (Saguinus nigricollis) – Common around Sacha, such as right around the lodge.
GOLDEN-MANTLE TAMARIN (Saguinus tripartitus) – Betsy spotted this attractive, and range restricted, monkey for us across the river as they moved through in a small group. Always a thrill to see.
COMMON SQUIRREL MONKEY (Saimiri sciureus) – Common at Sacha, and we enjoyed some nice encounters with this comical species as they foraged right above us.
DUSKY TITI MONKEY (Callicebus moloch) [*]
RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus) – Seen best from the towers as they lounged about in the treetops.
WHITE-FRONTED CAPUCHIN (Cebus albifrons) [*]
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – Scope views of concealed individuals from the towers.
CAPYBARA (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) – I only include this because we saw tracks out on the river islands.
BLACK AGOUTI (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) – Often seen slinking around the gardens at the lodge.
TURNIP-TAILED GECKO (Thecadactylus rapicauda) – The large pale gecko that we went in search of and saw on a couple of nights.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – Right around the lake edges, and under the dining room, for nice views.
ECUADOR POISON DART FROG (Ameerega bilinguis) – It took some searching, but we finally turned one up in the understory for close encounters with this handsome little frog.


Totals for the tour: 315 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa