content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
22 June - 14 July 1997
by Eliot Kirschbaum
Thanks to everyone who answered my request last May for information about Ecuador, the Galapagos, and Peru. My wife and I eventually joined a group of high school biology teachers and others who had put an Ecuador and Galapagos trip together and had room for two more participants. This was not strictly a birding trip, but included some usual tourist activities such as visiting local villages, markets, volcanos, etc.
In Quito we stayed at the Hotel Amaranta. Good, moderately priced acommodations. In the morning, we had a little time for birding in the local park while adjusting to the 9000' elevation, and before our afternoon city tour.
The following list includes 227 species and the location where each was first observed. Of course some species were seen in more than one location.
The following day, we visited a hot springs and a high Andean lake.
Papallacta 23 June 1997
On 6/24 we flew to the Galapagos Islands for a seven day cruise aboard the 90' motorized sailing ship "Free Enterprize." This is a well appointed, but poorly maintained ship. The hot water had been disconnected and the air conditioning did not work in half of the ten cabins. The captain and crew were wonderful. They did their best to deal with the problems. The chef was particularly fine, and I gained about five pounds during this part of the trip. Our boat guides (we had two) were knowledgable, although they were not expert birders, and made efforts to accomodate the desires of our diverse group.
San Cristobal (Lobos Beach) 24 June 1997
San Cristobal Mockingbird
Espanola 25 June 1997
Santa Cruz 26 June 1997
Santiago 27 June 1997
Great Blue Heron
Batholome 28 June 1997
Daphne Major & Minor (Sailed around--did not land) 28 June 1997
Dark-rumped Petrel (At sea between Bartolome and Daphne Major)
Genovesa 29 June 1997
San Cristobal (highlands) 1 July 1997
We returned to Quito on 1 July 1997
Cotapaxi Volcano and El Junco (Andean Lake) 2 July 1997
The next two days were spent in the Imbabura province. We stayed at Hostel La Cienega (very nice rooms with fireplaces, good food, and a farewell performance by Andean musicians), and at Puerto Lago, a very nice resort on the lakeshore.
Hostel La Cienega 3-4 July 1997
Imbabura Province 4 July 1997
The next four days were spent at 4000' cloud forest at the Maquipucuna Biological Reserve. Four persons to a room with basic, good food. No hot water here either as the boiler was broken. Local guides were knowledgable about the birds and plants of the area.
Maquipucuna Biological Preserve 6-9 July 1997
(Western) Slaty Antshrike
Scaly-breasted (S. N.gale-) Wren
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Flame-rumped Tanager (Lemon-rumped Tanager subspecies)
After a night in Quito, the final part of the trip was at Paradise
on the Aguarico River in the Amazon basin. Getting there involves
twenty-five minute flight to Lago Agrio, a one-hour bus ride to
river, and a one-hour downstream (two-hour upstream return)
canoe ride to the huts. Built in 1992, this place has not been
maintained. When we arrived, we learned from people aready there
there had been no water for two days because of a broken pump. It
another two days before the pump was repaired. The huts themselves
not in good condition. The thatch was missing from some of them,
and this made them absorbe the heat of the day. The landing dock
was badly in need of repair, and had dangerously exposed nails
metal brackets. One day the canoe motor would not start, and we
down river. Our guide
broke one of the seat boards of the canoe to use as a paddle and we made it over to the shore. Two and one-half hours later we were rescued by a passing oil company motorized canoe.
In spite of the above, our time in the Amazon was very rewarding. We visited a local family, a village, and a shaman. Hiked in the jungle, paddled dugout canoes, used Dragon's Blood from a local tree to treat a minor wound, and saw lots of birds.
Rio Aguarico (Amazon Basin) 10-14 July 1997
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Masked Crimson Tanager
Baltimore, MD USA