11 January 2010

Boxing Day at Sacha: Amazon Day 1...(Sacha Lodge, Ecuador): December 26, 2009

Our first day in the Amazon, involved a boat ride out across the other (south) side of the Napo River to the Providencia Trail, a well known birding trail passing through excellent terra firme forest. Before we had even got to our boat we were picking up birds thick and fast as expected out of our first day there: Bat Falcon surveyed us from a dead snag, Lettered Aracari sat quietly in a tree overhead, and an Orange-fronted Plushcrown (a strange furnariid or ovenbird), was busy building a nest by the dock. Just after we departed the dock our keen-eyed boat driver spotted a pair of Tropical Screech-owls roosting alongside the Napo.

Just before reaching the creek that would lead to the trail we noticed an
Amazonian Umbrellabird staring down at us in our boat, and on a bank we also eyed a Pied Lapwing feeding on the sand. Canoeing up a narrow forest-fringed creek to the trailhead we bumped into 2 species of monkey: Dusky Titi-Monkey, and a cracking troop of Golden-mantled Tamarins. A very cute primate that is only found on the southern side of the Napo. The same creek saw us reeling in a Solitary Cacique for boatside views too.

One of the most well-reperesented families in the Amazon is the antbirds, an incredible diversoity of which is found throughout the Amazon Basin. We got stuck into a number of these along the trail, including
Black, Lunulated, Scale-backed, and Plumbeous Antbirds, and Dusky-throated, Cinereous, Fasciated, and Spot-winged Antshrikes. As well as a strutting Black-faced Antthrush that strolled around our feet for a while. Also along the trail was a female White-crowned manakin (see top photo) fine Yellow-billed Jacamar, before the sky blackened and we forced into an early retreat by an impressive tropical downpour.

Once the rain had eased we headed out for
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, failing miserably on this occasion, but picking up a bonus Great Tinamou (see bottom photo) found roosting when we were sweeping with the spotlight to find the owl! More from our Amazon trip to come...

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