15 January 2010

Sacha: Amazon Day 3 (Part II)...Ecuador: December 28, 2009

After our island hopping stint in the morning we docked back at Sacha and walked back along a short rainforest trail to the lodge, picking up a pair of our main target bird, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, on our way back, in addition to a White-necked Thrush that came in angrily and suddenly after a little use of playback.

After lunch (when we sidled up to another miniature Pygmy Marmoset-bottom photo- just behind the cabins), we spent another tranquil few hours being quietly paddled down another creek. A steaming hot afternoon made the birding a little difficult with limited activity at first. We spent a while listening to a stubborn Rufous-tailed Flatbill that refused to budge from its hidden position, but having much better luck with Orange-crowned (crested) Manakin. Two birds were found in this area of flooded forest, the second of which gave some choice looks (top photo). Also along there was a Dot-backed Antbird.

Late in the afternoon, we climbed Sacha’s wooden platform that snakes around a massive kapok tree. We waited in the tree while dusk fell, where troops of toucans passed by before night fell, and Cream-colored Woodpecker and Black-banded Woodcreeper were the paltry highlights from our daylight spell up there. As dusk descended around us we played for, and failed to get a response out of, Black-banded Owl, and so opted to head back to the lodge. Half way down the tower, the owl suddenly called backed loudly, and close. It also sounded like it was back where we had been-further up towards the crown of the kapok. As best we could we all scrambled back up the wooden tower, played again and then soon after beamed a fantastic Black-banded Owl glaring straight back at us at eye level. A great end to the day, that began with a tiny owl (Ferruginous Pymgy-Owl outside the lodge restaurant over breakfast), and ended with this large and impressive owl.

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