Indiana Audubon 2021 Ecuador Tour
June 10, 2021 - June 20, 2021
Indiana Audubon 2021 Ecuador Birding Tour:
The Best of Ecuador: Amazon Foothills and Andes Highlands
In the summer of 2020 Indiana Audubon will host the next in a series of great birding adventures, as IAS takes you off the beaten path to a set of great birding locations in Ecuador. For sheer diversity of birds in a short trip, it’s hard to beat Ecuador. Nowhere else is it as easy to experience such a range of habitats and families in a safe country with good infrastructure. If you have enjoyed trips to places like Panama, Costa Rica, and Trinidad, then Ecuador will just blow you away; it does not get better than this.
As part of Indiana Audubon’s commitment to conservation in areas we visit, a portion of the trip fees will be donated towards the Nature Conservancy’s conservation work in Ecuador in protecting natural resources for sustainable economic growth in the country.
Trip Leaders: Brad Bumgardner is the executive director for Indiana Audubon and has assisted or led literally thousands of individual hikes and tours, including Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Costa Rica. This tour is being put together in partnership with Lifer Nature Tours, who will be securing transportation and guiding services during the trip.
DAY 2: The western Andes cloudforests, Cabanas San Isidro
DAY 3: The western Andes cloudforests, Cabanas San Isidro
DAY 4: The foothills of the Amazon, Wildsumaco Hotel
DAY 5: The foothills of the Amazon, Wildsumaco Hotel
DAY 6: The top of the Andes, Antisana. Guango Lodge.
DAY 7: Paz de Las Aves and the famous Antpitta feeders. Sachatamia Lodge
DAY 8: The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Sachatamia Lodge
DAY 9: The Long-Wattled Umbrellabird. Sachatamia Lodge.
DAY 10: Quito, Casa Tababela.
DAY 11: Good bye Ecuador. FLIGHT BACK HOME.
DAY 1: Puembo Birding Garden. Quito City. Our guide will meet us up at the airport and immediately start heading to our first destination. Then after the transfer from airport we will settle down at our hotel to do some birding in the grounds (depend on time), some interesting species here are Black-tailed Trainbearer, Scrub Tanager, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Western Emerald, Eared Dove and Saffron Finch. Dinner at the hotel. Night at Puembo Birding Garden.
DAY 2: The top of the Andes. Guango Hotel. Very early we will start heading to Antisana Volcano where the Anden Condor inhabits. We will stop at a restaurant with Hummingbird feeders to get one of the most emblematic birds of the high Andes, Giant Hummingbird, the largest of all hummingbirds of the world. Also Shining Sunbeam, Black-tailed Trainbearer and Tyrian Metaltail. Later in the morning we will continue driving up the road to scan the rocky outcrops ledges across the valley in search of resting Andean Condors. After that we will keep birding and driving along the road which is the Hacienda Antisana base camp. The high plateau around this area is a good place to look for the Black-faced Ibis, Andean Gull and Carunculated Caracara. Here at the end of road we will arrive at the lake, where Andean Teal, Yellowbilled Pintail, Andean Ruddy-Duck, Andean Coot and Silvery Greebe can be seen. Late afternoon we will continue to our next hotel. The beautiful Guango Lodge. This place has outstanding feeders in were we will spend a good amount of time, the biggest star that visits regularly is the Sword-billed Hummingbird, the bird with longest bill on earth, proportionally with its own body size. We will spend a few hours there watching the hummingbirds, other that are especially worth mentioning are: Speckled Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbreast, Collared Inca, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bufftailed Coronet, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Tourmaline Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Mountain Avocetbill, Long-tailed Sylph, White-bellied Woodstar and Gorgeted Woodstar.
DAY 3: The High Paramo and the Sword-billed Hummingbird, Guango Hotel. Early morning, we will be at a local light post in where we will take advantage of the birds visiting the light to catch the moths and other insects that were attracted during the night. Here Green Jay, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Masked Trogon and other species show well. Before lunch at the hotel we will try for a local bird that inhabits the close by river. The Torrent Duck. After this we will take advantage of the hotel trails looking for Purplebacked Thornbill, White-browed Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, White-throated Tyrannulet, White-banded Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Spectacled Whitestart, Black-crested Warbler, Citrine Warbler, Blue-backed Conebill, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Blue-and-black Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Black-capped Hemispingus, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Plushcap, and Stripe-headed Brush-Finch.
We will drive for about 45 minutes until we get to a road where we will bird from the car and stop in case we see any good bird. One of the main targets here will be the Rufousbellied Seedsnipe a rare high Paramo resident with an exceptional pattern of browns and grays. But also other good targets will be Bar-winged Cinclodes, Many-striped Canastero, Red-crested Cotinga, Black Flowerpiercer and Scarlet-bellied MountainTanager. Night at Guango Lodge.
DAY 4: The Foothills of the Amazon, Wildsumaco Hotel. Early morning, we will bird the grounds of the hotel and after breakfast continue our way to the next hotel. The famous WildSumaco Lodge and Bird Sanctuary, a spectacular place owned and managed by the Río Pucuno Foundation. The reserve is 120 hectares, with another 130 hectares leased from the community of Sumaco to preserve the forest and use for ecotourism activities. This site is located in between 1200 to 1500m above the sea level.
We will get there by lunch and spend the rest of the day birding around the hotel and specially in the deck close to their bird feeders. This deck has some of the best hummingbird feeders of all Ecuador attracting birds like Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Greatbilled Hermit, Green-fronted Lancebill, Napo Sabrewing, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorntail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Rufous-vented Whitetip, Ecuadorian Piedtail, Black-throated Brilliant, Gould’s Jewelfront and Booted Racket-tail (eastern morph). Night in Wildsumaco Lodge.
DAY 5: The Foothills of the Amazon, Wildsumaco Lodge. We will start early on the deck trying to get some more hummingbirds and especially the tanagers, barbets and Toucans attracted by the native fruits on the trees around. After breakfast we will go to the trails and a feeding station for Short-tailed Antthrush, Spotted Nightingale-thrush and Ochre-breasted Antpitta we also might see Gray-tailed Piha, Blue-rumped Manakin, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. And at any time the endangered Military Macaw or rare Spot-winged Parrotlet might fly by, or Black HawkEagle soar overhead. Around lunch time we will be back on the deck to set bananas on a nearby tree and attract the Napo Tamarin Monkey that normally provide a nice show to the visitors. After breakfast we can start walking down the entrance road looking for Maroon-tailed Parakeet, Coppery-chested Jacamar, Striolated Puffbird, Gilded Barbet, Red-headed Barbet, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Ash-browed Spinetail, Black-billed Treehunter, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, Russet Antshrike, Ornate Antwren, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Blackish Antbird, White-backed Fire-eye, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, Black-andwhite Tody-Flycatcher, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Rufousnaped Greenlet, Gray-mantled Wren, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Orange-eared Tanager, Golden-eared Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Spotted Tanager, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Olivaceous Siskin and Bronze-green Euphonia. Lunch at the hotel and afternoon locally at the second hummingbird feeders and driving the road uphill for some of the above-mentioned species. At night we should look for Foothill Screech-Owl, Rufescent Screech-Owl and the impressive Band-bellied Owl that normally provides great views from the parking lot. Night in Wildsumaco Lodge.
DAY 6: East Andes Cloudforest. San Isidro Reserve. Early birding around the Wildsumaco Hotel and after breakfast departure to the next hotel. San Isidro reserve is a privately-owned reserve that holds very accessible and pristine Cloud Forest. This birding site is located at an elevation of 2.000 m close to the small town of Cosanga in Napo province. This forest is also a buffer zone for the 120,000-hectare Antisana Ecological Reserve. The outstanding birding, great lodging facilities and exquisite cuisine makes this place a must-visit by any bird lover traveling through Ecuador. The hummingbird feeders by the dining rooms and the social area, where most of the cabins are located, are very active with regular visits of Speckled Hummingbird, Fawnbreasted Brilliant, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Longtailed Sylph. We will spend a few hours birding from this hummingbird deck and getting use to this wonderful location. Late afternoon we will bird the grounds of the hotel.
Being fresh and rested in late afternoon is important as tonight we will try for the famous San Isidro Owl (form of Black-banded Owl) and other night birds that inhabit this diverse ecosystem. Night at San Isidro.
DAY 7: Paz de Las Aves and the famous Antpitta feeders. Sachatamia Lodge. This morning after breakfast we will head to the northwestern cloud forest, to the birding meca of Ecuador, Mindo area. We will stop along the way to visit the monument of the center of the world as a mandatory stop when visiting Ecuador. Then continue to have a late lunch at the hotel and immediately after spending some time in their bird feeders. The best bird to get here is the stunning Velvet-purple Coronet but also other goodies here are Booted Racket-tail, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Green-crowned Brilliant, Empress Brilliant, Purple-collared Woodstar, Whitebellied Woodstar, Purple-throated Woodstar, Western Emerald, Crowned Woodnymph and Andean Emerald. Golden-headed Quetzal, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager and Black-chinned Mountain Tanager are also expected targets for this afternoon around the main birding deck. Night at Sachatamia Lodge.
DAY 8: The colorful NW Ecuador, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Sachatamia Lodge. Before breakfast we will departure very early to one of the most famous sites in all northern Ecuador: Angel Paz reserve. Here we will give a try to one of the most emblematic birds of south America, the Andean-cock-of-the-Rock. We will wait the first sun rays into a rustic hide and wait until the birds start displaying. Light conditions are challenging but the show is unique.
After this we will follow the famous and charismatic owner of the reserve, Angel Paz, during his daily routine feeding several Antpittas. Here we will get views of at least 4 Antpitta species. Yellow-breasted, Giant, Ochre-breasted and occasionally Moustached Antpitta. Also the endemic Dark-backed Quail. Later on, we will have breakfast at the reserve allowing chances for taking photos from the restaurant of Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Sickle-winged Guan, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager and hopefully Toucan Barbet. Also when the trees are fruiting in the forest around the main house is good for the Orange-breasted Fruiteater and Scaled Fruiteater. Hummingbird feeders are good for Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Brown Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Brown Inca, Collared Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Buff-tailed Coronet, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph (more common than in any other location), Andean Emerald and Purple-throated Woodstar are seasonal and might show up near the feeders. Lunch back in the hotel and afternoon we will visit a reserve called Milpe with lots of endemic birds from a region called Choco foothills. The reserve has feeders and birds like Choco Toucan, Collared Aracari, Rufous Motmot, Rufous-throated Tanager, Green Thorntail, White-necked Jacobin, Pale-billed Aracari, Swallow Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, and many other species can be seen here. Also, a short hike in the trails can produce Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Golden-winged Manakin and the famous Club-winged Manakin. Night at Sachatamia Lodge.
DAY 9: The amazing Long-wattled Umbrellabird show. Sachatamia Lodge or similar. This day is a day with a mission, and we will basically spend all day on this. Very early in the morning we will depart to Los Bancos (45min drive), the best and only spot for the incredible Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Luis Agila´s property is the only place in where is possible to find the last population of this vulnerable specie in NW Ecuador, here we will try to witness the amazing experience of a group of Umbrellabirds flying around trees calling and stretching their wattles up and down. It’s a unique experience. Of course, we will look for other birds as we search for this cotinga. Birds like Moss-backed Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager and Black-mandibled Toucan, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Plumbeous Hawk among others are also around here. We will have a late breakfast in Luis house, and he will explain us the story of his property and how he turns from a hunter to a conservationist. After this we will head back to our hotel birding along the way. Lunch in the hotel and the rest of the day in around our hotel. Night at Sachatamia Lodge or similar.
DAY 10: Casa de Campo Tababela. Today we will bird for the last time near our hotel and then start driving back to Quito after lunch, we will take the old nono road when we are going back and birding along the way. This road is great for Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Grass-green Tanager, Plushcap, Tanager Finch, White-faced Nunbird among many others. If all people agree after lunch, we can explore a little bit of the beautiful scenery of the old-fashioned Quito Colonial Center before arriving to the hotel, we can explore the old Cathedral, the Presidential house and Big Plaza before departing to the hotel. The old Quito is the most important colonial cities of south America. Also, it will be good for getting souvenirs to take home to your family and friends. Night at Casa de Campo Tababela near the airport.
DAY 11: Good bye Ecuador. FLIGHT BACK HOME After breakfast we will get on the transfer that will take you to the airport and head back to Quito. Flights back home. No hotel, lunch or dinner included
Included with the Tour:
- IAS guide coordinating trip logistics before and during the tour.
- Transportation with fuel included through the trip.
- Specialized guide/driver with Swarovski Spotting Scope, Portable speaker + Ipod with bird calls to play-back calls of a bird if necessary and a laser pointer to help locate birds in the field.
- Accommodation in all hotels listed.
- All meals starting with Dinner on day 1 and finish with breakfast on day 11.
- All entrance fees to reserves and parks.
Not included with the Tour:
- Tips for hotel staff, bird guides and driver, and restaurant wait staff are not included.
- Medical expenses, prescription drugs and other items of personal use.
- Additional tours offered in hotels (Spa, massage, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and anything else not listed on the menus of restaurants.
- Health and/or trip insurance
- Any other expense or extra tour not listed as included above
Trip limit is 11 participants. Prices are based on double occupancy. A $500 deposit is required to secure your spot. Reservations and inquiry can be made by contacting Brad Bumgardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
$2,974 per person IAS Member. $3,104 per person non-IAS Member.
Single Supplement: $330
$75 surcharge for credit card payments