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Birding In The Slopes Of The Andes (14d/13n) Tour

Birding In The Slopes Of The Andes (14d/13n) Tour Packages
Country: Ecuador
City: Quito
Duration: 14 Day(s) - 13 Night(s)
Tour Category: Bird Watching Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

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Package Itinerary

During this tour, we can expect to see wonderful bird species visiting the Cloud Forest of the east and west ranges of the Andes including the Choco region, the headwaters of the Amazon basin, and the central Andean Paramo of Ecuador.

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN QUITO

Arrival in Quito, where you will be met at the airport by our guide and transferred to your hotel. Overnight.

DAY 2: THE LAND OF HUMMINGBIRDS: QUITO – TANDAYAPA - MINDO

This day you will travel to the northwest of Quito crossing the western slopes of the Andes range and heading towards Tandayapa valley. En route you will visit Yanacocha Reserve, home to the black-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), sword-billed hummingbird, great saphirewing, purple-backed thornbill, rufous antpitta, barred fruiteater; while you continue your trip you will see other species such as bar bellied woodpecker, masked flower piercer, glossy flower piercer, shining sunbeam, hooded and scarlet-bellied mountain-tanagers, giant conebill, pearled tree runner, etc.

Box lunch on route and then you will arrive at Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve, where you will have the opportunity to walk around the trails, here 250 species of birds have been recorded, this is one of the highest totals for a single private reserve in the region.

The reason for this high diversity is that Alambi covers a large range of altitudes (1450-2200masl), with several different habitats. Rare or special sightings recently include: White-faced Nunbird, Crested Guan, Long-billed Starthroat, Maroon-chested Ground-Dove in the garden, Undulated, Yellow-breasted, and Giant Antpitta, Uniform Treehunter building a nest at 50 meters from the guesthouse, Lyre-tailed Nightjar in the parking space, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Tamandúa Anteater; 32 hummingbirds species have been seen at Alambi, either at the feeders or in the reserve. Late afternoon you will depart to Sachatamia Lodge where you will dinner and overnight.

DAY 3: MINDO: MASHPI AREA – THE OILBIRD RESERVE

After breakfast our guide will be waiting for you in order to drive you to Mashpi Reserve, this cloud forest is rich in plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to thousands of orchid species. A staggering 500 species of birds as well as small mammals can be seen. It is one of the best places to spot great birds and it is famous for its impressive collection of Choco endemic bird species (36 species).

Then you will depart to El Chontal to look for the famous Los Tayos Cave, which actually is a deep, dark ravine where as many as 100 Oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis) make their homes; on the route, you will enjoy a delicious box lunch. Late afternoon you will return to Sachatamia Lodge where you will dinner and overnight. (B.BL.D)

DAY 4: MINDO: RIO SILANCHE RESERVE – MILPE RESERVE

After an early breakfast, your guide will drive you to Rio Silanche a tropical lowland reserve that covers 70 hectares (175 acres) where it is possible to see incredible species diversity, especially from its 15 meters high observation tower that puts you eye-to-eye with awesome mixed foraging flocks.

This important site, situated in low foothills between 300-350m, is located along an all-weather road, and it is one of the last remaining accessible forest remnants found in this key area, home to many important Choco and Tumbesian endemic bird species, including Dusky Pigeon, Purple-chested Hummingbird, Little Woodstar, Choco Trogon, Double-banded Graytail, Stub-tailed Antbird, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Scarlet-breasted Dacnis, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, gray and gold tanager, rose face parrot, blue-headed parrot, marron tailed parakeet, white-bearded manakin, scarlet thighed dacnis, chestnut mandibled toucan, black-headed tody flycatcher, slaty capped shriketyrant, among many others.

You will enjoy a box lunch surrounded by amazing nature.

In the afternoon you will visit Milpe Bird Sanctuary, a reserve that is considered by Birdlife International as ‘An Important Bird Area’, it has 62 hectares (155 acres) that cover an altitudinal range from 1020-1150 m (3350-3770 ft) and includes two small rivers that converge at the bottom of a steep, forested valley. It is located along an all-weather road that many local birders consider to be one of the finest sites in all of Ecuador.

Here 247 species were found including many of the most spectacular Choco endemic species, such as Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Moss-backed Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Chocó Trogon, choco toucan, Club-winged Manakin, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Double-banded Greytail, Fulvous-vented Euphonia, Emerald and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers, the near-threatened Blue-whiskered Tanager and Long-wattled Umbrellabird. Late afternoon return to Sachatamia Lodge where you will dinner and overnight.
(B.BL.D)

DAY 5: MINDO: THE INCREDIBLE UMBRELLA BIRD – RÍO BLANCO

Early in the morning, you will depart to Los Bancos to spot the incredible Umbrellabird, and arrive at Luis Agila property where it is possible to find one of the few populations of this vulnerable specie, here you will have an amazing experience when you are waiting on silence and suddenly you see a group of Umbrella birds flying from one tree to another looking for insects or fruits, then, in some place, you hear one bird singing and when you find it you can see that the long wattle of a male gets inflate, it’s something unique.

You will enjoy a box lunch surrounded by the amazing nature, then you will return to Sachatamia Lodge, on the route you will stop at Mirador del Río Blanco, a place that offers an incredible view of the valley and where you can find different species of tanagers and some hummingbirds such as the tiny Green Thorntail and the beautiful Green-Crowned Brilliant.

Arrival at Sachatamia Lodge where if you want you can have a short hike around this place to see some species like the Giant and Scaled Antpitta, Choco Toucan, Scaled Fruiteater, Tanager-Finch, and Club-winged Manakin. Target birds here include, golden-headed quetzal, toucan barbet, masked trogon, golden-naped tanager, beryl spangled tanager, strong-billed woodcreeper, black and white owl, Wattled and Sickle-winged Guan, Bronze-winged Parrot, Sparkling Violet-ear, Andean Emerald, Booted Racket-tail and Long-tailed Sylph violet tailed sylph. Dinner and overnight. (B.BL.D)

DAY 6: THE AMAZING COCK OF THE ROCK – QUITO

Early in the morning, after a cup of hot coffee, you will visit the famous Paz de las Aves Refuge where you will have the opportunity to have one of the most amazing experiences, visiting the cock of the rock lek, where, during the breeding season, the males produce a special sound and fly like real acrobats waiting for the female to choose one of them to mate.

Besides here it is possible to see four species of Antpittas, the Giant Antpitta, the Moustached Antpitta, Ochre bellied, and the Yellow Breasted Antpitta. Then you will visit the feeding station to see black-chinned and blue-winged mountain tanagers, toucan barbet, dusky piha, sickle-winged guan, crimsom-rumped toucanet, etc.

Return to the main house of this reserve to enjoy a typical breakfast of this region and keep birding to find an ocellated tapaculo that is fed with worms, yellow-vented woodpecker, powerful woodpecker, crimson mantled woodpecker, orange-breasted fruiteater, etc. Then you will return to Sachatamia Lodge where you will take your lunch and in the afternoon you will return to Quito, overnight. (B.L.D)

DAY 7: QUITO - ANTISANA ECOLOGICAL RESERVE – GUANGO LODGE

After breakfast, you will travel to Antisana Ecological Reserve, where you will visit the Mica Lake in order to see Silvery Grebe, Andean Teal, Andean ruddy Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Coot, and as well as many land birds such as Aplomado Falcon, Andean Gull, Andean Lapwing, and Carunculated Caracara.

Here you have a high probability to be in contact with the majestic Andean Condor and other species like Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle and Variable Hawk, black-faced ibis, paramo ground tyrant, paramo pipit, sedge wren, Baird's sandpiper, cinereous harrier, Bar-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, Black-faced Ibis, Shining Sunbeam, Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Paramo Pipit, Giant Conebill, and Spectacled Whitestart.

You will enjoy a delicious typical lunch in a local restaurant and then you will depart to Guango Lodge through the Papallacta region. This area has well-conserved patches of Polylepis forest and it is an excellent place to observe high mountain bird species.

The 4000-meter high paramo holds a fascinating group of high-altitude species like the Variable Hawk, Many-striped Canastero, Tawny Antpitta, and Andean Condor. Other species expected in this area are the Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphire-wing, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, TorreThnt Duck, Torrent Tyrannulet, and the superb White-capped Dipper. Dinner and overnight in Guango Lodge. (B.L.D)

DAY 8: PAPALLACTA – SAN ISIDRO LODGE

Early in the morning, you will hike through the trails of this lodge looking for more bird species like Andean guan, plush cap, slaty finch, gray-breasted mountain toucan, pale naped brush finch, gray hooded bush tanager, hooded mountain tanager, pearl tree runner, mountain avocet bill, tourmaline sun angel, torrent duck, White-capped dipper, etc.

After lunch you will continue with your trip to San Isidro Lodge where you will seek out specialties such as Black-chested Fruiteater, Long-tailed Antbird, White belied Antpitta, San Isidro’s owl, Chestnut Breasted Coronet, long-tailed sylph, Barred Antthrush, and the little-known Peruvian Antpitta. In the afternoon you will walk close to the lodge discovering more bird species. After dinner you will have a nocturnal walk looking for nightjars and owls; overnight. (B.BL.D)

DAYS 9 & 10: SAN ISIDRO LODGE TRAILS

After breakfast you will have a full day of birding right around the lodge, some of the regular species include Montane and Olive-backed Woodcreepers, Golden-crowned Flycatchers, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Black-billed Peppershrike, Inca Jay, Bluish Flowerpiercer and Subtropical Cacique! After about an hour of this, you will visit the Antpitta feeders, where you will likely see White-bellied Antpitta only feet away, and maybe even the very rare Peruvian.

At dusk, you can try to spot near the lodge for Andean Potoo (rare, but sometimes staked-out), Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (almost every dawn and dusk around the cottages), and Rufous-banded and Mottled Owls. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight. (B.L.D)

DAY 11: SAN ISIDRO LODGE AND ITS SURROUNDINGS – WILDSUMACO LODGE

After breakfast, you will depart to Wildsumaco Lodge, on the route you will visit The Loreto Road, officially known as the Jondachi-Hollín-Loreto-Coca Road, which is famous for its birding opportunities. Some notable target birds along the upper Loreto Road include Dark - breasted Spinetail, Ash-browed Spinetail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Lined Antshrike, Foothill Antwren, Olivaceous Greenlet, Yellow-whiskered Chlorospingus, and Bronze-green Euphonia.

Then you will visit Narupa reserve, which protects a large block of eastern Andean foothill forest. Narupa has a growing list of birds that currently includes over 300 species. Five globally threatened species have been recorded, including its flagship species, the Cerulean Warbler, a long-distance migrant that breeds in eastern North America and spends the boreal winter in northwestern South America.

In the afternoon you will visit the Cordillera de Los Huacamayos where you will walk through one of the specialized birdwatching trails. Here it is possible to see many different species and you will look for the black-billed mountain-toucan, white-bellied antpitta, spillmans tapaculo, bicolored antvireo, greater scythe bill, and the very local white-rimmed brush-finch among others. Late afternoon you will arrive at Wildsumaco Lodge where you will dinner and overnight. (B.L.D)

DAY 12: WILDSUMACO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

During this day it will be possible to walk through the trails of Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary which is located on a ridge in the Andes' Eastern Foothills close to Sumaco National Park and Napo Galeras National Park. This lodge is located at about 1400m (4600 feet), and the reserve ranges from 1200 to 1500 m (3900 to 4900 feet) with an incredible panoramic view of the Rio Pucuno Valley and the Andes beyond.

Considering the strategic location of this place between the Andean Foothills and the Amazon, the Sumaco area holds one of the richest avifauna in the world. A wonderful mix of cloud forest species, foothill specialties, and typically Amazonian birds share Wildsumaco's lush subtropical rainforest with a myriad of other animals. Many of the birds here are rare, endangered, or very difficult to see elsewhere.

Some of the species include Gray-tailed Piha, Blue-rumped Manakin, coppery chested jacamar, military macaw, buff-breasted tody, blackish rail, tropical screech owl, black banded crake, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. Short-tailed Antthrush and Wing-banded Wren often sing, while more uncommon species like Gray-throated Leaftosser and Plain-backed Antpitta are seen occasionally. The very rare Yellow-throated Spadebill has territory along the Piha Trail and at any time the endangered Military Macaw or rare Spot-winged Parrotlet might fly by, or Black Hawk-Eagle soars overhead. (B.L.D)

DAY 13: WILDSUMACO LODGE – QUITO

After breakfast you will have the last opportunity to enjoy this amazing place, then you will return to Quito, 4 hours by car, with a possible stop on the way to search for Orange Breasted falcon and cliff flycatcher. Box lunch en route and in the late afternoon you will arrive in Quito at your hotel where you will overnight. (B.L)

DAY 14: QUITO – GALAPAGOS EXTENSION OR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

After an unforgettable experience in Ecuador, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your extension to Galapagos Islands or international flight home. (B)

END OF THE SERVICES

A NOTE ON THE ORDER OF THE ITINERARY:

The itinerary is subject to change based on local conditions. It could be flexible according to the client’s interests.

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B- Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner; BL-Box Lunch

PRICE INCLUDES:

Private transportation, transfers airport – hotel – airport, bilingual naturalist guide (specialized in birdwatching), accommodation based on the double room in all the hotels detailed in the itinerary (single supplement under request); meals as described on the itinerary, entrance fee to Yanacocha reserve, Alambi reserve, Oilbird Reserve, Milpe Reserve, Silanche Reserve, Luis Agila property, Rio Blanco, Paz de las Aves reserve, Antisana Ecological reserve, Cayambe Coca reserve (Papallacta area), Huacamayos reserve, Narupa Reserve.

NOT INCLUDED:

Travel insurance, meals not specified, soft and alcoholic drinks, tips, and personal expenses.

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