Trip report: Ecuador: ABA Birding Bash, Alex’s group (July 2021) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Alex Luna. This was one of three groups that was part of the main tour of the ABA Birding Bash

During our eight full days or birding, we visited a variety of different ecosystems, such as Papallacta Pass, where we reached the highest point of our trip at over 14,000 feet and the beautiful evergreen forest of Tandayapa Bird Lodge. This diversity of habitats led to the incredible number of birds we observed almost 350 species. We possibly could have gotten a few more if nor for some rain on the eastern slopes. Every day brought us new targets as we tried to find as many of the specialties as possible in each place. Some were harder to see than usual like Andean Ibis in Antisana, but on the flip side of the coin were birds like Tanager Finch, which is usually difficult but took us almost no time to find, and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, which we saw from inside the van. By the end, the list of top birds for the group was quite big; however, an informal tally led to these five favorites: 1) Giant Antpitta, 2) Lyre-tailed Nightjar, 3) Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, 4) Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, and 5) Toucan Barbet. Some of the runner-ups were also fantastic like Andean Potoo, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Andean Condor, and Golden-naped Tanager.

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