Back to the Amazon

Gilded Barbet 7-5-2016-4578

Gilded Barbet

These pictures are from two days at Sacha Lodge in the Ecuadoran Amazon. The first day we spent time at the wooden tower. There were two towers available to us, the wooden and the metal. The wooden tower was the oldest and construction had already begun to replace it while we were there. The climb up the narrow steps all the way to the top was excellent physical therapy. This tower was built around a huge tree, part of which you can see in the pictures below. A canopy view is a mixed blessing sometimes. While you can see birds on the very tippy-tops of trees, they are often too far away to photograph well. So generally the more detailed photographs were taken on the ground either on the way to the tower or on the boardwalks. Below pictures are one of the entire tower from the bottom, and what it was like to be on the top.

I added two new parrot species to my life list that first day we spent at the wooden tower. Below, on the left is a Black-Headed Parrot, Scarlet-Shouldered Parrotlets on the right.

Here’s the only Attila of the trip.

Cinnamon Attila 7-5-2016-4493

Cinnamon Atrila

You never know who’s perched on a branch but in this case it was a lot easier to see the birds below: a Straight-Billed Hermit and a Russet-Backed Oropendola.

Trogons are so amazing. We saw both of these on the same day. I think a Two Trogon Day is exceptional.

Green-Backed Trogon 7-06-2016-5113

Green-Backed Trogon

Black-Throated Trogon 7-06-2016-5231

Black-Throated Trogon

We saw some other creatures too, of course, but the Squirrel Monkey was much more difficult to capture than the snake. Squirrel Monkey and Anaconda. Click on the picture to see the monkey a little better. I think our guide told us the Anaconda was a youngster…

The little bird below is a Slender-Footed Tyrannulet. Whatever possessed them to give it this name is beyond me. Slender-footed as compared to what? But it’s a lovely little bird. And you can see his feet.

I had an opportunity to try to capture the Black-Bellied Cuckoo below both days, first from the tower on the left, and the photo on the right was taken from a closer vantage point.

Below on the left is a Yellow-Tufted Woodpecker, and on the right, a Spot-Winged Antshrike.

It was very exciting to get a good look at a King Vulture, below. Although I think I have seen this bird before, I have never seen it so well.

King Vulture 7-5-2016-4871Tanagers were tough to get photos of on this trip. On the left, Silver-Beaked Tanagers which we saw almost daily, and on the right, a glimpse of a Paradise Tanager from the canopy tower.

You have to work a little bit at finding the bird below.

Speckled Chachalaca 7-5-2016-4961

Speckled Chachalaca

The bird below was not shy, and I am just now noticing how lovely his throat complements the fruit on his chosen plant perch.

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Pink-Throated Becard

Blue-Gray Tanagers look different in this part of the world, but they haven’t been split from the other I have been so used to seeing.

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Blue-Gray Tanager

Birds by the water…the Blue-and-White Swallows that hung out around the restaurant by the Napo River and a Striated Heron.

Below is the female counterpart to the bird at the top of my post. She’s lovely too.

Gilded Barbet Female 7-5-2016-4770

Gilded Barbet (female)

I will be back soon with more from this trip! I still have some unidentified captures but none of them were great photos, so I can spare you the agony. 🙂

A Rainy Introduction

Rain at Sacha 7-3-2016-3902

Gray-Capped Flycatcher

What better way to experience the rainforest than to have a downpour? As I sit here in Chicago cooling off from the outside heat and we have no rain in our immediate forecast, maybe I can channel enough rain thoughts from the Amazon to send the clouds our way.

I am still trying to get caught up with a reality that seems to shape-shift daily, making the photo processing project one of fits and starts at best. But one must find a way to cope.

The first day we stragglers joined the rest of our group was for the latter part of the day, and it must have been rainy for the most part because that is all my pictures seem to reflect. There was a short hike and a boat ride. The only form of transportation to and from the lodge is by canoe.

You can see the clouds building in the photo above. At some point we passed a Cayman in the water.

Cayman 7-3-2016-3781

Coming or going, I’m not sure. But the little video below these pictures is of one of my favorite tropics occurrences – that of a procession of leaf-cutter ants busy at work through a gap in the boardwalk.

Not many bird pictures taken that day, but there were a few, like the very wet Hoatzin below.

Wet Hoatzin 7-3-2016-3879

And a Striated Heron.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron 7-3-2016-3937

Wet flycatchers, like the Boat-Billed Flycatcher on the left and the Gray-Capped Flycatcher on the right.

The late afternoon produced the downpour which is documented in one of several videos below.

There was always a Blue-and-White Swallow or two perched on the railing around the fenced-off “swimming pool” in the Napo River, accessible from the daytime dining area.

Blue-and-White Swallow 7-3-2016-3847

Blue-and-White Swallow

It’s hard to leave even a rainy day in the Amazon but I will have to continue this later.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron 7-3-2016-3940