Napo Wildlife Center
The Canopy Tower
Friday, July 11, 2008: Today we got an early start, with breakfast at 5:30. By 6, we were in the canoe and heading across Añangucocha to the trail to the canopy tower. On the lake, we saw a Black Caiman. It was too early to see much on the trail, so we headed straight for the tower. After climbing up 120 feet, we reached the platform at the top. We quickly noticed some honeycreepers feeding nearby, including Blue Dacnis, Purple Honeycreeper, Short-billed Honeycreeper, and Green Honeycreeper. A Festive Coquette had a nest in the platform tree about 7 feet over our heads.
More birds appeared the more we scanned. These included Golden-tailed Sapphire, White-eyed Parakeet, Plum-throated Cotinga, Spangled Cotinga, White-throated Toucan, Collared Forest-Falcon, and one of our big target birds, the Harpy Eagle! The first Harpy was at a great distance. Later, we found a second one that was more scopeable. It later moved a bit closer, providing good views through the scope. One of their prey, Red Howler Monkeys, were also seen lounging about in the treetops.
We kept looking, and kept finding more birds. A close Yellow-bellied Dacnis, a not so close Slate-colored Hawk, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Sirystes, and Lemon-throated Barbet visited us right in our tree.
|Canopy View||Russet-backed Oropendola||Bird Trio|
|Collared Forest-Falcon||Sirystes||Yellow-bellied Dacnises|
|Yellow-rumped Cacique||Golden-faced Tyrannulet||Purple-throated Fruitcrow|
We got good looks at Red-throated Caracara, Ivory-billed Aracari, Black-headed Parrot, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and numerous other birds that were not lifers, such as the Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher, Russet-backed Oropendola, and Yellow-rumped Cacique. It started raining while we were on the platform, and the Napo crew quickly put our packs in plastic bags and distributed panchos for everyone. Eventually it became clear that the rain wasn't going away anytime soon, and we descended.
Somewhere in here we also saw White-tailed Trogon and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl, perhaps on the trail back to the canoe. Our native guide, Sixto, pointed out an Amazonian Red Squirrel (Sciurus igniventris/spadiceus) at one point when we were a little ahead of the group. I do not know whether it was Northern (igniventris) or Southern (spadiceus). Both are present in the area and look almost identical. We canoed back across the lake to camp.
Afternoon at Camp
Paul was feeling ill when the trip started, and seemed to be getting sicker. Because of this, the plan was to spend the early afternoon at camp, then see where we stood. The signature mammal at the Napo Wildlife Center is the Golden-mantled Tamarin. A group of them showed up to chow down at one of the banana plants.
There's a smaller tower that's part of the main lodge building, where we eat. I spent some time there in the afternoon, watching the Golden-mantled Tamarins, Palm, Blue-gray and Masked Crimson Tanagers, Long-billed Starthroat, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Roadside Hawk, a flock of Hoatzins, Greater and Smooth-billed Anis, etc. Some Blue-and-yellow Macaws also flew by. Out by the down I found Amazon Kingfisher and White-winged Swallows.
|Long-billed Starthroat||Smooth-billed Anis||Roadside Hawk|
|Amazon Kingfisher||Greater Ani||Masked Crimson Tanager|
|Masked Crimson Tanager||Palm Tanager||Blue-gray Tanager|
Late Afternoon on the Creek
Later in the day we went back out in the canoe. Paul stayed behind and took some antibiotics, leaving Sixto to do the guiding and Steve the translating. We visited the Cariañangu, one of the creeks which feeds the lake. We started out with a nice Striated Heron at the beginning of the creek. We were surprised when Sixto spotted a stingray! A stingray in freshwater? What was a stingray doing here, well over two thousand river miles from the mouth of the Amazon? In fact, there are about 20 species of freshwater stingray in the Amazon basin. Life birds seen included Chestnut Woodpecker, Pale-rumped Swift, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Yellow-billed Tern, Speckled Chachalaca, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, and Little Cuckoo.
|Striated Heron||Cream-colored Woodpecker||Caiman Lizard|
|Striated Heron||Amazon Kingfisher||Black-capped Donacobius|
|Lineated Woodpecker||Nest City||Common Squirrel Monkey|
My total today was 73 species with 33 lifers. This brings the trip totals to 98 species including 57 lifers.
Napo Wildlife Center