I was lucky to see these incredibly beautiful and unique mountains on my way in and out of the reserve! In the rainy season you might not see anything but clouds here. There is no other way to get a view like this from inside the park – the sheer cliffs make all the peaks [...]
Tag Archives: Birds
The green-cheeked parakeets were quite hard to see up close, as they were usually in the dense canopy when in the valleys. Not in dead trees, like the mitred parakeet seemed to prefer. Altitude: 1064 metres.
This is perhaps the most numerous of the parakeet species here, and I saw many flocks of them escaping the various birds of prey. They nest in cracks and holes on the cliffs, and here it appeared at least 2 couples had their nest. A perfect spot it seemed, as they had this dead tree [...]
If you know of a dead tree, or a tree with a dead branch nearby – just wait there for a while and you’re bound to find flycatchers or other birds with a need to have an unobstructed view. This is from the only lookout point in the park, so this flycatcher both had an [...]
Due to the topography there is so far only this one spot from where you can truly enjoy the park! The other one is at the gate of the park, but that location is outside park. Here you only see the preserved park – all around you! I spent a few hours here, and it [...]
Bromeliads, cacti and a number of other species are living on these sheer cliffs! Defying gravity, wind, water and erosion! During my stay the wind was very strong, making it very difficult to hold my camara still, an the plants were rustling intensely in the wind. Yet they hold on through the heaviest of rains [...]
The valleys are densely forested, but you’re always reminded of the unique environment this is. As seen here the walls are all around you – in some areas they are somewhat far apart, in others they are but narrow gorges. All mammals and humans must use the same routes to navigate their way through this [...]
Here the sand is unable to accumulate due to the bedrock and thus the fast movement of the water. In the rainy season this will be an impassable, raging torrent. Altitude: 973 metres.
The only passable sections of the river is the rocky ones, or where the sand has dried up due to very low water levels as seen here. In many small streams elsewhere I found fish or crustaceans, but this river does not seem to have either at this elevation. Altitude: 1036 metres.
It looks like idyllic sandy beaches, but they are no place for a human! The sand is incredibly fine and like quick-sand. In some places it’s is probably a metre deep or more. Altitude: 973 metres.
This bird is so well camouflaged that even though you know what to look for you will easily miss it. As a visitor you’ll need help from the locals, as their daily routines interact with it’s way of life, and the observant locals will at one time or another see it. In this case it [...]
It’s amazing how plants are able to survive on the vertical cliffs! Not only is there little nutrients, but the wind is sometimes really strong, and with the relentless rain of the wet season it’s a constant movement that will loosen any grip. Adding to this large chunks come off regularly, as seen here as [...]
Perhaps the most beautiful of all features seen from the lodge! Here you can see holes in the wall – used for nesting by some of the species of parrots living here. What a view!! Over time this red will be dulled by algae, and then again a big chunk of the side will come [...]
The song is very similar to the Willow Warbler, and I was enjoying it every day of my stay here. When looking for sound recordings I haven’t been able to find one that sounds like this one did, and it is perhaps yet another variation of this species. The recording below resembles European Pied Flycatcher [...]
A common but truly beautiful bird! I found this one very busy eating from this tree, and you can see it’s focusing on the Cecropia fruits rather than me. Altitude: 1036 metres.
As I’m photographing a Plumbeous Kite I hear the calls of Military Macaws! I’ve just entered the fringes of Amboro National Park in which Refugio Los Volcanses resides, and I see this magnificent macaw – my very first sighting of the species. I am standing on a steep slope prohibiting me from moving closer to [...]
Getting to the Refugio Los Volcanes is a steep descent in dense forest-clad slopes. You hear birds constantly, but seeing them is difficult unless they are perched like this kite. Altitude: 1228 metres.
The color of this bird is like a flash of red in a sea of green! This bird definitely wants to bee seen, and despite several species of bird of prey, the visibility does not seem to be a disadvantage in this landscape of scattered trees and open landscape. Altitude: 671 metres.
This South American version of the African Ostrich seems out of place here almost 4000 metres high on the Altiplano, but this is it’s environment! Even in this park it’s wary of humans, so it seems it’s still hunted, or at least this generation has been hunted (they live to around 11 years). Also called [...]
This individual was quite predictable, as it kept coming back to this branch – in what seemed like a display of peekaboo. With bright colors and a blood red iris to match, it was definitely seen out on the branch, and when business was done – drinking from the hummingbird feeders – it hid in [...]
Yanacocha has recently succeeded in domesticating the Rufous Antpitta, something my guide was unaware of the first time we went to this reserve in November. Luckily I wanted to go back to fill idle time in Quito before my departure back to Europe in December. I was photographing only 20 metres away and still did [...]
At 05:39 in the morning the light is still very dim – the sun is well below the horizon. My eyes could only see the silhouette of the Heron against the brightening sky. The blue hour is when the darkness of night is just barely broken by a few photons of light from the sun [...]
The unmistakable profile of the Hoatzin – even close to darkness you know immediately what bird it is.
A large bird like this should be easy to see, but the Herons are expert at standing still no matter what their position is. They will assess the best cost benefit, and often they will fly off only if we get really close. Distance here is just 8 metres! The vegetation is very dense, so [...]
One couple was nesting underneath the pier. I first thought they roosted there during the nights, but one day I was swimming I noticed the nest. They seem to feel secured by the human activities to and fro, day in and out, but when I checked out the nest from above one day, it created [...]
For a human in the jungle it’s mostly about looking up to the canopy where much of the life resides. Adding distance and high contrast (fauna is dark against the very bright background) it’s usually very hard to see what’s moving. It’s often hearing and not seeing. Every now and then you will see trees [...]
The nest is perfectly camouflaged against the branch, and the green back of the tiny bird could easily be mistaken for one of the countless leaves on this tree. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands to observe that is. Like eco tourists sitting on their wonderful porch outside their huge Napo [...]
What a peculiar bird. For one its song repertoire is stuck on one note – the intro of the Magpie which it will repeat over and over again. Then there is the flapping of the wings – sometimes they open them and use them in a way that resembles a cape. It seems they are [...]
If you don’t see this bird, you will definitely hear it. Its sounds are simply amazing and unmistakable!
The parrot licks are not necessarily visited by the same species throughout the year, and on this lick (Saladero de Pericos) the Orange-cheeked Parrot will be visiting during the months of October/November to March/April. This parrot is perhaps the easiest to recognise, as there are no other with orange cheeks. Despite the bright orange spots, [...]
This clay lick (Saladero de Pericos) is located around 800 metres from the creek and is visited later in the day than many of the others. After 10 in the morning they might come. Might – is the word, because for reasons unknown they might stay in the trees, as they did this day. Hundreds [...]
The Blue-headed Parrots never went down from the trees to the Napo River parrot lick used by most other parrots – and that is the way of the licks. One day they may be inundated by parrots, the next day they might wait and wait and perhaps never go down to the lick. In rain [...]
This is on the bank of the Napo River between the two clay licks. Nightjars are one my favorite birds, as they have incredible sounds, are elusive by night, and very hard to find during day – unless you know where they usually roost, like is the case here.
The large bird is a Mealy Amazon. The size, it’s one of the biggest parrots, the greyish tint on the back and the wider white eyering are keys to tell them apart. This particular clay lick is only accessible by boat and you need powerful outboards to equalize the very strong currents and hold the [...]
They totally outnumbered the other parakeets and parrots at this lick, and this day. Only one other species is seen here – the larger Yellow-crowned Amazon. In this amazingly diverse area of the Ecuadorian Amazon (Yasuni National Park) there are many clay licks and apparently no clay lick is the same to the birds looking [...]
How do Parrots, Macaws, Amazons and Parakeets choose a particular location and clay? This one is most definitely accessible only to birds or humans with a boat and a powerful outboard. They are also protected by the Anangu Quichua Community, the owners of Napo Wildlife Center, so if safety is high on the list this [...]
The Mealy amazon was not as common as the Yellow-crowned Amazon at this lick, and is at first easily confused with it. The size, it’s one of the biggest parrots, the greyish tint on the back and the wider white eyering are keys to tell them apart.
This is one peculiar bird! One or two birds will vocalise in a chit-chat manner but when they are several more, the synchronized sound created is otherwordly! First I thought I heard some distant machinery – perhaps from a plane, but around the bend of the creek a flock of perhaps 20 Anis were chanting [...]
This was one of the very first birds I saw on the way up the creek to Napo Wildlife Center. I saw it several more times the following days, always very close to the water and very low in the trees.
It looks very similar to the Great Kiskadee, but on location their different sizes is the easiest way to identify. If you are off-site, the size of the bill is probably the best way, and the bill of the Great Kiskadee is larger, wider. and simply looks more powerful. Best is to have the photo [...]
The only yellow bird in Galapagos. Here it’s foraging for food very close to a sea lion and the waves inside a wide crevice. It had to jump out of the way and back to whatever temptations were there. As this location was constantly being drenched by the sea, it’s apparently eating tiny crustaceans.
This individual was fast asleep, and just occasionally opened its eyelids to check us out.
The population is limited to Fernandina and portions of Isabela, and is as a species vulnerable. It’s an agile swimmer and and expert of catching fish – on land it is a different matter. Perfectly camouflaged against the black lava rocks. Where is evolution going? Will the wings be nothing more than a Penguin’s in [...]
What a difference in behavior to the European Oystercatcher! The European Oystercatcher is extraordinarily vocal and territorial. Here they are heard now and then, and their “song contests” are short lived, even though they are nesting. I assume this is due to few individuals in the vicinity, and that a denser population would call for [...]
Very strange to see penguins in the tropics! They were not abundant and I saw no real colonies, but like here on the west side of Isabela I saw some clusters of individuals. This one appears to be the parent of a near fully grown chick. They are on a ledge with sheer cliffs above [...]
This is at the opening of a large cave pounded by the waves. It’s quite dark, and against the lava rock the Noddy is not so easy to see, and even more problematic to photograph as I’m sitting in a Zodiak on a choppy sea.
This booby is resting on a sheer cliff right outside a big cave, where waves are constantly pounding the walls and the cave.