Bird Watching

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Yacuma Ecolodge and BirdWatching

Yacuma Ecolodge is located on the bound­aries of the Yasuni national Park, and so the oppor­tu­nity to enjoy Bird­watch­ing is of great pos­si­bil­i­ties in our 275 hectares of pri­vate For­est Reserve and Wildlife cen­ter. Addi­tion­ally, we offer exten­sions for bird­watch­ing at the areas of the Gomatan Huao­rani Com­mu­nity located inside of the Yasuni National Park, which is prob­a­bly the most impor­tant trea­sure on the north­east­ern part of Ecuador’s Ama­zon­ian Rain­for­est and it is home of many species of plants, birds and ani­mals than almost any­where else on earth.

The project Yacuma Ecolodge is an ini­tia­tive jointly with the Kichwa Indige­nous Com­mu­nity of Chon­tay­acu and Pamir Trav­els Group. Our EcoLodge was cre­ated in 1995 with the aim of improv­ing the econ­omy of our host com­mu­nity, pre­serve their nat­ural envi­ron­ment, cul­ture and her­itage through Sus­tain­able Tourism. Among the sev­eral tour­ing alter­na­tives we offer in Yacuma Pro­tected For­est Reserve and Wildlife Cen­ter, the Bird­watch­ing activ­ity, also known as Ornithol­ogy, is an excel­lent expe­ri­ence, a beau­ti­ful recre­ational hobby which per­mits to the expe­ri­enced bird­watch­ers the recog­ni­tion of the dif­fer­ent species of birds for their singing, feath­ers or behav­ior.

At the Yacuma area we recorded 500+ bird species and while hik­ing in the pri­mary jun­gle of the For­est Reserve, we will be able to observe the most com­mon species of birds includ­ing: Vul­tures, Hoatzins, Dona­co­bius Mag­pie Tan­agers, Herons, King­fish­ers, fly­catch­ers, wood­peck­ers, cor­morants, caracaras, pur­ple Gal­lare­tas, Fal­cons, vio­la­ceous jays, white-​eared Jaca­mars, tou­cans, Bien­teveo, Tyrants, Yel­low Rumped Caciques, Ori­oles, etc.

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Yacuma Ecolodge Collpa:

A short 30 min­utes’ walk from our lodge, will take us to the base of a cliff where early in the morn­ing we will be able to observe dozens of par­rots and other jun­gle birds approach­ing the cliff. For par­rot enthu­si­asts, vis­it­ing a par­rot clay lick is to be one of the most mem­o­rable high­lights of your trip to the Ama­zon Rain­for­est.

A clay lick (locally known as colpa or collpa) is a nat­u­rally formed wall of clay on a river­bank caused by ero­sion from the river. Every morn­ing dozens, and some­times hun­dreds, of para­keets, par­rotlets, also macaws, and other birds flock to these clay licks to eat clay, so cre­at­ing an incred­i­ble wildlife spec­ta­cle.

Many the­o­ries exist about why par­rots con­sume clay, but the most extended is that the clay neu­tral­ize dietary tox­ins and pro­vide them with a sodium supplement.

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Our Bird­watch­ing Programs:

At Yacuma Ecolodge we offer 3, 4 or 5 days Bird­watch­ing Tours, and if you like to extend your expe­ri­ence we offer 2 or 3 addi­tional days in the beau­ti­ful rain­for­est area of the Huao­rani Com­mu­nity in the Yasuni National Park.

Our pro­grams include accom­mo­da­tions in our com­fort­able Yacuma Ecolodge bun­ga­lows pro­vided with pri­vate facil­i­ties (hot and cold water), deli­cious food pre­pared by our native chefs, puri­fied water, land and motor­ized canoe trans­port, rub­ber boots, an expert bilin­gual bird­watch­ing guide, a local indige­nous (Kichwa and Huao­rani) guides, all excur­sions and activ­i­ties out­lined in the programs.

Not included are: trans­porta­tion Quito/​Santa Rosa Village/​Quito, break­fast on the first day and din­ner on the last day, per­sonal equip­ment (torches, rain pon­cho, binoc­u­lars, etc.), bot­tled and alco­holic beverages.

Our Sug­gested 4 days bird­watch­ing tour:

Day 1 — Quito (or Baños) – Tena – Yacuma Ecolodge:

004 Our local guide will be wait­ing for you in the city of Tena, the Cap­i­tal of the Napo Province. From here, we will drive for prox­i­mately one hour and a half more until we reach the com­mu­nity of San Pedro de Sum­ino (or Santa Rosa), a small jun­gle town located in the banks of the Napo River, one of the main efflu­ents of the great Ama­zon River. On the way, stops will be made to observe some flocks around these patches of for­est and some for­est edge areas. Once in San Pedro, we will be hop­ping in the fresh water canoe to head deep into the Yacuma Nat­ural Reserve. A 2030 min­utes ride will take you to the small Chon­tay­acu River, where Yacuma EcoLodge is located. Depend­ing on the time of the year and the amount of water run­ning through the rivers, the boat ride can turn into a fun activ­ity, as col­lec­tively, we all push the canoe through sand banks and up river to get to the lodge.

The Yacuma For­est Reserve totals 275 hectares of Pri­mary rain­for­est, bor­der­ing the Chon­tay­acu River next to the cab­ins, and going deep into the jun­gle sur­round­ing the cab­ins. This nat­ural heaven will be your home for the next few days, as you explore and con­nect with nature and the com­mu­ni­ties of the jungle.

At the lodge, you will be wel­comed with a glass of the tra­di­tional bev­er­age called “Guayusa” this tasty bev­er­age has a lot of caf­feine and vit­a­mins in much larger con­cen­tra­tion than cof­fee, mak­ing it an ideal drink for the morn­ing to have a very pro­duc­tive day in the jun­gle. After a short wel­come talk, you will be taken into your com­fort­able tra­di­tional style bun­ga­lows. Solar pan­els pro­vide hot water in the show­ers, as well as ambi­ent light­ing for the night.

005 After enjoy­ing a deli­cious wel­come lunch, and hav­ing a short rest, we will have a short nav­i­ga­tion to the “hid­den Lagoon”, where we will do a short hike ideal for bird watch­ing in their nat­ural sur­round­ings, such as: King Fish­ers (mar­tin pescador), Great Egrets (garzas de río), Great Blue Herons (garzas reales), and per­haps one of the most strange and inter­est­ing birds of the ama­zon, the Hoatzin (Opistho­co­mus hoatzin), that have a blue face and a punk-​hairdo. The smell is quite pun­gent, giv­ing it the nick­name of the stinky bird. In this place, we will also try fish­ing for the leg­endary Piranha, which you can have for din­ner at the lodge if you catch one!

We will go back to the lodge, for din­ner, and if every­one feels in good con­di­tions a night walk for about 40 min­utes can also be arranged after dinner.

Day 2 — Bird­watch­ing at Yacuma For­est Reserve:

006 After break­fast, we depar­ture for a 3 hours hike along one of the trails of the pri­mary rain­for­est and look­ing for birds such as Swallow-​wing, Dusky-​headed Para­keet, Blue-​headed Par­rot, Yellow-​crowned Ama­zon, and Mealy Ama­zon Yellow-​browed Antbird fiery-​topaz, Pavon­nive Quet­zal, Plum-​throated Cotinga, Pavoninne Cukoo, Point-​tailed –palm­creper among oth­ers. Return to the lodge for lunch and after a good rest, we make a visit to one of the Kichwa fam­i­lies who live in the area. They will show as how to pre­pare choco­late from the local cacao, eat the pro­teinic chon­tacuro worms which are formed inside of the Chon­taduro, a typ­i­cal palm from the rain­for­est. The women also will show you the way to elab­o­rate the beau­ti­ful hand­made pot­tery. Walk back to the lodge for din­ner and brief­ing about the next day activ­i­ties. At night, we will go owl­ing and try for the Rufous Potoo, Crested Owl, Mot­tled Owl, among others.

Day 3 — Bird­watch­ing at Yacuma For­est Reserve:

Early wake up, break­fast and start our walk along a train which will take us to the Buenoy­acu River bank. Along the way we will have many oppor­tu­ni­ties to observe canopy birds such as Crimson-​Crested Wood­pecker, Par­adise Tan­ager, Gilded Bar­bet, Golden-​collared Tou­canet, Ama­zon­ian Vio­la­ceous Tro­gon, Flame-​Crested Tan­ager, Rufous-​Bellies Eupho­nia, White-​Throated Tou­can, Ches­nutt Wood­pecker, Cinnamon-​Rumped Foliage-​Gleaner among many oth­ers. We will have a pic-​nic lunch and the oppor­tu­nity to have a swim in the clear waters of the Buenoy­acu River. After­noon bird­ing walk while we return to the lodge. Time to rest and enjoy a farewell din­ner fol­lowed by a meet­ing at the fire place for a “Guayusa” drink, per­haps some local music.

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Day 4 — Bird­watch­ing at Yacuma For­est Reserve – San Pedro – Tena – Quito (or Baños):

Early break­fast and then we make a 25 min­utes’ walk to the Yacuma Collpa to enjoy the view of the dozens, and some­times hun­dreds, of para­keets, par­rotlets, also macaws, and other birds eat­ing the clay. An amaz­ing spec­ta­cle. Return walk to the lodge to have an early light lunch and to say good­bye to our local friends. Canoe back to San Pedro and from here trans­port to Tena from where you will take your pri­vate trans­port or pub­lic bus trans­port back to Quito or Baños.

KEY NOTES:

  • At the lodge we pro­vide drink­able water, cof­fee and tea free of charge.
  • At the bar, you can buy (cash only) bot­tled drinks, wine, run, whisky.
  • Rooms are light­ing with bulbs ener­gized by Pho­to­voltaic Solar Pan­els and the show­ers in the bath­rooms are pro­vided with hot water heated with high effi­ciency solar panels.
  • Malaria cases have not been reported, but in any way, we sug­gest you con­sult your physi­cian for an opin­ion on tak­ing malaria pills while at Yacuma Ecolodge.

What to bring:

  • Cot­ton shirts — 3 or more
  • Bathing suit
  • Long light trousers — 3 or more (no jeans)
  • Per­sonal toi­letries & per­sonal first aid kit
  • Shorts — 2 or more; T-​shirts — 3 or more
  • Mos­quito repel­lent, Sun­glasses & Sun cream
  • Note­book, pass­port, money in cash (us$),
  • Cot­ton socks — min­i­mum a pair per day
  • Binoc­u­lars for bird watching
  • Com­fort­able shoes and sandals
  • Water bot­tle
  • Warm jacket
  • Flash light (torch) with extra batteries
  • Rain jacket
  • Back­pack (2030 lts. waterproof)
  • Photo cam­era