Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ecuador - Day 6 & 7

Day six was our last full day at Napo.  So far, we had seen everything that we wanted to see except good looks at Napo's signature primate; the Golden-mantled Tamarin.  So, the goal today was to change that.

Originally, we planned to take another long AM hike but Mother Nature had other plans.  It was raining at 5AM when we got up and was still raining at 7AM when we planned to start the hike.  While we enjoyed the previous day's wet hike we didn't want to do it again.  So, instead we delayed our activity until 11AM and spent the morning at the lodge tower enjoying the sounds of the rain and what birds were brave enough to be active.

At 11AM, we set off on the short loop trail behind the lodge since the Tamarins frequent that area.  We had barely walked 10 yard before Delfin indicated that he heard Tamarins.  Sure enough, a moment later they bounded into sight.  There were around 7 of them in this troop and we got some really good looks since they decided to pose for us and check us out a little bit.

Golden-mantled Tamarin

Golden-mantled Tamarin

We quickly became obsolete to them and they bounded out of sight amidst a chorus of high pitched chirps.  Although brief, it was a great encounter.

The afternoon hike started with a quick canoe ride.  The trail, called Tipituni, was another good one to see primates and since the weather had cleared up we had high hopes that we would see some.   The hike turned out to be pretty darn good since we got really good looks at Red Howler Monkeys and some other critters:

Red Howler Monkeys

Red Howler Monkey

The tiny Ruby Poison Dart Frog:
Ruby Poison Dart Frog

Amazon Wood Lizard:
Guichenot's Dwarf Iguana

When we arrived back at the lodge and had just dropped all our gear and slumped into our chairs to relax, Delfin came by to let us know that the Tamarins were back behind the lodge.  So, we jumped out of our chairs and got there just in time to see them before a troop of Squirrel Monkeys came through and chased them away.   Both troops were moving fast and it was fun to see them leap around the trees. While the pictures were just so-so, we did take some video that shows how active they were.

That was pretty much the last notable encounter of the day since our quick night hike was uneventful.  There just wasn't enough land around the lodge to find anything interesting at night.  We did have a Common Paraque outside our cabin serenading us all night long which didn't bother us in the least.

The next day we had to make an 11AM flight from Coca back to Quito. So, this meant getting up at 4:30AM and leaving the lodge promptly at 6AM for the four or so hour trip by boat back to Coca.  We had a few more bird sightings along this trip and one Night Monkey was sticking its head out of the tree hole to say goodbye.  It was a fitting end to an amazing trip.

We can't complete this series of trip reports without commenting on how the Napo Wildlife Center runs like a well oiled machine.  They have all kinds of logistics to work through to get food and water to the lodge, prepared and served not to mention all the activities they coordinate.  Never once did we have to wait for them and never once was the service anything less than top notch.  The Kichwa community is doing an amazing job running this lodge and we thank them for providing us with so many great memories.

The total animal count for this trip was amazing and was by far our best every trip for new species.  We saw over 125 species of birds and 90% of them were new to us.  Here are the rest of the counts:

Mammals (All were new to us):
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
Night Monkey
Common Squirrel Monkey
Golden-mantled Tamarin
White-lipped Peccary
Southern Two-toed Sloth
Southern River Otter
Northern Amazonian Red Squirrel
Pygmy Marmoset
Long-nosed Bat
Giant River Otter
White Fronted Capuchin Monkey
Monk Saki Monkey
Tent Making Bat
Wooly Monkey
Red Howler Monkey
Fishing Bat

Herps (All were new to us):
Amazon Tree Boa
Black-skinned Parrot Snake
South American Lancehead
Blunt-headed Snake
Green Anaconda
Black Caiman
Bark Anole
Guichenot's Dwarf Iguana
Amazonian Poison Dart Frog
Leptodactylus lineatus
Big-headed Frog
Clown Tree Frog
Ruby Poison Dart Frog
Reticulated Poison Frog

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