Mindo, Ecuador: Río Silanche
“See you at 5:00 am and we’ll go to Río Silanche”. If you know us very well, you know that for us 5:00 am is in the middle of the night! But we sacrificed in order to see some wonderful birds.
At the Yellow House http://ecuadormindobirds.com they made us sandwiches to take along for breakfast, and arranged for us to have a local guide, Julia Patiño. She led us to Río Silanche which is an island of natural habitat in a heavily farmed area. There we climbed a canopy tower in the dawning light and waited for something marvelous to appear. And appear it did. From the canopy tower we saw and heard a White-Bearded Manikin, Pale-Billed Aracari, Dusky-Headed Flycatcher, and the back of a White-Tailed Trogon! Our morning had begun in an amazing way.
We hiked the trails of the forest and looked out over the pasture land. We saw tanagers, toucans, and woodcreepers. On the way out of the preserve we observed holes in the bank and stopped to have a look. We learned from Julia that both motmots and jacamars nest in holes like the ones we saw. With her help, we found a well hidden Rufous-Tailed Jacamar. Amazing!
At Río Silanche we saw 66 species of birds, the biggest day on our trip: Lemon-Rumped Tanager, Yellow-Bellied Seedeater, Masked Water-Tyrant, Chestnut-Backed Antbird, Rufous Wood-Quail, Pale-Billed Aracari, White-Necked Jacobin, White-Bearded Manakin,White-Shouldered Tanager, Dot-Winged Wren, Chocó Toucan, Blue-Necked Tanager, Turkey Vulture, Southern Nightingale Wren, Rufous Motmot, Green Honeycreeper, Grey and Gold Tanager, White-Tailed Trogan, Buff-Throated Saltator, Blue Dacnis, Social Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Dusky-Capped Flycatcher, Bronze-Winged Parrot, Boat-Billed Flycatcher, Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan, Blue-Headed Parrot, Golden-Faced Tyrannulet, Scarlet-Rumped Cacique, White-Whiskered Hermit, Maroon-Tailed Parakeet, Tawny-Crested Tanager, Plumbeous Kite and family, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Black-Cheeked Woodpecker, Smooth-Billed Ani, Palm Tanager, Rose-Faced Parrot, Southern Rough-Winged Swallow, Guayaquil Woodpecker, Ruddy Pigeon, Tropical Kingbird, Cinnamon Becard, Bay-Headed Tanager, Black-Striped Woodcreeper, Black-Winged Saltator, Spotted Woodcreeper, Golden Tanager, Golden-Olive Woodpecker, Streak-Headed Woodcreeper, Western Slaty-Antshrike, Mealy Amazon, Plain-Brown Woodcreeper, Blue-Grey Tanager, Orange-Fronted Barbet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Wedge-Billed Woodcreeper, Slaty-Capped Flycatcher, Blue-Chested Hummingbird, Rufous-Tailed Jacamar, Black-Capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Variable Seedeater, Lesser Seed-Finch, Blue Seedeater, White-Lined Tanager, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Summer Tanager
For lunch we stopped at a place that Julia told us about in the town of Bancos. It overlooked the Río Blanco and had hummingbird and banana feeders. I think the food was good, but the birding was even better. There we saw: Thick-Billed Euphonia, Bananaquit, Golden Tanager, Blue-Grey Tanager, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Broad-Winged Hawk, Green-Crowned Brilliant, Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird, Green Thorntail, Andean Emerald, Green-Crowned Woodnymph, Booted Raquet-Tail, Orange-Billed Sparrow, Lemon-Rumped Tanager, Black Vulture, Green Violetear, Green-Crowned Brilliant
Next blog: The Yellow House and trails