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SOUTH ECUADOR BIRD PHOTO TOUR

This photo workshop concentrates on photographing the rare and spectacular birds of Southern Ecuador.  While the focus is on birds we will also photograph whatever mammals, reptiles and amphibians we come across and we visit some beautiful mountain locations which are excellent for landscape photography.  We will photograph some of the rarest birds in the world including the newly discovered Blue-throated Hillstar, El Oro Parakeet and Jocotoco Antpitta.  We will also photograph spectacular species such as Spangled Coquette and Rainbow Starfrontlet.  We will be staying at 4 different Jocotoco Foundation lodges which are located in the foundation’s reserves which were set aside for endangered bird species. We will do some multi-flash hummingbird photography on this workshop as well.

About Ecuador – Ecuador is one of the richest countries in the world for birds and bird photography.  Over 1,550 species of birds have been recorded in Ecuador, the fourth highest total of any country in the world.  It has many excellent lodges, good roads, a stable government and is reachable from most of North America in 8 hours travel or less.

Maximum Participants: 10 total, including a maximum of 6 photographers.

Cost and Logistics

$6,500 includes all lodging, meals, transportation within Ecuador, guiding, instruction, $500 single supplement.  Nonphotographer spouse or companion cost is $5,900.  It does not include airfare to and from Guayaquil, Ecuador which is the beginning and ending point of the tour.  It also does not include personal expenses such as tips or drinks. To reserve your spot a deposit of $2,300 is required. The balance is due 90 days prior to the tour. 2025 cost Photographer 6,700, nonphotographer 6,200, single supplement 600, Amazon Extension $2,995, single supplement $300.

Itinerary

January 9th – Transfer from the Guayaquil, Ecuador airport to a 4 star hotel.  Evening presentation on bird photography. 

January 10th – Morning departure and visit to Manglares Charute to photograph Horned Screamer, Comb Duck, various raptors and waterbirds then continue on to Umbrellabird Lodge in Buenaventura Reserve.  We will do a bit of late afternoon bird photography at the feeders. 

January 11th – We will a full day of photography at Umbrellabird Lodge.  This location is excellent for multi-flash photography.  Hummer species include Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Velvet-purple Coronet, Crowned Woodnymph and others.  Fruit feeders attract Collared Aracari, Green and Purple Honeycreepers and many other birds.  This is the nesting period for El Oro Parakeets and we will visit nest cavities to photograph this rare bird.  Umbrellabirds are occasionally photographed around the lodge.  Umbrellabird Lodge.

January 12th – Morning photography at Umbrellabird followed by check out and 4 hour transfer to Urraca Lodge in Jorupe Reserve.  Lunch on the way and afternoon bird photography at the feeders at Urraca Lodge.

January 13th – Morning photography at the feeders which attract some range restricted birds such as White-tailed Jay, Whooping Motmot, Pale-browed Tinamou and Blue Ground Dove.  Then we visit Utuana Reserve which is about an hour away to photograph the amazing Rainbow Starfrontlet and several other hummingbirds including Purple-thoated Sunangel.  We return to Urraca in the late afternoon and can try for Peruvian Screech Owl in the evening.

January 14th – Morning bird photography at Urraca, check out then visit Utuana again to photograph hummingbirds, then continue on to Tapichalca Reserve and Lodge where we will arrive in the late afternoon. 

January 15th – 18th – We will spend two full days in the beautiful, remote cloud forest of Tapichalaca Reserve.  This is the home of the Jocotoco Antpitta, which was just discovered about 20 years ago.  The Jocotoco and Chestnut-naped Antpittas provide excellent photo opportunities.  The lodge here is also very good for multi-flash photography with Little and Amethyst-throated Sunangels as well as Chestnut-breasted Coronets and Collared Incas.  Seed feeders provide photos of Bearded Guan, Chestnut-capped Brush Finch and other species.  Tapichalaca Lodge. 

January 19th – Morning photography at Tapichalaca followed by check out and transfer to Copalinga Lodge.  This afternoon we will have the choice of photographing at the lodge’s feeders or going with Javier to a location about one hour away to photograph the amazing Spangled Coquette.  Copalinga Lodge.

January 20th – We will spend the morning photographing at Copalinga Lodge.  They have a blind which attracts the rarely photographed Grey and Little Tinamous.  Fruit feeders attract Green and Gold, Golden-eared and other spectacular tanagers.  The hummingbird feeders attract Black-throated and Violet-fronted Brilliants among others.  Copalinga Lodge. 

January 21st – Morning photography at Copalinga including multi-flash, after lunch we check out and transfer to Saraguro where we stay in a nice hotel. 

January 22nd – Today we will visit a highland paramo reserve about two hours away where the highly endangered Blue-throated Hillstar was recently discovered.  At our location here are hummingbird feeders which attract Great Sapphirewing, Shining Sunbeam, Black-tailed Trainbearer and others.  In the reserve we will hope to also photograph Andean Condors, Caracaras and other raptors and mammals such as Andean Fox are possible.  Then in the afternoon we will return to Saraguro and then on to Cuenca where we will stay in a lovely boutique hotel in the historic city. 

January 23rd – Today we will visit a location which is very good for the amazing Spangled Coquette.  It’s about 2 hours away but we will do some bird photography on the way.  In addtion to photographing the coquette we will visit Cock-of-the-Rock and White-bearded Manakin leks.  We will return to the hotel in Cuenca in the evening.

January 24th – This morning we visit another highland location, Las Cajas National Park.  Here some of our target species include Ecuadorian Hillstar, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Tawny Antpitta, Giant Conebill and others.  Again raptors and mammals are likely.  Then we return to Cuenca for lunch, check out and a 3 hour transfer back to Guayaquil.  We will have an evening presentation on processing your images.  Hotel: a 4 star hotel in Guayaquil. 

January 25th – Transfer to the airport for your return trip home or start your Amazon extension.

Amazon Pre Extension

Cost: $2,895 with $300 single supplement, flight to and from Coca included, flight to and from Guayaquil not included. 

January 23rd – Transfer to airport for flight from Guayaquil to Quito.  Overnight at Zaysant Ecolodge.

January 24th – Transfer to airport for flight to Coca in the Ecuadorian Amazon then a 3 hour boat ride down the Napo River to Sani Lodge.  Afternoon boat trip to photograph Hoatzin and other birds on the oxbow lake. 

January 25th and 27th – 3 full days of photography at Sani Lodge including visit to the Napo Wildlife Center clay licks to photograph macaws and parakeets.  Boat trips and visits to the tower add many bird species as well as monkeys.  The fruit feeders at the lodge attract Scarlet-crowned Barbet, Crimson-masked Tanager and other species and they have a blind for Wire-tailed Manakin.  There are many macro opportunities here including the large Dusky Jungle Frog.  Just being in the Amazonian Rainforest is an amazing experience.

January 28th – Boat ride back to Coca, then flight back to Quito and transfer to Zaysant Ecolodge.  A bit of afternoon bird photography if we have time. 

January 29th – Transfer to the Quito airport for your flight home.

Javier Zurita

Javier Zurita

Javier is from Quito, Ecuador, he is an excellent photographer. For his thesis, he studied building blinds for bird photography and he is the person who has constructed the blinds at Sachatamia and several other locations in Ecuador. He also enjoys working with snakes and frogs.

Jose Avendaño

Jose is a full time photography and birding tour leader from Cusco, Peru. In addition to being a very good photographer and excellent birder

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