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Ecuador, South America
December 2007

    Itinerary:
    Quito
    Pañacocha
    Jatuncocha, Parque Nacional Yasuní
    Cocaya
    Lagartococha

Synopsis

December 20th
Rio Napo
    The next morning, the river was still rising, though it had not rained on us.  It had rained so much elsewhere that the black river was not longer black, but muddy like the Napo.  I can’t imagine the amount of rain it takes to swell an entire river system. 
    We headed out early trying to see the Horned Screamers that we heard calling in the mornings.  They apparently like marshy lagoons, so we stopped and tried to get a good view into a lagoon that was choked off by the reeds.  We couldn’t find anything, so we continued down the river slowly, circling lagoons and watching the dolphins surface around us.  As we continued back out to the Aguarico, we spotted a small group of Equatorial Sakis in the trees.  After cutting the motor engine, the sakis relaxed a little and we even watched them groom each other.  Across from where the sakis were another group of squirrel monkeys were traveling through the trees.
    Continuing our journey, we left the Lagartococha, down the Aguarico, and up the Napo back to Rocafuerte. 
We unloaded all off our gear at César’s house.  Brett had a horrible reaction to a combination of his anti-malarial meds and sun exposure.  We dosed him up with Benedryl and let him get his rest.  After another delicious meal at César’s we got back into the canoe to try to see the Horned Screamers in Yasuní at a location Paola knows.
Unfortunately, the reeds choked our path into the lagoon and after being stuck for the fourth time, we turned around while we still had daylight.
    Back at Rocafuerte, Paola took Brett to the local hospital, where they did what they could do – give him an anti-histamine shot.  I turned in for the night, while Tor, Paola, and Brock went to the Princess Christmas Pageant.  I heard later it was quite the show, with kids dressed up and dogs wandering around.
    Around 1AM the town turns off the electricity that was also when the rain and thunder started.  The rain pounded down, but by the morning it started to let up a little.

December 21st
Rio Napo
    We had to wake up early as Selulo was driving his canoe back to Coca and we wanted to ride with him rather than take the public boat, which would have take 12 hours at least.  We got to the boat, where his family, Emilda, and a couple of other people got on the boat.  The boat was a lot more crowded that I expected, so I had to make due with the room I got.  It was an uncomfortable and long ride back.  I felt like a packed sardine and the pouring rain at times didn’t help. 
    The Napo was a lot higher than when we traveled down it.  It was easier to navigate, since there were no low spots or sandbars to avoid. But the river was rushing faster and we were traveling against the current.
    After 4 and 1⁄2 hours on the boat, we stopped at Pañacocha for a very late breakfast.  It was refreshing to take a breather off the boat, but we still had another 4 hours to make it to Coca. 
    Finally, we made it back to Coca.  The weather had cleared up and it just felt good to be out of the boat.  Brett still was not feeling good, so we got him to bed as soon as we could.  In the evening, we wandePaOred around the town, enjoying the amazing fruit drinks and had our last dinner together.

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Pictures

The waters of the Lagartococha were much higher than when we first arrived.  The water was also muddied by the rising water.
Black-collared Hawk
Most of the lagoons stayed clear.  Where they met the river it created an interesting border between the two waters.
We were lucky to see a small group of Equatorial Sakis.  We watched these two groom each other.
Back at Rocafuerte.  Our ride through out the trip, emptied for the long ride the following day.

Click here to see what the boat ride is typically like.
César and Emilda's house
Vulture ready to play some hoops
Going back to Yasuní to look for Horned Screamer
Thick reeds blocked our way (see video of us driving through the reeds - soon!) , but it was a beautiful trip.
Before sunrise waiting for the boat back to Coca
Sunrise over the Rio Napo
The best way to make it through a long trip on a crowded boat.
The same tree from the start of the trip
Alas, made it to Coca after 9 hours in the boat.
Chickens for sale in Coca
Yellow-handed Titi Monkey that was released into the Coca park.
                                       
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page updated: 3/18/08