Birding Without Borders

Day 67: Follow the Leader

Birding with a tour helps Noah get some local species.

March 8, 2015, Shiripuno Lodge, Ecuador — Forrest, Roger, Tim, Marilyn, Frank, Roy, and I spent the day walking the muddy trails around Shiripuno Lodge with the station’s manager, Jarol, who is an excellent birder. It was a solid day, interrupted only by a couple hours of rain and a hearty lunch prepared by Shiripuno’s cook, Carlos (a former logger turned camp cook and boat driver).

The station isn’t really a lodge; it has no electricity, no hot water, and no amenities. The block of rooms has curtained dividers and open-air ceilings, and the shower is literally a pipe sticking out of the wall. It may not the most comfortable place to relax, but we didn’t come here to chill out—we came to bird, and this place gives access to some of the most pristine forest in Ecuador!

It’s interesting to be birding in an organized group rather than with one or two locals, as I have been doing for most of this year. The dynamics are different: Forrest is our leader, and we follow his direction. The other five birders are experienced and well-traveled (at least three have life lists in the 5,000-6,000 species range), and it’s a fun group. I won’t sign on to many formal tours this year, but this Rockjumper trip will be quite helpful to target the deep-forest Amazonian birds I’ve missed so far. It’s admittedly nice to stay in one spot for four nights, too—it feels downright domestic!

New birds today: 15

Year list: 1525

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The group goes over the daily bird list by candlelight at the end of a long day at Shiripuno, Ecuador. Photo: Noah Strycker
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