Manglares-Churute National Park: July 17, 2008

Already having taken a canoe ride through mangroves in Puerto Hondo, Aimee and I were free to make just a short visit to one of Ecuador's largest but least visited national parks. The target bird here is the Horned Screamer, which during the morning is usually visible from the main road while it is perched in the treetops. We had great views of three individuals all within 50m of the road, and with the scope we were able to see clearly the "horn" that protrudes from the bird's forehead.

Never content to tick and run, I thought it would be interesting to explore more of the park while walking the self-guided trail up to the top of the hill above the information center. Ten minutes into the steep and sweltering hike I was ready to turn back, dismayed by the swarms of mosquitoes, the degraded forest, and the general lack of birds, but Aimee encouraged me up the hill. Eventually, we encountered good forest and a wealth of birds, although the only one I lingered for was the much anticipated Pacific Royal Flycatcher.

Notable birds seen: Horned Screamer, Ringed Kingfisher, Western Slaty Antshrike, Black-Cheeked Woodpecker, Pacific Royal Flycatcher.

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