During our few days at La Selva we saw over 10 mammals, including 6 monkeys, over 10 reptiles/amphibians (herps), and last but not least, 253 species of birds.
The only downside of our visit, well, my visit, was the fact that I spent our first full day there lying in bed, after being sick from food poisoning all night, trying to keep the contents of my stomach in my stomach, and being unable to bird in the most biodiverse place I have ever been. Ah well.
The two and a half of days of birding that I did get to do were spectacular, without trying for big days we managed over 160 species each day, and some of the birds included over 25 various antthings, 10 woodpeckers, 6 manakins, 14 parrots, 4 jacamars, and countless other goodies. One of the days was spent birding the clay licks across the Rio Napo at Yasuní National Park, where the spectacle of hundreds of parrots and parakeets coming in to line their stomachs with clay, so that they are able to feed on toxic seeds throughout the coming day, is nothing short of incredible, much less deafening!
After that we walked trails behind the licks, heading off into the 'terra firme' forest, which is to say land that doesnt seasonally flood, with our wonderful guide Rodrigo, who knew all the birds as well as quirky things about the forest, and all the other life around as well.
The birding up in the small hills of the terra firme was quite nice, and one of the nice bird features of that area is the relative abundance of manakins, of which we saw Golden-headed, Dwarf Tyrant, White-crowned, Blue-crowned, and Stripes, all in just a morning. Such neat little birds. Another highlight was a Scarlet Macaw coming down to the parakeet clay lick, one of the two licks that we visited, where our guide had not seen a Macaw come down to drink for three years! Other memorable experiences included a Great Tinamou walking across the path not 10 feet away from us, being attacked by a Black-tailed Leaftosser, having a Fork-tailed Woodnymph study us from about 4 feet away, and just wacky birds like Cream-colored Woodpecker and White-eared Jacamar, that make you wonder why they exist.
The other day of birding was spent at the Napo river islands in the morning, and another lagoon, separate from the one that the lodge is located on, called Mandicocha.
The river islands are really great, cool birds, cool habitat, and wonderful photo ops. Some of the better birds seen there were Oriole Blackbird, Pied Lapwing, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, and Capped Heron, for looks, and Castelnau's Antshrike, Parker's Spinetail, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, and Lesser Hornero, for rarity.
Mandicocha, where we spent the afternoon, was nothing less then spectacular. It is this wonderful lake that is edged with water hyacinth and reeds, and we were there at sunset, and I cannot imagine a prettier place then there. The edge of the cocha had such glamour birds as Orange-backed Troupial, Wattled Jacana, Azure Gallinule, and Red-capped Cardinal, while overhead flew Black Caracara, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, and the omnipresent Neotropical Palm-Swift. From there we paddled down a little stream, for longer then we planned, where a troupe of at least 60 Squirrel Monkeys played around overhead for a while, White-chinned Jacamar flycatched from the trees nearby, and a Common Potoo tried his best to look like a dead branch, while keeping a wary eye on the monkeys, before we had to get back to land and make a 15 minute mad dash back to the lodge before dark. 45 minutes there, and we made it back in 15 haha. Motivation is a powerful thing.
It really is impossible to capture our experience there in just a few paragraphs, and some of the things that I've missed out on so far are the location of the lodge, which is situated on this lovely oxbow lake, edged with mangroves, where piranhas swim and caiman lurk, and where we saw Zigzag Heron one morning at dawn, albeit not well, and on our two night paddles we were lucky enough to see Amazon Tree Boa, a wonderful snake that had extended its head more then 3 feet off of a branch, in the hopes of catching a moth or something of that ilk, Black-banded Owl, sadly heard only, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, and the wonderful raccoon-like Kinkajou!
In conclusion, my only regret is that we didn't have more time down there in the east, even though at times it was the hottest I have ever been, with 80 degree temps and 95%+ humidity, it was still awesome.
A link to all the pictures I've taken on this trip, including 54 newbies from La Selva, can be seen at: http://picasaweb.google.com/goshawk227/EcuadorNovember152008January152009#
Full species list from La Selva:
Pygmy Marmoset (smallest monkey in the world)
Common Squirrel Monkey
Red Howler Monkey
Dusky Titi Monkey (Edit: This was the name I got from the guide, it seems that only White-tailed Titi is around in eastern Ecuador)
Amazonian Red-tailed Squirrel
Western Pygmy Squirrel
Long-nosed Bat sp.
White-lined Bat sp.
Amazon Tree Boa
Northern Caiman Lizard
Golden Tegu Lizard
Yellow-spotted River Turtle
Collared Forest Gecko
Ruddy Poison Dart Frog (Edit: Neither of these dart-frog species seem to exist under the below names. All herp names are from my guide. The two toads are seemingly absent from the internet as well, except that Sharp-Nosed toad might be Bom Jardim Toad (Rhinella dapsilis)
Stripe-faced (?) Poison Dart Frog
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Yellow-crowned (Amazon) Parrot
Fork-tailed (Neotropical) Palm-Swift
(Amazonian) White-tailed Trogon
(Amazonian) Violaceous Trogon
Peruvian Warbling-Antbird (Warbling Antbird)
Orange-eyed Flycatcher (Olive-faced Flatbill)
Gray-crowned (Flatbill) Flycatcher
Scaly-breasted (Southern Nightingale) Wren
Epaulet (Moriche) Oriole
Golden-bellied (White-lored) Euphonia
253 species, 177 lifers