As I write this, my life list stands at 1,999 species. It’s likely that I’ll hit 2,000 this very afternoon, since, at Tiputini, practically anything is possible. What bird will it be?

I arrived on Friday after spending 24 hours in international airports and eight hours on a small plane, a bus, a boat, another bus, and another boat, working steadily deeper into the remote Amazonian lowlands of eastern Ecuador. I will be studying Wedge-billed Woodcreepers at Tiputini Biodiversity Station for the next three months.

The station is located on the bank of the Tiputini River alongside Yasuni National Park and run by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. It’s a popular stop for study abroad groups from the United States, so the facilities are pretty good. We get electricity for six hours a day, cooked meals, and maid service.

This is the “drier” season at Tiputini. By way of introduction, I got soaked in an intense thunderstorm during my first morning in the humid rainforest, slipped on a muddy slope, landed on a sharp stump, and ripped a 2-inch hole through the seat of my field pants before pouring several inches of water out of my rubber boots. Lesson learned: always bring your umbrella…

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the process of getting settled in to jungle life. This place is full of canopy walkways, boardwalks, towers, muddy trails, and canoes – and 500+ species of birds!

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