We began our 'adventure' at 6:00am, and by 6:40am we had our flat tire. I helped the driver change the tire while Simon and Howard supervised my performance. After that the driver checked-in at a nearby construction site in hopes of acquiring a spare tire. While that happened, we did a bit of birding along the road and chalked up Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Scrub Blackbird, and Long-billed Starthroat. The driver later returned with no tire, so as a group we had a strategic decision to make...press on in the direction we needed to go and hopefully obtain a spare tire in the afternoon, or back-track to another town and cancel our planned route. Ignoring safety as a top priority, we opted to press-on and hope not to get another flat tire...I think however, as we spent the next few hours traversing some of the worst roads we'd ever been on, we were second-guessing this decision.
Our destination today was Tapichalaca Lodge, and there was only one location along the way that we were aiming to do some birding at: Utuana Reserve. We arrived at Utuana at 10:33am, nearly an hour-and-a-half after we had hoped to get here, thanks to the flat tire and taking two wrong roads. The cost of arriving late was two-fold: we had less time to spend birding here, and the morning bird activity window had been largely missed. Despite this, we did manage to find a good variety of birds including Silvery Tanager (lifer), Blue-and-Black Tanager, White-crested Elaenia, Rainbow Starfrontlet (lifer), Speckled Hummingbird, Purple-throated Sunangel (lifer), Red-crested Cotinga, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Chapman's Antshrike (lifer), and Rufous-crested Warbler. We dipped on a couple of targets here, including Black-crested Tit-Tyrant. While at the reserve we had a packed lunch, and at 1:40pm it was time to move along.
From 1:40pm to the time we arrived at Tapichalaca Lodge, I wrote just one bird down, an American Kestrel. The end of this travel day could not come soon enough, as we rolled into the lodge just before 8:00pm.