On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

During our trip to Ecuador with students in our Study Abroad class, we spent some time at a place we had not visited before – the Tiputini Biodiversity Station deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest in Yasuni National Park. This is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, and thus is very remote. To get there from Quito we took a 45 minute plane flight to Coca, then a 1.5 hour boat trip down the Napo River to a point where we could catch a bus to take us from the Napo to the Tiputini River. The bus ride took about 2 hours, after which we loaded onto another canoe and went for two more hours downriver to the station. While we were there we heard and saw many critters, including some of the 100+ species of bats that make this spot famous (or infamous). And we got rained on, several times. But it is very hard to take pictures of birds in a rainforest; the density of photos is very low at the bottom of that tree canopy. So these pics are not all birds, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless! The next couple of picture submissions will be some images from the Galápagos.

Taken on 2019-05-26 00:00:00

Tiputini Biodiversity Station

This three-toed sloth was spotted by one of the guides as we traveled along the Tiputini River in the morning, and was still there in the afternoon. It never put its head out so that I could get a picture of the complete critter, but I suspect that it really doesn’t care about my problems.

Taken on 2019-05-26 00:00:00

Tiputini Biodiversity Station

This is one of the target birds for anyone visiting the Amazon River system, the Hoatzin, aka dinosaur chicken. It is a chicken-sized bird that has a unique diet; it eats leaves. Therefore it has a long digestive tract like any other herbivore, and emits copious flatulence. A couple of times we knew they were in the vicinity when we caught a faint whiff of something that smells a lot like the feedlots here in the Great Plains.

Taken on 2019-05-26 00:00:00

Tiputini Biodiversity Station

This squirrel monkey was in a troop of monkeys who were traveling along the river as we were floating downstream. All in all the group saw 6 species of monkeys, including the smallest monkey in the world, the pygmy marmoset. No pics of that one, alas.

Taken on 2019-05-26 00:00:00

Tiputini Biodiversity Station

This large woodpecker is the Crimson-crested Woodpecker. It’s a good-sized bird, slightly smaller than the Pileated Woodpecker found in North America, and has a loud characteristic 4-tap drumming sequence that we heard quite often in all parts of the forest.

Taken on 2019-05-26 00:00:00

Tiputini Biodiversity Station

This handsome fellow is a Violaceous Jay, another bird that we heard a lot more often than we saw. It’s not a great picture, but this was a life bird for me and I even IDed it before the guides spotted it, so I’m including here simply for the gloating!


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form


With the upcoming site redesign, there will be many changes and so email submissions are over for now. Once it happens – in weeks, I imagine, there will be a slight interruption while we sort things out. So if you’re sitting on some pictures, now’s the time to submit them, using the form.

13 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nothing beats Fridays with Albatrossity.

  2. 2
    Rob says:

    It’s Hoatzin Friday!

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    How many life birds do you have, Albatrossity? Hundreds? Thousands?

    These are great, especially the dinosaur chicken and the monkey.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    opiejeanne says:

    Wow! Those two birds, the violaceous jay and the dinosaur chicken are amazing sights. I’m a very very amateur birder. I can point out a bald eagle when it’s hunting small household pets in our neighborhood and the pileated woodpecker woke us up at dawn yesterday. We also seem to have the biggest Stellers jays on the planet.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    Albatrossity features the Black-capped Donacobius on his twitter feed. https://twitter.com/DaveRintoul01/status/1139137975932063745
    His pictures are all amazing.

  7. 7
    eclare says:


  8. 8
    Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!) says:

    Again, Very Nice! This makes me want to go back to Ecuador again.

  9. 9
    arrieve says:

    Wow. I really love that dinosaur chicken. You could see that in a supporting role in a Jurassic Park remake.

  10. 10
    Betty says:

    Your travels deep into the Amazon sound pretty adventurous Happy everyone stayed safe.

  11. 11

    What fun! Thanks for sharing. The dinosaur chicken is so cool.

  12. 12
    J R in WV says:

    Wow… that woodpecker! Plus a sloth, motionless all day long! Plus a Dinosaur Chicken?!?!

    Great stuff, as per usual.


    What an inspiration you are for us photographer-wannabes!

  13. 13
    Miss Bianca says:

    Oh, to see a pygmy marmoset! (sighs wistfully). Guess I will have to make do with your gorgeous photos of other fauna.

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