02 March 2009

The Tanager Horde of Podocarpus… (Rio Bombuscaro, Ecuador): 15 - 17 February 2009


Our next few days were spent on the east slope in the tanager-rich foothill forests (c.1100m) around Rio Bombuscaro, a sector of Podocarpus NP. We stayed in the fantastic Copalinga Lodge, a guides favourite lodge on this southern tour, by way of a combination of nicely designed cabins, fantastic food, and great birding right around the grounds that are especially good for hummingbirds and of course tanagers. The lodge is run by a Belgian couple – Baldwin and Katherine. Baldwin designed the lodge logos, with the lodge having a tanager-theme (what else here?!), with each cabin being a different tanager. In this area we bagged a bunch of tanagers, including Green-and-gold, Golden-eared, Paradise, Orange-eared, Masked and Magpie Tanagers. One day saw us rack up over 20 species of tanager in a day. The star tanager of the bunch had to be the Vermillion Tanagers seen on our final morning along the Old Loja-Zamora Road. I just could not believe it when I stepped out of the car to check on some tanager calls in the trees above, and my eyes were immediately drawn to this bright red glow in the middle of the tree – a Vermillion Tanager feasting on fruits right above us. The Copalinga grounds were also good with Mottle-backed Elaenias nesting, and females of Spangled Coquette and Violet-headed Hummingbird working the purple blooms in the garden. Other notable garden birds included a rare boreal visitor, Black-billed Cuckoo (a first for the property), a few Wire-crested Thorntails, a Lafresnaye’s Piculet and a female Lined Antshrike, and Greenish Hermits and Violet-fronted Brilliants were coming into the feeders.

In Podocarpus NP itself, aside from the tanagers there was plenty of other ‘fodder’ to keep us busy, from the Coppery-chested Jacamar and Ecuadorian Piedtail along the entrance to track to Foothill Elaenias and Ecuadorian Tyrannulets in the canopy flocks. A couple of cool puffbirds were found on one morning, when the ‘whispering’ call of a Black-streaked Puffbird led us to it, and also the dinky Lanceolated Monklet also made an appearance. A male Striped Manakin and some Blue-crowned Manakins in an area of fruiting trees were not to be sniffed at either.

1 comment:

Cay said...

Interesting. I'm not a birdwatcher but went to Vermillion High School in Vermillion, SD and our team name was the Vermillion Tanagers. I knew there was a bird Tanager but had no idea there was actually a Vermillion Tanager. And I love the picture. My love is photography although I'm not great but I enjoy nature pictures.