This was a day of contrasts. We began down at the lowly elevations of 1100m, in an area of foothill forest and then returned back to the subtropics (2300m elevation), by the afternoon. It was a wet day again, and it was soon clear the rainy season has arrived in earnest and the long-standing drought in Ecuador has finally broken. A whole crowd of new birds awaited us at Milpe, as it was our first time in the foothills. We were greeted along the entrance track by a pair of the endemic Choco Toucan, and just after we entered the forest a male Choco Trogon (aka White-eyed Trogon) broke the initial silence we experienced and provided a nice opener. Not long after another splash of color was provided by a superb male Golden-headed Quetzal in virtually the next tree along. The two reserves in the area visited bought us flock after flock: Rufous-throated Tanagers passed through overhead in one flock that also held a striking Slate-colored Grosbeak, and chubby Ochre-breasted Tanagers came through in the understorey within another, while Choco Warblers were conspicuous in all these parties. Soft hooting calls left us to an endemic pigeon, Pallid Dove, that was singing near the parking lot, and a Little Cuckoo was found not too far off there either. Indeed the parking lot was a veritable hot spot, as a male Guayaquil Woodpecker was heard calling from there before he was pinned down on a near truck, showing off his bright red head and a well-marked V on his back. Toucans were prominent today as the recently lumped Pale-mandibled Aracari (or should we now call it merely a Collared Aracari?!) was also added later in the day. A surprise find was a furry number rummaging around on a forest trail, an as yet unidentified species of Agouti, a rare sighting in the northwest where animals are at a premium (see photo). This small private reserve also bought us a Collared Trogon, one of four from this family encountered on this day alone (along with the quetzal, the Choco Trogon at Milpe, and Masked Trogon later at Tandayapa).
I've been birding since I was 11, since I saw a pair of tits in a Royal London park. This was a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Since 2005 I have been living in Ecuador, for my job as a guide for Tropical Birding and Tandayapa Bird Lodge. This has taken me to many corners of the planet in my unwavering pursuit of birds. Birds and birding, that's what I'm all about, and what this site is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.