For our final and fifth day we were in the Tandayapa Valley on a mission for Ecuador's glamor species, and cover bird: Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan that had thus far avoided us in the few gloomy, sodden afternoons we had tried for it. Before we climbed up the valley to its core range we made a brief visit to the Tandayapa Lodge blind a short time after dawn. On walking in we were greeted with the sight of a tail-pumping male Immaculate Antbird (later to be joined by a rusty female), and a pair of White-throated Quail-Doves that returned time and again to rummage in the compost pile. Also seen from there was a Narino Tapaculo bouncing around on the forest floor, a Uniform Antshrike, and a Chestnut-capped Brush-finch, whose clean "Ariel" white throat simply glowed from the dark forest floor.
When we arrived for our toucan mission in the Upper Tandayapa Valley where we quickly failed when we saw one shoot off in the diatnce from the crown of a tree. We persisted though and later ran into a dapper pair of Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans that brought smiles all round. We had barely recovered from the thrill of this technicolored toucan when yet another Tanager Finch popped up beside us, our third one in five days (see photo)! I felt that David and June may not beleive me now when I had told them it was a very rare and local species! We also met with a frantic feeding flock loaded with tanagers, flycatchers, woodcreepers and others, but more importantly a pristine pair of Plushcaps. A fine end to our five day custom tour, that felt like it should have been called the Tanager Finch special!
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.