05 January 2010

Jays of the Incas...(San Isidro, E Ecuador): December 22, 2009

We awoke from our beds at San Isidro, quickly wolfed down a breakfast and emerged from our cabins for the famous frenzy of dawn activity right outside the rooms. Street lights burning brightly all night attract a large number of moths, and around dawn birds of all shapes and sizes came in to take advantage of the feast on offer. The most visible of these were the noisy Inca Jays (see photos), a close relative of the Green Jay that creeps into the southern United States (indeed some say they are actually a race of the Green Jay). A number of these lime green birds, with the electric blue facial skin, and lemon yellow bellies hopped in and out of the foliage just a few feet away to pick off the bugs and insects that had come in overnight. These were not the only birds in attendance though. The area was pumping with activity. Also there was the plump Barred Becard, the beautifully dotted Pearled Treerunner, the scarce Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Pale-edged Flycatchers, "mouthy" Subtropical Caciques, a pair of motionless Masked Trogons, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Azara's Spinetail, and Black-eared Hemspinguses to name but a few! The action continued for over an hour and then suddenly died down, as the birds moved off to their more "normal" feeding areas. More photos from the frenzy to follow soon...

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