Several days were spent mixing it up between the humid deciduous woods in Jorupe reserve, tracking down way too many Tumbesian endemics to mention, and also venturing up into the highlands of Sozoranga and Utuana searching for specialties of the region. At Jorupe highlights included 4 Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaners, and the scarce and local Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner too, a Watkins's Antpitta that literally jumped onto an open track in front of us all, a nesting pair of Slaty Becards, a few dapper Black-capped Sparrows (third photo), several troops of White-tailed Jays among a whole host of other birds that are largely restricted in their ranges to a small area of southern Ecuador and northern Peru. Many too are considered threatened. Our final third night at Jorupe lodge finally got us a Peruvian Screech-Owl that we had been hunting down for two nights previously without success (bottom photo).
At Sozoranga and Utuana we witnessed a number of the local Chestnut-collared Swallows peering out of their mud nests (top photo), a pair of Piura Hemispingus, three Elegant Crescentchests, a hulking Black-cowled Saltator, a very cute pair of Black-crested Tit-Tyrants (second photo), many glistening Rainbow Starfrontlets, and even tracked down a Gray-headed Antbird too.
A final few hours were spent in the western foothills of the Andes at Buenaventura, picking up a superb Plain-backed Antpitta, and finding a Brown-billed Scythebill in a flock, not to mention another Long-wattled Umbrellabird. We then headed south into Loja province and the reserve of Jorupe just north of the Peruvian border. Before we checked into that reserve though (and the new Urracas Lodge), we stopped off for a short time at El Empalme, where deciduous scrub was made all the more impressive due to a number of massive ceiba trees dotting the landscape. Here we found the local White-headed Brush-Finch (see photos), Tumbes Hummingbird, Tumbes Sparrow, and our first White-edged Orioles of the tour...
A full day was spent at the Buenaventura reserve in El Oro Province. A short time after dawn we witnessed several male Long-wattled Umbrellabirds at a lek site, followed by displaying Club-winged Manakins, Ochraceous Attila, and then stopped off at an El Oro Parakeet nest, where a bird was seen poking its head out of the nest and revealing the diagnostic red bridge across the top of its beak!
Around the aptly named Umbrellabird Lodge we observed masses of hummingbirds, including this Violet-bellied Hummingbird and Rufous-headed Chachalacas and Coatimundis dropping in occasionally at the feeders (bottom two photos).
Have not had a lot of time to update, so here is a quick note and photo about one of twelve different Horned Screamers seen in the Manglares Charute area of Guayas on the first days of my recent Southern Ecuador Tropical Birding tour. More highlights of the tour to come, where we recorded over 550 species, including 52 different hummingbirds, 62 different tanagers, and saw 7 different antpittas...
A pair of tits (Blue and Great) in a London park 30 years back changed my life; I became a birder, and an obsessive birder by the following weekend. Works like Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book and Richard Millington's A Twitcher's Diary helped in no small part to nurture this in my formative years.
30 years on I am still an avid birder but have also learnt to appreciate other sectors of the natural world, especially frogs and primates in particular, through the undoubted influence of David Attenborough The Great and others. I now work as a full-time professional tour leader for Tropical Birding Tours, and now reside in the Andes of Ecuador. I love my job, sharing birds with people provides every bit of a buzz as a lifebird, which, of course, still creates a wave of excitement every time. I have been lucky enough to see well over 6550 bird species on my travels, which does not make me any more talented than anyone else, just one that is always greedy and impatient for more, which has taken me to all seven continents, and always yearning for that ONE...MORE...B-I-R-D!
I use Swarovski binoculars & scope, & shoot with Canon 7D and Canon 400m f5.6L lens.