15 March 2010

Carnaval in Jorupe...(S Ecuador): 14 Feb 2010




It was carnaval time in Macara, the Ecuadorian border town that we were staying in on this custom tour. What this meant for us was a painful night of extremely loud, pumping dance music right up until dawn at which time we left for our days birding. It was with some relief when dawn finally came around and we could leave the town and music behind, and enjoy the peace, tranquility and birds of Jorupe reserve.

We were treated to a barrage of new birds in the humid woods within this exciting reserve. On the way into the reserve we bumped into first a pack of noisy White-tailed Jays (a fantastic opener right at the gate), and then one of the local wardens, who led us straight to a pair of Blackish-headed Spinetails. It does not sound like much, but it is a localized, endangered endemic so I was well happy to get it so promptly. The morning unfolded in a similar fashion from there with target bird after target bird coming our way with relative ease. It was just one of those days where everything fell into place. Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaners were typically slippery before one finally gave us an eyeful, Black-capped Sparrow rose out of the underbrush to investigate our tape, a tiny, tiny
Ecuadorian Piculet was seen pecking away at a thin Liana, and a small party of Gray-cheeked Parakeets perched high in a ceiba tree. The huge ceiba trees, related to the dramatic huge kapok trees of the Amazon are a wonderful feature of this reserve, and one of these massive trees played host to three species of becard in it's limbs, including the rare and endangered Slaty Becard. Other Tumbesian birds that crept onto our list included a pair of Collared Antshrikes, a vocal Pacific Elaenia, and even a nesting pair of Gray-breasted Flycatchers (middle photo), that had recently been found nesting in a small hollow right beside the lodge by the "master nest finder", Harold Greeney. Thanks Harold!


Having worked the track as much as we could we ventured onto a narrow trail weaving its way through the woodland to try and find our last few targets. One of which proved tricky, despite the fact it was calling all around. Finally, we all bit the bullet and went bushwhacking off trail, when we finally found the constantly calling Watkins's Antpitta calling from high in the brush. Aside for a pair of excitable Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaners that showed intriguing signs of nesting in the area, the other highlight was a Pacific Pygmy-Owl (top photo) that was being battered by a mobbing pair of aggressive Rufous-browed Peppershrikes . The after saw us climb a little higher in the Andes, watching the few remaining Chestnut-collared Swallows that were nesting in the tiny town of Sabiango, and then we finished off with an exquisite Elegant Crescentchest (bottom photo) calling in the scope. Next up was a venture into the southwestern highlands and the bamboo-choked slopes of Utuana...

1 comment:

Shorebirder said...

This is starting to look like a great blog...