12 March 2010

Rio Ayampe & Machalilla NP...(Ecuador): 4 - 6 Feb. 2010

Several visits were made to the humid woods that flank the Rio Ayampe. These woods are almost in sight of the Pacific Ocean so that you have the strange experience of regularly seeing Magnificent Frigatebirds overfly the woods. However, the real reason for coming here was a very, very rare hummingbird, the Esmeraldas Woodstar (top photo), an endangered hummingbird that spends just a few months here each year, then disappears to who knows where for the remainder of the year. We experienced unusually high numbers this year with at least nine birds seen including several gorgeous males, one of which was found by one of the group perched outside his room at Mantaraya Lodge! Indeed Mantaraya Lodge was fantastic this year with Anthony's Nightjar, Slaty Becard (middle photo), and Scarlet-backed Woodpecker all found within the grounds in addition to the super rare hummer. Other cool Ayampe birds included the endangered Ochraceous Attila, the recently split Ecuadorian Trogon, glowing Saffron Siskins, and a number of Crimson-breasted Finches.

A side visit to
Machalilla NP bought us the odd experience of a very confiding Pale-browed Tinamou that even allowed us to digiscope it (bottom photo). This bought this south trip to a close, although just a few days later I was southbound from Quito again for a highly successful short custom tour in these parts again...

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