17 March 2010

Tapichalaca Antpittas and more (am)...(Ecuador): 16 Feb 2010

Today was a little less hurried than the day before, and we spent a relaxed morning on the Tapichalaca trails. The trails are lined with wet temperate forest, and is home to many special birds. Tapichalaca is one of the best spots in Ecuador for antpittas, and we picked up two of these with little trouble this morning. First the diminutive Slate-crowned Antpitta hopped onto an open bamboo branch for us as we made our way up the trail, then after a short pause to gorge on a White-throated Quail-Dove watched at a feeder, we ran into some researchers who are busy working with the reserve's flagship species, the recently (1997) described Jocotoco Antpitta. Judging by the fact a remarkably tame juvenile Jocotoco Antpitta was stood right beside them, I guess the antpitta is not too hard to study right now (photos)!!! This was one of the tame trio that have made finding this ordinarily shy forest bird relatively straightforward in recent years-a guides dream! While we watched this bold antpitta hopping around our feet, we were distracted by other avian delights too, with a Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan perched in the trees overhead, and a short time later a Green-and-black Fruiteater in a neighboring tree also.

A short walk further along the trail brought us another fruiteater, this time the larger and more boldly patterned Barred Fruiteater. At the end of the morning we retired to the lodge for lunch (picking up a Bearded Guan as we descended down the trail) and a hummingbird fest, with many buzzing around the busy Casa Simpson feeders, including Flame and Amethyst-throated Sunangels, although a short walk along the road was needed to find the local Rufous-capped Thornbill.

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