04 March 2011

Antisana angst...ECUADOR (25 Feb.)

An angst-ridden few hours started our day at Antisana, in the picturesque paramo of eastern Ecuador. Angst-ridden as on the only short section of cliff there was a notable landslide preventing us actually reaching the paramo. So we busied ourselves with trying to find a Giant Hummingbird in the scrub lower down, which we eventually did, along with a Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet too, while we vexed over whether a machine would turn up to clear out the mess and allow us access to the very best areas higher up...

Finally a tiny Bobcat arrived and cleared away the muddy slide and we raced to our car as soon as a gateway through was visible and headed into the paramo. Things then returned to perfect normality as a pair of Aplomado Falcons greeted us on the paramo edge and sent the surrounding songbirds into a panic each time they scythed through the air above. This was quickly followed by a view of three giant Andean Condors gliding effortlessly in front of the snow-dusted Antisana volcano. A dozen or so Black-faced Ibis flew around the open paramo higher drawing attentions to themselves with their bugling calls. Nervous Andean Lapwings also revealed themselves with their high-pitched alarm calls. All the while a carpet of Carunculated Caracaras stretched as far as the eye can see, one of the marvels of birding here.

A great day, although I have not mentioned the birds in the images. The second one was a Paramo Ground-Tyrant using one of the old buildings as a songpost, and the other is a glorious Golden-bellied Grosbeak that used a wire in the town of Pintag on the way in to claim its territory.

And so this Ecuador tour ended, and my next one in Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) starts very soon...

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