02 March 2011

Birds of the Torrents...ECUADOR (23 Feb.)

Having ogled the seedsnipe for a while and got our fill of watching hillstars up near the pass at Papallacta we dropped back down to Guango Lodge, where once again we were thwarted in our efforts to nail a Sword-billed Hummer. So instead we went for a walk along the Rio Guango, where we soon found one of our targets dipping in and out of the raging torrent as only a dipper can do: White-capped Dipper. After a brief distraction (some 40 minutes!) with a passing flock that loaded with cool birds like Rufous-breasted and Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrants, Black-capped and Black-eared Hemispinguses, and also stumbling across a mob of Andean Guans, we finally made it down to a different section of the river, where our real target lie in wait: a wonderful pair of Torrent Ducks stood out on some rocks preening for a while, before the rusty-breasted female sunk into the icy waters and began surfing the rollers in pursuit of food. A classic Andead bird.

In the late afternoon we packed up and and headed downslope and further east to San Isidro, another fascinating Andean lodge...

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