15 September 2011

Giant Start to the day...ECUADOR (11 Sept)




Our second day along the La Guatamala Trail in Ecuador started inauspiciously enough. The car battery was dead and we simply could not get it jump-started. Desperate to get back out in the field, Andrew Spencer found someone at 05.30a.m. in the morning willing to help (for all I know Andrew simply grappled him out of his truck in desperation!) We were on our way, only for Andrew to realize as we arrived on site (a 40 minute drive), he had left his I-pod (a vital part of a guide's make-up) back at the hotel. So I wandered down the trail alone, and a frustrated Andrew drove back to Banos. Things were quiet along the trail when suddenly a massive shape hopped up on to a near log. I lifted my bins and they landed on a conspicuous Giant Antpitta! I was shocked and in disbelief of what was patently in front of my eyes, so I moved in for better views-who was gonna believe I had the rare eastern race at down near 1200m (when they are normally known from 2000m upwards, and rarely seen at all)?! I felt I needed a photo at least. I played a tape as I saw it scurrying back into the undergrowth and feared hopes of photos were fading fast, and at the same time scrambled down the slope. While scrambling I had not registered that the bird had suddenly leapt up into an open tree in front of me. I looked up and was faced with this bird, which appeared to be a juvenile bird courtesy of barring on the coverts and mantle feathers. When the bird wandered off so did I, further up the trail, wondering whether Andrew would believe me.

A few hours later Andrew comes up the trail and asked him what he had seen, to which he replied "Giant Antpitta". My need for a photo had waned, but I was oh so glad I got one, as it is rarely photoed on the east slope. Bird of the weekend!

1 comment:

euthymic said...

Good for you. We like the long legs of this bird:)