12 September 2011

In the shadow of volcanoes...ECUADOR (10 Sept.)

Andrew Spencer and I once again left the smog of the city behind and headed into the fresh air of forests in the Andes, though this time we headed south out of Quito to the town of Banos, in the shadow of the often smouldering Tungurahua volcano. However, unlike most tourists we were not here for the views of this splendid natural phenomenon but were here to investigate the forest trails nearby and take in their avian residents. This was my first time on the trail, known as La Guatamala Trail, that passes through an area of rich foothill forest, while the scenic Rio Zunag cuts through the valley bottom. Andrew had been here before and highly recommended the site. Seeing as the very first bird of the day turned out to be a new Ecuador bird for me, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, I concurred very quickly! This odd bird is like a stream-loving leaftosser, having the same charismatic habits of bounding around on the ground and often seen tossing leaves around in the fashion of those birds. We saw three different birds including one that appeared to be a young bird.

Soon after our attentions were turned to another bird that favors the wet banks of forest streams and rivers, and one that was to feature prominently that day...

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