21 March 2012

Toucans and Tanagers...ECUADOR (29 Feb.)

After our day in the chilly, and often misty temperate zone we enjoyed a warmer day down in the subtropics, near a famous birding town called Mindo.
With tanagers a high priority for Laura and hummers a continuing priority for Betty (who was now eyeing a remarkable species total for the trip!), we killed two birds with one stone: visited a magical feeder set up where hummingbirds of seemingly infinite colors and varieties buzzed around them, while bananas were too juicy to resist for the local tanager horde.

In these rich cloudforests hummingbirds reach their highest diversity on this side of the Andes, and this is where the best feeders are. Tanager diversity is also impressive: as we got out of the car we noticed bright shapes flitting in and out of the feeders: first Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers tucked into a banana, then seconds later it was replaced by a cerulean blue male Black-capped Tanager, (bottom photo) before a Golden Tanager replaced it on the very same perch (middle photo). Cameras were swung this way and that to record these colorful "models".

Betty got edgy about the hummers though and so we walked behind the building to take in another extraordinary scene, where Violet-tailed Sylphs battled with Empress Brilliants and Velvet-purple Coronets for a place at the sugar water! In between all of this scintillating action a bold toucan dropped in to the feeders, in the form of a Pale-mandibled Aracari, (top) that was not going to let a human stand between it and the ripe bananas!

A wonderful morning, jam-packed with photo opportunities and quality birds...


Friend of HK said...

The colours are so cheerful!

Noushka said...

Fantastic, especially the Toucan!
One of my favorite birds just after the parrots!
Great and sharp photos!