29 January 2013

Avian Procession...ECUADOR (14 Jan)

After our red letter arrival with the owl night before, it was hard to see how this can be topped right? Wrong; very wrong. The feeders at the Fundacion Jocotoco Jorupe reserve were on fire, and provided the perfect start to our day within this reserve. After a pre-dawn breakfast, myself, Pablo Cervantes (co-guiding with me), and the Houston Audubon Society group pulled up a chair, and watched the electric action unfold. Of course, one of the first birds to wander casually in was the abundant White-tipped Dove, of which 10 or so graced the feeding station. A Whooping Motmot was not far behind and glowed as he wolfed down the freshly laid out papaya. 

However, it was then the real stars showed up: the rare and normally shy Pale-browed Tinamou brazenly strolled out in the open, like tinamous are NOT supposed to do. It still showed signs of furtiveness whipping in and out of the surrounding forest to pick up corn. The procession of doves continued (white-tipped), when suddenly a couple of duller ones were in the midst and another shy rarity was on view: Ochre-bellied Dove, of which four turned up eventually, with a backdrop of Guayaquil Squirrels munching on corn. 

Others to show their faces at the feeders were a noisy mob of marauding Red-masked Parakeets, which were most amusing when they settled on the ground, begun munching corn and the clicking could be heard as their beaks cracked open the husks. All the while they were deadly silent bar this strange sound. 

Occasionally the rusty form of the Pacific Horneo homed into view, one of the most pleasantly common birds of southwest Ecuador.

There were even squabbles among the birds with a parakeet taking offence at a motmot that was perched on its favored fruits!  Arguably though the best looked in this choice crowd was a group of White-tailed Jays that came in for a while-resplendent in blue, white and black.

After the feeder frenzy had slowed, we took off into the woods for the morning to seek yet more birds special to this Tumbesian region, one of the most endemic-rich regions in South America...

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