01 March 2009

Metaltails in the Mist...(Cerro Toledo, Ecuador): 12 February 2009

The following days were spent in the high temperate forests on the eastern side of the Andes. We had a morning on the rough Cerro Toledo road an area of lush temperate forest close to the treeline (c.3050m), where we were on the look out for a rare and localized hummingbird that somehow manages to eke a living out in this often foreboding climate. This chunky metaltail, the Neblina Metaltail proved not too difficult to find, when just a short distance from the car 3 or 4 birds were seen chasing each other around in the mist. Tougher though was getting the ‘clinching views’, although with a little playback we tempted in a single red-throated bird to a near snag that nailed it for us. Also up there we hunted for tanager flocks, and soon after found a group of chunky tanagers moving through the low temperate scrub, that held a gorgeous Golden-crowned Tanager, a couple of Black-chested Mountain-Tanagers, and the star of the bunch, a few bruising Masked Mountain-Tanagers. A pair of Mouse-colored Thistletails, a southern highland specialty was also in this same area. A little lower down the road we entered into the thick of the temperate forest and found a small party of Orange-banded Flycatchers, and a flock holding a number of Black-headed Hempispinguses and a Citrine Warbler, both special to the high forests on the east side of the Andes.

No comments: