07 June 2009

Fruiteater Fun down at the Farm…(Paz de las Aves, NW Ecuador): May 30, 2009

Yes it was just one of those cool mornings where there was simply too much action, and too many photo opps to not make yet another entry. (You may have guessed I kind of like this place-a guides dream where the birds come to you and therefore you can just sit back, relax and take them all in one-by-one). Brian, the birder half of the Canadian couple who joined me for this tour, had brought along with him “the hit list from hell” as it generally involved a list of really, really difficult birds. We set to the task anyhow and he quietly mentioned that Orange-breasted Fruiteater (see photos of male and female above) was his new number one target, and the gauntlet was thrown (he got his original number one target, Beautiful Jay, on the first day!). On climbing back out from Angel’s steep Antpitta Valley we emerged into the bright sun and some frantic activity at the hummer feeders on the forest edge. However, the hummers were not what caught our attention, but the high-pitched whistles emanating from a dense patch of fruiting trees – a fruiteater lurked within. Angel allowed me to pop the tape on this one, and a little use of the I-pod brought the bird close in, to reveal was a mean green machine female, nice but no cigar. While Brian and Jackie focused on such treats as a glistening Velvet-purple Coronet (often proclaimed as the best hummer on Earth), I set about trying to locate a male that must be sitting close by. Once I picked up that a second bird was calling I called everyone over when Angel calmly gestured to a gaudy male perched up in the treetops. Mission accomplished. What a place, what a morning – Ochre-breasted and Giant Antpittas, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Toucan Barbets, and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanagers, not to mention a lone Olivaceous Piha.

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