10 July 2009

Panchita's Perfect 10...Guango Lodge (Eastern Ecuador): June 26, 2009

Popped into the hummingbird paradise of Guango Lodge just across the continental divide, just over the rim on the eastern side of the Andes. This little lodge sits within bromeliad laden wet temperate forest, and has a magnetic set of hummingbird feeders on their small veranda. Usually here the Sword-billed Hummingbirds with their impossibly long bills, and subsequent necessary odd feeding actions steal the show. However, although we were surrounded by Collared Incas, Tourmaline Sunangels, and a marauding pack of Masked Flowerpiercers, and even though an aquamarine troop of excellent Turquoise Jays swept through the garden, it was none of these that made the day special. It was the outrageously confiding performance of "Panchita" the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta that came in to feed on worms laid out for it that stole the headlines. In fact this bird was so habituated just throwing in a few stones would lead it to come running, so convinced was "she" that food was on its way! Excellent that this current swathe of antpitta feeding stations continues to prosper in Ecuador, giving us all a great shot at getting many of these normally furtive species up close and personal.

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