01 August 2009

The Long Arm of the “Antpitta Whisperer” stretches far and wide…(E Ecuador): July 29 & 30, 2009

When a farmer near Mindo (Angel Paz) begun inadvertently feeding a strange bird (the rare Giant Antpitta) that hopped along the trail with him while he was building a new trail, few birders could have seen the far reaching consequences just a few short years later. He thus began a trend of antpitta feeding throughout this rich birding country. Antpittas are ordinarily shy and downright difficult creatures to see, and Angel’s innovative methods in trying to habituate several of his own west slope birds have now been replicated at other bird reserves in Ecuador, including Tapichalaca in the south (where the ultra rare Jocotoco Antpitta is now subsequently very “gettable”), and here on the eastern side of the Andes at both Guango and San Isidro Lodges. On a short whistlestop tour of the highlands on the east side of the Andes we visited both of these quaint lodges and experienced their own antpittas coming in for the feast. At Guango we had a very confiding Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (see bottom photo), and better still at San Isidro the ultra-shy White-bellied Antpitta (see top photo) did a nice turn of its own. It’s so much easier to see them like this! Also around San Isidro we managed to see a pair of Black-chested Fruiteaters, a number of Bluish Flowerpiercers, and Handsome, Rufous-breasted and Pale-edged Flycatchers among others.

1 comment:

Mark Harper said...

Great photos Sam. Do you know if Antpitta "training" has spread into any other South American countries? I cannot recall seeing it mentioned in trip reports from any countries other than Ecuador.