20 December 2009

Tanager Finch The Threequel...(Tandayapa Valley, Ecuador): December 19, 2009

For our final and fifth day we were in the Tandayapa Valley on a mission for Ecuador's glamor species, and cover bird: Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan that had thus far avoided us in the few gloomy, sodden afternoons we had tried for it. Before we climbed up the valley to its core range we made a brief visit to the Tandayapa Lodge blind a short time after dawn. On walking in we were greeted with the sight of a tail-pumping male Immaculate Antbird (later to be joined by a rusty female), and a pair of White-throated Quail-Doves that returned time and again to rummage in the compost pile. Also seen from there was a Narino Tapaculo bouncing around on the forest floor, a Uniform Antshrike, and a Chestnut-capped Brush-finch, whose clean "Ariel" white throat simply glowed from the dark forest floor.

When we arrived for our toucan mission in the Upper Tandayapa Valley where we quickly failed when we saw one shoot off in the diatnce from the crown of a tree. We persisted though and later ran into a dapper pair of Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans that brought smiles all round. We had barely recovered from the thrill of this technicolored toucan when yet another Tanager Finch popped up beside us, our third one in five days (see photo)! I felt that David and June may not beleive me now when I had told them it was a very rare and local species! We also met with a frantic feeding flock loaded with tanagers, flycatchers, woodcreepers and others, but more importantly a pristine pair of Plushcaps. A fine end to our five day custom tour, that felt like it should have been called the Tanager Finch special!


Peter Alfrey said...

stunning pics in here- looking good woodsie

john said...

These photos and text make me want to move to Mindo. I have never been to a better birding region in my life. One day I will return, but there is still so much world to explore.

Unknown said...

Hey Sam - Great Photos, thinking of returning to Ecuador (for the third time) next year.

Cheers - Michael Fleming