27 November 2010

A day in the Choco Lowlands...ECUADOR (25 Nov 2010)

In the midst of Tropical Birding's Andes Introtour (based out of Tandayapa Lodge) we took a venture downslope into the lowland forest patches close to the town of Pedro Vicente Maldonado, and to the wonderful Mindo Cloudforest Foundation reserve of Rio Silanche...

Pretty soon we were made aware this was to be no ordinary day when a pair of the endemic Scarlet-breasted Dacnis showed up, and was only our fifth species of the day (top photo). We edged our way further up the road and the promise that the Rio Silanche reserve would bring at the end of it, where the very best forest exists. However, as is usual here, we just kept getting distracted along the way: Scarlet-backed Woodpecker crept up a trunk, and not long after this "Ariel" white Black-tipped Cotinga appeared dramatically in a
cecropia tree, where it remained for extensive photo opportunities (2nd photo). This was the first time in my five years of visiting this area that I had seen it.

, we arrived in the reserve itself and spent the afternoon chasing dizzy flocks around, picking off new species every time: Scarlet-browed Tanagers turned up on multiple occasions, and a Blue-whiskered Tanager nipped in briefly a couple of times. The same flock held Orange-fronted Barbet, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Gray-and-gold Tanagers, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, and even a tiny, tiny Griscom's Antwren at various points through this action packed day!
Outside the flocks the action was never dull either: White-tailed Trogon, Broad-billed Motmot, White-necked Puffbird (3rd photo), Choco Toucan, noisy Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and a Purple-chested Hummingbird probing the red blooms in the car park all keeping us busy to say the least!

Quite simply a phenomenal day's birding that produced over 140 species for the day, and was peppered with dazzling species, local specialties and endemics to this rich Choco region. Frankly, I loved every minute of it, birds were simply everywhere and there was not time NOT to bird!

We will return to The Galapagos again soon, I promise!...


Moda en acción said...

Funny, I was at Silanche a couple of weeks ago - and also saw my first Black-tipped Cotinga at this place in about 5-6 years of visiting the site.

Sam Woods said...

Roger, I also saw one for the first time recently on the Milpe Road, so hopefully they are coming back into the area???

Unknown said...

Beautiful bird. I loved the one in first pic. So adorable
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Larry said...

More great shots.