19 November 2010

Return to the "Antpitta Farm" Part II...(Mindo, Ecuador): 10 Nov 2010

...Onto the Antpittas. The first to appear was the "showoff" Giant Antpitta, "Manuel", that like Tandayapa Lodge's own Giant Antpitta was remarkably confiding for this normally shy species. It is easy to get blase about Giant Antpittas these days, although it is good to remember that not that long ago they were almost mythical!

Then we went after the diminutive Ochre-breasted Antpitta, the only grallaricula antpitta to have been habituated to date anywhere (photo). This one is usually the toughest of the species at Paz de las Aves to see, although you would not know it on this day, as it popped up and into everyone's bins on several memorable occasions. Angel, the local guide/farmer, has named this cute antpitta "Shakira" as it wiggles from side to side, in the manner that the Colombian pop icon Shakira does! We saw the bird, and the wiggle!

Lastly, we retreated back up the steep trail and encountered "Susan" his reliable Moustached Antpitta that took all of five minutes to show up and parade around in front of us all. If only all birding could be so easy! On our return to Quito we crossed the equator once more and birded some dramatically different dry scrub for the rare White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant that was duly seen after a 30-minute search.

Another great Andean day, but there was no rest for the wicked and after pulling some strings I was off to The Galapagos just two days later for my long-awaited first trip to "Darwin's Islands"...

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