19 November 2010

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

My final day of this short Tandayapa Lodge tour (in northwest Ecuador) with the South Africans, Vernon and Mel. Awaking at an ungodly hour saw us arrive in time for the cock-of-the-rock show, where vivid vermillion males screeched and displayed in the first light of dawn. Then our attentions were switched to a large fruit-laden tree which drew in numerous glowing Golden-headed Quetzals (top photo), and more Andean Cock-of-the-rocks so that virtually "overdosed" on these bright red cotingas! We were at the now World famous, Paz de las Aves, near Mindo, my first visit there since March.

A brief whistle from the local farmer, come bird guide Angel, had us sprinting (as best we could on a steep Andean slope!) to where Angel gently coaxed a pair of Dark-backed Wood-Quails onto the trail, within meters of us all (bottom photo). Not only that but they had in toe two teeny, tiny chicks, little balls of unrecognizable fluff. Dramatic indeed! Next up was what the "farm" is rightly famous for: ANTPITTAS...

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