10 December 2010

Five Star Barbet...ECUADOR (7 Dec 2010)

After leaving the remote Playa de Oro lodge, set within the rich lowland rainforest of the Choco behind we stopped in at Yalare. Unfortunately, this illustrated all too well what a desperate situation exists in the lowland Choco of northwest Ecuador. This easily accessible site by road had been hacked to bits since my last visit just a few years back, (whereas the tougher to get to Playa remains largely intact), with rainforest stretching to the horizons.

All was not lost though, and after quite a long search, with distractions provided by a Brown Wood-Rail prowling prominently across the road in front of an elated bus of birders, and our second Slaty-tailed Trogon of the trip, we finally found what we were really looking for...FIVE-COLORED BARBET. A stunning, rare and local barbet, endemic to the Choco lowlands and somehow clinging on within this rapidly deteriorating site (photos). It was amazing to see this bird calling with all its might, by bending its neck down and pushing its low call out from the very base of its gut. It truly looked like it was throwing everything behind warding us off. A magical eleventh hour bird that came when almost all had lost hope and were lunching in the bus. Felt all the sweeter for it!

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