19 December 2010

Old Loja-Zamora Road...ECUADOR (17 Dec '10)

We finished our time out of Copalinga Lodge with a drive up into the hills, along the Old Loja-Zamora Road, a dirt road that passes through foothill forest on the east slope of the Andes. The road is a firm favorite with me for the treetop views that can be had of passing canopy flocks which all too often requires neck strain to see elsewhere! The Andes are full of exciting flocks brimming with colorful tanagers and cryptic flycatchers. We experienced both during a late afternoon flurry of activity that followed a substantial tropical downpour. We shook off our umbrellas and headed out, picking up a fantastic mixed flock with the rare (for Ecuador), Chestnut-vented Conebill held within and the confusing Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, that thanks to it's distinctive call was not as problematic as it looks (bottom photos)! The shady tangles below played host to Blackish Antbird, and White-browed Antbird, and even a shocking orange Andean Cock-of-the-rock appeared dramatically in this active hotspot.

Late in the afternoon we headed off with little more expected when suddenly a shocking red vision in a mossy treetop brought our bus to a halt for a choice look at the scarce Vermilion Tanager, that redefines red (top photo). A last gasp male Torrent Duck shared a rushing Andean river with a pair of White-capped Dippers rounded out an absorbing couple of hours in the field.

We arrived belated, although elated, at our noisy hotel in Loja, ready for our final mission for
Crescent-faced Antpitta of this pan-Ecuador tour...

1 comment:

Barbara Rudolph Fine Art said...

WOW...amazing photographs, thanks for sharing the experience. Love your blog.