18 December 2010

Podocarpus National Park ECUADOR (16-17 Dec)

We spent two nights at the idyllic Copalinga Lodge, on the edge of the sector of Rio BombuscaroPodocarpus NP in southeast Ecuador. The lodge garden brought us an 11th-hour Spangled Coquette perusing the flowers in the garden, that brought one of the group running out of the shower!

The park itself was alive with birds: early on a
Coppery-chested Jacamar appeared by the trail (bottom photo), and a pair of vocal Black-streaked Puffbirds popped up several times with a little I-pod persuasion. The cute Lanceolated Puffbird also gave choice looks by the trail (top photo). Foothill Antwrens were found flitting around the understorey, and a pair of Foothill Elaenias were pulled out of a flock. A species so recently described (2000) that it does not even appear in the substantial field guide for Ecuador. Manakins were noticeably conspicuous with Blue-rumped, Golden-headed and Striped Manakins all putting in memorable appearances. During a sweltering break in the heat of the day a female Amazonian Umbrellabird appeared dramatically in a tree by the headquarters, although the best find of our few days was a fantastic Chestnut-crowned Gnateater.

Next up was a late afternoon venture up to the forest fragments of the Old Loja-Zamora Road, and then a "mission" for the rare Crescent-faced Antpitta further north...

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