19 February 2011

Final Highland Fling...ECUADOR (14 Feb)

Our finale for the tour was a visit to the windswept grasslands of El Cajas NP, birding up to more than 4000m elevation. We found Tawny Antpittas bounding across the paramo (high Andean grassland), Mouse-colored Thistletails crawling through the shrubbery, bright blue Tit-like Danis creeping through the polylepis woods, and the smart endemic Violet-throated Metaltail that came in so close it was hard to squeeze it all inside the scope for a view! We also found my former nemesis perched out prominently as they should be (where were they for me over the last five years!), Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant looking a little damp on an overhead cable.

However, the bird of the day for me was right by the highway in a dead patch of their favored polylepis trees, a wonderful pair of nuthatch-like Giant Conebills, that despite appearances and behavior are actually a strange kind of high Andean tanager. At least they showed me some love on Valentine's Day!

No comments: