04 September 2011

Bicolored Antpitta: AT LAST! ECUADOR (1 September)

After yesterday's draining weather conditions: high winds and rain, at odds with our location in the tropics, we were relieved to awake in calmer conditions. We returned to the White-rimmed Brush-Finch area. I (as always) was looking for better photos, and Andrew Spencer (as ever) was looking for better sound recordings. We were greeted by not only the original pair from the day before, but also 4 other calling birds. I managed to see 4 different birds on this morning alone!

They hopped around us and gave crippling views before we decided to try again for the elusive Bicolored Antpitta that had not only eluded me the day before, but also on a trip to the area a few years before. We trudged through the mud to the spot and Andrew let rip with his recording from the day before. As then, the bird quickly responded and slowly but surely sounded louder as it moved in closer to investigate our call. Then for just a brief moment I managed to get this rusty bird in my bins before it melted back into the gloomy understorey once more. Was that to be it, I thought? All that pain for just cursory looks!?

We tried the playback again and this time we were stunned by its remarkable (and exemplary) reaction. It seemed to abandon its normally shy habits and hopped up on to exposed branches around us, glared at us several times, gave stunning views, and then hopped off back into the gloom where it had come from. Fantastic, now THAT was worth waiting for...

In the afternoon we left the La Bonita Road behind and headed to an exciting new site nearby...


Mary Howell Cromer said...

These are each very wonderful. I like that you all use the sound of birds to bring them out. I have had to do the same with the hawks in past.

Birding Blogger said...

Nice work, Sam!

Amazing brush-finch photos. We had a group of these towards the summit of Sumaco once, and they were quite confiding, I thought. Never saw them anywhere else.

Regarding the antpitta, did you get into the bush before you used playback? I visited this site once and heard it calling around 8am (right where Roger Ahlman mentions in his classic country report). No response to playback, though.

Great reports recently. I really enjoy reading about these new and little visited sites.