31 December 2014

Birding with the Stars....ECUADOR (9th Nov.)

I guess we've all heard of "Dancing with the Stars", and so why not Birding with the Stars!?

Anyway, after leaving the dry, Kapok-studded, deciduous woodland of Jorupe behind, we climbed up higher in the Andes to the reserve of Utuana, tucked away out of sight of most passers by. The reason for our visit was abundantly clear; hummingbirds, and 2 very special ones indeed, which are specialties of the south of Ecuador and northern Peru...Luckily, they are both straightforward to find at the feeders within the forest, a thirty minute walk in from the main road. However, that is all that is straightforward about these birds; they are far from ordinary looking, both dazzlingly beautiful, especially the Rainbow Starfrontlet, which has been known to make grown men weep! Here are a few snaps of what we enjoyed over a very exciting lunch deep within the reserve, with not another tourist sole around....Their "dowdy" companion (for nest to that species, anything looks under-dressed), was a handful of Purple-throated Sunangels.
 Next up, we were on the trail of one of Ecuador's most famous birds, the Jocotoco Antpitta, a bird completely unknown to science until 1997, when a certain Robert Ridgely spotted one, and the path of Ecuadorian bird tourism and conservation was changed irreparably...

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