08 October 2017

Owling by Daylight...(Ecuador) 3 Oct 2017

So, a journalist from BBC Wildlife magazine wanted to sample some of the best birds and sites of northwest Ecuador, and I was fortunate to be nominated for the guide for this one. We started out from Quito, admiring the views of the city below us and the volcano of Cayambe in the background as we made our way to Yanacocha reserve, a 90-minute drive away. The journey there was uneventful, but on site, we saw Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager chomping at the fruit on the feeders, while the various hummingbird feeders that are studded along the trail yielded the living cartoon, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, feisty burnt-orange Shining Sunbeams, the ginormous Great Sapphirewing, and the conspicuous Buff-winged Starfrontlet
Meanwhile, these feeders were regularly raided by Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercers too.  Other notable finds along the trail were a rusty Rufous Antpitta, Grey-browed Brush-Finch (formerly known as Stripe-headed Brush-Finch before a five way split of that species), and a trailside Green-tailed Trainbearer, which remained faithful to one flowering tree. However, our time at Yanacocha will remain remembered for a daytime encounter with a pair of White-throated Screech-Owls, a first for me there!
In the afternoon, after enjoying some excellent local food prepared on site at the reserve by the Jocotoco Foundation workers, we headed for Tandayapa, picking up a peaceful (rare for a lapwing) Andean Lapwing standing in a field. We also scoured the Old Nono-Mindo Road for birds along the way, which came in the form of a bobbing White-capped Dipper, and a squawking gathering of scarlet male Andean Cock-of-the-rocks at a traditional display site, before we reached Tandayapa Bird Lodge in the late afternoon.

 More to come from Tandayapa soon...

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