Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Ecuador December 27, 2009

December 27, 2009
San Isidro local trails - Guacamayos Ridge - Top of the Pass - San Isidro

Breakfast at 05:30h was a fine affair. There was a buffet with bread, cheese, fruit, potatoes, plantain, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee.
After breakfast we birded on the grounds of San Isidro which was alive with birds - several species of hummingbird, tanagers, including our first look at Common Bush Tanager and our only Oleaginous Hemispingus (I just love saying the name!) flowerpiercers and Inca Jays.
The phenomenon of luring antpittas from their dark haunts has spread since the practice started by Angel Paz has taken hold elsewhere. We were fortunate on this occasion to have very satisfying looks at White-breasted Antpitta in this fashion. An attempt to draw out Chestnut-crowned Antpitta produced loud vocalizations but the bird could not be induced to show itself.
At about 08:00h we drove a short distance to a trail in the forest where a bird-filled walk yielded the sheer delight of both Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals.
Arriving back at the lodge at about 11:30h we had an hour to ourselves before lunch at 12:30h. We sat on one of the platforms where several hummingbird feeders are located and had fun identifying them, juveniles and females and all! And, as Miriam said, "You can’t have too many photographs of hummers!"
Every bit of lunch was delicious and it was all presented in a manner that would have done a big city high class restaurant proud. We started with a spring roll with cilantro and soy sauce served on julienned strips of carrot. This was followed by trout cooked in a banana leaf accompanied by mint-flavoured carrots. Dessert was water melon balls in a ginger syrup followed by a cup of lemon grass tea.
After lunch we managed to coax a little hot water out of the faucets and Miriam took a "shower;" well, at least a little water moistened her body!
By 15:00h we were rejuvenated and ready to head off for Guacamayos Ridge. The sun was shining but thunder rumbled in the distance. Arriving up on the ridge, we encountered a landslide that had blocked most of the road but Augusto was able to negotiate around one side. Right after that a bus and several cars were seen to be stopped and Alejandro walked ahead to see what was happening. Just beyond another landslide had occurred, this one far more serious, and dirt and boulders were on the highway as high as a car. Obviously we could go no farther so Augusto turned the van around and we started to bird from the side of the road. The highlight of this little promenade was a Black-billed Mountain Toucan. We watched it for a long time with Sumaco as a backdrop, bathed in the light of the setting sun, and a waterfall providing music for our contented souls. Just before darkness fell, Alejandro discovered the mountain toucan’s mate perched in the same tree.
We were left with the feeling that the landslide had been a good thing!
Heading back, we stopped at the summit of a mountain pass where a little shrine enabled people of faith to pray for safe deliverance that day. We had no sooner disembarked from the van when we saw a Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and walking down the road a short way followed up with two Swallow-tailed Nightjars. How spectacular!
We went right in for dinner when we were delivered safely at the lodge by Augusto (and he hadn’t even prayed!).
Another fine meal - cream of parsley soup, stuffed chicken with figs and ricotta cheese, potato cakes with cilantro pesto, sauteed broccoli followed by delicious tree tomato pie.
We did our list with Alejandro and returned to our cabin where we were in bed by 21:00h.

All species December 27 - Wattled Guan (heard), Broad-winged Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-throated Quail-Dove (heard), White-capped Parrot, Scaly-naped Amazon, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Green-fronted Lancebill, Green Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph, White-bellied Woodstar, Masked Trogon, Golden-headed Quetzal, Crested Quetzal, White-throated Toucanet, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Barred Becard, Black-chested Fruiteater, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Sierran Elaenia, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Flavescent Flycatcher, Handsome Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Long-tailed Antbird (heard), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (heard), White-bellied Antpitta, Pearled Treerunner, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Black-billed Peppershrike, Brown-capped Vireo, Inca Jay, Blue-and-White Swallow, Sepia-brown Wren, Plain-tailed Wren (heard), Mountain Wren, Grey-breasted Wood Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, Pale-eyed Thrush, Great Thrush, Glossy-black Thrush, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, Slate-throated Whitestart, Spectacled Whitestart, Black-crested Warbler, Russet-crowned Warbler (heard), Russet-backed Oropendola, Subtropical Cacique, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Rufous-crested Tanager, Oleaginous Hemispingus, Blue-grey Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Orange-eared Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer, Bluish Flowerpiercer, Masked Flowerpiercer, Common Bush Tanager, Summer Tanager.

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