Birding Adventures in Ecuador
A short walk behind the lodge revealed a colony of Mountain Caciques, bright black and yellow birds that build elaborate pendular nests and I could hear young ones calling from inside, so after a short wait I captured a parent bird emerging from one of the nests swinging in the the breeze. My first real bird shot in Ecuador.
A short distance further along the trail and I found a delightful bird that I later read was a Rufous Breasted Chat Tyrant. They have some great bird names in South America but I must say this attractive little chap didn't look much like a tyrant to me. Well what the heck, it sounds good. I was lucky to get some good shots of this one in good light as it was a species I never saw again during my entire trip.
To the right is an adult bird (with the red crown) attending a fully grown fledgeling which makes a nice image. I also post a closer view of the young bird below. This species is more aptly named than the tyrant as spectacles are its most obvious feature, also the underside of the tail is very white which flashes as it lifts and provides the other half of the name.
Before coming to Ecuador I had been concerned about altitude sickness with which I had once had some problems on ski trips. Here at 2,800 meters however all I noticed was some shortness of breath and fatigue after walking any distance or up slopes. I did not feel at all ill, just tired which was to be expected.
Every country has a few very common species like our Sparrows, Starlings, Doves etc. Here is perhaps the most common bird that I saw, it showed up everywhere except in the Amazon rainforest, the equivalent of our Blackbird, The Great Thrush.
The next bird is much more interesting and spectacular.
Here's a cousin to the Mountain Tanager, the Lacrimous Mountain Tanager. Less conspicuous and not a very good photo but I include it as it's one that's hard to find. I picked up others including Grey Headed Bush and Masked Tanagers but the photos are not really good enough to post. Apart from many other Hummingbirds I also managed to identify Turquoise Jay, Inca Jay, Tufted Tit Tyrant, White Throated Tyrranulet, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Smoke Colored Peewee and Russet Crowned Warbler, -
- all from record shots that were identified from the field guide or by my human guide later on. One other very interesting little bird that I will post is the Chestnut Crowned Antpitta.
And so my first two days in Ecuador came to an end. Guango Lodge had been a good introduction to the birds of this amazing country but tomorrow my real guided birding tour would begin, so it was back to Quito to be picked up by my guide at six next morning. I will end this section with another shot of almost my first bird in Ecuador, the attractive little Rufous Breasted Chat Tyrant