Ecuador Part 2. – The Andes

We left the Yellow House for the final time and made the two hour drive to Reserva Yanacocha where we would search for some localized high elevation cloud forest species. The first new birds we saw were the small Tyrain Metaltail and the stocky Shining Sunbeam visiting the very active hummingbird feders.

Shining Sunbeam

We walked around the well kept groups of the reserva and we found lots of interesting bird my favorite was definitly the Sword-billed Hummingbird! It is the only bird in the world that’s bill is longer than the rest of it’s body.

Sword-billed Hummingbird

The non-hummingbird feeders were also productive as the attracted Andean Guan and Black-chested Mountain-Tanager.

Andean Guan
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager

After we had decided we had seen whst was coming to the feeders we moved on and made the long walk in the fog to the next feeding station. Where we saw Golden-breasted and Spphire-vented Pufflegs and Mountain Velvetbreast. We also saw the tiny Rufous Antpitta and the very localized Rainbow-beaded Thronbill.

Rainbow-bearded Thronbill
The heavy fog at Reserva Yancocha

After our fog adventure we drove on smoother well-kept roads into the city of Quito. We eventually made it to the beutiful property of Tambo Condor. The second we arrived we began birding, I found five lifers including the 800th species on my life list… Andean Condor!

Andean Condir

From the house that we stayed in we overlooked a large lake with was home to Yellow-billed Pintails, Andean Teals, Slate-colored Coots and one Andean Gull. The next morning we drove up to the high paramo of Antisana Ecological Reserve, where we hoped to see the rare and local Black-faced Ibis, and the abundant Andean Hillstar.

Black-faced Ibis (with Andean Lapwing)
Andean Hillstar

We drove through the winding roads up into higher elevations where we managed to quite easily find our two main targets of the morning. We walked along different parts of the road finding Stout-billed and Chestnut-winged Cinclodes and with some luck we had a flyover of a Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle.

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Stout-billed Cinclodes
Chestnut-winged Cinclodes

We finally made it to Laguna la Mica the large lake where we hoped to see Silvery Grebe, Andean Duck and Many-striped Canestero. We managed to see all of them fairly easy to find. After we had walked through the paramo and we arrived back at the parking lot another suprise awaited us. a Andean Tit-Sipinetail!

Andean Tit-Spinetail

We eventually drove out began our way back to the main highway and we even saw a few new bird en-route including White-throated Hawk, Paramo Pipit and Aplomado Falcon.

We drove for about an hour before we arrived at the road up to the antennas. We were hoping to see Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe although we did not see them we did see a Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant and Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant.

Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant

After this adventure we headed to the cabin we were staying in for the night. We even saw some more new bird at the small property we stayed at for the night.

The next moring we drove to Guango Lodge where the hummingbird feeders were spectacular and the birds were much different than what we saw before. At the feeders we saw Tourmaline Sunangel, Long-tailed Sylph, and the big bully of the feeder Chestnut-breasted Coronet. Along the river we saw Fasciated Tiger-Heron one of the first records for Guango.

Fasciated Tiger-Heron

We arrived in cosanga later at night and dropped off our stuff and then went to Cabanas San Isidro. We saw the “San Idiro Owl” an undiscribed form of owl that could be its own species. We also heard a Mottled Owl wich we orininaly misidentifed as a juvenile “San Isidro Owl” 

We went back to San Ididro in the moring to see the other songbirds that were common in the area. This included a bird that I had not seen since I was in Texas in 2017 a Green Jay! although it was a part of the “Inca” subspecies that may someday be classified as a seperate species.

Green Jay (Inca)

As we walked back to our car I spotted a flycatcher at first I was unsure of its identity but after some research I identifies it as a Pale-edged Flycatcher.

Pale-edged Flycatcher

Our next stop was along the bridge and the river where we hoped to see Torrent Ducks. We walked up to the bridge with no luck although we did see a Yellow-browed Sparrow.

Yellow-browed Sparrow

We walked up a little bit further and we were just about to give up when we saw a pair of Torrent Ducks along the river a great suprise after i thought we would miss this bird alltogether.

Torrent Duck

I should have the fianl post of the trip about our amazon adventure before christmas.

Ecuador Part. 1 – Mindo




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