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Ecuador. ...But the Birding Was Great!

posted Mar 2, 2011, 11:30 AM by Arie Gilbert
Chapter 4: I am Devoured By Wolves.

    Not really, but I always liked that line from the ‘Miles Copperthwaite’ sketches on SNL. But henceforth I was feeling much better with the aid of my antibiotics, as was Alison with hers, and despite Karlo who got sick for a day later on, he perked up right away by sharing Alison’s antibiotics. The rest of the trip thankfully progressed without any more “colorful” experiences. Yippee!

    The next morning had us start the day in the canopy tower at Rio Silanche. The birds were everywhere! We amassed a great trip list that included Ruddy Pigeon , Dusky Pigeon , Bronze-winged Parrot , Squirrel Cuckoo, White-collared Swift , White-whiskered Hermit , Purple-chested Hummingbird , Collared Trogon, Rufous Motmot, Pale-mandibled Aracari { my namesake}, Lineated Woodpecker { finally, another BVD quenched}, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper , Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Checker-throated Antwren , White-flanked Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren , White-bearded Manakin, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher { man, they sure like eating big juicy bugs!}, Streaked Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Black-and-white Becard , Swainson's Thrush, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher{Cute!} , Red-eyed Vireo , Lesser Greenlet, White-shouldered Tanager , White-lined Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager , Blue-gray Tanager, Fulvous-vented Euphonia { Ah, the benefits of retrospective digital review. After seeing and photographing the bird, this and a more common species were known to be possible. Looking at the shots made the ID of the rarer bird. YES! } , Silver-throated Tanager { gorgeous!}, Bay-headed Tanager { gasp! I’m running out of adjectives, but you get the idea}, Rufous-winged Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Green Honeycreeper , Variable Seedeater , Yellow-bellied Seedeater , Buff-throated Saltator , and  Pacific Hornero. It’s really nice to look straight ahead, and especially down at birds, rather than up, and have to strain one’s neck! A “BVD” for those of you unfamiliar with the term, stands for “better view desired” ie a bird that one begrudgingly adds to ones’ lifelist, but for which they want a better view to be able to really feel like counting it

    Another particularly pleasant aspect of this place was that we were joined by another traveling birder from Miami named Carlos Sanchez, who turned out to be an excellent guide and a tour leader wannabe. We cheerfully welcomed his joining us, and he shared his broad knowledge while helping us to get more birds. { He mentioned the Euphonia possibilities detailed above }  We later were told by him that he found the LaSagra’s Flycatcher that a few QCBC members saw, as well as his friend finding the Red-footed Booby, both in the Florida area. Not stopping there, it turns out that both he and I were heavily into sophisticated ‘planted aquariums’, although I am almost sure I heard some say in the van: “oh no, not two of them!”

    Leaving Rio Silanche, we stopped for lunch on the way to Mangaloma. following the motto Semper Aucupium! { always birding! } and got some neat things at the restaurant and on the road such as Pacific Parrotlet., Smooth-billed Ani, Swallow-tailed Kite, and Black-cheeked Woodpecker.

    This fantastic day of birding continued at Mangaloma, where we saw many of the same birds though some with better looks. A special treat was finding a Slaty Becard, because it is both rare and not even listed for this area. A careful review of field marks convinced us that the ID was correct, and we scored another great bird.  But the day did not end there! Driving out of the parking area, I saw a bird in the undergrowth and blurted out PUFFBIRD! What was better, was that I was correct! And we added White-whiskered Puffbird! But wait - there’s more! Driving further down the road a raptor was spotted in a tree, and we all got great looks at Laughing Falcon. What a bird, and what a bird to cap the day!