Chapter 5: Hey, Ecuador Is a Great Place to Bird When You Aren’t Hicupping!
We began the next day in a special place called “Recinto 23 de Junio” made famous a number of years prior by a grad student who did some research in the area. With the help of local inhabitants the town is now known as a reliable location for the endangered Long-wattled Umbrellabird. We were joined by one fellow from the town and had great birds on the road that leads up the hill. A pair of Swallow Tanagers greeted us, hawking insects by where we parked, and soon after the local guide called out PAJARO TORO, alerting us to an Umbrellabird in the tree. As we walked down the road, we saw a lot of great other birds including Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Ornate Flycatcher, Cinnamon Becard, Three-striped Warbler, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, Lemon-rumped Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Variable Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Orange-billed Sparrow, White-tailed Tyrannulet, and Black-winged Saltator. The sun and the butterflies came out, and we had our first Blue Morpho licking minerals in the road. Sadly, someone driving by later, ran it over. We capped the location by enjoying a cup of coffee, and fresh empanadas - the latter apparently Corey’s favorite food.
Our next stop was El Mirador del Rio Blanco. This is a excellent restaurant and hostel overlooking a wide chasm that has the Rio Blanco way below. What vistas! Several Hummingbird feeders were set upon the balcony, and a fruit feeding stand was visible through the windows from within the restaurant. We all enjoyed cold and very large beer courtesy of Danny, and I had the most tasty steak prepared perfectly. The feeder birds were White-whiskered Hermit, Green Thorntail, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant, and Crimson-rumped Toucanet. We also got great looks at Red-faced Spinetail, Ecuadorian Thrush, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Golden Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, and Black-winged Saltator. The beer as stated was pleasingly large, and of course we were at high elevation, so it caused me to hallucinate briefly. Thankfully, the other trip members did not tease me unduly for ~not~ seeing a condor. Groan.
We finished the day with a stop at Milpe. The highlight was observing the curious clicking and buzzing display of the Club-winged Manakin. Birds seen here were Bronze-winged Parrot , Green Thorntail, Green-crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald , Green-crowned Brilliant, Pacific Hornero, Ornate Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Ecuadorian Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Tropical Parula, American Redstart, Dusky Bush-Tanager , Guira Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager , and Swallow-Tanager. A spectabulous day!
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