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September 2009 Ecuador Bird Watching Trip Report

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: September 2009

In the scrub trees we photographed a female Masked Trogon, Smoke-colored Pewee, Toucan Barbet, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Montane Woodcreeper, and Tricolored Brush-Finch. A Wedge-billed Hummingbird was boring into a flowering maple blossom for nectar, except a Violet-tailed Sylph kept trying to chase it away. A Bay-headed Tanager was bathing in an umbrella-sized leaf.

beryl spangled tanager ecuador bird watchingDown the hill, we found a flock of large birds, including 7 Pale-mandibled Aracaris (Toucans) – I got a picture of three of them in the top of a tree. I saw what I thought was a large leaf, but when I looked at it with my binoculars, it turned out to be a Common Potoo (similar to a Frogmouth in Australia). They are super hard to find because when they perch on a limb they look like part of the tree. There were also One-colored Becards, and beautiful Beryl-spangled Tanagers.

I see a lot of Northern Rough-wing swallow in Ohio, so I especially appreciated seeing a Southern Rough-winged Swallow perched on an electric line.

About 10am we arrived at the Mindo Butterfly Farm down by the Rio Blanco River. They raise 24 species of butterfly that are found in the area, including the Blue Morphs and Owl-eye Butterfly.

We birded the dirt road NW of the Butterfly Farm, where we found Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaners, a White-shouldered Tanager, Andean Solitaire, Brown-billed Scythebill, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Narino Tapaculo, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and Sepia-brown Wren. We were especially pleased to see our first oriole of the trip, a Yellow-tailed Oriole. There are lots of tanagers, but not many orioles are seen around here.

We went back to the Hostal Irador Rio Blanco for lunch. The valley view was spectacular today.

On the trip back to Alambi we took the dirt road from Mindo up to Bellavista and down to Alambi. It was beginning to get foggy, but we did manage to see a Flame-faced Tanager and a pair of Masked Trogons. Before we reached Tandayapa we stopped to see a Coatimundi on the side of the road. Jairo says they are rare in this area.

This was our big birding day of the trip – we saw 100 bird species today!

We left Alambi on September 22 at 9am heading back to Quito. We stopped several places near the Middle of the Earth Monument and Pululahua Crater (0.032N 78.474W) for bird watching. We saw 12 bird species, including some Cinereous Finches, Andean Siskins, Cinereous Conebills, Band-tailed and Plain-colored Seedeaters, and a Golden-rumped Euphonia.

For a farewell lunch we went to a typical Ecuadorian restaurant near the Marriott Hotel. Jairo ordered Sardine Soup. We had Shrimp Ceviche with extra onions and lots of lime juice. We finally found out what the popcorn you see on the buffets in Ecuador is for – you put it in the soup! Beautiful!!!

Then we were off to the Mariscal Market to buy some Spirit of Ecuador liqueur for Maria! We also got some dark chocolate, a tablecloth, a Sun Shirt, scarves, and rings & beads made from Vegetable Ivory (a.k.a. Tagua Palm Nuts).

Great Trip!

Birding Summary:

During Sept 5 thru Sept 22, 2009 we saw 233 bird species in Ecuador:

Quito area – 22 species (photos of 14) Galapagos Islands – 48 species (photos of 47) Cloudforest – 172 species (photos of 97)

The distribution of Species was:

Species Family No. of Species Water & Shore 35 Tanager 30 Hummingbird 26 Finch 23 Flycatcher 15 Raptor 13 Dove 8 Warbler 5 Wren 5 Parrot 4 Woodpecker 4 Treehunter 4 Swift & Swallow 4 Thrush 4 Toucan 3 Trogon & Quetzal 3 Foilage-gleaner 3 Woodcreeper 3 Tapaculo 3 Fruiteater 2 Mockingbird 2 Saltator 2 Spinetail 2 Vireo 2 Grosbeak 2 Becard 2 Barbet 2 Other 22

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