Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sumaco Antpittas

In the afternoon at Wild Sumaco we took a hike to a little grotto where Ochre-breasted and Plain-backed Antpittas came in for worms.  There was actually a second group that was heading there as well and the group got spread out pretty far single-file on the trail.  I forget what bird the front of the line glimpsed, but those at the back of the line heard a fairly unique call from the underbrush.  The leaders were far ahead and we were forced to leave it be to settle in at the antpitta spot.

Initially all we saw was a (locally rare) Gray-cheeked Thrush that was hoovering down the worms at a rapid rate...

After a bit of a wait a tiny Ochre-breasted Antpitta started appearing.  This isn't a bird a person can get tired of seeing.

We caught only glimpses of the much larger Plain-backed however.  This photo is brightened from near blackness, I'm impressed it turned out as well as it did.

Ironically on the way back the bird we'd heard on the way in was still calling.  We brought it to the guide's attention ... as a Chestnut-crowned Gnateater (another antpitta-like bird even smaller than the Ochre-breasts) flashed through my binocular field for a quarter of a second.  I called it out and the call clicked in on the guide, we'd been hearing the Gnateater on the way out too!  Unfortunately (or fortunately to have brought the bird at all) a host of ants were foraging on the trail, and we got pushed back, some of us (including me) with a bunch of bites.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sumaco hummers 1

It should not have taken me this long to get the next post up, but what can you say.  Life gets busy.

Wild Sumaco was at mid elevations which typically gives the highest hummingbird diversity and this location was no different.  The smaller hummingbirds had a lot of adornments, giving them a very alien feel.  This is Wire-crested Thorntail (a full breeding male will have head and tail plumes that are twice as long).

Here's a couple of the females arguing over the flower patch...

Booted Racket-tail is perhaps the hallmark species at Tandayapa, the famous lodge on the other side of the Andes we visited last year.  On the east side of the Andes the boots are orange rather than white.  It gave them a very different feel, and somewhat of a warmer one somehow by adding more color but less overall contrast

Here's the west slope version for comparison (I tried to link to the post that had these but can't search it up no matter what I do, maybe I forgot...)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Bonaparte's gone fishin'

It's Labor Day weekend, so time to take time off and relax right?  Some fresh juvie Bonaparte's Gulls have joined the fishermen on the pier and at times are foraging fairly close.  They fly a few feet above the surface, side-slipping at times to dip into the water, frequently plunging their entire heads and necks below the surface taking back off.

It was hard to tell if they were catching anything with the naked eye (or with bins) though some prominent crops were suggestive of success.  Freezing the birds with the camera revealed they were being successful about a quarter or a third of the time.

Finally a fall pic that probably won't fit well elsewhere, a Song Sparrow in some smartweed...

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wild Sumaco Tanagers

Wild Sumaco was by far my favorite place on the last Ecuador trip.  A month (I've been bad) ago I had a few posts about bird coming in to their buglights.  After leaving the buglights we walked the road seeing what we could see and then set up on an open hillside hoping for a mixed flock.  The mixed flock never really materialized but a Black-mandibled Toucan teed up for a bit.

Last year we had good looks at Glistening-green Tanager.  This year we saw the eastern slope cousin, the Orange-eared Tanager

Next up are a couple of roadside birds. The Speckled-class tanagers are birds very different from any we have, as finely streaked as many of our little brown sparrows, but blue and yellow and green instead.  First up is a Spotted Tanager

And this similar species is Yellow-bellied Tanager

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Red Knot in the sunrise

There's been a knot at New Buff the last couple days, I was there at sun-up this morning.  It was feeding actively aside from when killdeer or geese would fly by freezing it up from time to time.

The bird is a juvenile as evidenced by the small fresh scapulars.  This is the reddest I've seen a juvie, though it may also be the earliest I've had this species in fall and simply have fresher plumage.

There's still some algae left from whatever the last prey item was.

There were a handful of semi's around, but this Least zipped past the knot for a fun size comparison.

Honestly the water drops from the little wavelet hitting the algae distract more than they add interest to the next one.

One last pic from just before the sun rose.
Hopefully Baird's will be next!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Singing to the end

I hadn't checked on the Bell's in a while so I wandered by this morning.

It's still singing away.  It sounded a little quieter to me, not sure if that was real, or if it's starting to lose some of its interest.  The rate of songs sounded unchanged to me.

It's already molting as evidenced by the swallow-tail.  It's surprising to me that it's still singing and trying to attract a mate while its feathers prep for migration, but then again if anything will sing till the end it'd be a vireo.

And proof that the summer if flying by, we've moved right past clubtail season (July) and into the Darners...
My best guess is that this is Shadow Darner.  I tried to get a pic of the very tip of the abdomen to be for sure, but forgot whether you want a top or side view.  (I went for top but should have gone for side).  It flushed (and then was nearly eaten by one of the local kingbirds), oops.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trogons in the buglites

One last series of pics from the buglites at San Isidro (how did a couple weeks elapse between posts???).  But enough of subtle grays and browns, why don't we transition to Christmas colors?

A pair of Collared Trogons came in for breakfast as the light finally started to shade into day (though they're still super grainy)...

I've never managed a pic of a trogon's vermiculated wing coverts that I was satisfied with

The female is less colorful, but in some ways the teardrop eyering makes her more dramatic

Mmmm, moths...