Sunday, December 16, 2018

What's better than 3 owls?

It's CBC season, and with CBC's come owling.  This morning I struggled with noise from I-94.  Yesterday I had all 3 locals by dawn.  But there would be more than 3 owls for the day since Kip found Long-eared's at Dayton Prairie.  He found FIVE long-eared's at Dayton Prairie.

I circled back with Hazel, the birds were still there mid-afternoon.  At first I could only see one, though there's a bit of flank from a second visible in this view.

Moving 30 feet left along road's edge brought the rest into at least reasonable view.

The 5th bird is mostly blocked but just visible behind the 2nd from the left in the front row.

As for today's CBC?  Highlight was ...
a Turkey Vulture

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

End of Ecuador

As we headed back to Quito, Jose pulled us off onto a little side road to pick up a few last dry scrub birds.  (We'd have gone farther but the bus got stuck.  We ended up pushing it out at one point!).  We learned a batch of seedeaters, this one was new for the trip; look at the tail's underside for the identity of this female

 It's a Band-tailed.

Not all the birds were completely new, a few Vermillion Flycatchers enjoyed their winter haunts.
Unlike the Blackburnians who trade wet jungle for spruce forest, the Vermillions seemed to be in similar habitat to where we would find them in the southwest.

Though there's fewer Tufted Tit-Tyrants in our Southwest.

Golden Grosbeak was a bird I saw a few times flying up from the roadside from the back of the bus; here the whole group got to see them, if somewhat distantly.

We saw a few Blue-and-yellow Tanagers here as well.

The final birds I'll leave you with?  A pair of Peregrines, what else.
If you hunt birds for a living it makes sense you'd head to the Bird Continent for the winter.

And speaking of which, maybe that makes sense for birders too ... give it a few months ... stay tuned.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

last hummingbird pics

A few last birds from Angel de Paz, hummingbirds, what else?

Violet-tailed Sylph is not an easy bird to photograph.  The tail is so long it's hard to keep the bird in focus, or even in the frame for that matter.  And while this may not come as a surprise, hummingbirds frequently don't hold still very long.  There were reasonable opportunities at Angel's though.

I liked the little dashes of rain in this pic of Andean Emerald.

Brown Inca wasn't really ever common so it was nice for them to appear at close range

Same for Speckled Hummingbird (the sexes are alike) and look like female mountain-gems
I try not to use birds perched on feeders, but this was by far my best pic of this species so let's make an exception

Saturday, December 1, 2018

a Vampire bird

We ate lunch at Angel's and enjoyed the activity at the feeders on the railing's edge.  Check out the bill on Toucan Barbet...

We saw several species of brush-finch on this trip.  These towhee like sparrows tend to skulk in the thickets, but the feeders were too much for this White-winged Brush-finch.

We'd enjoyed portrait looks of Flame-faced and Golden-naped Tanager the day before, but who would refuse even closer looks?

I had expected based on eBird bargraphs for Blue-winged Mountian-tanager to be a very common bird on this trip; I think we only saw them a couple times.  But they saved the best looks for last.

Finally, if brush-finches are skulkers, they're nothing to compared to spinetails.  This Azara's Spinetail was lurking about in the thicket beneath the balcony and I just caught it as it raced through a little opening, definitely my clearest pic of any species of spinetail