Sunday, June 23, 2019

an accidental umbrellabird

Have we established that there's LOTS of birds in Ecuador?  The book has about 1000, and obviously they're not evenly distributed; I focused my study on the 300-400 birds that eBird deemed most likely.  The problem with that strategy is that it assumes you know where you're going!  On the way from San Isidro to Wild Sumaco we visited Loreto Road, situated at an elevation band between the two main stops.  And with a different elevation come some different birds, some of them very specialized.  I didn't study Loreto Road.  There aren't very many places you can see Cliff Flycatcher in Ecuador, but this is one of them.  Most of us had to take a quick peek in the book on the way to this site to figure out what a Cliff Flycatcher even looked like.

A lot of the tyrants in South America have more colorful wings than our flycatchers do.  These birds soared when they would sally out, acting as much like martins as they did flycatchers.

We stopped at a little waterfall garden whose feeders attracted White-tailed Hillstar, another bird with a very narrow elevation band.
It'd be nice to just use the pic with no feeder, but given you can barely see the blue and the white without the bird being head-on we'll go with both. This was the only time we saw this species.

Admittedly I cheated on this Many-spotted Hummingbird.  It started with the same feeder as the Hillstar has, but was far enough from the feeder that I photoshopped in the flowers from the bush the feeder was in...

While some of the group waited by the feeders, given the so-so at best lighting some of us wandered back down to the waterfall where birds would filter through the treetops.  Violaceous Jays, some distant Aracaris, and a few tanagers appeared, and then Irene started calling out a bird, questioning if it was an Umbrellabird.

I honestly had no idea.  The umbrellabird that can (rarely, and never by me) be found in Central America has a dark eye and a dark bill (and an entirely different adornment of head feathers).  I thought this was some kind of fruitcrow I hadn't studied ... turns out umbrellabirds and fruitcrows are both weird cotingas and are relatively closely related!  Long story short, it's an Amazonian Umbrellabird.  I felt a little sheepish that I didn't know what an UMBRELLABIRD was, but what are you going to do.

Aside from take pictures of orchids (you're not supposed to know what those are)...

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