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...