14 October 2015

July 18, 2015

Having bombed yesterday on El Oro Parakeet and Ecuadorian [El Oro] Tapaculo, we started the day earlier than yesterday and headed straight to our target locations...no messing around with 'common' birds this time. We arrived at Buenaventura Reserve at 6:23am, and following a short walk up some steps and into a clearing, we had target bird number one, El Oro Parakeet, in the bag. Conveniently, this lifer was followed shortly after by my second lifer for the day, Guayaquil Woodpecker. Other good birds at this first site included Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Parrot, Russet Antshrike, and Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner. With no time to waste, we quickly moved to our second site, once again in hopes of getting a glimpse of the shadow-dancing tapaculo, and within minutes lady-luck appeared to be on our side. This time we each saw El Oro Tapaculo, if only for a few seconds, as it darted from one dark shadowy branch to another, seemingly darker, shadowy branch. It was a tick!

With those two tough birds out of the way, it was onto the next location. We back-tracked along the main road that we came in on, and along the way found Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Roadside Hawk, and Torrent Tyrannulet. We then stopped at another site within Buenaventura Reserve, fully enshrouded with fog, at 9:00am. We didn't spend long at this site, but did add Slaty-winged Foliage-Gleaner (lifer), Andean Solitaire, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (lifer), and Common Chlorospingus.

Roadside Hawk...found along the roadside

Birders in the mist...scanning for Andean Solitaire

Our next stop, which required a drive of just over 2 hours, was at Chaguarpamba. It wasn't really a birding destination...more of a 'side-of-the-road, call of nature, short-term stop'. That didn't prevent us from scanning for a few birds however, and in doing so I added two lifers: Fasciated Wren and Chiguanco Thrush. After we all piled back into the van we drove for another hour and a half to Catacohca where we birded a small road that lead to San Antonio. This road turned out to be very productive from a 'lifer' perspective, as 8 of 16 species that I saw were new. Gray-lined Hawk was the first new species to be seen, followed shortly after by the 'alarming' Scarlet-backed Thrush. We then had stellar views of an Elegant Crescentchest, followed shortly afterward by a Collared Antshrike that I located...another gorgeous looking bird. That was then followed by Croaking Ground-Dove, Plumbeous-backed Thrush, and Black-capped Sparrow. We then worked our way back to the main road, where Andreas was able to locate a Watkins's Antpitta, using call playback, hidden deep in the scrub. Simon and I were able to see the bird briefly, but Howard unfortunately dipped. This species would eventually become Howard's nemesis bird of the trip.

Shortly after leaving Catacocha we came to a screeching halt near a small village where Andreas pointed out a small flock of Pacific Parrotlets (lifer), and with them were a few Long-tailed Mockingbirds. We then continued to drive for nearly another hour, where we spent some quality birding along the side of Highway 68, slowly working our way downhill scanning arid scrub habitat for some key target birds. We found most, including Baird's Flycatcher (lifer), Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant (lifer), Tumbes Hummingbird (lifer), and Peruvian Pygmy-Owl (lifer). We also saw a good number of Red-masked Parakeets, three Fasciated Wrens, and a Golden Grosbeak.

Simon iPhoning the Peruvian Pygmy-Owl

We arrived at Jorupe Lodge at about 6:00pm, and following dinner we did some owling around the lodge, but had no luck. It had been a long day, but despite a relatively low species count (68 for the day), it was rich in lifers (20 for me).