Monday, November 17, 2008

Quito - Day two

American Kestrel

My mom and I spent the day meandering around Quito again, but today there were actually some birds! :O
Our goal for the day was to join the "South American Explorers Club", an organization with a name straight out of a bad movie. They offer reference materials, free internet, discounts on places to stay, and overall good information about most things Ecuador.

We took the thrilling buses again today, and discovered on our way back that school gets out sometime between 1:30 and 2, and all the school kids take the bus home. It was a living tide of Ecuadorian teenagers for a while. We waited at the bus stop through four buses, without being able to board any of them because of the press of humanity inside.

Lunch was about $2.70 a head today, for a veggie burger and fries with guacamole for me, and a four course meal for my mom, coming in at $2.80 for a soup, an entree with rice, false meat, a small salad, an eggplant dumpling swimming in sauce, and a slice of carrot cake for desert.

Another thing that was rather noticeable today was the fact that persons of authority seem to carry as large of a gun in as open of a way as possible. We saw two cops riding around on dirtbikes downtown, one of them carrying a submachine gun about as long as his leg. Also, there is a casino that we've walked by both days, which is always guarded out front by a man holding a shotgun across his chest, with his finger on the trigger guard at all times. It's rather unnerving, but hey, we haven't seen any crime, so I guess it works!

Anyways, enough about the city. On to birds. We visited the same place as yesterday: Parque El Ejido, seeing more Trainbearers and all that, but the best spot of the day was the Quito Botanical Gardens, located in Parque La Carolina. It was an excellent spot, and I only got to bird it for ~90 minutes, in drizzle, in the late afternoon. Not optimal conditions. 
However, some of the birds at the gardens included 3 Black Flowerpiercers, 2 Cinereous Conebills, 3 Golden-bellied (Southern Yellow) Grosbeaks, and a couple reminders of home, namely one each of Swainson's Thrush, Black-and-white Warbler, and Blackburnian Warbler.
It's kind of surreal to be listening to Sparking Violetears singing all around, and then all of a sudden you hear this little chip, and you're like "Wait, I know that", and all of a sudden a little Black-and-white Warbler pops into view, soon followed by a Black Flowerpiercer. Very strange.

The best bird of the day though was almost certainly a Tropical Mockingbird that I saw from the window at the South American Explorers Club, which should most certainly not be in Quito as far as I know. The Birds Of Ecuador says about the range of Tropical Mockingbird: "Very local in agricultural terrain in highlands of Imbabura, also a west Napo record." At the end of the species account it says "Only recently found in Ecuador; may increase?"
In any case, a bird I was sure not expecting in downtown Quito, in Pichincha province.

19 species today, almost double yesterday! Also, I'm putting up more pictures then I'm posting here at:

Location: Parque El Ejido
Observation date: 11/17/08
Number of species: 8

Rock Pigeon 5
Eared Dove 68
Sparkling Violetear 10
Black-tailed Trainbearer 4
Vermilion Flycatcher 1
Great Thrush 33
Tropical Mockingbird 1
Rufous-collared Sparrow 13

Location: Quito Botanical Gardens, Parque La Carolina
Observation date: 11/17/08
Number of species: 17

American Kestrel 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Rock Pigeon 3
Eared Dove 34
Sparkling Violetear 24
Black-tailed Trainbearer 5
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
Great Thrush 16
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Cinereous Conebill 2
Summer Tanager 2
Black Flowerpiercer 3
Rufous-collared Sparrow 26
Golden-bellied Grosbeak 3
Hooded Siskin 4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
Rufous-collared Sparrow


CJ said...

Ian, what resources are you using for identification? You can't have learned everything before you went..........can you?

Cheers, Chris.

Ian Davies said...

Well I carry the Ecuador guide with me at all times, and I had to use it for the Cinereous Conebills, but thats about it so far. Of course, this is very low species diversity, I will immediately fail when I get to the real birding spots haha. I just spent the 2 months previous to the trip studying the field guide.
Now that I'm here I know all the songs of the common stuff, Trainbearer, Sparkling Violetear, etc etc, so that helps too.