Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Band-tailed Seedeater

Some of you may be wondering why I didn't post last night, and the reason was that nothing interesting happened in my life yesterday. I woke up with a sore throat, headache, chills, fever, etc etc. I never left the hotel all day. However, I did get one bird, a Rufous-collared Sparrow chipping outside, heard through the window. Hooray.

Today however was much better, mainly because I could function without eminent danger of collapse. We went to the forest that we've been meaning to go to for a couple days now, Parque Metropolitano Bellavista, just 1/2 mile from the hotel. It was a really cool forest, almost exclusively Eucalyptus trees, with some occasional patches of low scrub mixed in. Whatever was there made it a hummingbird HAVEN. I had no less then 22 Black-tailed Trainbearers, and 43 Sparkling Violetears. And those were conservative counts, there could have been more of each, easily, and I bet there were. At all times, from all directions, the high pitched noise of hummingbird song was deafening. Made it hard to hear the Hooded Siskins singing! My personal favorite bird of the day was a very confiding male Band-tailed Seedeater that flushed up from the path, and proceeded to feed on grass right out in the open, a little over 10 feet away. Later on, on the way out, near where I had seen the male Band-tailed earlier, at this powerline cut, I had 3 female Plain-colored Seedeaters, and another or the same Band-tailed. I'm assuming the same.

After hiking for two hours uphill at a little under 10,000 feet of altitude, as you can imagine, we were slightly tired out. So we figured we'd take a cab to our next destination, Hotel Quito, where we were doing a little bit of reconnoitering for a place to stay later on in the trip. Well, we got a cab, but to this moment I'm not sure it was a good decision. 

We flagged a guy down, checked to make sure he had the number and was a licenced taxi, like all the guidebooks say, and asked him the fare. He decided that it would cost us the princely sum of $1.50 for a ~10 minute cab ride. Needless to say, we said sure. As we got in and started to pull away from the curb, we reached for seatbelts to put on. Haha, as if. THERE WERE NO BACKSEAT SEATBELTS. That has got to break so many safety rules its not even funny. The front seats did, but not the rear. I guess we were expendable. The next 10 minutes could be described as harrowing, to say the least. In traffic, our driver had this wonderful habit of hitting the gas, and then almost immediately slamming on the brake. Repeatedly. Once we got out of traffic he speeded up to about 50mph, which was great fun on abrupt s-curves going downhill. 
My mom, not one for hairpin turns, sat through most of the drive with her eyes closed, probably wondering why she ever agreed to come to this country.
We made it though, and a Blue-and-white Swallow at the hotel was a trip bird, so that was nice.

An incredible 23 species for the trip so far now.. Day lists from today below!

Location: Parque Metropolitano Bellavista
Observation date: 11/19/08
Number of species: 9

Eared Dove 4
Sparkling Violetear 43
Black-tailed Trainbearer 22
Great Thrush 28
Cinereous Conebill 2
Band-tailed Seedeater 1m
Plain-colored Seedeater 3f
Rufous-collared Sparrow 22
Hooded Siskin 5

Location: Hotel Quito
Observation date: 11/19/08
Number of species: 5

Black Vulture 3
Sparkling Violetear 6
Black-tailed Trainbearer 1
Blue-and-white Swallow 1
Great Thrush 3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Band-tailed Seedeater with seed husk in mid-fall


Scott said...

Pfft...that was your first time in a taxi without seatbelts? Amateur ;)

And Eucalyptus anywhere but Australia is not cool...major invasive. But hey, if the hummingbirds like it...

callum said...

Great to hear news from the exotic tropics! Great photos as usual.

Regards to you and Amy......don't forget to check for leeches!!!

Liam said...

Awesome pictures in your albums. I never have seen birds that close up.