Monday, December 15, 2008

Heading out

After a week of being stuck in Quito, relatively birdless, tomorrow I finally get to head back out to real birding, at La Selva Jungle Lodge. The original plan was for us to go to Sani Lodge, and to have gone there today, but we found that we could get a better deal, and guide, at La Selva, so we're heading there tomorrow instead. I guess Rufous Potoo, the specialty bird of Sani, will have to wait for another time. 

The only birding highlight of the week, which is to say seeing something besides Rufous-collared Sparrows, Great Thrushes, and Eared Doves, was our trip yesterday up the Teleferiqo, a cable car system that extends for 3.5km and takes you up to 14,500fasl, about 5,000 feet higher then Quito!
When you're that high, trees are unable to grow for the most part, and so its almost entirely paramo up there, with a few Polylepis trees scattered around the streams, typical of the Andean highlands around here. Of course, when you get that high, the birds change! Still very low species diversity, but some nice birds. Tawny Antpittas are common, calling everywhere, running unseen through the grass, until they, strangely for antpittas, burst out of the grass and run around in the open like they're in deep cover for a little while, before realizing their mistake and evaporating again.
I managed three new birds up there, after a week-long lifer drought, with Curve-billed Tinamou, Paramo Pipit, and a Blue-and-yellow Tanager, the latter seen from the cable car on the way up!
Full species list:

Location: Quito Teleferiqo
Observation date: 12/14/08
Number of species: 12

Curve-billed Tinamou 1
Sparkling Violetear 5 
Black-tailed Trainbearer 4
Tawny Antpitta 6
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant 2
Brown-bellied Swallow 26
Great Thrush 6
Paramo Pipit 1
Blue-and-yellow Tanager 1
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch 9
Plain-colored Seedeater 1
Hooded Siskin 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Our plane leaves from the National terminal at Mariscal Sucre Airport from Quito tomorrow at a little after 9am, and after a 50 minute ride in an old military aircraft, the standard form of transportation in Ecuador, we should land in Coca, a town built on the oil that comes out of the Amazon, and after another 2-3 hour motorized canoe ride, hopefully we will end up at La Selva! With a bird list of over 550 species, of which ~400 would be new for me, it can only end in happiness. The lake that the lodge sits on is one of the best places for Zigzag Heron in Ecuador, a very cool little heron that is extremely reclusive and hard to find. We're there until Saturday, when we repeat the travel process in reverse, and end up back in Quito for a night or two.
After that, the current plan is to head out to Mindo for two weeks, until January 2nd, when we return to Quito to meet my moms friend, and then head off for the last two weeks to parts yet unknown, perhaps Ayampe, out on the coast.

I've updated my Picasa with a few more pictures, most recently one of a Plumbeous Sierra-Finch taken at the top of the Teleferiqo. There are just far too many to post to this blog!

And with that, I will sign off for 5 days, and I hope to be able to update this again next Saturday or Sunday!

Good birding to all,

1 comment:

Liam said...

Good luck on your trip to the Amazon!