Ecuador Travel Diary - p. 4
10 April 2002
Today's highlight is a bird-watching trip to the upper
Tandayapa valley with Trevor, a British guide who helps run the lodge. Things get
off to a rocky start when I accuse him of declaring every bird whose call he does not know
to be a Gray-breasted Wood-wren. He eventually convinces me that this bird is indeed
the source of an amazing repertoire of calls and songs. With his help I also enjoy
Barred Hawk, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Pearled Treerunner, Turquoise Jay, Grass-green
Tanager, and many other cloud forest beauties.
11 April 2002
Near the lodge is a stand of Miconia trees. On the same tree one can see
floral buds and open flowers, as well as green and ripe fruit. This means that for
the next several weeks or even months, Miconia will be the avian equivalent of a
local diner, where a hungry bird can always get a bite to eat. During the week I
have seen no less than 16 different species dropping by for a snack. Four of them,
Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, and Slate-throated
Whitestart, are gleaning insects. The remaining 12 enjoy the fruit:
Rufous-collared Sparrow, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Red-headed Barbet, as well as 8 true
tanagers: Golden, Metallic-green, Golden-naped, Beryl-spangled, Black-capped,
Blue-capped, and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager.
Because Miconia is a reliable food source, it is assured of a
steady stream of birds that will scatter its seed throughout the forest. In this way
both plant and bird benefit.
12 April 2002
I never tire of photographing the lodge hummers.
Although 15-20 species are around, it is the little Western Emerald that is the most
cooperative, always glad to pose for a photo.