Thursday, 30 November 2017

30th November 2017 Paz de Aves

Our eagerly awaited day at Paz de Aves had arrived. Angel had told us that a tour group would be arriving in the night and that he would be accompanying them to the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek at 6am. He said that if we wanted to join them there that would be fine, but otherwise, having already spent time at the lek we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast and join them at 7am. We opted for the 6am start and were then surprised that there was no sign of the tour group. So was Angel, who decided to head down to the lek site a little earlier than planned in case they were there. We drove down at 6am and found Angel alone. After watching the lek for a short time we were keen to get going and, armed with some bananas, Angel took us to try for a covey of Dark-backed Wood-Quail but they clearly hadn't read the script! Next up, we tried the ravine for Maria, the legendary female Giant Antpitta. Maria failed to co-operate and Angel explained that she was feeding a chick and thought it the likely  reason why she hadn't been performing. Angel then offered us the chance to try for another covey of Wood-Quail but warned us that he hadn't visited them for a while so was uncertain whether we would see them. We walked the trail without success, and whilst it eventually led to a blind overlooking another Cock-of-the-Rock lek, nice that they are, we weren't too keen to linger long! Angel told us to wait there whilst he disappeared off back down the trail alone. He soon reappeared keen for us to quickly join him - he had found a pair of Wood-Quail - something that we thought we would see rather easily had suddenly felt like a hard won success! On trying for a juvenile Common Potoo that had been sitting in the same tree for weeks - we found that it wasn't there! We then joined Angel's brother, Rodrigo, standing at the side of the road overlooking another ravine but the much hoped-for Yellow-breasted Antpitta didn't show. We were almost at the point of not knowing whether to laugh or cry! We had the Paz brothers to ourselves and yet we were struggling!! Angel asked if we would like to have breakfast or try for a male Giant Antpitta - no contest, breakfast it wasn't!! Off down a trail with both Angel and Rodrigo and we were soon enjoying views of a Moustached Antpitta performing well on the trail itself. They began to feed it some worms and a pair of Ochre-breasted Antpittas joined the action. Rodrigo then excitedly exclaimed 'Giant' and out hopped a Giant Antpitta onto the trail - despite its name, I could hardly believe how large it actually was! It stuck around for a while, took several worms and eventually hopped away up a vegetated slope - there was palpable relief all round! We continued along the trail seeing a pair of Golden-headed Quetzals and a Toucan Barbet at its nest hole. Angel again offered the choice of breakfast or an attempt at another Yellow-breasted Antpitta at a location where they felt they could also guarantee Chestnut-crowned Antpitta. We were only hungry for Antpittas so we drove to a higher elevation and parked at a locked gate. We entered some nice mossy forest.and Rodrigo soon enticed the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta into view whilst Angel had continued along the track. After a while Rodrigo suggested that we should join Angel in case the Yellow-breasted Antpitta was showing - it wasn't. Angel showed us the nest-hole of a Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan but the female wasn't at home although a surprise White-throated Quail-Dove was nice. We returned for a prolonged attempt at the Yellow-breasted Antpitta and it finally showed-up for its reward of earthworms. Brilliant! We continued along the trail and tracked down the pair of Plate-billed Mountain-Toucans before returning to the lodge for brunch! No sooner had we arrived back and it started raining. Our afternoon activities were limited to viewing from the observation deck although at times the rain even made that challenging. Heavy rain then persisted all evening putting pay to going out looking for Owls.

Cattle Egret 6
Black Vulture 6
Band-tailed Pigeon 4
White-throated Quail-Dove 1
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk 2
Tawny-bellied Hermit 1
Green Violetear 1
Sparkling Violetear 2
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 4
Andean Emerald 2
Speckled hummingbird 1
Purple-bibbed Whitetip 2 males
Empress Brilliant 2
Fawn-breasted Brilliant 6
Brown Inca 2
Velvet-purple Coronet 2
Booted Racket-tail 2
Violet-tailed Sylph 8
Purple-throated Woodstar 6
Golden-headed Quetzal 2 - a pair
Masked Trogon 2
Toucan Barbet 2
Crimson-rumped Toucanet 1
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan 2 - a pair
Powerful Woodpecker 2 - a pair
Moustached Antpitta 1
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta 1
Ochre-breasted Antpitta 2
White-tailed Tyrannulet 1
Streak-necked Flycatcher 1
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock 10 males
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Brown-capped Vireo 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Three-striped Warbler 2
Golden Tanager 2
Golden-naped Tanager 1
Beryl-spangled Tanager 2
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 4
Blue-grey Tanager 1
Lemon-rumped Tanager 1
Summer Tanager 1
Yellow-bellied Seedeater 1
White-winged Brush-Finch 6
Choco (Tricolored) Brush-Finch 1
Rufous-collared Sparrow 4

Male Dark-backed Wood-Quail at Paz de Aves

Female Dark-backed Wood-Quail at Paz de Aves

Pair of roosting Rufous-bellied Nighthawks at Paz de Aves

Male Powerful Woodpecker at Paz de Aves

Female Powerful Woodpecker at Paz de Aves

Male Masked Trogon at Paz de Aves

seeing the shape of an Antpitta or Pitta on a trail is always an exciting moment!

Moustached Antpitta at Paz de Aves

Ochre-breasted Antpitta at Paz de Aves

Male Giant Antpitta at Paz de Aves

Male Golden-headed Quetzal at Paz de Aves

Toucan Barbet at Paz de Aves

Chestnut-crowned Antpitta at Paz de Aves

Yellow-breasted Antpitta at Paz de Aves

Angel & Rodrigo Paz celebrating showing us five species of Antpitta

Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan at Paz de Aves

Velvet-purple Coronets at Paz de Aves

Male Violet-tailed Sylph at Paz de Aves

Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Paz de Aves

Male Black-and-white Becard at Paz de Aves

Male Barred Becard at Paz de Aves

White-winged Brush-Finch at Paz de Aves

Choco Brush-Finch at Paz de Aves

First-winter male Summer Tanager at Paz de Aves

Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager at Paz de Aves

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

29th November 2017 Pululahua to Paz de Aves

We spent the early morning at Pululahua and then drove to Paz de Aves birding from the observation deck and watching the Hummingbird feeders there before walking to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek at 3pm where we met Angel Paz who kindly pointed out a distant Rufous-bellied Nighthawk sat roosting in a tree. Worryingly, Angel told us that he had only seen three species of Antpitta that morning and all three were species that I'd seen before! All the more worrying was him mentioning that he hadn't seen Giant Antpitta the day before either and that they usually prove very difficult to find in the rain - and it was just starting to rain!

Cattle Egret 2
Swallow-tailed Kite 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 2
Eared Dove 1
Rufous-bellied Nighthawk 1
Green Violetear 1
Sparkling Violetear 4
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 3
Andean Emerald 4
Speckled Hummingbird 2
Purple-bibbed Whitetip 1 male
Fawn-breasted Brilliant 4
Brown Inca 1
Collared Inca 2
Velvet-purple Coronet 2
Booted Racket-tail 2
Black-tailed Trainbearer 1
Violet-tailed Sylph 4
White-bellied Woodstar 1 male
Purple-throated Woodstar 6
Toucan Barbet 1
Crimson-rumped Toucanet 1
Pale-mandibled Aracari 1
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker 2
Azara's Spinetail 1
Rusty-breasted Antpitta h
Cinnamon Flycatcher 2
Smoke-coloured Pewee 1
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 2
Barred Becard 1 male
Black-and-white Becard 1 male
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock 8 males
Turquoise Jay 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Great Thrush 6
Tropical Mockingbird 1
Cinereous Conebill 1
White-sided Flowerpiercer 2
Rufous-chested Flycatcher 1
Blue-capped Tanager 1
Lemon-rumped Tanager 1
Southern Yellow Grosbeak 2
Slaty Finch 8
Rufous-naped/Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch 1
Rufous-collared Sparrow 20

leaving the Pululahua caldera

Andean Guan at Pululahua

Rufous-naped/Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch at Pululahua

Blue-capped Tanager at Pululahua

Male White-bellied Woodstar at Pululahua

Paz de Aves

very comfortable accommodation

Our veranda with the Paz de Aves Observation deck in the background

View from the Observation deck

Male Purple-bibbed Whitetip at Paz de Aves

Lemon-rumped Tanager at Paz de Aves

Red-eyed Vireo at Paz de Aves

Male Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks at Paz de Aves