Thursday, October 1, 2015

Birding in Ecuador: Part 2 - Refugio Paz de las Aves

To read about the first day of the trip, please click here.

Rob writes: Our day started before sunrise as we had to arrive at the famous Refugio Paz de las Aves before the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock started displaying. The birds put on quite a show although photography was rather difficult in the low light. We did have spectacular looks at two Cloud Forest Pygmy-Owls!

Cloud Forest Pygmy-Owl
Once the cock-of-the-rock stopped displaying, we moved on the see Angel Paz's real show, the antpittas. Our first stop was for Yellow-breasted Antpitta. These birds sure are loyal to Angel's feeding schedule!

At the next feeding station, we were entertained by many hummingbirds and a family of Dark-backed Wood-Quails before a Giant Antpitta arrived.

Dark-backed Wood-Quail
The next targets took a little more hiking to get to but we found a feeding flock along the way and added a bunch of new species for the day including Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner and Russet-crowned Warbler.

Although it took a long time for the Rufous-breasted Antthrush to show, it was worth the wait. We snapped dozens of photos as it perched and strutted along a log! As we watched, another Giant Antpitta made an appearence and I was able to get down to where the Ochre-breasted Antpitta feeds just before it flew away.

Rufous-breasted Antthrush
We ended the morning with a wonderful breakfast while watching tanagers, toucanets, and barbets. There were still a ton of birds to find so Edison and I pulled Brian away from the easy photography at the feeders and moved on to Tandayapa Pass.

While the photography wasn't as good for Brian, the birding was fantastic! We added a ton of new species including one of my most sought after birds, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan. We also hit several flocks of tanagers which adds a lot of excitement to the birding.

The remainder of our day was spend watching and photographing hummingbirds at a couple of different feeding stations. While at our final stop, a pair of Masked Trogons decided to be very cooperative for photos.
Masked Trogon - Male

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