Tripping Back to the Andes

Andean Tit-Spinetail 11-19-17-8004

Andean Tit-Spinetail

I suppose it’s only fitting I started writing this post today while the outside temperature in Chicago (55 deg. F.) was just two degrees cooler than Quito. We won’t stay here long, though. By tomorrow morning we will have dropped back into the 20’s F.

Birders 11-20-2017-0966We weren’t all that warm up in the higher elevations as the above picture indicates. In any event there was a lot to look at and these pictures are from our first day trek through the mountains from Quito to Guango Lodge.

Masked Mountain-Tanager 11-20-2017-8681

Masked Mountain-Tanager

Tanagers proved to be challenging subjects, often too far away to even try for. I think I’ve been spoiled by other trips where invariably some species came to feeders. But I am happy for the pictures I did get, which were without human enticement of any kind.

Summer Tanager 11-19-17-7701

Summer Tanager, a species that migrates to North America

Scrub Tanager 11-19-17-7712

Scrub Tanager

There will be more tanager species to come in future posts. Below, flowers and a fungus that appeared to branch out with its own petals.

Rufous-Bellied Seedsnipe 11-19-17-8050

We were fortunate to find these Rufous-Bellied Seedsnipe not far from the guard station. A somewhat elusive species, they blend in perfectly with the ground.

Below on the left is a Pale-naped Brushfinch, a bird we saw only in this habitat. The Orange-bellied Euphonia on the right was at various other elevations but I continually struggled to get a halfway decent photo of the male.

The Giant Conebill below seems like it’s worthy of a better name, it’s really quite striking.

Tufted Tit-Tyrant 11-19-17-7913

Tufted Tit-Tyrant

Below are two species of Flowerpiercers. We did eventually see all six species on the list. The one on the left, the Masked Flowerpiercer, was common and quite a willing subject at Guango Lodge. The Black Flowerpiercer on the right was a little harder to capture.

Whenever we found a river we were looking for the White-capped Dipper below and we got lucky the first day.

White-capped Dipper 11-20-2017-9227Also hanging out by the river was the Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant below.

Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant 11-20-2017-9271

Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant

Eared Doves were most common but they rarely posed in good light. This one struck a fortunate pose.

Eared Dove 11-19-17-7691

Eared Dove

A sign and a vista that caught my eye…

When we got down to Guango, we went for a little walk around the property and found one of the Mountain Tapirs that have been seen lately. Our guide Mitch declared her a youngster. We found her adorable.

I’ll be back soon with more magic from Ecuador.

A Tanager Coloring Book

Blue-Necked Tanager

Blue-Necked Tanager

The idea occurred to me when I was going through these photographs and the field guides that if you had a coloring book with page after page of tanagers to fill in, you could never come up with all of nature’s possible combinations.

Bay-Headed Tanager 4-03-15-5732

Bay-Headed Tanager

We were very fortunate to be staying at the Chestnut-Capped Piha Reserve, where the feeders attracted a variety of tanagers. These are generally the photos taken with bananas in them.

Golden Tanager 4-5-15-8118

Golden Tanager

Crimson-Backed Tanager 04-3-15-6369

Crimson-Backed Tanager

Silver-Throated Tanager

Silver-Throated Tanager

Black-Capped Tanager 04-03-15-6101

Black-Capped Tanager

Speckled Tanager 04-03-15-6912

Speckled Tanager

Some of the tanagers were familiar, like the ubiquitous Blue-Gray Tanager, the Bay-Headed Tanager and the Speckled Tanager.

Blue-Gray Tanager 04-2-15-5077

Blue-Gray Tanager

Blue-Capped Tanager 03-31-15-2760

Blue-Capped Tanager

Hooded Mountain Tanager 03-31-15-2650

Hooded Mountain Tanager

I had also seen Palm Tanager before. It’s seems strange, though, to see a neotropical migrant species like the Summer Tanager on its wintering grounds.

Palm Tanager 03-30-15-2161

Palm Tanager

Summer Tanager 04-03-15-5838

Summer Tanager

I wish I had a better picture of the Beryl-Spangled Tanager, it’s so unusual. But then almost all of the tanagers are unusual.

Beryl Spangled Tanager 4-4-15-7331

Beryl-Spangled Tanager

Blue-Gray Tanager 04-03-15-6397

Blue-Gray Tanager

Black-Capped Tanager 04-3-15-6185

Black-Capped Tanager

Scrub Tanager 04-3-15-6347

Scrub Tanager

Hooded Tanager 04-03-15-6795

Hooded Tanager

Feel free to click on any of the pictures to get a larger view. This time I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. I am pretty worn out from work. Cold rainy weather afforded me an excuse to postpone the migrant hunt until tomorrow but we seem to have had a fallout of warblers with last night’s storm, and I want to try catching up with it.