Saturday, May 06, 2017

Birding in Ecuador - Day 5 - Milpe Way

Today we will be transferring from Sachatamia Lodge into the Finlandia Hotel in the city of Quito. This is so that we can be close to the church where we will be attending the Easter Sunday Service tomorrow. We had already arranged with our expert driver/guide Luis to pick us up and take us to the capital city.

Our first stop was at the Milpe Bird Sanctuary. Being short on time and energy (we're senior citizens after all) we did not explore the lenghty trails. Nevertheless we had some good views of two kinds of Toucans that looked similar to each other - the Choco and the Yellow-throated.

Choco Toucan
Yellow-throated Toucan
We also had some surprises - we didn't know what they were until I was already home and doing some digging in the internet. What we thought was just an oriole that we've seen before turned out to be a lifer!

Yellow-tailed Oriole
And then there was this bright reddish brown bird that kept displaying on the branch above us. It was a Cinnamon Becard - a totally unexpected encounter.


Near the office were the usual feeders. One of the hummingbirds that go there was new to us - the Green Thorntail.


From the sanctuary we proceeded to our destination: the El Mirador Restaurant to have lunch. That strip of road that we traversed was quite productive bird-wise as we added more lifers to our list. Among them was the Masked Water Tyrant - a kind of flycatcher that stays mostly on the ground.


A similar terrestrial bird with a strange name was the Pacific Hornero. The term "hornero" was derived from the Spanish word "horno" which means oven. That was because the nests built by this species were shaped like wood-fired ovens.


Another bird with a quaint name was the Black-crowned Tityra. The word "tityra" was derived from the name given to the satyrs in Greek mythology who were known for their raucousness - a trait that this species definitely has.


Then we had the all-black Smooth-billed Ani. "Ani" was adapted from the Tupi (an ethnic tribe in the Amazon) which means "social" - an apt description for the habits of this bird.


At El Mirador, we were welcomed by Patricio, the owner, who is a bird lover himself. Beside the dining place were feeders where tanagers and hummingbirds were plentiful. After lunch we birded the surrounding area and got the female Red-headed Barbet.


Although not a lifer, the Lineated Woodpecker gave us good views.


The star of El Mirador was the very active Bananaquit.


Before we left we were honored to have met Hal & Pat Michael who were members of a foundation responsible for the conservation of birds in Ecuador.

Then it was a long drive to the city of Quito. Again we thanked Luis for being such a great bird spotter. Tomorrow we will see him again when he will take us back to Puembo where we will be staying for our last two days in Ecuador.

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