The guided hike
Below is a map of the various trails at Bellavista. (Click on the image for a larger version; use the “back” button on your browser to return to this page.) I don’t remember precisely, but I think we walked from the Dome clockwise along north along R, east on the road (the liveliest birding, in part because you could see the birds at the edges of the road), and back to the Dome on W. Or perhaps we went counter-clockwise—I can’t quite remember.
Amateurs that we are, we didn’t struggle to get many photos of the birds we saw on the hike. You can get a sense of the environs from this photo. Challenge enough just to spot a bird nestled in the deep foliage and get my binos on it. Z has always been a terrific spotter of birds; he then directs me to them and I clinch the ID. Well, I learned something important about myself as one half of this normally strong birding duo. When I’m not familiar with the birds and I’m in a heavily vegetated area, all I have is the frustration and stress of trying to find the dang things without the fun of scoring the ID. Ah, well. Good to know, I guess. I should have brushed up my bino skills before venturing into challenging, dense, dark habitats.
Zell was able to get a photo of one hummingbird on the hike: a Buff-tailed Coronet.
Despite my frustrations, we still saw a good number of new birds on our nearly 4-hour hike. Here’s the list, in the order we saw/heard them, with links to good photos on the Internet (still looking for a good White-tailed Tyrannulet photo…).
- Red-billed Parrot—the only member of its genus with a bright red bill
- White-throated Quail-Dove—some consider the Ecuador birds, more dark-headed and -breasted, to be a separate species
- Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan—its series of nasal rising calls and its large size made it easy to spot
- Azara’s Spinetail—named for Felix de Azara, a Spanish military officer, an engineer, and a naturalist (what a combo!)
- Golden Tanager—many were present and their bright yellow coloring made it easy even for me to spot them
- Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager—these beauties were relatively common and relatively easy to spot
- Grass-green Tanager—although this brilliantly colored bird seems easy to spot, it blended in well with the foliage
- Blue-and-black Tanager—the highest-ranging of its genus; tends to lean down over branches to glean insects
- Dusky Bush-Tanager—this genus has very drab members, compared to the other tanagers
- Beryl-spangled Tanager—a brilliantly colored bird, named for the mineral in emeralds and aquamarines
- Plumbeous Pigeon—“plumbeous” refers to its leaden gray color
- Masked Trogon—on the male, you can see the eponymous mask
- Montane Woodcreeper—as woodpeckers do, these birds use their stiff tails as props on a tree trunk as they search for bugs
- White-tailed Tyrannulet—a very small member of the flycatcher family
- Masked Flowerpiercer—these birds cheat the flower’s strategy of trading pollen for nectar by piercing the flower at its base, bypassing the pollen
Continued on p. 3; click below.