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10 - 12 October
4. The Pasochoa Reserve
visited this montane cloud forest reserve on our way back to Quito,
and spent about 5 hours there. There are good facilities at the
reserve entrance (fee $7 for foreign visitors), and I was pleased
to see educational facilities for local school children. We encountered
Southern Yellow Grosbeak on our way up the rough track to
the reserve buildings, we found Tyrian Metaltail, Sparkling
Violet-ear, Plain-tailed Wren (heard loud and clear),
Plain-coloured Seedeater, Tricoloured Brush-finch
and, of course, Rufous-collared Sparrow! On our return to
the buildings, we also found Black-crested Warbler, and had
a very good view of a Red-crested Cotinga, perched on a dead
tree. We could see its very silvery bill and, when it turned its
head, its red crest on the nape. We later wondered if the Cotinga
family have a preference for dead trees, because later in the Amazon
basin, we also saw both Plum-throated and Spangled Cotingas also
using the tops of dead trees to perch.
on the trails, we soon came to a group of about four Chiguanco
Thrushes, and had our first good views of these paler, smaller
thrushes. Great Thrushes were also around, allowing comparisons
to be made.
birding was fairly steady, with no significant flocks encountered,
apart from a noisy group of both Spectacled and Slate-throated
Whitestarts. We had better views of Brown-backed Chat-tyrant
than we had on the previous day, and a poor view of Rufous-breasted
Chat-tyrant. Other flycatchers that we (think we) identified
were Lesser Elaenia (a very difficult ID - crest raised,
yellowish belly, single 'chirp' call), White-crested Elaenia
(noted the white eye ring), White-banded Tyrannulet and 2
also worked hard to identify 2 Grass Wrens, another difficult
ID, since we could not see the characteristic streaking on the back.
But the call seemed right, as did the habitat - in a grassy clearing
in the forest.
me, the two most striking birds were seen on the way back down.
First, we had really excellent (if a little distant) views of
a pair of Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanagers. They were
flying around a clearing in the forest, and perching out in
the open. Their red and black colours showed up well against
the trees and, when they flew, their blue wing patches and rump
seemed electric in colour (photo above).
then saw close up a Streaked Tuftedcheek, a woodcreeper-like
funariid. We had good views of its pure white cheeks, and the clear
russet-coloured back, as it worked its way along a large branch.
would have been nice to have spent another hour or two in the reserve,
but the excellent meal that we had at the newish La Matilde Restaurant
was some compensation - as were the views of White-bellied Woodstar,
on the hummer feeders outside the restaurant window!