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West Slope Diary
6 - 10 October 2001
5. Common birds
what are the common birds that you are likely to see at Tandayapa?
This is something we have never found to be easy to sort out on
trip lists. People seem to focus on the rarities! Mind you, no birds
were "common" as we understand in England. There were
no birds as plentiful as House Sparrows and Starlings, for example,
are in many parts of the UK.
birds at the "Deck" feeding station:
Emerald - a cocky, white-fronted hummer
Woodstar - very, very small, buzzes like a bee
Violet-ear - big, macho hummer, defends feeders, drives away
Inca - there was a very pale-brown bird whilst we were there,
as well as a normally-coloured darker bird. This is a Choco endemic.
Inca - very smart black-and-white hummer, wearing a DJ!
Racket-tail - male has longish tail streamers. Both sexes
have little white puff balls just above their feet.
Sylph - with a gorgeous long purplish streaming tail. We also
saw this species from our hotel balcony in Quito. Another Choco
Flower-piercer - not a hummer, but the male came regularly
to the feeders. The female just hung around in the nearby bushes.
Brush-finch - not on the feeders, but in the bushes next to
actually saw 16 species of humming bird on the feeders, plus another
3 species out on the trails - mainly Tawny-bellied Hermit,
but we did have single sightings of Wedge-billed Hummingbird
and White-bellied Woodstar - both on the old road to Nono,
quite close to the lodge.
birds we regularly saw or heard on the trails included:
Flycatcher - not very conspicuous, but its call is very clear
and distinctive once you get to know it.
Warbler - again, hard to see, but with a distinctive song.
Solitaire - this bird's very clear and unusual song is heard
all over the valley. It usually sings from near the top of the
canopy, but well hidden. We glimpsed one only once.
Seedeater - these are plentiful in the grassy area close to
the lodge on the path up to the Potoo Trail. We also found them
in the grass around the car park.
Swift - we saw these regularly, with one flock of about 50
Swift - these were regular around the Lodge, sometimes in
the company of the much larger White-collared Swift.
Parrot - often heard and seen flying around in small flocks
of 10 to 20 birds. We witnessed an amazing fight in Tandayapa
Village between a tame Red-billed Parrot and a domestic hen, trying
to defend her chicks from the parrot!
Spinetail - another very distinctive call of short, rapid
notes. We saw birds on 2 occasions, and heard one on a third day.
Tapaculo - hard to see (we had good views of one of these
small dark birds), but there calls were frequently heard.
Swallow - the only swallow species we saw - and that was every
Sparrow - not numerous, but very wide-spread. We saw them
all over Ecuador, except in the Amazon basin.