WEST SLOPE TOUR WITH BILL SUGG 4-12 JULY 2009
Charlie led Bill to Antisana and then on our 8 day West Slope tour and recorded a total of 344 species with 328 seen. At Antisana we had a Cinereous Harrier show nicely as well as a small flock of Black-faced Ibis along with the usual paramo specialties including Streak-backed and Many-striped Canastero.
We started with a bang at Yanacocha with long, lingering views of the male Black-breasted Puffleg on the feeders by the tunnel, a bird I havenít seen for a few years. My previous experience with the species was having fleeting views as it came briefly to feeders and zipping off. Tropical Mockingbird at Caspigasi before Calacali was a new locality for me for the species.
Scaly-naped Amazons were active around Bellavista and were seen on both days. All the large carismatics performed beautifully around the lodge including, Sickle-winged Guan, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan and Turquoise Jay. A female Powerful Woodpecker worked a snag near Tandayapa Pass and we had gripping views of the Ocellated Tapaculo as it came out and sauntered off down the trail. Three Black-chinned Mountain-Tanagers came to feed at Mindo Loma amidst the hummer flurry including Velvet-purple and Buff-tailed Coronet, as well as Violet-tailed Sylph, Empress and Fawn-breasted Brilliant.
Club-winged Manakins lekked wonderfully at the Mindo Cloud Forest site on Milpe road but the specialties including Moss-backed Tanager and Glistening-green Tanager have gone AWOL the past couple of years. Rio Palenque was very quiet in the understory but we managed to tease out Chestnut-backed Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren and almost saw Black-headed Antthrush. I had my first Rio Palenque sighting of Pied Plover, a rarity here along the river. Barred Puffbird and Lanceolated Monklet were great finds along the trail.
Our last morning at Silanche tower started slow but later was pumping with birds; Cinnamon Woodpecker perched indefinitely on a palm spike while flocks of Gray-and-gold, Scarlet-browed, Bay-headed Tanagers as well as a fleeting Blue-whiskered Tanager graced us. White-necked Puffbird, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Purple-throated Fruitcrow and a Rose-faced Parrot and Red-lored Amazon flyby kept us rapt. That afternoon was the grand finale at the new Mashpi site described below in another news flash, bagging us the impossible Indigo Flowerpiercer along with Moss-backed Tanager, White-tailed Hillstar and Orange-breasted Fruiteater.
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