Ecuador: Tinalandia Pre-trip Nov 07—12, 2017
Posted by Paul Greenfield
Our Tinalandia Pre-trip began with a twist; Ecuador’s classic pioneer birding hot-spot was unable to accommodate our group, or any group for that matter. Sadly, it will be closing its doors to avitourism, after well over 50 years, due mainly to collateral damage it endured during a recent earthquake that shook Ecuador’s northern coast…indeed, this is a sad day for this country’s rich birding history. Accordingly, we made Plan-B arrangements to stay at nearby Hostería Samawa and followed our otherwise original itinerary. As in the past, this pre-trip highlights altitudinal zones that the main Northwestern Andean Slopes Tour does not visit and offers a pleasant opportunity to prepare for that adventure, while at the same time allowing us the chance to see species that are more difficult or impossible to encounter on that excursion.
We initiated our journey southwestward out of Quito along the ‘old’ Chiriboga Road—another Ecuador classic—winding our way downslope from about 10,000 ft. in altitude to around 2,400, through temperate, subtropical, and foothill zone habitats before hitting the paved highway to our destination. We started with a scrumptious field breakfast at the road’s summit, and then began our descent, birding all the way. As we explored the upper temperate zone, although sunny, we encountered some specialties. We began with a few Tyrian Metaltails, Glossy and Black flowerpiercers, a Collared Inca, Streak-throated Flycatcher, a charming Spectacled Whitestart, a stunning pair of Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers, a Red-crested Cotinga, a male Lesser Goldfinch, and a large band of Hooded Siskins. As we dropped down to the subtropical and foothill zones, we enjoyed a male Masked Trogon, a cuddling pair of Crimson-rumped Toucanets, a Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan threesome, a pair of Pale-mandibled Araçaris, at least 2 Yellow-throated Toucans, a beautiful Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, a pair of foraging Guayaquil Woodpeckers, 5 up-close and personal Montane Woodcreepers, a Pacific Hornero duo, a pair of White-capped Dippers, a male Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, 8 or so Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, a really close Blue-capped Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager (in amazing sunlight!), a breathtaking Flame-faced Tanager, Golden Tanagers (need I say more), and a very obliging Yellow-tailed Oriole.
Read Paul’s full report in his Field Report.