Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Friday 1 April 2022

Ecuador – Recinto de 23 Junio

16 March 2022

After leaving Angel Paz, I made my way westwards towards Milpe and to the town of Los Bancos. Here, I descended down to the river and as I had much spare time, I worked the tracks both up and downstream to find as many low altitude species as possible. 

I was surprised by how many birds I found and this turned out to be a worthwhile couple of hours. Sadly no Torrent Ducks along the river, but the likes of Tyrant Tyrannulet, Black-winged Saltator, Western Wood Pewees, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker and Pale-legged Hornero made up for it. 

I then drove the bumpy track to Recinto de 23 Junio, or otherwise known as, the place to see Long-wattled Umbrellabird! I had made contact with Luis (the only guide in the tiny village) the day before by using Spanish translate and hoping he had availability, both successful and the realisation of seeing an umbrellabird had increased dramatically. The bumpy road meant slow progress, but this meant plenty of birding and I was pleased to find Chestnut-collared Swift, Choco Toucan, Bronze-winged Parrot, Slaty Spinetail and Band-backed Wren.

I eventually arrived in the village but with no clue as to where to go, so it was a good job a young lady came out and greeted me. It's fair to say, conversation was limited to awkward laughs and much pointing, but it was fine. Unfortunately, despite wanting to bird, a huge storm came in and it was straight away game over, so I out my feet up and read my book with the background noise of torrential rainfall on the metal roof!

Luis later joined me for more non-conversation and a lovely dinner was had, before settling to bed and praying tomorrow went well.

17th March 2022

Up nice and early, the night before Luis told me I was to drive to the high point, which was slightly annoying as he's the guide. Another thing he failed to mention were the two streams I had to drive through! The first I actually got stuck and thankfully the reverse worked allowing me to tentatively try again. The second stream was fine, but after this and the uphill struggle, once parked up, the car was smoking well and truly! A couple of Pauraque on the way up were in no way compensation.

A sweaty uphill walk had us at the viewpoint. Bless Luis, he wasn't an amazing guide and it turned out I found all of the birds. Whilst he walked off, some movement in the tree in front soon had me looking at the mind-boggling Yellow-collared Chlorophonia... what a bird and initial thoughts had me thinking Pygmy-Parrot! This was completely unexpected and lots of other goodies were arriving (Rufous-throated and Bay-headed Tanagers), that was until my main quarry, as three Long-wattled Umbrellabirds flew past and landed out of sight. I called Luis over (how did he miss them) and we went in hot pursuit under the canopy. Views remained brief but after maybe an hour of trapesing through, a young male showed well... just a shame it wasn't an adult male! 

On the return, I spotted some tanagers at the top of a leafless tree, and one caught my eye hiding behind a Golden Tanager, which revealed itself to be a Moss-backed Tanager

A tiny breakfast, again at the viewpoint, was nice, watching displaying Roadside Hawks and a fly-past of Maroon-tailed Parakeets, while the hummingbird feeders attracted Velvet-purple Coronets and other commoner species. It had been a good morning, but the drive down it got a little better. Whilst crawling along, out in front ran a crake. Epic scenes and poor Luis thought it was an antpitta, but soon a pair emerged from the long grass and were Rufous-sided Crakes (typical I thought as I had seen one in Argentina). They were very nosy and showed brilliantly, just a shame the camera was in the boot but what a treat to see this seldom-seen species.

So that was it for my time here, or so I thought. This annoyingly turned out to be my first of three visits to the village as my number plate had fallen off halfway up the hill and past the two streams. I had noticed this earlier and kept an eye out for it on the descent, but with no sign I wasn't too fussed and carried on back to Los Bancos. That was until two young lads on mopeds stopped and pointed back up the hill for the number plate. To cut a long story short, a return up the hill and through the two streams failed to find it, so I gave up and returned to Los Bancos. Along the return journey, I found Dusky Pigeon, One-colored Becard, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Buff-throated Saltator and a superb Glistening-green Tanager

The visit to Recinto had been very much worth it and a complete fluke that there was availability at such short notice. I continued to Los Bancos and my final few days was spent birding at Milpe Bird Sanctuary, which will be the final blog post of my time in Ecuador. (I made a return visit to Recinto the following day as my number plate had been handed in to Luis, so this was my third visit but thankfully meant I didn't need to go through those dreaded streams again).

Masked Water Tyrant

Western Wood Pewee

Spotted Sandpiper

Band-backed Wren

Long-wattled Umbrellabird

Moss-backed Tanager

One-colored Becard

Ornate Flycatcher

Rio Blanco

Recinto de 23 Junio

Umbrellabird location

The smaller of the two streams!!

A shy Rufous-sided Crake

My accommodation at Recinto