We set out this morning to visit Tandayapa and the famous location where Angel Paz and his brother Rodrigo maintain the Paz de las Aves Reserve. We rose before sunup, as we had to make it to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek by sunrise if we wanted to witness males displaying to the ladies.
Angel met us and took us to the lek, where we were serenaded by the calls of many male birds. I did not personally see one female, but they had to be around, as the males were going crazy. At one point, five male birds were perched in a lineup across the lek, all of them displaying. I made a quick recording of the chorus and I must remember to play it whenever I think my parrot is making a lot of noise!
One of Angel Paz' "claim-to-fame" is that he has been able to coax rare and hard to find birds out into the open to be fed by him. Here are two more examples of what jokingly became known on the trip as "NHB's" or "Non-hummingbirds" that I had to "tolerate" before getting to the hummingbird feeders: the Dark-backed Wood Quail and the Giant Antpitta.
ANGEL PAZ FEEDING THE GIANT ANTPITTA FOR OUR GROUP
The rest of the group went off with Angel to call out some more species of Antpittas, but they first dropped me off at the house. Angel's wife made me a cup of the best coffee I've had in Ecuador so far and I got to work at the hummingbird feeders.
Many species of hummers visit here, including the Violet-tailed Sylph, White Booted Racket-tail, Buff-tailed Coronet, Fawn-breasted Brilliant and more, all of which I have photographed before. New ones here for me were the male Purple-bibbed Whitetip, a female Empress Brilliant and the Brown Inca.
Once the rest of the group returned, we sat down to a lunch of Bolón de Verde and empanadas and watched the many birds that came right up to the railing. I couldn't resist taking a picture of another NHB: a tanager trying to make off with a whole banana!
After lunch we left Angel's house and made our way to the Birdwatcher's House in Santa Rosa de Mindo. We drove down a long cobblestone road known as the "Paseo del Quinde" (Quinde is hummingbird in the Quechua language). The property is owned by Vinicio Pérez, a birding guide with 35 years of experience. Vinicio owns and runs the Birdwatcher's house, which has food and lodging and is set up for both birders and photographers. He even has a farm for cultivating edible mushrooms on the premises.
The property boasts two bird blinds and a spectacular hummingbird garden which attracts as many as 37 different species of hummingbirds throughout the year. Vinicio has layered the plants in the garden, which makes for beautiful hummingbird photography at both the feeders and flowers. The shy Hoary Puffleg rarely comes to feeders, but one has been visiting here regularly to the delight of birders.
Carole with Vinicio Pérez
Getting to photograph the Hoary Puffleg made my day! The male Empress Brilliant, Gorgeted Sunangel and many others also came to pose for us.