Pululuhua Crater: July 1, 2008

Pululuhua Crater isn't a typical stop on the western slope birding circuit, but it's a spectacular place located just an hour away from Quito. The crater is several kilometers in diameter with an impressive resurgent cone rising from the crater floor, which is inhabited and heavily cultivated. The steep crater walls are draped in resurgent native vegetation, including chusquea bamboo, which is home to a variety of skulking birds.

We visited early in the morning in search of tapaculos and antpittas. Despite draining the battery on my iPod, I only managed to see a group of Unicolored Tapaculos, narrowly avoiding being skunked by my target birds. Chestnut-Crowned Antpittas were calling throughout the morning but never close enough to be lured in and observed. The only other skulking species I had good views of was the Plain-Tailed Wren, which responded nicely to playback. There were plenty of other nice birds in the area, but nothing I hadn't already observed at Yanacocha and elsewhere in the highlands.

Notable birds seen: Scarlet-Bellied Mountain Tanager, Andean Guan, Unicolored Tapaculo, Plain-Tailed Wren, Glossy-Black Thrush, Black-Tailed Trainbearer, Sparkling Violetear, Band-Tailed Pigeon, Rufuous-Naped Brush Finch.

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