Blown out from a full morning birding at Paz de las Aves and then a full afternoon driving back to Quito via the old Nono-Mindo road, I was dreading going to work the following day. But Monday morning started out with quite a surprise. Just as I was ready to leave the house for work, I heard a crash and watched a bird fall to the ground outside one of our large windows upstairs. With all of the Blue-and-White Swallows diving around our yard every day, I figured a juvenile was simply getting acquainted with the neighborhood. When I went outside to assess the damage, though, I was shocked to see a stunned Slate-Throated Whitestart lying in the grass with its eyes rolled back in its head.
Granted, this isn't the most spectacular bird to find in your backyard, but it's definitely not a bird of the highlands, as its distribution according to the field guide is foothill and subtropical forest on both slopes, mostly from 800-2400m. While Cumbayá, where I live at 2300m, is still within this range, the area is firmly within the inter-Andean valley and doesn't offer much in the way of woodland. Anyway, vagrant birds aren't all that uncommon, and I hear all the time that birds don't read the field guide, but still it gives me pause when considering what might drive this bird out of its normal habitat and into my window.
After a few minutes, and a few photographs, it flew off from my hand and over the fence to the north, even further into uncharted territory.