Papallacta Pass: May 9, 2009

Exhausted, overworked, and probably a little hungover from the Lakers' big victory last night, I made a Saturday morning run out to Papallacta Pass, counting on a continuation of this week's gorgeous sunny weather. Hay que aprovechar, as they say here in Ecuador. Ironically, the 4000m site was enshrouded in dense fog, and it was snowing intermittently, falling in fat, heavy flakes for a few minutes. The birds that live at this altitude are accustomed to poor weather, though, and various furnariids were out and about despite the wind and cold. Watching from the shelter of my car, I spotted the Many-Striped Canastero, Ecuadorian Hillstar, and Tawny Antpitta among others, but the bird of the visit was undoubtedly the scarce Red-Rumped Bush-Tyrant, who was perched jauntily on an Achupalla, a spiny bromeliad that grows in the paramo.

Notable birds seen: Carunculated Caracara, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Many-Striped Canastero, Stout-Billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, White-Throated Tyrannulet, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Red-Rumped Bush-Tyrant, Brown-Backed Chat-Tyrant, Grass Wren, Cinereous Conebill.

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