Cayambe-Coca Reserve: November 8, 2009

On this fine Sunday morning I was back behind the Termas de Papallacta yet again in search of the Crescent-Faced Antpitta. With good sound recordings and detailed directions on the exact site where this highly-localized bird was recently found, there was little left but luck needed to finally see this beautiful, diminutive antpitta. Fortunately, Ecuador came through with a few extra obstacles, as I wasn't allowed to drive on the entrance road to the reserve and forced to walk 5km to the site. When I arrived exhausted and expectant, a large birding group was working the road while a mixed flock hung around the area for what seemed like an hour. Finally, it was my turn to work the site, and I first climbed deep within the elfin forest to have a better chance of seeing the bird if it responded to playback. Fifteen minutes later I had two gorgeous Crescent-Faced Antpittas in the tree overhead, their bold streaking and facial patterns simply breathtaking in the low light.

Notable birds seen: Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle, Crescent-Faced Antpitta, Black-Chested Mountain Tanager.

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