23 de Junio: May 24, 2010

There are thousands of places to observe birds in Ecuador, and new sites are being popularized all the time, such as Mashpi Reserve on the northwestern slope, which quickly became a big hit this year when the Indigo Flowerpiercer and other difficult Choco endermics were found there in mossy forest. 23 de Junio is a small village on the south side of the Rio Blanco, located about forty-five minutes by car from San Miguel de los Bancos. A group of farmers there are giving conservation a shot, protecting swaths of montane forest for avitourism. Most notably there are two Long-Wattled Umbrellabird leks in the area, and Black Solitaire has been seen occasionally feeding on palm fruit. Aimee and I visited the site with our guide Julia Patino on a rainy Sunday morning and saw very little despite waiting at the observation area for three hours. Given it's distant location almost two hours from Mindo, it's hard to say whether this site will catch on with birding groups, but you're welcome to arrange a visit ($15) through Luis Ajila (081030948) to try for one of South America's best birds.

Notable birds seen: Gray-Headed Kite, Yellow-Tufted Dacnis, Guira Tanager.

2 comments:

Renato said...

Derek: 23 de Junio was great for me. We asked Luis Ajila 81030948 to guide us up the mountain where we lots of birds. I would encourage anyone going to just see the Umbrella bird to call Luis first to confirm if the Lek is active. I have bee to Mangaloma many times and never saw the Umbrela bird which you saw. On the other hand I saw five Umbrella birds to 23 on Junio and you saw none. Birding can be very frustating sometimes.

Derek Kverno said...

Right you are, Renato. Birding is hit or miss.

I would have liked to explore 23 de Junio more, but it was raining and we just kept waiting for the umbrellabirds to appear. They say that Black Solitaire can be found occasionally up in the hills above the site.

By the way, Vinicio Perez told me last weekend that he saw the Banded Ground-Cuckoo at an antswarm at Mangaloma a few weeks ago. Talk about frustrating!

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