Yanacocha Reserve: June 5, 2010

In my last weekend in Ecuador with my own transport, I chose to visit Yanacocha Reserve one last time in search of the Black-Breasted Puffleg, perhaps the rarest hummingbird in the world. Although this country endemic is supposed to be present at the reserve during the months of May through July, it hasn't been observed yet this year, nor did Aimee and I find it on Saturday morning. We found very little in fact, as intense sun and high winds buffeted the elfin forest, driving birds into the understory. After spending an hour fruitlessly waiting at the hummingbird feeders, we decided to head down slope along the old Nono-Mindo Road. (The Giant Conebill pictured here is on the bird list for the reserve, although I've never seen it at this site myself.)

Notable birds seen: Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle, Golden-Breasted Puffleg, Purple-Mantled Thornbill, Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-Billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, Pearled Treerunner, White-Throated Tyrannulet, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Scarlet-Bellied Mountain-Tanager.


Renato said...

I went to Yanacocha on Sunday and had a great day. Look at the pictures in my blog for the black-and-chestnut eagle, Andean condor, purple-backed Thornbill (first time for me. Where did you take that great picture of the Gian-conebill?

Derek Kverno said...

Great photos, Renato! That looks like a dark-morph Variable Hawk to me, though. I've experienced the same confusion myself, especially with birds soaring high above.

That Giant Conebill photo comes from the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, but you should be able to find it in the polylepis forest below Papallacta Pass. Park at the old guard house just as you start descending the eastern slope, cross the road, and search in the forest along the trail that leads up and over the ridge to the large lake. Listen for a quiet scratching sound as the birds pick through the bark of the trees.

Thanks again for your comments!

Renato said...

Crap, I guess you are right! I had not sees a dark-morph variable hawk before. I saw the dark band on the tail and could not think of another bird; I must have wanted it too be an eagle!

I will change the ID on my blog. Thanks for looking at it.

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