Mindo, Ecuador: Refugio Paz de las Aves
Our second day in Ecuador we were inducted into the Ecuadorian world of birding at Refugio Paz de las Aves http://www.refugiopazdelasaves.com. Since we had to be there before dawn, we looked closely for the turnoff from the highway. What a relief to find the little wooden sign! What we didn’t realize was that once on the little muddy track there were options that would lead us on past Angel Paz’s place. We wandered around for an hour and a half seeing no one, just some lonely houses. We had given up and headed back when we were stopped by a friendly couple who led us to the right place (where we had been earlier, but seen no one). Angel showed up and led us running down a path to see the last of the Cock of the Rocks’ performance before they disappeared into the forest for the day.
We were very impressed with Angel Paz and his brother who went out of their way for us. Most people arrive there in a tour with a guide that knows the way. They didn’t dream that we would make a reservation and show up without a guide.
The Cock of the Rock was just the beginning of a “show” that was put on for us and three others, as we saw, very hidden in the forest, María, the Giant Antpitta. Later we got a good look at Shakira, an Ochre-Breasted Antpitta. He was very cute, dancing on a log for us. We also saw a Rufous-Bellied Antthrush, and three Dark-Backed Wood-Quail. While waiting for the Wood-Quail to show up, we got to see a Crimson-Rumped Toucanette and a Sickle-Winged Guan! They came to the banana feeders that were put out.
Next, we got to feast our eyes at the hummingbird feeders. It was really fun to watch the “policeman”, a Velvet-Purple Coronet, that was sitting as guard between two of the feeders. He was busily trying to keep other hummingbirds from enjoying the nectar provided for them. Fortunately, hummingbirds are a determined lot, and they didn’t let him keep them away.
Finally, Mr. Paz led us back to his home where strong coffee with warm milk was waiting for us. We enjoyed “Bolon de Verde” and “empanadas” for a typical Ecuadorian breakfast.
As we drove back to the highway we saw lots more birds, including the Ornate Flycatcher and the Red-Billed Parrot, without the benefit of a guide. No doubt that with a guide to tell us what we were seeing and hearing, we would have doubled our list.
Before leaving the “Refugio”, Angel told us where to find a nightjar. Fortunately, he happened to be coming along the road and led us to it. We would never have found the sleeping Lyre-Tailed Nightjar on our own. We were wowed by it’s long tail feathers! What a privilege to see and experience God’s creation in this way.
All together we saw: Cock of the Rock, Giant Antpitta, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Grey-Breasted Wood-Wren, Golden Tanager, Metalic Green Tanager, Blue-Winged Mountain-Tanager, Beryl-Spangled Tanager, Golden-Naped Tanager, Slate-Throated Whitestart, Crimson-Rumped Toucanette, Dark-Backed Wood-Quail,
Sickle-Winged Guan, Olivacious Piha, Ochre-Breasted Antpitta, Rufous-Breasted Antthrush, Flavescent Flycatcher, Empress Brilliant, Booted Racket-Tail, Andean Emerald, Violet-Tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Buff-Tailed Coronet, Velvet-Purple Coronet, Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird, Fawn-Breasted Brilliant, Purple-Throated Woodstar, Speckled Hummingbird, Purple-Bibbed Whitetip, Rufous-Collared Sparrow, Red-Billed Parrot, Lyre-Tailed Nightjar, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Ornate Flycatcher, Lemon-Rumped Tanager, Tropical Kingbird, White-Winged Brush-Finch
Next blog: Río Silanche and the Yellow House trails