Ecuador Birds 2012

After the trip in 2011 to northwestern Ecuador in search of hummingbirds I decided to return in Feb 2012 and go over the top of the peaks to the east side. Bo Verser came with me and see the images and narrative in the essay here. The Andes tend to divide all birds into left and right of the highest peaks. Some hummers appear on both sides. Some prefer one altitude level on one side or the other. It makes for interesting travel.

And anyone who agrees with the statement that camera equipment is so good now that if you spend enough money anyone can take good shots, should spend a few hours trying to shoot the fast moving hummingbirds around a feeder array. As always, focus and light, angles and vegetation, the moment flashing past, it all tries to elude you. So close, so close.

This fine red breasted thing is the Chestnut-breasted Coronet. It is in the Boissoneaua genus and B. matthewsii specifically. It is an east slope bird only in the northern part of Ecuador. It occurs on both sides in the south and straggles mostly down the east side in Peru. Like several in this genus it does the wing lift after touching down and then claps them shut. Very difficult to catch on camera. These are large and dominant around the feeders, especially at Guango. This one is perched at San Isidro in the sunshine.

Though I tried mightily to catch the wing up moment after landing I never intentionally caught it. This shot was taken to check my light and settings and while I was adjusting and then hitting the button this CBC landed and got the position. It is the same bird above taken after lock down. A small miracle that I will happily accept. 

The tail flair from Guango in a difficult "almost" shot. Virtually all the undersurface of this hummer is rufous. And that breast is just a luscious rufous tone.

The inquisitive look from what must be a juvenile by the incomplete greening of the face and the smattering of green on the border zone. Excellent dark eye. And I love the green tipped fimbriate edges on the lateral neck.

You can't miss the beak on these. And this is another species that was far more common on the west side in 2011. This is the Fawn-breasted Brilliant again. Heliodoxa rubinoides. The range extends down much of the eastern slope in Ecuador at about the 2000 meter range. See the multiple shots on those 2011 pages. A large and fairly dominant bird in the west it seemed less inclined or outnumbered in the east. Still a fine bird.

Male with that hefty beak that is also in Heliodoxa. This is more of a lowland bird that bangs up against the foothill ranges, occurs down into the 600 meter range in Peru. Sumaco is at about 1500 meters. This is the Black-throated Brilliant, H. schreibersii. Female has a pale moustache and both have a fairly forked tail. This appeared to be a full adult male.

Violet-fronted Brilliant. And what an impressive specimen of one. A male that has not quite greened up fully on the belly and breast. I think he has the full violet cap finished though. The females have much more gray-white on the belly and a small white moustache. 

The bronzing on the head is very nice separating the greens on the cheek from that luscious violet top. More blue in this angle with some blues reflecting from the upper chest. They don't show this stuff in the books.

A younger male from above. Shows the forking of the tail in this species as well and the marked bronzing on the back of the head. Throat and belly almost female colored but missing the facial line.

A less advance younger male as well. Still with the bright cap. Much graying on the belly. Nice posterior eye mark that is common in the genus and distinct in this species as well.

Very violet from this angle on the cap. I seemed to be shooting only the males and this may be the same individual as just above.