Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ecuador - Heaven on Earth Part 3 - The Hummingbirds!

Although I loved every aspect of our trip this past May to Ecuador, my favorite part had to be the hummingbirds - especially in Tandayapa. We stayed at the San Jorge Eco Lodge in Tandayapa. The lodge itself is not along any road so there is a good hike to get there. Actually, I am not sure how far the lodge is from the road but it felt like we walked forever. The hike was beautiful but extremely exhausting since it was entirely up hill in the cloud forest. Just as we were finishing our last stretch to the lodge and I was about to proclaim that I regretted the trip (based entirely off of me being out of shape) we rounded the corner to see several rows of hummingbird feeders with traffic that could only be compared to the busiest subway station on earth. Their were hummingbirds of all types flying in from all directions. All of my exhaustion instantly drifted away and I was instantly in love with this lodge! We saw more than 20 species of hummingbirds during our trip! Most of these are from Tandayapa, a few are from a lower elevation in Milpe.
Andean Emerald
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Violet-tailed Sylph

Purple-bibbed Whitetip

Purple-throated Woodstar (F)... My favorite picture of the whole trip.

Purple-throated Woodstar (M)

Green-crowned Brilliant

Fawn-breasted Brilliant

Booted Racket-tail

Black-tailed Trainbearer... we found this one in the city of Quito.

Western Emerald

Friday, June 19, 2009

Roseate Spoonbill in Indiana! Goose Pond FWA

On 6/14/09, my family and I took a trip to Goose Pond FWA in Linton, IN in search of a very popular guest to our state. A Roseate Spoonbill arrived her a couple of weeks ago and has been hanging around every since amongst a flock of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. We, like many others this day were very fortunate to spot the bird in our first few minutes of looking. The Spoonbill was within viewing distance just off the highway.

Roseate Spoonbill, Goose Pond FWA... Can you see it? This amazing bird is right in the middle of the Great Egrets. Can you see where it gets its name? Not the best picture but for it being so far out and using digital zoom, I am OK with it.

Young Birders.... not only was I excited to see the Spoonbill - my kids were also. Isn't this so cute? You can also see the line of birders in the distance that travelled to see this bird just like us.
The real fun begins... Before this trip I stopped at Walmart to buy my kids some new nets. They paid for themselves in about the first 5 minutes. They caught everything that moved and had a blast! I am so happy they love nature like their dad.
Eastern Meadowlark... not the best picture but this bird was so beautiful through the scope and was singing its heart out... it deserves to be posted.

Pond Slider... I think. I found this turtle while looking for my field guide I lost last week. Here I was showing it to my kids that were the audience in the van. I never did find my field guide.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grasshopper Sparrow makes #400! 3 Lifers Today!

Dickcissel... Goose Pond FWA. 1 of 3 Lifers today!

My son and I took off this morning for an 1 1/2 trip to Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Southern Indiana in search of a few recently reported birds - Glossy Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, and Blue Grosbeak. We got 1 our of 3. Fortunately, we were able to get the Black-necked Stilt the instant we arrived to the property. We were also delighted to see a large number of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons.

Despite not seeing all of what we set out to see, we did have a great day that included 3 lifers for me! In addition to the Black-necked Stilt, I also added Dickcissel and Grasshopper Sparrow to my Lifelist! To top off a day of 3 lifers, the Grasshopper Sparrow made #400!

Black-necked Stilt... Goose Pond FWA, Indiana. Not a good picture, I know, I know... but not bad using a 2 mega pixel digital camera through a scope!

Indigo Bunting... Goose Pond FWA. One of these days I will get a good picture, I will. I love these birds.

Monarch? Guess again, this is a Viceroy!... Goose Pond FWA.

Great Egrets, 1 Great Blue Heron... Goose Pond FWA. I am not for sure how many Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons I saw today in total by I know the number was up there. Very picturesque.

Dickcissel... Goose Pond FWA
Catfish... Goose Pond FWA. My son had some good luck today too! He specifically wanted to find some baby Catfish today - later he found a 4-leaf clover and after lunch BAM, there they were - by the thousands! He caught and released a few with his hands.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ecuador - Heaven on Earth! Part 2

One of the many highlights of our recent trip to Ecuador was the Tanagers. Each species provides more excitement than the previous. We saw Tanagers throughout the trip but they were most plentiful at the San Jorge Tandayapa Lodge in the Cloud Forest. Just about any direction you looked you saw Tanagers - blue, yellow, green, red, everywhere! The lodge provided Bananas throughout the day for the Tanagers - they love Banana seeds. We saw 23 Tanagers species during our trip and unfortunately, like so many pictures I took, most of my Tanagers did not take well. Nonetheless, here are a few of the better pictures.
Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager.... Quito. This was the last species of our trip, the day we were leaving. We actually saw several of these as we were hiking high up a hill. This is the best picture I could get but even behind the twigs it's still striking!
Blue-grey Tanager... Tandayapa. These two are working their way down to the Banana feeders that are refilled throughout the day.

Black-capped Tanagers... Tandayapa. In this picture there were about 5 that were in the tree at one time.

Metallic Green Tanager... Tandayapa. Another striking bird, especially in the sunlight where you can instantly see where it got its name!

Golden Tanager... Tandayapa. One of the more common Tanagers during our trip! Gorgeous!

Blue and Yellow Tanager... One of our first birds on the trip - possibly the first Tanager, in Quito.

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager... Tandayapa. This was very common Tanager in the area. Here it is eating the seeds out of a Banana. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to have Tanagers at your backyard feeders?

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal