Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Birds of Mindo, Ecuador

In Mindo we stayed at a lodge called The Yellow House, which is renowned for its adjoining bird trails. From the balcony of our house I could spot a couple of dozen bird species. When it was not wet enough for the camera to come out, there was excellent lighting to shoot birds and the below shots are the result.

The place had a vast variety of tanagers.

514. Blue-winged Mountain Tanager (Anisognathus somptuosus)

515. Palm Tanager (Thraupus palmarum)

516. Lemon-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus icteronotus)
Here's the more modestly-plumaged female of the species
...and here's the male that answers the question "Why that name?".
517. Bay-headed Tanager (Tangara gylora)
Only managed a record shot of this brilliantly coloured bird, which was feasting on a worm when I photographed it. 
518.  Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)
The curiously named Bananaquit is placed in the Tanager family, but I think that placement is disputed. Until they resolve the classification, here it stays in the thraupidae family. 
519.  Golden Tanager ( Tangara arthus)

520. Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)


521. Golden-naped Tanager ( Tangara ruficervix)
522. White-lined Tanager ( Tachyphonus rufus)
This one's the female
The rest of these birds were higher up in the hills and deeper in the woods.
523. Common Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana)

524. Choco Toucan (Ramphastos brevis)

525. Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)

526. Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis)

527. Red-headed Barbet (Eubucco bourcierii)
Male
Female
528. Grey-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis)

529. Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii)
The iconic Rufous motmot showed up a couple of times when I went for a walk on the trail. Both times I was unprepared with my camera to get a good shot. This is the best I could do. 

530. Zeledon's Antbird (Hafferia zeledoni)
531. Olivaceous Piculet (Picumnus olivaceus)
We were just finishing up breakfast on the balcony and this tiny little woodpecker landed right in front of us, and gave me just enough of an opportunity to click this snap. 

532. Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
This mother and fledgling pair sat on a wire for a good amount of time. The mother would make her sallies in the air and return with a bug each time, and the young one, kept gobbling them up. 
533. Crimson-rumped Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus)

534. Guayaquil Woodpecker (Campephilus gayaquilensis)

535. Thick-billed Euphonia (Euphonia laniirostris)

536. Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris)

537. Blue-and-white Swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca)
538. Orange-billed Euphonia (Arremon aurantiirostris)

Hummingbirds of Mindo

Watching hummingbirds is a breathtaking experience. There are enough clues that they are birds, but so much else of what they do is so completely wacko. They come in psychedelic packaging. They fly backwards, and they can hover in one place. Their acceleration and deceleration are barely within the bounds of physical laws. They flap their wings so fast that all you can see of them are two blurs. And yes, you can hear the humming. All those adaptations are designed to capture the nectar market, but they are so energy intensive that the birds have to go into a state of torpor when they rest. In the remaining time they have to ingest twice their body weight's worth of food.

There can't be too many better place to see hummingbirds than the cloud forests of Mindo. Our lodge had a balcony at canopy level and our host had hung a few feeders out. The birds that came to feed had a convenient (for me) habit of perching back on the exact same twig between sorties to the feeder, making it relatively easy to photograph them. Here are a few I managed to shoot. By the way, what a way to reach 500!

500. Green-crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica fannyi)
501. White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora)
502. Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula)


503. Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae)

-->504. Brown Violet-ear (Colibri delphinae)
505. Green and White Hummingbird (Amazilia viridicauda)
506. Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii)

507. White-bellied Woodstar (Chaetocercus mulsant)
508. Violet-purple Coronet (Boissonneaua jardini)
509. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)
510. Lesser Violetear (Colibri cyanotus)
511. Purple-bibbed Whitetip (Urosticte benjamini)
512. Brown Inca (Coeligena wilsoni)
513. Fawn-breasted Brilliant (Heliodoxa rubinoides)








Saturday, February 24, 2018

Odisha - Feb 2018

On this trip to Odisha we got to visit some under-explored parts of the Chilika lake. While I didn't manage to photograph many, got to view some spectacular flocks of birds.

499. Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)

We are now just one bird away from the 500!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Mumbai - Feb 2018


Mumbai, for me, continues to be one of the most fascinating birding places in the world. You would think that wildlife watching would be hard in one of the most crowded cities in the world, but the fauna here is just as tenacious as the humans. In every corner of Mumbai you find rich ecosystems that defy all logic. Enormous credit should go to institutions that have made this preservation possible. It's not to say that we can take the bounty for granted. The concrete is creeping up on the mangroves and the forests, the industrial grime is taking over the waters, and polythene bags are squatting on every inch of the land. And yet, birds come in their thousands. Here's the pickings from Airoli creek; all members of the Laridae family, coincidentally.
495. Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)


-->496. Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

497. Little Tern (Sternula albifrons)
498. Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei)


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Galibore - Jan 2018

494. Puff-throated Babbler (Pellorneum ruficeps)

...and on this trip I finally got to click a high-quality picture of one of my favourite birds

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Karnala - Dec 2017

492. Crimson-backed Sunbird (Leptocoma minima)

493. Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)