Report 13. Saturday, September 15, 2007. Birding Day 12. Mindo Loma.

Note: Sharon's notes are in {green curly brackets}. Information added to the original reports will be in [red].

Reminder: New life birds for us will be in UPPER CASE. New trip birds, but not life birds will be in Initial Caps. Birds in neither category (we've seen them on the trip already, or just talking about them) will be in lower case.

The alarm, as usual, goes off in the middle of the night.

We have breakfast and learn of an incredible incident last night. Wilson was attacked by a coati mundi. It bit him in the back of the leg, and he had to pull his leg away with great force to shake off the coati. The result was broken skin from multiple bites and slashes from Wilson pulling his leg away. A trip to the local medical facility resulted in 21 stitches.

Shudder.

Last night he had gone to talk to a local guide at a place we intend to go later, to see what kind of birds were going to be there. The story he got, after the attack, was that the coati was a sort of a pet belonging to someone there. They told him it was usually kept in a cage (no answer as to why it wasn't caged last night). It came up behind him while he was about to knock on the door.

Unbelievable.

So he is limping around today, very stiff legged. Wilson will ride in the back seat and Steven will drive. Uh oh.

By 630 am, we're headed again for Mindo Loma. There are still a couple of birds Steven says we can get there if we're lucky.

We are hoping for black-chinned mountain-tanager, I think, but all we get are beautiful blue-winged mountain-tanagers. The violet-tailed sylphs continue to impress us.

I keep trying and trying to get the hummingbirds in the right light to show off their colors, but from this angle, shooting birds straight out from us, they almost always appear to be all black. Then we notice some feeders below us, and the light is just from the right angle. Check out these two birds.

Velvet-purple Coronets

Steven finally gives up on seeing the new tanager, and we take off to visit his friend Tony, where Steve says we will for sure get a couple of lifers.

As we are driving along, Sharon thinks she hears them talking about a flat tire in Spanish. Steven pulls over, we get out, and son-of-a-gun, the right rear tire is flat as a pancake. I never felt anything unusual, but Sharon says she did.

Wilson pulls on a set of coveralls, limp and all, and starts getting out some stuff to change the tire. All of this while a flock is passing over. "Wilson, wait and I'll do that," Steve says, as he starts following the flock. Sharon is upset that Wilson's stitches may pop if he does this work, but Steve just says, "I told him to wait. If he wants to go ahead, that's up to him." Cold and accurate.

So we bird, getting a spectacular male and female white-winged tanager. After the flock passes, we go back and Steven finds that Wilson can't get one of the lug nuts off the wheel. So they finally just stand on the wrench and twist the bolt clean off the wheel. Oops. But that DID clear the way to take off the bad tire and put on the good one.

So the good one goes back on, and all the lug nuts are tightened, except of course the one that is missing. I wonder if we'll drive straight to a service station and repair the damage. "Whose van is this, Wilson's or Juan Carlos'?" I ask Steven. He says it belongs to Juan Carlos.

Suddenly I find that we are back up near Bella Vista. Steve drives over a bump and we rise up a bit from our seat. I am sure that Wilson must have been tossed up a little higher in the back.

I tell Sharon, "Whew. I was worried that Steve was gonna flip Wilson." She looks slyly at me to see if I was aware of the joke I made. We drive on past and then suddenly, Steven pulls over to the side of the road on a wide corner (gravel road), with a sort of ditch dropping down below.

Steve and Magda start walking down towards the ditch, then INTO the ditch. Actually it's more like a passage through thick foliage. We follow them, and a few seconds later I see a house. "Is this Tony's?" I ask Steve. That it is. We hear somebody playing the piano.

We go on down and find a wonderful home and clearing, leveled out of the steep mountainside. We learn that Tony and his father built the entire thing without electricity -- just using hand tools. It's amazing.

A sign near both front and back doors request us to take our shoes off before walking up onto the polished hardwood {Mahogany!} decking.

We also learn that Tony is a bird guide for one of the big birding companies, and often goes to Peru.

He says that we are at 7000 feet of altitude and .004 south of the equator. A GREEN-TAILED TRAINBEARER is in what looks like verbena. There is a modern-toileted outhouse a few feet behind the house, and we all make use of it. Actually there are three doors side by side, under one roof. The toilet is the third door on the left.

A WHITE-SIDED FLOWERPIERCER female is working the flowers in some bushes, and I get some video of her piercing the base of the flowers. She works very quickly, going from one flower to the next.

Suddenly Tony yells, "There's a LITTLE WOODSTAR," and it's the tiniest little hummingbird, with the telltale white spot on its side, that distinguishes the woodstars from other similar birds.

And then Steve says, "And there's a WESTERN EMERALD." What a gorgeous all-green hummingbird. We've had our eye out for this bird for a while.

Tony introduces us to his wife, who is an excellent artist. We buy some post cards with some of her drawings, the proceeds she donates to a charity.

He takes us on a trail on his property hoping to get us another lifer or too. He stops at one point, and points down into a valley. He says to follow the power line, and noticed the little village down below. That village is on the north side of the equator! And we are on the South.

Switching back to birds, then, he describes a common potoo mother and chick which up until yesterday had been sharing a small broken-off tree trunk. She has moved off, and the chick has been using it, solo. They typically tilt their head straight up, then close their eyes tightly, presumably sleeping all day or most of the day.

We stop walking after a bit, and Tony points out the bird to us.

We enjoy the young bird's style, then head back up to the cabin.

As we get up there, we hear a familiar call, and chase down both a gorgeous male and female red-headed barbet, surely one of the best upgrades we've ever had from a previous heard-only bird.

Male Red-headed Barbet.

Awesome. It's just a little after noon.

We stop to eat our boxed lunches leisurely, at a nice vista. I have happy feet.

We now head down the other way (near Bella Vista), and get great thrush and red-mantled woodpecker. Then STREAK-THROATED BUSH-TYRANT on a power pole. It's been rainy for a while, and we were told that on Saturdays, we'd be sharing the roads with the motorcycle riders.

Continuing on, we stop on the road where lots of grass birds are around. We get yellow-bellied seedeater, then BLACK-AND-WHITE SEEDEATER.

I try but fail to get any good photos of a wonderful CRESTED QUETZAL. Steven points out the bird to a small birding group who have stopped their car in the road near us.

As we enjoy the quetzal, we also see sepia-brown wren and a treerunner. It's about 3 pm now. Another flock starts coming through a little later, and capped conebill, white-tailled tyrannulet, beryl-spangled tanager are members.

We finish up our road birding and Steven drives us back to Septimo Paraiso.

We walk one of the trails of the property, and I take a couple of nice shots -- one of our room from the back (Steven and Magda's room is the penthouse), and another of Sharon, looking through a long, natural (natural meaning the workers keep it open) tunnel through the greenery.

Sharon, on one of the Septimo Paraiso trails.

Steven hears a bird, records it and plays it back over and over, and after lots of effort, we get several rather quick views of a NARINO TAPACULO. It is sprinkling and we turn around to head back. I get one more nice shot of the forest with a fog settled in.

Septimo Paraiso Forest

We walk past the swimming pool, with a couple of Jacuzzis attached. The water in one Jacuzzi is cold, the other just slightly warmer. The pool itself is covered with a plastic bubble mat.

We continue on back to the lodge, hearing a couple of golden-headed quetzals talking to each other.

I have a red and Steven has a green laser pointer we use to point out where birds are to those who haven't found it yet. He dials up some hard rock music, and we do a little light show in the growing darkness underneath a covered walkway.

We wind up at the hummingbird feeders, but get no new birds. We really feel like we're winding down now, and we go back to the room. Sharon showers, and we pick up our laundry, which we turned in when we first got here.

We have a quiet dinner, then I upload today's photos and transcribe the day's digital voice recordings.

Tomorrow we are going to bird the place where Wilson was attacked. Hmmmm. I'll just think about that as I drift off to sleep.

 

DAY 12 TOTALS

Trip Birds Seen Today (First Time on the Trip): 8
Total Trip Birds to Date: 381

Life Birds Seen Today: 8
Total Life Birds to Date: 282

Best Birds: Green-tailed Trainbearer, Little Woodstar, Western Emerald, Crested Quetzal.

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