Ecuador 2011
February 10 - Cajanuma Sector, Podocarpus National Park and Tapicahlaca Lodge
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Bird List
Apart from Galapagos National Park, Podocarpus is possibly Ecuador's most prized national park. Arguably, it holds the highest plant and bird diversity of any protected area in the world. Located in the far south of Ecuador on the eastern slope of the Andes, the park preserves a wide swath of terrain, starting in montane forest on the western side of the continental divide, going up into paramo, and then plummeting way down towards the Amazon Basin, the Oriente. The rugged terrain and widely variable weather have created a dozens, perhaps hundreds, of isolated microclimates, each allowing evolution to take a slightly independent course over the millennia. The number of birds species in this small area is staggering.

Podocarpus is accessible from several points. We started with the Cajanuma Sector. This part of Podocarpus is home to 5 threatened, 9 near-threatened and 9 restricted-range species including Bearded Guan, Red-faced Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Rainbow Starfrontlet, Purple-throated Sunangel, Orange-banded Flycatcher, Masked Mountain-Tanager and Chestnut-bellied Cotinga, which was first seen here.

One of our rainier days, which meant the camera stayed in the bus more than usual. The rain cover works very well when the camera is on the tripod; handheld, not so much.

From there, we drove to Tapiachalaca Lodge for the evening, quite high and positioned for the Jocotoco Antpitta tomorrow morning.

Click on a photo to see a larger version

Amethyst-throated Sunangel

Long-tailed Sylph

Slaty Finch

A Thousand Shades of Green

Swallow-Tail Kite
(Ron Teel Photo)

Hunting Tapaculos

Following the Green Dot

Chestnut-breasted Coronet

White-necked Jacobin
(Ron Teel Photo)

All photos and text © 2011 Jim & Nancy DeWitt / Frozen Feather Images