Cordillera del Cóndor from Maycu Reserve (Photos by Narca)
Sign designating Maycu Reserve
Maycu Reserve was established in Ecuador to protect the habitat of this very special tanager. (The reserve also protects the watershed and many other species.)
The driver for a birding group has told us exactly where to park and walk. We find a pullout at the top of the hill and walk down the road for about a mile. It is growing dark when I see the tanager briefly, and not far away, although the clouds rolling through the forest obscure the view. Even through the mist, its orange throat glows.
Viewing conditions at dusk in the forest!
We spend the next day and a half birding the thick forest along this short stretch of road, and only see the Orange-throated Tanager after we've given up, and are ready to continue to our next destination. Then a British birding group locates the bird, and calls us back for a superb scope view of this truly beautiful species. Thank you, thank you!
During these two days of scrutinizing a short stretch of quiet road, many other species wow us. Flocks include exquisite Paradise, Turquoise, Blue-necked, Green-and-gold, Yellow-bellied, Swallow-, and Masked tanagers. Ecuador's tanagers are as stunning as its hummingbirds!
A male Swallow-Tanager
A few migrant refugees from the northern winter are also here –– Canada Warblers and an Eastern Wood-Pewee.
Vultures have found something small but apparently yummy by the roadside, giving us a great side-by-side comparison of Greater Yellow-headed and Turkey vultures.
The heads of a Turkey Vulture and its Greater Yellow-headed cousin
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
A female Crimson-crested Woodpecker, through the fog
Flycatchers, like these below, hawk insects.
Ornate Flycatcher, fairly common
A Squirrel Cuckoo is nibbling at a vine entwined around a tree.
A big Squirrel Cuckoo, often skulking but not today!
A female Purplish Jacamar shows a cinnamon throat-crescent...
...while the male Purplish Jacamar sports a white necklace
On the drive out, lots of these orchids and a few introduced ginger plants line the road. The ginger is introduced from Southeast Asia, but does not seem to be the scourge here that it is in Hawaii.
A flowering ginger
This lovely Cattleya orchid is common in southeastern Ecuador.
A heavy downpour has begun, and the drive out becomes rather exciting!
Flood conditions along the road
By the way, Ecuador has been pursuing a major program for improving its highways, so most of the main roads are now in very good shape, away from the construction areas.