On our last day of birding out of Sachatamia Lodge, our first destination was a very early morning visit to the Cock of the Rock lek, at the extraordinary Refugio Paz de las Aves, created by Angel Paz and his family. We met Angel beside the road, and were led a short ways downhill to the blind. And there they were – these crazy-looking birds!
We then continued to the Refuge’s main site, from where we followed a path downhill to the Antpitta “pit”. This was one of a number of feeding sites where the Paz family had succeeded in training Antpittas to respond to a whistled signal, for a reward of worms. Particular birds had been named, e.g. Maria, Susanita, Shakira.
The first bird to show was the Great Antpitta.
Why are these birds called Antpittas? Do they eat ants? Edwin said no, they don’t. Rather, they follow ant swarms to catch the critters that are flushed-out by the ants. The next bird to appear was the Moustached Antpitta.
Other sites were close by, producing 5 species of Antpittas in all.
The Chestnut-crowned Antpitta was my favorite.
How can you top the Cocks of the Rock, followed by the Antpittas? This is how:
The Toucanets were followed by the Toucan Barbets.
The price of admission to Paz de las Aves (paid by Road Scholar) included a breakfast of local foods served to us at tables placed close to the banana feeding station. Guess what that included? That’s right – coffee! Boy, were we getting spoiled.
As was the case at the Mirador Rio Blanco, Edwin had to tear us away from this extraordinary place, but not before we bought caps and/or painted Antpitta carvings and/or illustrated buffs and/or illustrated cups.
We returned to Sachatamia, had lunch, packed our bags, and spent some final minutes at the feeders.
We left Sachatamia Lodge (thanks!), and made one more stop before driving east and out of the Mindo cloud forest. That was at the Alambi Bird Garden, which we had passed when we first arrived into the Mindo area. It’s located alongside the Rio Alambi at Tandayapa, at the junction of the Ecoroute and the main highway.
Another day of spectacular birds!
Here is a video of the feeders at Alambi.
We crossed the Equator (“Mitad del Mundo”) on the return to the Quito area, at the town of Calacali. Cloud-shrouded and at an elevation of 9940′, it was chilly there. We continued to the south of Quito, to the Hacienda La Carriona, in the Chillos Valley, where we would spend the night. Suffice it to say, it was quite a place. We would leave from there the next morning for the paramo (high-altitude tundra) and Volcan Antisana.
Link to Day #6: