Nature Reserve & Biological Station

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Christmas Bird Counts 2013

It is already a few weeks ago, but still I wanted to give you a summary on our CBC counts in December 2013.

First of all we started with the CBC in Mindo. Mindo is the oldest CBC circle in Ecuador and it’s always a pleasure to participate. As we went there with 9 students, interns and volunteers from the station we had to split into different groups. Some of us went into the Cinto valley where they had an incredible day with 133 species and some nice finds like White-fronted Tyrannulet, for example.

I went with a group of students to Septimo Paraiso reserve where we started off with a nice morning, but fairly dense vegetation. So we heard a lot of species, but unfortunately the students didn’t see too many. And later the clouds and drizzle made it difficult for good observations. In the end of the day we had 79 species. The highlight of the day was probably the sighting of two small armadillos that were foraging along the road side, followed by us for about ten minutes until they took off into the understory. And just five minutes later we found a group of six noisy Crested Guans!

The weekend after, we had an adventurous ride with 9 people in our pick-up-truck to go to the CBC in Cosanga. Cosanga has become the number one circle in terms of bird species diversity, so there is plenty to see. Again our groups split. While our group did an unpleasant route along the roadside with a lot of rain and fog, the other group went with a different guide into the woods. Most of them weren’t very happy either coming back covered in mud and soaking wet from the rain, but still everybody had enjoyed the experience and especially the colorful tanagers on the eastern slope. At night some of us went to a small CBC party in town and enjoyed dancing with the locals.

After X-mas we participated in the Los Bancos-Milpe CBC circle which is a new circle that only started in 2012. The nicest thing about that circle is that it includes our nature reserve, so we can participate counting the birds in our backyard! I organized four different routes in the reserve, on the Las Tolas road and on neighboring properties and invited a few friends from Mindo to help us.

A day before the bird count we measured the routes on the neighboring properties and all were pretty excited to stumple over an army ants swarm. We were thrilled by the idea that the Banded Ground-Cuckoo could be around! So at night when our fiends from Mindo had arrived, some started preparing sandwiches for the next day and others went to track the army ants with the hopes to find the Banded Ground-Cuckoo on the next morning.Despite a lot of bird activity around the ant swarm, unfortunately the Banded Ground-Cuckoo was only heard the next morning.

But all in all we had a pretty good birding day and counted 189 different bird species on the four routes. And we even could register five new species, two of them were found in the reserve (Bronze-olive Pygmy Tyrant and Torrent Tyrannulet). The highlight definitely was a male Black-tipped Cotinga on our neighbor’s land which was spotted by Wilo’s cousin through the scope. And of course, three Long-wattled Umbrellabirds which were seen on our neighbor Luis’ farm.

More information on the CBC counts and results on Audubon.org!

This blog post was written by Nicole

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