After the recount in Chical we stayed for a night in Chilma Bajo and were able to go to a lek of the Red-ruffed Fruit Crow in the forest nearby. It can be difficult to see this species, and although we spent 2 hours searching in the afternoon, it wasn’t until early the next morning when we went back that we finally saw them. In Chilma Bajo we also saw a Bare-faced Ibis, which is a really unusual species to see in this area.
We traveled to Mindo to be part of that count as well. We took a longer route between Chical and Mindo to drive through the paramo, a beautiful ecosystem at a high elevation in the mountains which is covered by “frailejones”, a really rare plant of the sunflower family. After spending many days in forests, it was incredible to see a vast landscape with only low-growing succulent plants. We also saw a herd of alpacas, and stopped at lower elevations to see a Scarlet-bellied Tanager and a Crimson-mantled Woodpecker.
We arrived in Mindo in the evening, and an organizational meeting was happening in a stadium to prepare people for the next day. Lots of people showed up, even from villages further away to get registered for the count. People divided up into 40 groups, all taking different routes the next day. As the routes were in a variety of habitats and at different elevations, different species were expected. After getting cool T-Shirts and eating amazing pizza we all went to bed early to be ready for the next day.