Sunday, 8 December 2019

Pennington Marsh - 7th December

On a lovely sunny and mild December day I spent a short while wandering around Pennington Marsh. There were around 350 Brent Goose feeding on the campsite and some were very close to the southern boundary hedgerow affording good views. The flooded grassland on the marsh off Lower Pennington Lane seemed fairly devoid of birds but there was a flock of around 350 Golden Plover roosting on the grassland, three Water Pipit and two Ruff plus a scattering of Lapwing. I wandered out pass Shoveler Pools to the jetty where I scanned the solent for a while picking up a Great Northern Diver feeding at the Lymington River mouth as well as eight Red-breasted Merganser and six Great Crested Grebe. Wandering out to Fishtail Lagoon there were large numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Pintail mainly sleeping in the sunshine. I had household chores to get done and so had to head back after a brief but pleasant visit to my patch, one that I have neglected a little this year, and with an upcoming business trip/family holiday to the USA and then Christmas this is likely to be my last visit of the year.

My eBird checklist for the morning can be seen here.

Brent Goose (adult) - Pennington Marsh, Hampshire

Brent Goose (juvenile) - Pennington Marsh, Hampshire

Brent Goose (adult with juvenile in background) - Pennington Marsh, Hampshire

Brent Geese - Pennington Marsh, Hampshire

Brent Geese - Pennington Marsh, Hampshire

Ruff - Pennington Marsh

Group of Displaying Mallard - Pennington Marsh

Video of Mallard displaying on Butts Lagoon, I still have not perfected the focus or keeping the camera steady or panning smoothly!

 Wigeon - Pennington Marsh

Dunlin - Pennington Marsh

Wigeon - Pennington Marsh

Wigeon - Pennington Marsh

Wigeon - Pennington Marsh

Wigeon - Pennington Marsh

Wigeon feeding on grassland beside Fishtail Lagoon

Kestrel - Pennington Marsh

Friday, 6 December 2019

Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito (Galapagos and Ecuador) - 27th August (Day 14)

After a good nights sleep in the Wyndham Hotel near to Quito Airport, Sarah, Tobias and I had breakfast at 06:30 and were collected from the hotel by Gabo at 07:15. We drove the one hour (50km) or so from the hotel towards the Antisana Ecological Reserve first stopping at the Condor Restaurant where we scanned the adjacent cliffs, unsuccessfully, for roosting Andean Condor. The garden here has a number of hummingbird feeders and we recorded Shining Sunbeam, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Tyrian Metaltail and singles of Giant Hummingbird and an all to brief Sword-billed Hummingbird. Also present were Black Flowerpiercer and Plain-coloured Seedeater. Heading upwards we stopped at small vegetated gullies containing the flowing shrub Chuquiragua jussieui with its fluffy flower spikes resembling the Proteas of South Africa. This is the favoured food plant of Ecuadorian Hillstar and it was not long before we located a male feeding on the flowers although it never came close to us.

Giant Hummingbird - Condor Restaurant, Antisana, Quito, Ecuador

Shining Sunbeam - Condor Restaurant, Antisana, Quito, Ecuador

Plain-coloured Seedeater - Condor Restaurant, Antisana, Quito, Ecuador

Ecuadorian Hillstar - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Wooded gully on way up to the plateau - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Climbing onto the vast open plateau of the reserve and into paramo habitat at 4000m we enjoyed stunning views of the snow covered Antisana Volcano. Antisana is glacier-covered stratovolcano which, at 5,704m, is Ecuador's 4th highest volcano. In the paramo Andean Lapwing were abundant as was one of our key targets, Caranculated Caracara with adults and immatures seen strutting around the grassland. Another new bird came in the form of a Stout-billed Cinclodes. A roadside carcass had attracted five immature Andean Condor and around 10 Carunculated Caracara. After some searching we found a pair of Andean Ibis feeding within the grassland and numerous Variable Hawk were seen overhead. 

Stout-billed Cinclodes - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

The high plateau at Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor and Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

The spectacular Antisana Volcano - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Antisana Volcano - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Antisana Volcano - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Plover - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Ibis - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Gull - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Plover - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

We neared the end of the road at the Laguna de Mica and here, a wooded gulley dominated by Polylepis and Chuquiragua, supported a confiding Western Tawny AntpittaPlumbeous Sierra FinchBrown-backed Chat-tyrant, a female Ecuadorian Hillstar, Stout-billed Cinclodes and Chestnut-winged Cinclodes and Plain-capped Ground-tyrant. We wandered to the reservoir in the strong and cold winds seeing Many-stripped Canestero while on the reservoir were Silvery GrebeAndean CootAndean Teal and Andean Duck. On returning home and studying my photos I noticed that there was a first calendar year Ring-necked Duck in the background of some of my images from the lagoon, I had not noticed this rare vagrant to Ecuador at the time.

It was now 11:15 and time to start heading back to the hotel. A few stops en-route produced nothing new of note but we had better views of Caranculated Caracara and now there were 11 Andean Condor including at least four adult on the roadside carcass.

Wooded gully at entrance to Laguna de Mica - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Western Tawny Antpitta - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Western Tawny Antpitta - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Plumbeous Sierra-finch - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Plain-capped Ground-tyrant - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Stout-billed Cinclodes - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Chestnut-winged Cinclodes - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Chestnut-winged Cinclodes - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Brown-backed Chat-tyrant - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Laguna de Mica, Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Silvery Grebe - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Gull - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Silvery Grebe - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Duck - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

When I was photographing this Andean Duck I failed to spot the Ring-necked Duck to the right, this is a rare vagrant to Ecuador - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Silvery Grebe - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Gull - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Coot - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Teal - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Plumbeous Sierra-finch - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Carunculated Caracara - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

Andean Condor - Antisana Ecological Reserve, Quito, Ecuador

We arrived back in the hotel for 13:15, packed our bags, had lunch and then headed to the airport for our international flight at 15:00. We were relaxing in the lounge by 15:30. As was the case on my last visit to Ecuador Airport, I was called for a bag inspection, this time it was Tobias’ bag and the police diligently searched through his dirty clothing. The plane was delayed and our scheduled 17:35 flight did not depart until 18:15 this resulted in us missing our connecting flight in Madrid to London. However, Iberian Airways had already booked us onto the next available flight to London at 15:55 and so we had a three hour wait in the lounge. We landed at around 17:30 and were home by 19:30.

List of Birds Recorded in Ecuador
We recorded 120 species in Ecuador (including the Mashpi Lodge element of the trip from 15th to 17th August) of which five were ticks for me (shown in bold). With the 34 new birds on Galapagos this trip took my world list to 6427 species seen.

Crested Guan
Andean Duck
Andean Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Northern Silvery Grebe
Rock Dove
Ruddy Pigeon
Dusky Pigeon
White-throated Quail-dove
Eared Dove
Black-winged Ground-dove
Pauraque
White-collared Swift
White-necked Jacobin
White-whiskered Hermit
Brown Violet-ear
Sparkling Violet-ear
Purple-crowned Fairy
Green Thorntail
Violet-tailed Sylph
Ecuadorian Hillstar
Black-tailed Trainbearer
Tyrian Metaltail
Shining Sunbeam
Brown Inca
Sword-billed Hummingbird
Velvet-purple Coronet
Booted Racket-tail
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Green-crowned Brilliant
Empress Brilliant
Giant Hummingbird
Crowned Woodnymph
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Andean Emerald
Purple-throated Woodstar
Andean Coot
Andean Ibis
Cattle Egret
Andean Lapwing
Andean Gull
Turkey Vulture
American Black Vulture
Andean Condor
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Barred Hawk
Variable Hawk
Black-chested Buzzard-eagle
Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Toucan Barbet
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Carunculated Caracara
American Kestrel
Rose-faced Parrot
Choco Parakeet
Dusky Antbird
Western Tawny Antpitta
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Pacific Hornero
Chestnut-winged Cinclodes
Stout-billed Cinclodes
Lineated Foliage-gleaner
Many-striped Canastero
Orange-breasted Fruiteater
Black-tipped Cotinga
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Black-crowned Tityra
Cinnamon Becard
Slaty-capped Flycatcher
Common Tody-flycatcher
Western Ornate Flycatcher
Choco Tyrannulet
Golden-bellied Flycatcher
Grey-capped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Brown-backed Chat-tyrant
Plain-capped Ground-tyrant
Black Phoebe
Smoke-colored Pewee
Black-billed Peppershrike
Red-eyed Vireo
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Blue-and-white Swallow
White-thighed Swallow
Brown-bellied Swallow
Grey-breasted Wood-wren
Black Solitaire
Chestnut-throated Solitaire
Great Thrush
Paramo Pipit
Thick-billed Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Orange-billed Sparrow
Choco Brush-finch
Yellow-breasted Brush-finch
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
Slate-throated Whitestart
Ochre-breasted Tanager
Golden-collared Honeycreeper
Swallow Tanager
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-winged Saltator
White-shouldered Tanager
White-lined Tanager
Lemon-rumped Tanager
Plumbeous Sierra-finch
Plain-colored Seedeater
Black Flowerpiercer
Glistening-green Tanager
Moss-backed Tanager
Rufous-throated Tanager
Golden-naped Tanager
Blue-grey Tanager
Flame-faced Tanager
Golden Tanager

Links to Other Days of the Trip (Click to View)

14th August (Day 1) – International flight to Quito.
15th August (Day 2) – Mashpi Lodge.
16th August (Day 3) –Mashpi Lodge.
17th August (Day 4) – Mashpi Lodge and transfer to Quito.
18th August (Day 5) – Fly to from Quito to Galapagos Islands. Then sail to North Seymour Island.
19th August (Day 6) – Genovesa Island, Galapagos.
20th August (Day 7) – North-west Isabela Island and Fernandina Island, Galapagos. 
21st August (Day 8) – South-east Isabela Island, Galapagos.
22nd August (Day 9) – Espanola Island, Galapagos. 
23rd August (Day 10) – Floreana Island and Champion Island, Galapagos. 
24th August (Day 11) – San Cristobal Island and Sante Fe Island, Galapagos. 
25th August (Day 12) – Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.
26th August (Day 13) – Fly Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos to Quito. 
27th August (Day 14) – Antisana Ecological Reserve then fly Quito to London.