May 05, 2016

Excavate -to make hollow by removing the inner part; make a hole or cavity in; form into a hollow, as by digging

A pair of chickadees were busy excavating a nest in a small tree at Rondeau yesterday.

Not many birds migrating through yet so it was nice to have something to watch.

Poecile atricapillus

According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains.
Not sure how Cornell knows that.

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May 04, 2016


That's a mouth full

We have several grape feeders out for grosbeaks, red bellied woodpeckers, orioles and robins.
This rose breasted grosbeak managed to pull one right out.

side note - had our first hummingbird of the season this evening.

Pheucticus ludovicianus

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks build such flimsy nests that eggs are often visible from below through the nest bottom.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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May 03, 2016


White necked jacobin, Tandayapa, Ecuador.

I have hundreds if not thousands of hummingbird photos from our trip. Trying to match them to the field guide, major chore.

Florisuga mellivora

The White-necked Jacobin can be found in a variety of habitats from humid forest canopies, to tall second growth forests, and even in coffee and cacao plantations.
source- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Neotropical Birds.

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May 01, 2016


Flame faced tanager.

 Seen at Tandayapa Ecuador.

One thing we noticed about this bird was the vivid difference in colour between the species on the west side of the Andes versus those on the Amazon side.
Both were very striking but the east side birds had much more red on the face.
Tangara parzudakii
There are three subspecies of the Flame-faced Tanager, described based mostly on minor differences in plumage. The species is typically found from 1000-2600 m and is most numerous above 1500 m.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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White eyed vireo

Very slow day at Rondeau.
Did see a pair of pileated woodpeckers which was a treat.

Saw this vireo foraging down on the ground which is unusual in our experience.
Not a lot of insects around for these guys.

Vireo griseus

The White-eyed Vireo bathes by rubbing against wet foliage.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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April 19, 2016


Golden tanagers

The field guide for the birds of Ecuador lists 138 species of tanager.
The cover all the colours of the rainbow and a few new ones that I've never heard of before.

Tangara arthus

The Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) is endemic to South America. As the name suggests, it is a brilliant golden yellow color. The details of the coloration vary geographically, and no fewer than nine subspecies are recognized.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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April 18, 2016


Violet bellied hummingbird.

Violet bellied hummingbird seen near San Miguel De Los Bancos, Ecuador.
Daily visitor at the Milpe Eco Lodge.

Damophila julie
The male is largely iridescent green, with a contrasting bright violet breast and belly, while the female has pale gray underparts. It occurs in forest and forest edge in both humid and semi-dry regions.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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Smooth billed ani

We saw several of these birds near the ecolodge at Milpe just outside of Mindo, Ecuador. Another rainy day shot.

I checked and the lodge and staff were not affected by the recent earthquake that devastated parts of Ecuador.

Crotophaga ani
Like other anis, the Smooth-billed Ani lives in small groups of one to five breeding pairs, and up to seventeen individuals. They defend a single territory and lay their eggs in one communal nest. All group members incubate the eggs and care for the young.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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April 16, 2016


Threat display

Red-breasted merganser are migrating through our area.
I have been watching their mating behaviour.

As far as I can tell this display is to impress the females and drive off the other males.
Belly low in the water, tail high mouth gaping open. They were too far off to hear any sound.
The one on the right seems to be impressed by the other male's display.

The bird in the foreground is a horned grebe.

Mergus serrator

The Red-breasted Merganser breeds farther north and winters farther south than the other American mergansers.
source- Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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