Boxed in by Landslides
Here’s the landslide at our lodge!
Luckily no one was injured, and there were generators in the dining area so we were able to have normal meals. The lack of electricity in our rooms wasn’t too much of an issue since we were basically only there to sleep.
Another landslide in the other direction down the road, did mean that our birding the following day was limited to Bellavista Reserve where we were staying.
That wasn’t much of a hardship, since Bellavista contains 700 hectares of primary and secondary rainforest with extensive trails. Many of the cloud forest specialties and endemics can be seen right from the main parking area and at the feeders.
The plate-billed mountain toucan is one of the “prize” birds of the regions, and we were able to observe this spectacular species multiple times while at Bellavista. Although still fairly common in the area, its populations have decreased due to habitat loss, and it’s considered “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The toucan barbet was another Choco endemic we were privileged to see at Bellavista. Typically, they are found in pairs or small groups perched silently and difficult to find. I caught many glimpses of this one and its mate, and had almost given up capturing any photos, when it finally appeared in this opening. It’s also listed as “Near Threatened”.
Rufous-tailed hummingbird Booted-rackettail
Purple-throated woodstar (f) Velvet-purple coronet
The hummingbird feeders were always a-buzz with activity, with as many as a dozen different species.
Brown Inca Empress brilliant (with pink throat) Violet-tailed sylph
Bellavista isn’t just for the birds! In the evenings, we were able to add some new mammals to our life lists, including the olinguito, the kinkajou and the tayra, shown below.
One of the most interesting sightings, though was of this giant earthworm!
Both landslides were cleared within the next few days, and with some extra effort by our guide extraordinaire, Andres, we were able to reschedule our visit to Paz de las Aves.
Coming next: Andean Cock of the Rock lek at Paz de las Aves