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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Casa Simpson and the Jocotoco Antpitta

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 19 March 2019 | Views [38]

Jocotoco Antpitta

Jocotoco Antpitta

THE FIRST OF THE JOCOTOCO LODGES, CASA SIMPSON is back up at 8000 feet in the Andean foothills Reserva Tapichalaca.  It is a simple and cozy chalet with both wi-fi and a much needed laundry service.  It owes its existence to the Jocotoco Antpitta which was discovered nearby 20 years ago.

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I can’t say much for the weather.  If it isn’t foggy it’s probably raining.  The trails are either muddy or covered with moss — slippery either way.  Yesterday, after a mile or so of trudging mostly uphill, we reached a covered area where the antpittas are regularly fed earthworms provided by the lodge.  Pancho and Vivian (yes, the birds have names) were already waiting for a handout as we huffed and puffed in.  

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   Jocotoco Antpittas

As if scripted, the sun shone through for a few minutes making for great, though slightly artificial, photos.  With fewer than 100 birds known to exist, seeing this pair was a treat but it isn’t much different from fishing in the fish hatchery.  Not very sporting, what?

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   Chestnut-naped Antpitta

Today began with another muddy, though blessedly short, climb into the forest.  Our target, the Chestnut-naped Antpitta was already waiting at the feeding station when we arrived — three of them, actually.  Can you say, “Pavlov?”  While our cameras were clicking away an uninvited Jocotoco Antpitta without a name crashed the party.  The Jocotoco is twice the size of the chestnut-naped and is often aggressive so the warden chased him away.  Maybe he’ll join up with Pancho and Vivian.

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     Tumbes Sparrow

We loaded into the van and started for Jorupe and the Urraca Lodge, another in the Jocotoco system.  At one stop we waited for 30 minutes while Dusan scouted in vain for the niebla metaltail, a high-altitude hummingbird with a penchant for fog.  Other stops along the trail were more productive.  We recorded both the tumbes sparrow and elegant crescentchest, two highly prized species.  The best stop, however, was for ice cream in the gringo-infested town of Vilcabamba.  Trust me, there is nothing wrong with an ice cream cone before lunch.  Honest.

 

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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