Friday, September 18, 2009

Tarapoto-Urahuasha trail – day 30

A good few hours birding before breakfast this morning, I returned to the Tarapoto-Urahuasha trail to search the drier areas on the lower scrubby hillsides. Red-eyed Vireos were common but all appeared to be of either the resident (and not very red-eyed) pectoralis race or the austral migrant chivi race – difficult to tell apart. Barred Antshrike and Great Antshrike showed well in the first patch of scrub and a more thorough searching produced a singing Ashy-headed Greenlet hover-gleaning along the edge, a Mishana Tyrannulet in an area of taller bushes and trees, a stunning male Sapphire-spangled Emerald nectaring low down along the track edge, and a more furtive Dark-billed Cuckoo. A close look through the aerial ensemble of insect hawkers (Fork-tail Palm-Swift, Blue and White Swallow, Short-tailed Swift, White-banded Swallow) revealed a single male Chestnut-collared Swift. Also of interest were Short-crested Flycatcher, Little Woodpecker, Turquoise Tanager, Little Cuckoo, Long-billed Gnatwren, and a flock of around 25 (including immatures) of the introduced Saffron Finch (native to the northwest region in Peru) – its population seems to be burgeoning since I first noticed it in Tarapoto in 2004.

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