Saturday, April 16, 2022

Glistening-Green Tanager

We flew in to Quito, Ecuador about 9:00 p.m. on a Thursday night in March and after picking up our bags and going through customs we had a driver that took us to Las Terrazas De Dana Boutique Lodge in Mindo. We arrived after midnight and I didn't get to sleep until after 1:00 a.m. Not wanting to waste any time, I'd arranged for a birding trip that next morning. I was asked if I wanted to go to one of three places that were listed and I picked two, after a quick look on-line, assuming they were nearby. Terry and his wife were with us and he indicated he wanted to come along. We were told to be ready at 5:00 a.m. We got in the car in the dark and started on a very long drive on winding roads, up and down steep hills full of the hanging clouds indicative of the cloud forest, through small towns on roads that were often dirt and full of potholes. I asked how long it would take to get there and was told two hours. I was in shock. I wondered what I had gotten us into. 
I saw this bird and I just had to get a photo of it before it flew away. Something about it just seemed magical and other-worldly, perhaps a Disney-bird. 

Contrasted with a much larger female flame-rumped tanager.  

We eventually arrived at Amagusa Preserve in Mashpi, a small hill next to a modest house, with an area with hummingbird feeders, an open area with a tree used to strap on bunches of bananas to attract birds, and a small area on top of a hill with an overhead covering and some wood perches with bananas cut in half, lengthwise, attached to them. That morning I had the most amazing birding experience, by far, I've ever had and one of the most amazing nature experiences as well. 
One of the birds that most shocked my senses was the glistening-green tanager. I had no idea that nature could do this color of fluorescent green. It almost was like someone was standing behind it with a flashlight illuminating it. 

The male is bright emerald green with a small red and gray dot on both sides of the head behind the eye that strongly reflect uv-light. Females and immature birds are more dully colored green and may lack the red and gray dot. It is uncommon and declining in an area of deforestation from mining, agriculture and development. The population has not been determined, but it is still classified as "least concern" by the IUCN.

It is one of a number of birds I heard referred to that morning as "Choco endemic." The Choco region is a ribbon of land that runs from western Colombia through western Ecuador, almost to Guayaquil, that is "lowland tropical wet forests, pluvial (super-wet) forests, subtropical forests, temperate Andean humid forests and paramo" (an area above the continuous tree-line, but below the permanent snow-line) and one of the wettest areas on earth. It is an area also referred to as the cloud forest. We encountered quite a few Choco endemic birds that morning that I will be featuring over the coming days. 

1 comment:

  1. The color is fluorescent, but I like that little red dot behind the eyes. What a crazy addition to an already crazy bird.