We started the third day off early in the morning on a slow trip from Quito to Mindo via the Old Nono-Tandayapa road. We stopped often to check out bird sightings and bird sound. The high point of the morning was seeing a Black-and-Chestnut Eagle perched in a tree across a ravine. It remained there for several minutes before flying off to other surroundings. It is not often seen in the wild and when encountered it is generally observed flying low over the canopy. A perched bird is an unusual sight that allowed us to enjoy an unexpected moment.
We continued down the mountain and came across a large flock of Band-tailed Pigeons perched in some tall trees. There were about 40 birds in all. After a few minutes they took flight putting on an areal display as they departed.
As we continued down towards Mindo we observed many species of tanagers and flycatchers. The morning had intermittent light rain, which had little affect on our birding opportunities. We arrived in Mindo a little after noon and went on to The Yellow House, which would be our base for the next few days. We were told that a tornado had come through town a couple days earlier and that some of the trails were blocked due to fallen trees. We decided to have lunch and then determine our next course of action.
While dining at a small restaurant in town it began raining. By the time we returned to our lodging the rain had become steady and we decided not to tackle the trails but would review the birds we had observed that day. While sitting on the porch of the cabins we were able to see several other species within the reserve.
On day 4 we went out on the trails at Yellow House. There was a light rain but nothing that would dampen our spirits. Leaving our cabins we encountered a Squirrel Cuckoo and a Rufous Motmot in the trees near the lodge. After a few photos we headed up the hill towards the trails.
On the way up the hill we spotted a large raptor in one of the trees. It flew closer to give us a better look and we were able to identify it as a Hook-billed Kite. I took some decent photos of it perched on top a dead tree before it flew off to more productive territory.
The Cock-of-the-Rock was quite prevalent as we spotted several as we walked the main trail. Only the #1 secondary trail was open due to the tornado damage, which was quite extensive through the reserve. Many trees were felled and a major cleanup was needed to bring all the trails back into use. This did not, however, daunt us from seeking out our prey.
We saw many furnariids and flycatchers along the trails and keeping up with the different species was difficult at times. We had been told that we could only travel as far as the creek and with a little effort we pushed on. However the tornado destruction prevented us from continuingwe turned back to the lodge and a hearty lunch.
Our first two-day bird count was at 54 species. The second two days we racked up another 58 species. Pearl has recorded 9 of her 46 target birds so we feel that is not a bad start to the trip. Tomorrow we will be off to Bellavista Reserve and high hopes a few more additions to the list.