Thursday, 7 January 2010

Down At The Borderline

Today was another transit day, meaning no birding so consequently no additions to the list. However, there has been some adjustment as I'm in the process of methodically plodding through the Field Guide, comparing records against the list. Already I have had to make 7 deductions from the Life List, not because of misidentification but because for some reason each had been entered twice. No wonder he's done so well I hear you say, but feel sure there will be more to follow. Overnight there had been torrential rain, which has at least one positive side and that is it keeps the road dust down. My plan was to catch the 06-30 'chicken' from Puerto Lopez to La Libertad via Jipijapa, then onward to Salinas. I arrived here, the final lap of 5Km, by 'pirate taxi' which I shared with a local man with a view to finding the Whale Museum or The Oyster Bar both of which are owned by Benito Haas, an ex-pat Dutch birder. After a number of de-tours (the driver didn't have a clue) we were advised the museum was at the Air Force Base, which it was, but not the one I wanted. Another tour of the town and more inquiries, we finally found it some 3Km away, but closed. Back to town I simply got the cabbie to drop me at a roadside cafe, where I had breakfast, made more inquiries and booked into a seafront hotel. At the hotel they seemed to have some idea about the Oyster Bar, but at mid-day there seemed little point in pursuing it, everyone gets their head down at noon, hence the work on the bird list.

Late afternoon I set out to find Benito, and by a sheer stroke of luck located him at his Whale Museum, which was in fact the second we found this morning. In his 50th year and most willing to help, we have set up a meeting at 06-00 tomorrow when he will give me a tour of the nearby Salt Flats. He has tempted me by saying there are 2 unusual species there at the moment but will not divulge, so it'll be worth waiting for. After our chat he showed me around the Whale museum, which is now in fact defunct. With little time to tend it and a mountain of exhibits he says he'll never get round to cataloging he has asked the local authority to take possession of all his specimens.

On the way to his place I walked the beach and found there many of the sea-birds seen in Lopez, but in far fewer numbers. However, there was one stroke of luck as a group of about 20 Parrots flew high over-head and then plummeted as if landing. A little back-tracking found them in a tree, in a small town park, and via the Field Guide identified as Red-faced Amazon, the 'lifer' for the day. Hope I can report more tomorrow.

This is Salinas in the extreme South West corner of Ecuador, from here it's just a short swim to Peru.

Humpbacked Whale skeleton

Mellon-headed Whale (rarely seen in the wild)

Pygmy Killer Whale (the rarest of the Orca's I was told)

Hudsonian Whimbrel


No comments:

Post a Comment