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5 July: This might be my last update for a while, since I'me heading to Brazil to guide a couple of tours over the next month. I'm adding a final set of photos from my trip to Colombia. Nothing terrific here, but some interesting shots. My favorite of the set is Pied Puffbird, and other new ones include Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, One-colored Becard, Tropical Kingbird, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, a juvenile Double-toothed Kite, Common Black Hawk in flight, Golden-collared Manakin, Checker-throated Antwren, and Turkey Vulture.

Black-chested Mountain-Tanager - Buthraupis eximia
Pied Puffbird from Northwest Colombia.

30 June
: I'm taking a short break from Colombia photos to add a few shots from this morning at Yanacocha near Quito. I walked the upper trail today; not as many species here, but some gorgeous scenery and a surprising amount of Polylepis woodland. I saw at least four Giant Conebills; sadly they avoided my lens, but I did get a pretty Black-chested Mountain-Tanager along with Superciliared Hemispingus, a female Slaty Finch, and Brown-bellied Swallow in flight.

Black-chested Mountain-Tanager - Buthraupis eximia
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, a beautiful high Andean specialty.

29 June
: A few new Colombia shots today, including Spotted Antbird, Scaly-breasted Wren, White-ringed Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Great Tinamou.

Spotted Antbird - Hylophylax naevioides
A male Spotted Antbird from NW Colombia.

25 June
: Common Tody-Flycatcher now headlines the site; it may be common but I always love seeing it and really like the photo. Others today include the superb Ocellated Antbird, a nice shot of Fulvous-vented Euphonia, Moustached Antwren (the race that is sometimes split as Griscom's Antwren), Plain-colored Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, and Rusty-margined Flycatcher.

Ocellated Antbird - Phaenostictus mcleannani
The awesome Ocellated Antbird, photographed in northwestern Colombia

Fulvous-vented Euphonia - Euphonia fulvicrissa
Fulvous-vented Euphonia from Colombia.

22 June
: More photos from lowland rainforest of NW Colombia. My favorite from today's set is Tooth-billed Hummingbird, seen so close that the serrations in his bill that give the species its name were clearly visible. I had never seen one so well before. I've also put a nice video of the same bird on IBC (here). I also like the Lemon-spectacled Tanager; it's not exactly a beautiful bird, but extremely hard to photograph, and just the sort of obscure species I love to photograph. Other interesting shots new for today include "Western" Sirystes, Buff-rumped Warbler, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Gray-chested Dove, Pacific Flatbill, Streaked Flycatcher, Collared (Stripe-billed) Aracari, Common Black Hawk, and Black-chested Jay.

Tooth-billed Hummingbird - Androdon aequatorialis
Tooth-billed Hummingbird - a really strange hummer of the Chocó region. Check out the close-up below.

Tooth-billed Hummingbird - Androdon aequatorialis
A zoomed in shot of the same bird, showing the bill serrations.

Lemon-spectacled Tanager - Chlorothraupis olivacea
Lemon-spectacled Tanager, a scarce and unobtrusive species of lowland rainforest from eastern Panama to northwestern Ecuador. 

20 June
: Last week I spent in El Valle, a remote coastal town in northwestern Colombia, staying in a beautiful ecolodge called El Almejal. It was right on the beach, with forested hills right behind it, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. I thought the whole region was really beautiful; there's something about rainforest coming right down to the beach that I find really appealing, and it reminded me more than anything of the remote Masoala Peninsula in Madagascar. This is the heart of the Chocó region, and the amount of forest remaining in the area is really encouraging. Access to the best forest is not easy, and I walked close to fifty miles over the course of the week. The forest was very quiet (I got the distinct impression that June was not the best time of year for bird activity), but I still recorded 200 species and enjoyed the trip a lot. There was only one lifer for me, the endemic Baudo Oropendola, which I only saw at a distance, so my only photo of it isn't very good. I got some great shots of numerous hard to photograph species, which I'm starting to upload today.  I hired a local guide named Balmes for part of my stay; he knew the birds quite well, had great eyesight, and was also good company. Below are a few of my favorite photos, though more are coming soon.

Tawny-faced Gnatwren - Microbates cinereiventris
Tawny-faced Gnatwren - they remind me of angry cats the way they lash their little tails back and forth.

Black Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus tyrannus
Black Hawk-Eagle - very lucky to find one perched so close!

Chestnut-backed Antbird - Myrmeciza exsul
Chestnut-backed Antbird (male) - a common rainforest species but the first decent shot I've gotten of one.

King Vulture - Sarcoramphus papa
King Vulture - I think it's one of the most spectacular birds of the Neotropics, and this was the best view I've ever had of one.

Other new shots I added today include Amazon Kingfisher, Great Potoo,Little Blue Heron, Pacific Antwren, White Hawk, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Tawny-crested Tanager, and Thick-billed Seed-Finch. More soon!

2 June
: Yesterday, Iain Campbell and I headed up to the Pululahua reserve north of Quito to try and get better shots of Rusty-breasted Antpitta. I found it here ten years ago, but only had really poor photos of it from an ancient film camera. It was nice to get some better shots. We also got photos of Black-eared (Western) Hemispingus, which we needed for the book - his are better than mine - that 500mm lens really helped!

Rusty-breasted Antpitta - Grallaricula ferrugineipectus
Rusty-breasted Antpitta.

23 May
: I had to act as an unexpected guide yesterday in NW Ecuador when one of our guides had to return to Quito to be with his wife who had given birth to a baby girl a few days earlier than expected. It was a fun group from Arizona, and I managed to get a decent shot of a Pallid Dove at Mirador Rio Blanco in Los Bancos.

Pallid Dove - Leptotila pallida
Pallid Dove is a shy bird of western Ecuador and western Colombia. They come to feeders at Mirador Rio Blanco in NW Ecuador.

19 May
: I take great pleasure in getting nice shots of obscure and rarely-photographed species, and today's highlights certainly qualify for that category: Stub-tailed Antbird, Striped (Western) Woodhaunter, and Choco Tapaculo. All are shy rainforest denizens that I found on a recent trip to extreme NW Ecuador. Other additions today include Tufted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Five-colored Barbet, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Golden-chested Tanager, Beautiful Jay, Slate-colored (Andean) Coot, Great Egret, and Tyrian Metaltail.

Stub-tailed Antbird - Myrmeciza berlepschi
Stub-tailed Antbird, a scarce Choco endemic on NW Ecuador and W Colombia.

Striped Woodhaunter - Hyloctistes subulatus
Striped Woodhaunter, often split as Western Woodhaunter

Choco Tapaculo - Scytalopus chocoensis
Choco Tapaculo; this bird just about ran over my feet and was too close to focus on to start with.

17 May
: A few more birds from NW Ecuador today, Blue-headed SapphireTropical Parula, and Maroon-tailed Parakeet.

Blue-headed Sapphire - Hylocharis grayi
This male Blue-headed Sapphire was feeding in a flowering tree in a dry valley in northern Ecuador

14 May
: I decided to make the male Scarlet-and-white Tanager the headline shot as of today, and also added a few other tanagers from my recent trip to extreme NW Ecuador. Some rather short trees were in fruit along the side of the very muddy track that I was on, allowing some nice shots of normally difficult canopy species like Gray-and-gold Tanager and Rufous-winged Tanager. Other birds for today are Choco WoodpeckerMouse-colored TyrannuletTropical Mockingbird, and White-thighed Swallow.

Gray-and-gold Tanager - Tangara palmeri
Gray-and-gold Tanager from NW Ecuador, a uniquely patterned species characteristic of wet foothills of the Chocó bioregion.

Rufous-winged Tanager - Tangara lavinia
Those berries must have been tasty to bring this Rufous-winged Tanager, usually a canopy species, down to just a couple meters off the ground.

12 May
: In honor of Mother's Day, here is perhaps the first shot taken in the wild of a female Scarlet-and-white Tanager - at least I would like to think that since I can't find any others on the web! I have a better shot of a male, but will leave that for a future update. It was with two males, so there's a good chance one of them was her son...  I'm also adding what are quite possibly the best shots available of two other rare species, Yellow-green Bush-Tanager and Green Manakin. Plumage is identical in both both sexes of these species, so there is a good chance at least one of these is a mother... The Green Manakin is of the subspecies litae, a Chocó endemic restricted to western Ecuador and western Colombia, and a possible future split. Yellow-green Bush-Tanager is a rare and local Chocó endemic.

Scarlet-and-white Tanager - Chrysothlypis salmoni
Female Scarlet-and-white Tanager from NW Ecuador

Green Manakin - Xenopipo holochlora
Green Manakin - it may not look like much, but getting this photo truly made my day

Yellow-green Bush-Tanager - Chlorospingus flavovirens
Another plain but rare bird, Yellow-green Bush-Tanager - I made a concerted effort to photograph it, so was quite pleased with the result

4 May
: A morning at the Yanacocha reserve near Quito produced a few nice shots, none better than this male Purple-backed Thornbill, a species I've been trying to get for years. The Sword-bill was nice as well, along with Sapphire-vented PufflegGolden-breasted Puffleg, Great Sapphirewing, Buff-winged StarfrontletAsh-colored TapaculoMasked Flowerpiercer, Paramo Pipit, and White-browed Spinetail. I've also been making a lot of improvements to the hummingbird galleries, reprocessing some old shots and getting rid of some really crummy ones.

Purple-backed Thornbill - Ramphomicron microrhynchum
Purple-backed Thornbill at Yanacocha in Ecuador - an especially hard one since it doesn't come to feeders anywhere that I know of.

Sword-billed Hummingbird - Ensifera ensifera
Sword-billed Hummingbird, a truly remarkable bird in so many ways.

14 April: Probably the last update for a while; this set is from cloudforest in NW Ecuador, including some I had been trying (and failing!) to photograph for years. Grass-green Tanager vies with Orange-breasted Fruiteater as the most colorful of the bunch, but I was very happy to finally get a shot of Capped Conebill. It's not super photo, but very hard to get since its tiny, stays in the canopy, never stops moving, and appears uniformly dark in many lighting conditions. My shot of the female wasn't so good and I didn't upload it, still looking for that one... Other shots today are Green-tailed Trainbearer, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Uniform Treehunter, Sharpe's Wren, Tanager Finch, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Rufous-rumped Antwren, and Golden-winged Manakin.

Grass-green Tanager - Chlorornis riefferii
Grass-green Tanager, a startling Andean cloudforest species. This one was from near Tandayapa in Ecuador

Capped Conebill - Conirostrum albifrons
Male Capped Conebill, in the same spot as the tanager above. A very tough species to photograph.

13 April: I've added a large and diverse assortment of Ecuadorian species today ranging from the miniscule Brown-capped Tyrannulet to the huge Brown Pelican. Check the full list below, but a few others include Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Ecuadorian Trogon, Black-and-white Becard, Choco Toucan, Choco Tyrannulet, Mouse-colored (Tumbesian) Tyrannulet, Sooty-crowned Flycatcher, Gray Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Wandering Tattler, Necklaced Spinetail, and Lesser Nighthawk.

Brown-capped Tyrannulet - Ornithion brunneicapillus
A tiny Brown-capped Tyrannulet from the observation tour at Río Silanche in Ecuador

Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis
This Brown Pelican was resting on a rocky outcrop near a beach in western Ecuador

10 April
: Some birds from cloudforest in the Tandayapa area of Northwest Ecuador. The Cinnamon Flycatcher below had its mouth open but wasn't singing, so maybe a yawn? Or worse? There was also a pair of Powerful Woodpeckers nesting next to Tandayapa Bird Lodge, and I finally got a nice shot of the male, continuing a string of good luck with Campephilus woodpeckers recently. Maybe I should go look for some Ivory-billeds... Other shots I've uploaded over the last few days include Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Smoke-colored PeweeWhite-crested Elaenia, Blue-and-white SwallowCollared Warbling-Finch, Elegant Crescentchest, White-edged Oriole, Crimson-breasted Finch, Gray-breasted Martin, Magnificent Frigatebird, Tropical (Tumbes) Pewee, and Black-and-white Tanager.

Cinnamon Flycatcher - Pyrrhomyias cinnamomeus
Cinnamon Flycatcher from a cloudforest in Ecuador

Powerful Woodpecker - Campephilus pollens
A male Powerful Woodpecker near his nest at Tandayapa in Ecuador

4 April
: Another large update of Ecuadorian birds. I really liked the Savanna Hawk below taking off out of fallow rice field. A few other noteworth additions are Andean PotooEsmeraldas Woodstar, Blue Ground-Dove, White-backed Fire-eye, Piratic Flycatcher, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Sunangel, Collared Inca, Little Sunangel, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Black-capped Sparrow, Red-masked Parakeet, Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, and Black-and-chestnut Eagle. The complete list is in the recently-added photos section at the end.

Savanna Hawk - Buteogallus meridionalis
A Savanna Hawk takes off from a field in southern Ecuador

1 April
: No joke, lots of great new shots from western Ecuador today: Yellow-tailed Oriole, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Scaly-breasted Wren, Plumbeous Hawk, Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-headed Antthrush, Golden-bellied (Choco) Warbler, Collared (Pale-mandibled) Aracari, Cattle Egret, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Gray-breasted Flycatcher, and Scarlet-backed Woodpecker.

Yellow-tailed Oriole - Icterus mesomelas
A Yellow-tailed Oriole glows in the late afternoon light along the Ayampe river in western Ecuador

Crimson-bellied Woodpecker - Campephilus haematogaster
This male Crimson-bellied Woodpecker was double-tapping on a dead tree at the edge of the forest at Milpe in Ecuador

Scaly-breasted Wren - Microcerculus marginatus
A Scaly-breasted Wren sings its ethereal song at the Milpe reserve in NW Ecuador

30 March
: Back to Ecuador! I've started working on the shots from last week. Collared Antshrike is my favorite (though I am always partial to birds with "ant" in their name). Others today include Pinnated Bittern, Pearl Kite, Glossy IbisWhite-cheeked PintailScrub BlackbirdPied-billed Grebe, Peruvian Meadowlark, Snail Kite, and Laughing Gull.

Collared Antshrike - Thamnophilus bernardi
A male Collared Antshrike from western Ecuador

29 March: I finally got up to date with my 2012 photos. Nothing spectacular added today, but Masked Gnatcatcher, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, and Rusty-collared Seedeater may have been the best of the bunch.

28 March
: A few more from Costa Rica today. The Green Hermit below was shot with natural light (no flash), and I also really liked the angry Montezuma Oropendolas. Other new additions include a nesting Purple-throated Mountain-gemPasserini's TanagerRed-legged HoneycreeperCarmiol's TanagerBuff-throated SaltatorNicaraguan Grackle, Green IbisNorthern JacanaSungrebeCrested Bobwhite, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Neotropic Cormorant, and Green Kingfisher.

Green Hermit - Phaethornis guy
A Green Hermit feeding in the garden of the lodge at Bosque de Paz in Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola - Psarocolius montezuma
Montezuma Oropendolas face off near the feeders at Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica

24 March
: We had a fairly successful photo trip in western Ecuador this past week (with Iain Campbell and Cameron Cox), getting over 40 shots we needed for the West Ecuador book. It's the end of the rainy season there, and it was an especially wet one, so many desert areas are as green and lush as I have every seen them - though the exuberant vegetation makes it harder to get clean shots! I haven't started processing those shots yet, but still catching up with photos from earlier this year. Here's a set of nice shots from Costa Rica, highlighted by Thicket Antpitta - one of my favorites from that trip. Remarkably it was shot at 12800 ISO, but with a bit of image processing it came out quite nice. Others today include Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Black GuanWhite-crowned ParrotTropical Pewee, Dark Pewee, Tufted Flycatcher, and Great Kiskadee.

Thicket Antpitta - Hylopezus dives
Thicket Antpitta in some dense undergrowth at Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush - Catharus frantzii
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush from a Costa Rican cloudforest

Black Guan - Chamaepetes unicolor
Black Guan - they were ridiculously tame at the feeders of the lodge at Bosque de Paz in Costa Rica

16 March
: A nice, big update, the last for a while as I am leaving tomorrow for another week of getting photos for the Ecuador book. All shots from today are from Brazil as I catch up on last year's trips. Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Diademed Tanager, and Squamate Antbird were perhaps my favorites, but there is a lot of other good stuff today: Bay-chested Warbling-Finch, Half-collared Sparrow, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Scaled Antbird, Star-throated Antwren, Streak-capped Antwren, Pin-tailed Manakin, Riverbank Warbler, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Thick-billed Saltator, White-eared Puffbird, Yellow-legged Thrush, and Aplomado Falcon.

Sapphire-spangled Emerald - Amazilia lactea
A male Sapphire-spangled Emerald calls from a perch in Southeast Brazil

Squamate Antbird - Myrmeciza squamosa
Squamate Antbird is one of many beautiful antbirds in Southeast Brazil. They are hard to photograph in the dark forest understory, but I managed to find a gap to shoot through for this one.

Diademed Tanager - Stephanophorus diadematus
Diademed Tanager, a very distinctive member of the family found in southeastern South America

15 March: Some new tyrant flycatchers from SE Brazil today, including Eared Pygmy-Tyrant (below), Variegated FlycatcherSerra do Mar TyrannuletOustalet's TyrannuletRough-legged Tyrannulet, and Whiskered Flycatcher.

Eared Pygmy-Tyrant - Myiornis auricularis
Eared Pygmy-Tyrant - one of the world's smallest birds at 7.5 cm/3 in.

14 March: I've been replacing some poor photos with better ones, such as the Scaly-throated Leaftosser below - the old shot was possibly the worst photo I had ever uploaded to this site, so it was nice to dump it. I also liked the Guayaquil Woodpecker, and I've added two new foliage-gleaners, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, as well as Orange-billed Sparrow and White-throated Spadebill.

Scaly-throated Leaftosser - Sclerurus guatemalensis
Scaly-throated Leaftosser, about to throw some leaves around

Guayaquil Woodpecker - Campephilus gayaquilensis
A male Guayaquil Woodpecker at Milpe in Ecuador

13 March
: A few shots today from Milpe: Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Immaculate Antbird, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, and Sulphur-breasted Flycatcher.


Ochre-breasted Antpitta - Grallaricula flavirostris
Ochre-breasted Antpitta

Immaculate Antbird - Myrmeciza immaculata
A male Immaculate Antbird with food

11 March
: I spent a few days in and around Milpe in Northwest Ecuador getting shots for the book. My favorite was Spotted Nightingale-Thrush, which is now the featured image. More coming soon.

3 March
: Been busy lately working on a lot of things, including hundreds of range maps for the Ecuador book. I finally found a few minutes to upload some shots today. I like the Red-necked Tanager (goes well with Green-headed!), and Streak-crowned Antvireo is quite a rare shot. Others are Frilled CoquetteBlack SkimmerYellow-billed Tern, and  Wattled Jacana.

Red-necked Tanager - Tangara cyanocephala
Red-necked Tanager from Southeast Brazil

Streak-crowned Antvireo - Dysithamnus striaticeps
A male Streak-crowned Antvireo from Costa Rica

23 February
: A nice set today from Brazil including a shot of one of my favorite birds, the Green-headed Tanager, and a good White-chinned Sapphire. Other decent (if less colorful!) shots are Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Gray-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Gray-hooded Flycatcher, Planalto Tyrannulet, Yellowish Pipit, and Brown-chested Martin.

Green-headed Tanager - Tangara seledon
Green-headed Tanager from Southeast Brazil

White-chinned Sapphire - Hylocharis cyanus
A male White-chinned Sapphire

17 February
: A few hours this morning in the Pululahua reserve just north of Quito got me this Azara's Spinetail. It was building a nest, a ball of sticks about the size of a basketball. Despite being a very common bird, I find them very frustrating to photograph! I hadn't gotten anything worth keeping before today. I also got a decent Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet and Plain-tailed Wren.

Azara's Spinetail - Synallaxis azarae
Azara's Spinetail - this had been a "nemesis bird" for me as far as photos go!

16 February: Here are a few more shots from last weekend; on Sunday, Sam Woods, Tayler Brooks, and I went down to Silanche in the low foothills of NW Ecuador. We made a special effort to nail Brown Wood-Rail, a frustrating experience considering how well we saw the bird! I did get a shot, but not a great one so I won't showcase it here. Probably the best ones were Bicolored Antbird - one of several that were attending an antswarm and amazingly unafraid of us - and a Broad-billed Motmot spreading its tail. I thought it was interesting that it kept its central tail feathers, the ones with the rackets, together while doing so. Other shots were Slate-colored Grosbeak, Acadian Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Slaty Spinetail, Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail, and one from Costa Rica, Zone-tailed Hawk.

Bicolored Antbird - Gymnopithys leucaspis
Bicolored Antbird at an antswarm in NW Ecuador

Broad-billed Motmot - Electron platyrhynchum
Broad-billed Motmot

12 February
: Carnaval is always a holiday time in Ecuador, so the office was closed and I spend a few nights in Tandayapa Bird Lodge trying to nail a few more photos for the western Ecuador field guide. There was a bit of excitement Saturday morning when the whole region was rocked by a magnitude 7 quake about 120 miles north in Colombia, though luckily no damage was done. It was rather rainy, but I managed to get out enough for some shots. My favorites are the Streak-headed Antbird, Powerful Woodpecker, and Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch below. A rare shot of Blue Seedeater was also nice, along with others like Slaty-capped FlycatcherSpectacled WhitestartSpotted BarbtailStreak-capped TreehunterViolet-tailed Sylph, and Blue-capped Tanager.

Streak-headed Antbird - Drymophila striaticeps
Streak-headed Antbird - part of a recent four-way split of Long-tailed Antbird

Powerful Woodpecker - Campephilus pollens
Powerful Woodpecker from Tandayapa Bird Lodge, the distinctive black-headed female.

Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch - Arremon brunneinucha
A perky Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch at Tandayapa Bird Lodge

7 February
: A few new species today, including a rare shot of Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, male and female Fasciated Antshrike, and Black-bellied Hummingbird.

Buff-fronted Quail-Dove - Geotrygon costaricensis
Buff-fronted Quail-Dove

Fasciated Antshrike - Cymbilaimus lineatus
Female Fasciated Antshrike

5 February
: I added shots of both species of Caryothraustes today, including the Black-faced Grosbeak below. Other shots today are Yellow-green GrosbeakCrested OwlVariable Seedeater, and Great Curassow.

Black-faced Grosbeak - Caryothraustes poliogaster
Black-faced Grosbeak

4 February
: Some new shots today, mostly from Costa Rica. This White-collared Manakin was one of my favorites - I caught it while he was doing a wing-snapping display. Others include Bronze-tailed Plumeleer, Panama Flycatcher, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Snowy Cotinga, and Chestnut-sided Warbler.

White-collared Manakin - Manacus candei
White-collared Manakin

3 February
: More Costa Rica photos today, including Yellow-winged Vireo, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, and Rufous Piha. The complete list of new additions is here.

Yellow-winged Vireo - Vireo carmioli
Yellow-winged Vireo, endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and Panama

2 February: Today I uploaded a few shots from Costa Rica, including the Song Wren featured below. It's the kind of shot I love getting, and which was almost impossible a few years ago. Camera technology has improved so much recently - this was shot handheld, without flash, in dark rainforest understory at 3200 ISO. There is some noise, but it was easy to reduce the noise only in the background, and the noise on the bird is fairly inconspicuous. I also uploaded shots of Ochraceous Wren, Stripe-breasted Wren, Timberline Wren, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Speckled Tanager, Dusky Nightjar, and changed the featured photo to Snowcap.

Song Wren - Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus
Song Wren from Costa Rica

1 February: Ed Krasny gave me some insight into the name of the Bare-shanked Screech-Owl: Could it be that the lower leg which is called the shank or tarsometatarsus (bone) and is directly above the feet of this owl does not have feathers as other owls do? Thanks Ed!

29 January
: Here's a Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, one of my favorite birds from the recent Costa Rica tour. I haven't been able to figure out why it is named "Bare-shanked". Anyone have any ideas?

Bare-shanked Screech-Owl - Megascops clarkii
Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, photographed at night in the highlands of Costa Rica

28 January: I just returned from a two week Costa Rica tour that was petty productive for photos. It was my first chance to use my new camera body, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which I quickly fell in love with! Noise levels are far lower than the 7D, and it also focuses faster and more accurately with my 300mm lens, especially noticeable with the 1.4x teleconverter attached. I'll be uploading shots from the trip over the coming trip, starting with the Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager below.

Sooty-capped Babbler - Malacopteron affine
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, restricted to the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama

6 January
: Finally caught up on all my Kenya photos, posting a mammal gallery. I can now return to the Neotropics for the forseeable future.

5 January
: It's been a while since I've posted a photo here, so today I'll add a random one, a Thrush-like Wren from Brazil. I've also finally finished the last of the galleries of bird photos from my Kenya trip a few months ago.

Thrush-like Wren - Campylorhynchus turdinus
Thrush-like Wren from the Pantanal in Brazil

3 January:
The seventh Kenya birds gallery is up.


2012

31 December
: Happy New Year! I've added another gallery of Kenyan birds.

21 December
: A fifth Kenya birds gallery is now online. There are still at least a couple more to come, and I want to do a mammal gallery as well.

18 December
: I'm back from a good tour in Argentina, though it wasn't terribly productive for photos. Today I uploaded the best ones, the Montane Forest Screech-Owl below as well as a juvenile Tropical Sceech-Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Andean Tinamou.

Montane Forest Screech-Owl - Megascops hoyi
Montane Forest Screech-Owl, restricted to the Yungas forests of Bolivia and northwestern Argentina

25 November: With only a few days between trips, I'm not going to have much time to do much on the site. Today I'm adding a few of favorite shots from my last few weeks in southern Ecuador: Pale-browed Tinamou (above; now the featured photo), Ochre-breasted Antpitta, and Scaled Fruiteater.

Ochre-breasted Antpitta - Grallaricula flavirostris
Ochre-breasted Antpitta, the zarumae subspecies endemic to SW Ecuador

Scaled Fruiteater - Ampelioides tschudii
Scaled Fruiteater, a unique and beautiful cotinga of Andean cloudforest 

4 November: I've uploaded a few new shots today, mostly from Brazil, including Brazilian RubyWhite-throated HummingbirdGlittering-throated EmeraldBare-faced CurassowBoat-billed Flycatcher, and Gray-chested Greenlet.

Brazilian Ruby - Clytolaema rubricauda
Brazilian Ruby, a flashy hummer from SE Brazil 

2 November
: A fourth Kenya bird photo gallery is up, and I changed the featured photo to Gray Tinamou.

28 October
: I've added a third bird gallery from my trip to Kenya in Aug-Sep.

27 October
: A few updates today from Ecuador including the White-throated Quail-Dove below, as well as Speckle-breasted Wren, Buff-rumped Warbler, Stripe-throated Hermit, and Ecuadorian Thrush.

White-throated Quail-Dove - Geotrygon frenata
White-throated Quail-Dove 

24 September: The second Kenya birds gallery is now online. This will be my last update for a while, since I am about to leave on another trip to Brazil.

23 September
: A small update today of various birds from Brazil and Ecuador, with a nice shot of a hunting Black-collared Hawk. Other additions include Plain Antvireo, Ecuador's first Southern Scrub-Flycatcher, and a Pallid Dove.

Coal-crested Finch - Charitospiza eucosma
This Black-collared Hawk was about to dive at a fish in the Pantanal
 
18 September: Three weeks in Kenya has given me a huge number of photos to work through over the next few months. It was a great trip, incredibly fun and unforgetable. I had always wanted to see those classic African scenes of vast savannas dotted with zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and lions. That was only a small part of the trip, as we also visited forests, acacia woodland, lakes, moorlands, and other habitats - that remarkable variety is what gives Kenya its famous diversity. The mammals were as much a draw for me on this trip than the birds, and I finally got to see leopard and cheetah, which were the two critters I most wanted to see in Kenya. I travelled with two colleagues from Tropical Birding, Sam Woods and Iain Campbell, and we rented a car and drove ourselves rather than book a guided tour. This is not for the faint of heart, but we managed without any incident, though there were some hairy moments. It also gave us a lot more contact with Kenyans from a variety of walks of life, not only those working in the tourist industry, which added another dimension to the trip. I will slowly be adding photo galleries in taxonomical order to the non-neotropical section of the website, starting with this gallery, covering Ostrich through birds of prey.

18 August
: This will be the last update for a while, since I leave tonight for a trip to Kenya - vacation, not guiding! Very excited, can't wait to get there, but have a very long and rather annoying flight from Quito. Today I've added a few of my nicer shots from Brazil: Coal-crested Finch and Great Antshrike are featured below, though Rusty-backed Antwren and Red-crested Finch are also worth checking out. Also, I've uploaded some poorer shots of some very rarely photographed birds: Cone-billed TanagerGray-winged Cotinga, and Zimmer's Tody-Tyrant.

Coal-crested Finch - Charitospiza eucosma
Coal-crested Finch in cerrado habitat in central Brazil

Great Antshrike - Taraba major
A Great Antshrike in the Pantanal. Oddly, this shot was taken from a canopy tower 

15 August: I've been too busy to spend much time on the site, but here are a couple of shots from my trips in Brazil over the last month. I leave for Kenya in a few days, but may have time for another update.

Toco Toucan - Ramphastos toco
A Toco Toucan plays with its food in the Pantanal

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird - Eupetomena macroura
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird at Guapiassu in SE Brazil 

11 July
: Last update for a while as I am leaving for a month in Brazil, and I just have time to add a Rufous Motmot from western Ecuador. I'll be spending a lot of time in that region in the next two years as I have agreed to a deal to produce a book tentatively titled Birds of Western Ecuador. A Photographic Field Guide. I'll have three coauthors: Paul Greenfield, Iain Campbell, and Pablo Cervantes. We intend to have it finished in two years, with publication about a year later. It will have around 950 species with species accounts and brand new range maps. Assuming it goes well, we'll also write one for eastern Ecuador.
Rufous Motmot - Baryphthengus martii
Rufous Motmot - a "classic" neotropical rainforest species

7 July: Some rainforest interior species today. Many of them are very shy and extremely hard to photograph. I love getting shots of birds like this; they often aren't technically great shots, but can be rare photos, and they show the birds in their natural environment. Dusky-faced Tanager and Wing-banded Wren are my favorites for today. The other ones are Scaly-breasted WrenBuff-throated Tody-TyrantChestnut-crowned GnateaterGray-throated LeaftosserWhite-streaked Antvireo, and Yellow-throated Spadebill.

Dusky-faced Tanager - Mitrospingus cassinii
Dusky-faced Tanager from western Ecuador, a noisy rainforest understory species

Wing-banded Wren - Microcerculus bambla
A Wing-banded Wren sings its ethereal song 

5 July
: I've finished adding my hummer shots from WildSumaco with Violet-headed HummingbirdEcuadorian PiedtailNapo SabrewingRufous-vented WhitetipFork-tailed Woodnymph.

Violet-headed Hummingbird - Klais guimeti
A male Violet-headed Hummingbird, photographed with natural light

4 July
: Got some shots at Rio Palenque, though it was rather disappointing overall. I hadn't been there in about ten years, and while even then it was just a small island of forest surrounded by farmland, I used to have amazing days of birding with well over 100 species including some quite scarce ones. This time, we saw far less; flocks were few and small, we saw no big toucans, no chachalacas, no Ochraceous Attilas, no White-backed Fire-eyes, no Slaty-winged Foliage-gleaners, and a lot of the birds seemed especially shy. I also saw two guys with shotguns, which was really disappointing for a supposedly protected area. Perhaps my best photos is below, a Plain-brown Woodcreeper that was feeding off moths near the accommodation early in the morning.

Plain-brown Woodcreeper - Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Plain-brown Woodcreeper at Rio Palenque

29 June
: Just changed the featured photo this morning. I'll be off taking photos at Rio Palenque over the weekend. Looks like I've going to be doing some books on Ecuadorian birds - exciting news! I'll give more details when the deal is signed.

28 June
: I added more hummer shots this morning: Gorgeted WoodstarWire-crested ThorntailBooted Racket-tailBrown Violetear, and Buff-winged Starfrontlet.

Gorgeted Woodstar - Chaetocercus heliodor
A male Gorgeted Woodstar, caught in flight - no flash used.

26 June: An interesting shot today of Golden-collared Toucanet. This bird popped out of the bushes right in front of me, completely unexpected. I had a couple of seconds to get a shot off before it panicked, and luckily it came out pretty well - it's uncropped. Isn't that an odd shape of his iris? Other shots today include a Streak-backed Canastero and a good shot of a pair of Olive-chested Flycatchers. I've also reorganized the furnariid galleries, some of which were getting too large.

Golden-collared Toucanet - Selenidera reinwardtii
A male Golden-collared Toucanet - I'm not sure who was more surprised...

24 June: I finally got around to redoing the hummer galleries, updating the taxonomy and increasing the number of galleries to improve page load times. I've added a few more hummers from WildSumaco, all taken in natural light. My favorite is a Golden-tailed Sapphire below, which just seems to glow in the late afternoon, and a White-tailed Hillstar. Also check out shots of Gould's JewelfrontBlack-throated Brilliant, and Violet-fronted Brilliant. There are a couple of new non-hummer photos as well: Ruddy Foliage-gleaner and Yellow-browed Sparrow.

Golden-tailed Sapphire - Chrysuronia oenone
Golden-tailed Sapphire - always pretty, but stunning when seen in the right light

White-tailed Hillstar - Urochroa bougueri
White-tailed Hillstar - it would be very difficult to get a close-up like this away from feeders

23 June
: A few non-hummer shots from WildSumaco - I'll get to more hummers soon! I liked this Montane Foliage-gleaner feasting on moth bits, and the White-shouldered Tanager.

Montane Foliage-gleaner - Anabacerthia striaticollis
A Montane Foliage-gleaner devours a moth

White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus
A male White-shouldered Tanager

22 June
: I hadn't been to WildSumaco for a couple of years, and the hummers have just gotten insane there during that time. I saw 19 species at the feeders near the lodge during my stay, and got photos of most of them. Today I started working on those shots - check out the Blue-fronted Lancebill below. Other additions today include Many-spotted HummingbirdThrush-like WrenTurquoise Tanager, and Common Ground-Dove.

Blue-fronted Lancebill - Doryfera johannae
Blue-fronted Lancebill near the hummer feeders at WildSumaco

20 June
: I went up to Yanacocha yesterday where the activity was terrible. Wind, rain, then strong sunlight, all in a shor tyime, didn't help either. I did spend time getting shots of the habituated Rufous Antpitta. Even though no one was feeding it worms, it still came in and hopped around hopefully. I've also added a nice shot of Black-billed Treehunter I got at WildSumaco last week.

Rufous Antpitta - Grallaria rufula
A very friendly Rufous Antpitta

Black-billed Treehunter - Thripadectes melanorhynchus
Black-billed Treehunter, an east slope skulker that was feeding on insects near a light

18 June
: A few updates today including several woodpeckers, like the Lafresnaye's Piculet and  below as well as Cinnamon WoodpeckerYellow-vented Woodpecker. Other good shots are White-collared Swift (my best swift flight shot yet) and Pacific Antwren.

Lafresnaye's Piculet - Picumnus lafresnayi
Lafresnaye's Piculet from eastern Ecuador. The red speckles on the forehead indicate it's a male

17 June
: Getting good shots of Synallaxis spinetails is a pain; this Rufous Spinetail may be my best one yet.

Rufous Spinetail - Synallaxis unirufa
Rufous Spinetail, a skulker in cool Andean cloudforest

16 June
: Just a quick upload today of a nice shot of Ornate Flycatcher.

Ornate Flycatcher - Myiotriccus ornatus
Ornate Flycatcher with nesting material

10 June: More shots today from my short trip to NW Ecuador, including some nice ones from a hotspot called "La Unión" that birders have only been visiting in the last year or so. It is a very muddy track that goes through some reasonably intact low foothill Chocó forest brimming with rare birds that are hard to find elsewhere.  My favorite shots (not the rarest) are below, especially the Rose-faced Parrot, a bird that really requires a lot of luck to get a photo like this! Usually it is either too far away, in bad light, or just flying over really fast (or some combination of the three). The Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant and Spot-crowned Antvireo also came down unusually low allowing for great shots. Other ones worth clicking on include Choco Woodpecker and Golden-chested Tanager.

Rose-faced Parrot - Pyrilia pulchra
This Rose-faced Parrot was a highlight on the short trip to NW Ecuador - it's not often you get one perched this close and so low

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant - Myiornis atricapillus
Incredibly tiny (2.5 in/6.5 cm) and cute, the Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant is tied for the smallest passerine

Spot-crowned Antvireo - Dysithamnus puncticeps
Very lucky to get this one! Spot-crowned Antvireos usually stay high in the forest, but this one came down nice and low

8 June
: Purplish-mantled Tanager is today's highlight, though I also added a rare shot of Star-chested Treerunner as well as Subtropical Doradito, Virginia (Ecuadorian) Rail, and Torrent Tyrannulet.

Purplish-mantled Tanager - Iridosornis porphyrocephalus
Purplish-mantled Tanager: a gorgeous bird found mainly in the Colombian Andes, barely reaching Ecuador
 
7 June: I love this shot of Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia. It's a widespread Andean species but I rarely see them. A pair was hanging around Tandayapa during my visit.

Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia - Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys
The male of a pair of Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias that were feasting on berries at Tandayapa
 
6 June: Here are a few more shots from Tandayapa. I just spent a few days in some remore areas of NW Ecuador, so have some interesting new shots to share soon.

Red-headed Barbet - Eubucco bourcierii
A female Red-headed Barbet near the fruit feeders at Tandayapa

Brown-capped Vireo - Vireo leucophrys
A Brown-capped Vireo sings his heart out

2 June: Here are a couple more photos from last weekend at Tandayapa. I was really happy with the Scaled Antpitta shots (one featured below). What a difference an f/2.8 lens made with this! It was pretty much dark when I was taking these shots, but they came out as if in broad daylight. Very cool. The fruit feeders at Tandayapa have gotten amazing, considering for years absolutely nothing was coming. Just shows that some birds are slow learners,  and persistence with putting out fruit can pay of in the end. Ten species were coming in including the Golden Tanager below. I'll put more on a future post.

Scaled Antpitta - Grallaria guatimalensis
A Scaled Antpitta is a daily visitor at the forest blind at Tandayapa Bird Lodge

Golden Tanager - Tangara arthus
Hordes of gorgeous Golden Tanagers were constantly around the feeders at Tandayapa Bird Lodge

28 May
: I was having fun with my new lens on a trip out to Tandayapa this weekend. It was also a long weekend in Ecuador, but not for Memorial Day - they were celebrating the Battle of Pichincha, a key victory in the war for independence against Spain in 1822. Below are the very two first birds I photographed with the lens, and it's hard to complain about the results. I bit later on I also nailed nice shots of Slaty-backed Chat-TyrantWhite-tailed Tyrannulet, and Black-crested Warbler. Others coming soon.

Gray-browed Brush-Finch - Arremon assimilis
Gray-browed Brush-Finch, a recent split from Stripe-headed Brush-Finch, in some scrub just outside of Quito

Black Flowerpiercer - Diglossa humeralis
Black Flowerpiercer, a sly nectar thief, sings from a high perch not far from Quito


22 May:
Finally finished working on all my shots from Peru and Argentina, with a few of my favorites showcased below.


Golden-billed Saltator - Saltator aurantiirostris
A male Golden-billed Saltator from the highlands of northern Argentina

White-barred Piculet - Picumnus cirratus
A male White-barred Piculet -  this is the norttheastern race pilcomayensis which has incomplete barring

Golden-naped Tanager - Tangara ruficervix
A Golden-naped Tanager from near Machu Picchu in southern Peru. This bird is of the very distinctive subspecies inca

20 May
: I still have some photos from my trips to Peru and Argentina from several months ago, and today I started working on them. Hopefully everything will be up soon. Some of the best photography on my Peru trip was on short boat trip off the coast of Pucusana, a fishing village an hour south of Lima. While I have done this trip a few times between June and September, this time in March it was far, far better. There were a lot more birds, and the cliffs were absolutely covered with Peruvian Boobies and Inca Terns, with lesser numbers of Blackish OystercatchersRed-legged CormorantGuanay Cormorant, and more.

Inca Tern - Larosterna inca
Inca Terns

Blackish Oystercatcher - Haematopus ater
An adult and juvenile Blackish Oystercatcher

Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina
18 May: I took the plunge and bought a second-generation state-of-the-art Canon 300mm f2.8 lens. It is a beauty to behold, a truly impressive piece of glass! It is sharper, faster, and has better stabilization than any lens I've ever used before (it better for what it cost) and works very well with a 1.4x teleconverter. I did some casual shooting while visiting my mother in Connecticut recently and was very pleased with the results. Here is a gallery of the photos, and I've put my favorite, a Chipping Sparrow, to the right. Looking forward to taking it for a spin in some rainforest! 

28 April: This will be my last update for a couple of weeks, but I have been churning though the backlog of photos, adding over 30 in the last two days. It struck me this week that I have working on this site for over five years now, and have uploaded photos of more than 2000 species; I celebrated that milestone by buying a brand new lens! I won't reveal yet what it is, but it's the most expensive thing I have ever bought that did not have four wheels, and hopefully will help take my obsession to another level. It will be a week or so before it arrives, but I'll be dying to take it for a spin! After five years and over 2500 photos, I look back through the antpitta.com and am frequently shocked at how bad some of the photos were that I uploaded in the beginning. Some of them can be improved with better image processing, and some of them may be better off removed. Back then, some of these birds had no photos available online at all, which is one reason why I uploaded them, but there's no doubt that my standards (and hopefully skill) have vastly improved over time. I have been slowly working to replace, reprocess, or remove these old shots, but some of them will remain for a while as I only have limited time to work on the site.

Inca Wren - Pheugopedius eisenmanni
An Inca Wren from southern Peru

Snowy-throated Kingbird - Tyrannus niveigularis
A pair of Snowy-throated Kingbirds lift their wings and raise their yellow crown patches duriing a courtship display

25 April: Many new updates the last few days, mainly from Peru and Argentina. There are some great new finch shots as well as some cormorants and gulls from a surprisingly good boat trip off the coast of Pucusana in Peru. I've highlighted some of my favorites below.


Citron-headed Yellow-Finch - Sicalis luteocephala
Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, a locally common species in the high mountains of Bolivia and northern Argentina

Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch - Poospiza erythrophrys
This Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch in northern Argentina was bringing food to an unseen nest

Gray-hooded Gull - Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus
It's not often I feature a gull here, but I especially liked this Gray-hooded Gull from northwestern Peru

22 April: Plenty more today, highlighted by this Three-banded Warbler, one of my favorite shots so far this year.

Three-banded Warbler - Basileuterus trifasciatus
Three-banded Warbler from NW Peru

21 April: A big update today with new photos from Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. A few of my favorites are below.

Tawny-throated Dotterel - Oreopholus ruficollis
A beautiful Tawny-throated Dotterel in some grassy Patagonian steppe near Trelew in Argentina

Amethyst-throated Sunangel - Heliangelus amethysticollis
A female Amethyst-throated Sunangel in the mountains of southern Ecuador.

Straneck's Tyrannulet - Serpophaga griseicapilla
Straneck's Tyrannulet was only recently accepted as a species even though ornithologists have been aware of it for a long time

15 April
: Road trip! April is a slow month for me, so I took some time off and drove off into some remote corners of Ecuador, accompanied by my friend and fellow TB guide Andrew Spencer. I clocked about 3000 km and my poor car came back so covered with mud you could hardly tell the original color! First stop was some foothill forest near Lumbaquí, though we mostly got washed out there and missed a lot of the birds we were looking for. Did find Fiery-throated Fruiteater but it did not cooperate for photos. We drove south along the foothills of the eastern Andes, eventually reaching the small town of Paquisha on the edge of the Cordillera del Condor, a wonderfully remote and still largely pristine mountain range on the border with Peru. We birded various trails and roads based from Paquisha, and the first of several landslides added 10 km to one of our hikes. I finally founded a couple of long overdue lifers, Spectacled Prickletail and Roraiman Flycatcher, though only got a very poor photos of the prickletail. Photography on the narrow, dark, and muddy trails was a challenge with my current lens (an upgrade may be in my near future!), and this Brown-billed Scythebill may be the best I got there.

Brown-billed Scythebill - Campylorhamphus pusillus

Others interesting shots include Chestnut-bellied ThrushFulvous-breasted FlatbillLong-tailed Tyrant, and Rufous-tailed Tyrant. One afternoon we hiked to the border and enjoyed a spectacular view of endless forest stretching as far as the eye could see. Leaving Paquisha, we drove southwest to the far southern part of Ecuador in the Marañon drainage. The road was being widened and was a total mess, with foot-deep mud in some places, and it looks like it will be eventually paved almost all the way to Peru, at the cost of a lot of roadside habitat. We spent the night in Zumba, a town that is lot nicer than I remember from my last visit almost nine years ago. We found lots of birds that can't be seen anywhere else in the country, like this Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, a species only found in Ecuador for the first time about ten years ago.

Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch - Emberizoides herbicola

Leaving Zumba behind, we headed up into the remote and spectacular Cordillera de Lagunillas. The lower slopes are mostly deforested, though we lucked into a beautiful pair of Chestnut-crested Cotingas, with the best views I've ever had of this scarce species, and the first photos.

Chestnut-crested Cotinga - Ampelion rufaxilla

As we continued upslope, the forest got better, but we were disappointed to find that the road was blocked by multiple landslides. We hiked 30 km in two days so that we could bird the beautiful forest and the edge of the páramo and were lucky to have great weather, but we never did make it to the highest elevations, and were forced to retrace our route back through Zumba instead of being able to go down the west slope and leave on a different road. It was still worth going and I will try to go back someday. There were some nice photo ops in the mountains, like the Black-headed Hemispingus below, as well as others like Mouse-colored ThistletailOrange-banded FlycatcherRufous Wren, and others I have not yet uploaded. A highlight of the trip was seeing a territorial display between two pairs of Torrent Ducks. I had been lucky enough to see this display once in Argentina, and this time I decided to concentrate on videoing it instead of photographing it, getting some fantastic HD footage. I uploaded it to Youtube, but had to lower the quality as the video file was several GB in size.

Black-headed Hemispingus - Hemispingus verticalis

I also uploaded a few more photos from Argentina just before leaving, including an entire gallery devoted to Magellanic Penguin.

31 March
: The waterfowl gallery got a total overhaul today, with many new photos added and some reprocessed. I've also split the gallery into two parts since the single gallery was quite slow to load. The first gallery goes from whistling-ducks to Spectacled Duck, and the second gallery starts with dabbling ducks and goes through to ruddy-ducks.

Rosy-billed Pochard - Netta peposaca
A male Rosy-billed Pochard, one of South America's most striking ducks. This is from a pond near the city of Trelew in Patagonian Argentina

White-headed Steamer-Duck - Tachyeres leucocephalus
A pair of flightless White-headed Steamer-Ducks, endemic to coastal Argentina, rest on a rock just offshore

23 March
: I've still got a big backlog of photos from an Argentina trip late last year, and today I created a special photo gallery for a single species, the Burrowing Parakeet, a beautiful fascinating parrot of southern South America. There were six photos that I wanted to use, but did not want to add them all to the main parrot gallery which was already getting quite large. I may start doing more of that in the future when I have multiple photos worth sharing. I also added a couple of photos of the distinctive form of Collared Inca known as "Gould's Inca", from southern Peru. SACC did not accept the split (Proposal 140) because of insufficient published evidence.

Collared (Gould's) Inca - Coeligena torquata omissa
"Gould's" Collared Inca from near Machu Picchu in Peru

19 March
: Back from a three week Peru tour that visited a selection of sites in both northern and southern Peru including the deciduous forests and deserts of the Northwest, Abra Patricia, the upper parts of Manú NP, Machu Picchu, and the high mountains nearby. It was a fairly relaxed pace trip, and also the first time I had been to Peru in the rainy season. The deserts of the Northwest were a beautiful emerald green color like I had never seen before. We got a serious amount of rain at Abra Patricia that cost us quote a bit of field time, but we managed to dodge most of the rain in Manú, and Machu Picchu and Abra Malaga were absolutely gorgeous. My first two new photos come from Abra Malaga: two very scarce tit-tyrants. Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant is a very local Peruvian endemic found in high elevation bamboo patches, and Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant is an endangered species restricted to Polylepis woodland in just a few sites from central Peru to western Bolivia. I have no major trips planned for a while so intend to spend more time adding and updating photos in the next few months.

Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant - Anairetes agraphia
Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant from the north side of Abra Malaga in Peru

Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant - Anairetes alpinus
The endangered Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant in a Polylepis bush from Abra Malaga in Peru

25 February
: One last update before heading off to Peru for three weeks. I've changed the "featured photo" to yet another hummer, a Black-backed Thornbill. It's not a terrific shot, but until recently there were no photos of a male in the wild, and it was species I had long been waiting to see. Other new shots include Blossomcrown , White-tailed Starfrontlet, Band-tailed Guan, Sierra Nevada Brush-Finch, and a White-sided Flowerpiercer piercing a flower.

20 February: More photos from Colombia this morning, including some "record shots" of the very rare Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird. Or is it? Click the link and read about it. My favorites of today's bunch include the Blue-naped Chlorophonia below and a couple of other hummers, Buffy Hummingbird and Pale-bellied Hermit. The other new additions are: White-browed Spinetail, Olivaceous Flatbill, Chestnut-capped Piha, and Sooty Ant-Tanager.

White-headed Wren - Campylorhynchus albobrunneus
A distinctive subspecies of Blue-naped Chlorophonia from the Santa Marta Mountains in Colombia

18 February: A pretty big update today with material from my recent Colombia trip. Black-and-gold Tanager is my favorite of the bunch, but others include more Colombian endemics like Gold-ringed Tanager, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, and Apical Flycatcher as well as Purplish-mantled TanagerScrub Tanager, Magdalena AntbirdGreenish PufflegPurple-bibbed WhitetipCinnamon FlycatcherBlack-billed Thrush, and Brown-bellied Swallow.

Black-and-gold Tanager - Bangsia melanochlamys
Black-and-gold Tanager, a colorful Colombian endemic

14 February: I've added a couple of new antpitta photos today, the distintive alticola subspecies of Tawny Antpitta and a Slate-crowned Antpitta, a new species for the site. Also check out the shot below of a White-chinned Thistletail from the isolated population in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. I think that there may be an unrecognized new taxon here - click the link for more on that.

White-chinned Thistletail - Asthenes fuliginosa
A distinctive form of White-chinned Thistletail from the eastern Andes of Colombia

13 February: I just returned from two tours in Colombia: a two week trip in the Andes of Central Colombia and a one week trip covering the far north includuding the Santa Marta Mountains and the deserts of the Guajira Peninsula. I've added a new species for the site with the very cool White-headed Wren, and a much better shot of the near-endemic Rufous-browed Conebill.

White-headed Wren - Campylorhynchus albobrunneus
White-headed Wren from the western Andes of Colombia

Rufous-browed Conebill - Conirostrum rufum
Rufous-browed Conebill lives in páramo edge in the eastern Andes of Colombia, barely reaching Venezuela

15 January
: Just a small update today, with the Rusty Flowerpiercer below, four photos of 
Brown Skua, and single photos of Santa Marta races of Cinnamon Flycatcher and Gray-breasted Wood-Wren.

Rusty Flowerpiercer - Diglossa sittoides
A nice profile shot of a male Rusty Flowerpiercer from Argentina

11 January: Today's update includes a bunch of hummers from northern Colombia, including this White-vented Plumeleteer. I know of three places in the Santa Marta mountains now that have hummer feeders, and combined they bring in over fifteen species. It makes seeing and especially photographing them now compared to a few years ago! Other uploads today include Brown Violetear, Steely-vented HummingbirdRufous-tailed HummingbirdLazuline SabrewingRed-billed EmeraldShining-green Hummingbird, and Santa Marta Woodstar.

Common Miner - Geositta cunicularia
A male White-vented Plumeleteer shows his stuff near a feeder in Minca, Colombia

7 January
: I've been adding various shots from Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, as well as a nice shot of a Common Miner from Argentina. That's probably the best of the bunch, though other decent ones include
Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant, Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Laughing Falcon, Russet-throated Puffbird, and White-bellied Antbird.

Common Miner - Geositta cunicularia
Common Miner from the Valdés Peninsula in Argentina

3 January
: Here's an update for all you owl-lovers out there. Hey, who doesn't love owls? All these photos come from my North Peru trip in October, probably my best trip ever for owls. My favorite shot is probably this Yungas Pygmy-Owl featured here, from near the northern limit of its range at Abra Barra Negro. I've also got a poor photo of the near-mythical 
Long-whiskered Owlet. Other new additions are Cinnamon Screech-OwlPeruvian Screech-OwlKoepcke's Screech-Owl, and Burrowing Owl.

Yungas Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium bolivianum
Yungas Pygmy-Owl from northern Peru

2 January
: A huge update today, this time focusing on hummers! Apart from this Emerald-bellied Puffleg, there are nice shots of 
Chestnut-breasted CoronetGreen VioletearShining SunbeamSpeckled Hummingbird, and Long-tailed Sylphamong others. I've also added other odds and ends from northern Peru like Gray-and-white Tyrannulet, also featured below, and Long-tailed MockingbirdWhite-tailed Jay, and Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher.

Emerald-bellied Puffleg - Eriocnemis alinae
The striking Emerald-bellied Puffleg almost seems to glow with its own light

Gray-and-white Tyrannulet - Pseudelaenia leucospodia
Gray-and-white Tyrannulet - one of the continent's dullest birds shows its stuff!

1 January
: Happy new year! I've added a dozen or so new shots today, including the Tumbes Hummingbird that is now the new "featured photo" as well as the Black-hooded Antwren below.


Black-hooded Antwren - Formicivora erythronotos
The beautiful Black-hooded Antwren is endemic to a very small area of Southeast Brazil

2011

31 December: As another year comes to a close, I finally have some time to add some more photos. I spent Xmas with my brother Steve, sister-in-law Karin, and incredibly cute nephew Caleb, and really didn't do much of anything other than relax, have some fun, and wind down after a very busy six months. My Xmas present to myself was a brand-new blazingly fast PC that will help me work through the daunting backlog of photos. I'm starting with a set mostly from Southeast Brazil - my favorites are the pair of Spot-billed Toucanets and the male Festive Coquette below.

Spot-billed Toucanet - Selenidera maculirostris
A pair of Spot-billed Toucanets from Intervales in Brazil - female on the left, male on the right

Festive Coquette - Lophornis chalybeus
Festive Coquette from Southeast Brazil

18 December: I spent the past month in Argentina, first doing a short "recce" to Chubut province in northern Patagonia, then leading a three week photo tour. Luck was not with me for the recce as the ash from the erupting Puyehue volcano in Chile cancelled all flights to and from Trelew exactly during the time I was there. I had no choice but to take the bus - an 18 hour trip each way! Luckily buses in Argentina are superb, almost like traveling in first class on an airliner, and I still had just enough time to check out the key sites, so it all worked out in the end. Bird photography in Patagonia can be challenging due to the low diversity and the frequent strong winds, but there were some good opportunities, and the mammal watching was superb. The tour was a private tour for Jean and Denise Leveille from Montreal. Jean writes a weekly newspaper article on birds in the Journal de Móntreal, and his primary goal was to get material that he could use in his article. We did a "typical" circuit in the NW part of the country in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy, and Tucumán, then headed to Trelew  to spend the last few days in Patagonia. Fortunately by then the ash was no longer affecting the flights. Below are a couple of shots from the trip (the first of many), Elegant Crested-Tinamou and Red-backed Sierra-Finch. I also uploaded photos of Fulvous-headed Brush-Finch, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, and a pair of Orange-chinned Parakeet from my previous trip in Colombia. A lot more to come as I work through the backlog.

Elegant Crested-Tinamou - Eudromia elegans
Elegant Crested-Tinamou from the Valdés Peninsula in Argentina

Red-backed Sierra-Finch - Phrygilus dorsalis
Red-backed Sierra-Finch from the Sierra de Santa Victoria in far NW Argentina, near the Bolivian border

18 November
: A small update of finches before I head off into the field again. I'm off to Argentina to guide a photo tour to the northwestern Andes and the Valdés Peninsula, should be a great opportunity to get some nice new photos. The best photo of todays set is the Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch below; others include
Collared Warbling-Finch, Gray-winged Inca-FinchBuff-bridled Inca-Finch, Peruvian Sierra-Finch, Tocuyo SparrowDouble-collared Seedeater, and Parrot-billed Seedeater.

Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch - Poospiza alticola
Plain-tailed Warbling-Finch, endemic to the high Andes of northern and centeral Peru

15 November
: Back in Quito for a few days after a short Northern Colombia trip. I'm not sure how much time I will have to upload photos, but I've at least added a couple of the better ones here, Paramo Seedeater and Streak-capped Spinetail.

Paramo Seedeater - Catamenia homochroa
Paramo Seedeater from the Santa Marta mountains in northern Colombia

Streak-capped Spinetail - Cranioleuca hellmayri
Streak-capped Spinetail, mostly a Santa Marta endemic

2 November
: Quite a big update today, focusing on the Furnariids (Ovenbirds). I've added eleven new species including a rare photo of a Russet-mantled Softtail; I also completed the thornbird genus Phacellodomus - check the full list 
here. In addition, I reprocessed quite a few of the photos in the furnariid galleries, and added a few more tanager shots.

Russet-mantled Softtail - Thripophaga berlepschi
Russet-mantled Softtail from northern Peru

Blue Dacnis - Dacnis cayana
A male Blue Dacnis at Folha Seca in SE Brazil

31 October
: I've updated one of the tanager galleries with some new shots and a few replacements of older shots.


30 October
: I add another shot today from northern Peru, of the Undulated Antpitta that is coming in to a worm feeder at the lodge at Abra Patricia. The bird comes in only right at dawn when there is almost no light. I photographed this on a tripod and only had a speed of 1/8 of a second at 3200 ISO.

Undulated Antpitta - Grallaria squamigera
Undulated Antpitta at Owlet Lodge, Abra Patricia, Peru

28 October
: It's my busiest time of the year, with almost non-stop trips in South America. I'm just finished a great trip to northern Peru, and before that another tour in Southeast Brazil. I've got a huge backlog of photos that I will slowly start working on. I really enjoyed northern Peru. I hadn't been there for several years, and many sites I had not visited since 2005. It's come a long way since then with a much improved infrastructure, though sadly there has also been a significant loss in accessible birding habitat in a few areas. We still managed to get almost all of our targets, though it is getting harder. Hopefully there will be more conservation projects like the very successful ones at Chaparrí  and Abra Patricia. I've changed the headline photo to a Royal Sunangel, one of the most handsome hummers in the area, and also added the Sulphur-throated Finch shown below. It is an odd, monotypic finch found in very arid areas of NW Peru and SW Ecuador.

Sulphur-throated Finch - Sicalis taczanowskii
A male Sulphur-throated Finch from Chaparrí Ecological Reserve, Peru

16 September
: I'm about to leave for another tour in Brazil, but I couldn't resist adding this Jaguar photo to the blog at the last minute. As obsessed as I am about birds, seeing a wild Jaguar like this in the Pantanal was better than any bird I have ever seen. Truly awesome! This last set also features nice photos Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, the caatinga race of Spot-backed Puffbird, and a dozen more
.

Jaguar - Panthera onca
Jaguar on the banks of the Rio Três Irmãos in the Pantnanal, Brazil


Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant - Euscarthmus rufomarginatus
Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, a rare and local species of the cerrado

Spot-backed Puffbird - Nystalus maculatus
Spot-backed Puffbird in the caatinga of NE Brazil


13 September: Today's update features blue macaws, parakeets, hawks, and various other miscellaneous species. 

Hyacinth Macaw - Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Hyacinth Macaw at Pousada Piuval, the Pantanal, Brazil

11 September
: Gilt-edged Tanager is one of those classic Neotropical tanagers with such gaudy colors that it almost seems to glow in the dark. It's endemic to Brazil, where it can be found in montane Atlantic Rainforest in the Southeast, but it also occurs in drier, scrubbier forest in the interior, such as where this photo was taken. Other new photos today are a rare 
Banded CotingaRufous-browed PeppershrikeStripe-breasted StarthroatLong-tailed WoodnymphStripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, an active nest of a Blue-gray TanagerRufous-capped AntthrushTurquoise (White-bellied) TanagerSlender-footed Tyrannulet, and Nacunda Nighthawk.

Gilt-edged Tanager - Tangara cyanoventris
Gilt-edged Tanager from Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

8 September
: The Sincora Antwren was one of my favorites of my trip to northeastern Brazil, party because it is a newly described species, but also because I spend ages looking for it on my previous trip in 2007 without success. One shot of the male is shown here, and two more can be found in the gallery page. Other new photos for today are
Black-bellied Antwren, Stripe-backed Antbird, Red-shouldered Spinetail, Alagoas Tyrannulet, and White-naped Jay.

Sincora Antwren - Formicivora grantsaui
Male Sincorá Antwren from Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

5 September
: No new species today, but I've replaced some older photos with some much better ones, especially the Rufous-winged Antshrike that is now the "featured photo" and the Silvery-cheeked Antshrike below. Neither of these antshrikes are particularly shy, frequently sitting in the open to the gratification of photographers! I've also added new subspecies from NE Brazil of 
Barred Antshrike and Long-billed Wren and uploaded a mediocre shot of São Francisco Sparrow, which is marginally better than the one I had.

Silvery-cheeked Antshrike - Sakesphorus cristatus
Male Silvery-cheeked Antshrike from Palmeiras, Brazil

1 September
: I've finished uploading my photos from Iguazú falls this morning. My favorite of this set is the female Yellow-fronted Woodpecker below. Other additions include
Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Magpie Tanager, Saffron Finch, Green-winged Saltator, Band-tailed Manakin, and Variable Oriole.

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker - Melanerpes flavifrons
A female Yellow-fronted Woodpecker at Iguazú Falls, Argentina

30 August
: Eight weeks away, including six weeks straight of leading three tours in Brazil. Quite a marathon stretch even by my standards. It's nice to have a break, if only for a few days! All but one day of that was in Brazil, when I raced across the border into Argentina for a day at Iguazú falls. I don't have huge numbers of photos this time; a lot of that was due to the difficulty of getting photos while leading tours. Still, I got some very nice ones. My favorite photo wasn't even a bird, but I might upload it anyway because it was so breathtaking. That's for later... I'll start with my photos from Iguaçu Falls (Brazil) and Iguazú Falls (Argentina). I timed my trip to the Falls with a frigid cold front that brought early morning temperatures down to near the freezing mark, and the birding (and me...) certainly suffered for it, but I did see a few nice things. I had two lifers, Creamy-bellied Gnatcatcher (no photos unfortunately) and this rather scruffy juvenile male Glaucous-blue Grosbeak. Other photos I'm uploading today include Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Southern Lapwing, Ochre-collared Piculet, Plain-brown (Plain-winged) Woodcreeper, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, and White-bearded Manakin.

Glaucous-blue Grosbeak - Cyanoloxia glaucocaerulea
A juvenile male Glaucous-blue Grosbeak from Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

25 June: I've got a large update today, finishing all of my Mitú photos. I've also written a detailed trip report of our Mitú trip, that should be useful to anyone planning a visit there, which I highly recommend as long as you understand what it involves. Photography in Mitú, like everywhere else in the Amazon, is very challenging, and my favorite shots of this last batch are of some quite common species; see below. Other species for today include Azure-naped Jay, Red-throated Caracara, Ringed Antpipit, Drab Water Tyrant, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Yellow-crowned Manakin, Spot-backed Antbird, Imeri Warbling-Antbird, Amazonian Antshrike, Dark-billed Cuckoo, White-banded Swallow, and Bar-bellied Woodcreeper.

Silver-beaked Tanager - Ramphocelus carbo
Silver-beaked Tanager from Mitú, Colombia


Yellow-bellied Tanager - Tangara xanthogastra
Yellow-bellied Tanager from Mitú, Colombia

Swallow-winged Puffbird - Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Swallow-winged Puffbird from Mitú, Colombia

22 June
: A few more photos from Mitú today, including the neat shot below of a Lettered Aracari drinking out of a hollow in a tree. Others new for today include Striped Woodcreeper, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, and Yellow-tufted Woodpecker.

Lettered Aracari - Pteroglossus inscriptus

20 June: One reason why Mitú is such an intesting place to bird is that there is a lot of white-sand forest nearby. A few species specialize in this very localized habitat, such as the Black Manakin and Gray-bellied Anbird that I uploaded two days ago. Another neat bird that likes this habitat is the monotypic White-naped Seedeater featured below; while it is currently classified in the monotypic finch genus Dolospingus, it is quite similar in many ways to some members of the tanager genus Conothraupis, especially the rare Cone-billed Tanager. It wouldn't surprise me if further research showed that the two genera should be merged. I've also uploaded shots of a pair of Cherrie's Antwren, a species that likes the white-sand forests but does not seem to be restricted to them, as well as a poor shot of the rare Black Bushbird, and a record shot of a Black-tailed Flycatcher that appears to represent a significant range extension.

White-naped Seedeater - Dolospingus fringilloides

18 June
: I spent a week around Mitú in eastern Colombia with Andrew Spencer and Ian Davies. Amazing trip! We saw virtually all of our targets including rarities like Gray-bellied and Chestnut-crested Antbirds, Orinoco Piculet, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, and Bar-bellied Woodcreeper. It was somewhat of a challenge logistically, but ended up being easier than I thought, and I am working on writing a detailed report about the trip which should be useful to independent birders planning a visit. I'll be uploading photos from this trip over the next two weeks; apart from the ones below, today I have added Black Manakin , Black-headed Antbird, and Spot-winged Antshrike.

Orinoco Piculet - Picumnus pumilus Chestnut-crested Antbird - Rhegmatorhina cristataGray-bellied Antbird - Myrmeciza pelzelni
Orinoco Piculet, Chestnut-crested Antbird, and Gray-bellied Antbird. Click to go to the full-size image.

5 June: The Passerines gallery for my Colorado trip is now ready. There's some nice stuff in there like lots of rosy-finches, American Dipper, and Chestnut-collared Longspur, but my favorite shot is the Canyon Wren here; but then I have a thing for wrens. There will be no more non-neotropical distractions for me for quite a while; I will be "stranded" in the Neotropics for the next nine months with many trips planned, the first one starting next week to a remote part of the Colombian Amazon.

Canyon Wren - Catherpes mexicanus

28 May
: I've finished the first of two photo galleries from my Colorado trip, which I have added into the page of non-neotropical galleries. It includes photos of displaying grouse and prairie-chickens as well as links to short video clips. Check it out! One of my favorite shots is the lekking Greater Sage-Grouse below.

Greater Sage-Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus

5 May: I spent about five days in Colorado doing a whirlwhing trip around the state with Andrew Spencer and Sam Woods. All I can say is Holy Crap! The lekking displays of the grouse and prairie-chickens are as amazing as anything I have ever seen in my birding career. While the birds may not be as colorful, their displays might even be better than those of the birds-of-paradise I saw in New Guinea, and I never thought I would say that. I've got chips full of photos to go through before uploading anything from the leks, but here's one I have ready now, a White-tailed Ptarmigan at Loveland Pass, crossed buy one of the highest paved roads in the US... still snowing in early May and there were skiers everywhere. This bird was fearless, allowing us to approach within a foot or two without so so much as blinking.

White-tailed Ptarmigan - Lagopus leucura


28 April
: My last update for a while, since I'm off to the States for some birding and to see my family. I'll be at the Biggest Week in American Birding for the last weekend, where I'll give a presentation on birding in Brazil. I've updated the featured photo with the Plushcap I got a few weeks ago, and also added two more very nice shots from Papallacta, including the Rainbow-bearded Thornbill below. This Cinereous Conebill may actually be a better photo, but it just lacks that "wow" factor, so I didn't put it on the front page.

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill - Chalcostigma herrani

17 April
: I've got a few new species today, but nothing that can match some of the shots from last weekend; the best one is this Stripe-headed Brush-Finch. I have also finished "renovating" most of the photos in the Puffbirds gallery with larger shots and better image processing. It's one of my best covered families on antpitta.com with 80% of all species represented.

Stripe-headed Brush-Finch - Arremon torquatus

14 April: A few more shots from Papallacta: Black-backed Bush Tanager and Agile Tit-Tyrant. I've also added one more, but I'm keeping it secret for now, since it will be the next "featured photo". It's in the galleries somewhere, so you might stumble upon it.

Black-backed Bush Tanager - Urothraupis stolzmanni

13 April
: A few more from Papallacta today: this Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant as well as 
Sedge Wren and Blue-backed Conebill.

Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager - Dubusia taeniata

12 April: Another nice photo from my morning at Papallacta on Sunday, a Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager that was following a thrilling mixed species flock in the elfin forest. I've also added a shot of Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant. More soon!

Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager - Dubusia taeniata


11 April
: It was still raining Sunday morning, but I went for it anyway; amazingly the weather cleared up as I drive up the steep road to Papallacta, and it was a truly fantastic morning. I nearly filled a chip in just a few hours and nailed some shots of some species I had been trying to get for years. I'll work on processing them this week, but her's the first one, a singing Glossy Flowerpiercer.

Glossy Flowerpiercer - Diglossa lafresnayii

9 April
: I was planning on getting out of the city and spending the day photographing up in the high Andes, but I awoke to heavy rain and fog so called it off. Maybe tomorrow? Today I'm featuring a Scarlet-headed Blackbird, one of my favorite icterids, but I've also uploaded some odds and ends like 
Flavescent Flycatcher, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Mottle-backed Elaenia, White-bellied Pygmy-Tyrant, and Epaulet (Moriche) Oriole. I'm pretty much totally caught up on all my recent photos, but I've started to upgrade some of the photo galleries with larger shots and better image processing, starting with the heron gallery.

Scarlet-headed Blackbird - Amblyramphus holosericeus


7 April
: I've finished uploading by Costa Rica photos. There's nothing spectacular in this final set, though there are some shots of a number of "Chiriquí endemics", species restricted to the high mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama. I've featured the Fiery-throated Hummingbird below, but other shots include
Flame-throated Warbler, Black-cheeked Warbler, Collared Redstart, and Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird - Panterpe insignis


5 April: No new photos today, but I have updated the taxonomy to reflect the latest SACC and NACC changes, fixed a lot of inconsistencies, corrected a few mistakes, and finally fixed a few browser display glitches that had been bothering me for years.

2 April
: antpitta.com is nearly four years old now, and I look back at some of the first photos I put on and think, jeez, I can do a lot better than that now. The technology has improved so much in that short amount of time, plus I am a better photographer, and know a lot more about image processing. With faster internet I can also get away with posting larger images. In the last few days I've been replacing various older photos with some better ones, like this Volcano Junco, but I have a long way to go. I'd like to reprocess hundreds of images too. I've also added some brand-new species  in this latest batch, including 
Hepatic TanagerBlack-crested Coquette, and Stripe-headed Sparrow.

Volcano Junco - Junco vulcani


28 March
: Just a small update today, featuring the uncommon Nicaraguan Seed-Finch pictured below. I saw this at a "traditional" site near Tigre in Costa Rica, though the land that it occurs on is now part of a pineapple farm and closed to the public. While trying to get it in, I ran into one of the property's administrators, who gave me permission to go in that time, but told me future visits would require advance permission, which would not be easy to get. If you want to try, the contact person is Michael (email: administracion.cr@swisstropical.ch), though it may prove to be easier to just find another site for this bird. Other new uploads today include a decent 
White-fronted Parrot, a pair of Great Green Macaws, a Double-striped Thick-knee (my best shot so far of a member of that family), Great Curassow, and Brown Pelican.

Nicaraguan Seed-Finch - Oryzoborus nuttingi

24 March: I've got a great set today headlined by this Golden-hooded Tanager. A juvenile Bare-necked Umbrellabird that was hanging out at La Selva is one of the rarer photos I've gotten recently. I like this shot of Paltry Tyrannulet - not a very colorful bird, but no bird deserves the name it was given! Other new additions today include Passerini's TanagerBand-tailed BarbthroatWhite-collared ManakinPalm TanagerGreat TinamouNorthern Barred-Woodcreeper, and Buff-throated and Black-headed Saltators.

Golden-hooded Tanager - Tangara larvata

21 March: Happy spring to all of you from northern climates! I'm now ploughing though photos from my Costa Rica trip in January and February, where many of my best photos seemed to come from the La Selva Science Station. It might be my favorite birding site in Costa Rica. The clearing around the main HQ can be just swarming with birds, even in the middle of the day, allowing for some great photo ops. Cinnamon Becard was a new one for me and a great portrait of a common but hard to photograph species. I also really liked the Band-backed Wren below, an improvement on a previous shot. Other addtions include American Pygmy-Kingfisher and Gray-capped Flycatcher. More coming soon!

Band-backed Wren - Campylorhynchus zonatus


17 March: I have now uploaded the gallery for my Philippines trip, with nearly 50 photos. Apart from the pheasant below, some of the better ones are White-browed Crake, Philippine Frogmouth, Silvery Kingfisher, Azure-breasted Pitta, Mountain Warbler, Chestnut-faced Babbler, and Mountain White-eye. I'll start working on adding Costa Rica photos soon.

14 March
: Last week I returned from a two and a half week stint in the Philippines with fellow Tropical Birder Keith Barnes. It was basically a "recce" (scouting trip) for future tours, and the trip went well. I had heard horror stories about the habitat destruction in the Philippines and was expecting the worse, though it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, and some sites and quite significant stands of forest remaining. I was not prepared for how difficult the photography would be! The birds are scarce, shy, and not very approachable. My 400mm lens was usually not enough and often I felt myself longing for my old digiscoping setup, which I didn't bring because it's not working very well any more. I got a few good shots and a good number of mediocre ones, which I will be uploading as a single gallery later this week. Below is one of my favorite shots, and one of the most beautiful birds in the Philippines, the Palawan Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron napoleonis. It's endemic to the island of Palawan and generally a very scarce birds. Over the last several years, one wild male has become habituated and visits the ranger station at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park every morning to eat rice. If this bird didn't come in, almost no one would ever see this gorgeous bird in the wild.

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant - Polyplectron napoleonis

11 February
: In the last few weeks I have led a short tour to northern Colombia and a longer one to Costa Rica for a group of 19 Taiwanese birders and bird photographers. Taiwan has a fairly sizable birding community, and it's not the first time I've guided a group from there - in 2005 I took a group to Brazil, and some of my colleagues have led trips for Taiwanese to Australia and Africa. They do like to travel in large groups! That can make it challenging for the birding, but what usually happens is that the photographers go off and do their own thing, and the birders go with the bird guides. I had a co-leader, Michael Retter, so we could split the group when birding on narrow trails. We made it work!  So far this week, I've only had time to upload photos from the Colombia trip. I've got some great ones from Costa Rica that will have to wait until I get back from a trip to the Philippines which starts on Monday. My favorite of the Colombia set is definitely the one below, since it's the first species of wood-quail (Odontophorus) that I've ever been able to photograph.

Black-fronted Wood-Quail - Odontophorus atrifrons

9 January
: Well, rather than do more "productive" things, like prepare for my next trips, I've spent the last few hours getting most of my remaining photos uploaded. There aren't really any killer shots there, but the best one may be this nice portrait of a Violet-capped Woodnymph. This might be my last updated for quite a while. I have a million things to do next week and then leave for consecutive trips to Colombia and Costa Rica.

Violet-capped Woodnymph - Thalurania glaucopis


8 January
: Too busy lately to do much here, but this morning I took some time to upload a few more shots from last year, like this young Boat-billed Heron from the Pantanal. I've added some nice tanager shots like
Blue-necked Tanager and Yellow-rumped Tanager, and a neat shot of a Thick-billed Euphonia feeding a fledgling.

Boat-billed Heron - Cochlearius cochlearius


1 January
: And a Happy New Year! I'l finally getting back "on-topic" with neotropical bird photos, starting with this White Hawk from Southeast Ecuador, but there will be more distractions coming in a few months when I visit the Philippines in February.

White Hawk - Leucopternis albicollis



2010

25 December: Merry Christmas everyone! Here's one last Madagascar gallery featuring many of the beautiful mammals found on the islands. It's well worth a look.

23 December
: Another first for antpitta.com -  a gallery of reptiles and amphibians (plus one random insect) from my trip to Madagascar. Mammals coming soon!

16 December
: The fourth and final Madagascar bird gallery is online, featuring some of the less colorful families like the jeries and Malagasy warblers. This Sakalava Weaver is one of the more interesting photos.

Sakalava Weaver - Ploceus sakalava


11 December
: I continue my break from the Neotropics with a third Madagacsar bird gallery. This one has some of the most amazing birds in Madagascar - and that also means some of the most amazing in the world! It also has many of my best shots from the trip, including this very cool shot of two Dark Newtonias.

Dark Newtonia - Newtonia amphichroa


5 December
: A second Madagacar gallery is now live, featuring cuckoos (including Madagascar's amazing couas), nightbirds, kingfishers, and more. My favorite might be the Madagascar Pygmy-Kingfisher below.

Madagascar Pygmy-Kingfisher - Ispidina madagascariensis


3 December
: I've added the first Madagascar gallery. I'm working though them taxonomically, so there is still plenty to come. My favorite shots from this first batch are probably the Red-tailed Tropicbirds, a Banded Kestrel having lunch (photo below), and a Subdesert Mesite, the only one of this endemic family I managed to photograph.

Banded Kestrel - Falco zoniventris

30 November
: A month of Madagascar was like being in another world with the fantastically unique wildlife. The birds are fantastic, but it was impossible to not get caught up in everything else from the enchanting lemurs, bizarre and beautiful chameleons, and everything else. Opportunities for photography were excellent, and I got shots of birds and other animals on this trip than on any other I've ever done, so over the next few weeks I will be taking a break from uploading neotropical species and add several new galleries (in a separate section) to display them. One of my favorites is below, a Rufous-headed Ground-Roller, a member of what was my favorite family of birds in the country.  I highly recommend a visit to Madagascar, and sadly I got the feeling that this should be done sooner rather than later. While there are numerous national parks and reserves, the ousting of President Ravalomanana in 2009 has caused a regression in the conservation, which had been vastly improved during his tenure. One gets the feeling that many of these protected areas, some of which are the last bastions of critically endangered species, could be at risk of disappearing if the political climate takes a turn for the worse, which would be a global tragefy. Most governments do not recognize the new regime and cut off all foreign aid to Madagascar, so a small number of privately-funded NGO's are now the only source of funding for much of the ongoing conservation work. Best to be optimistic though! Hopefully things will improve, and the more ecotourists that visit, the more likely this will happen.

Rufous-headed Ground-Roller - Atelornis crossleyi

27 October: I'm leaving tomorrow for a nearly month-long trip to Madagascar - a dream destination I've been hoping to go to for years now. Hopefully antpitta.com has room for a few photos of ground-rollers and vangas, maybe even a lemur or two! Fortunately, I've had time to get most of my best photos from Brazil uploaded in the last week. It's hard to pick a favorite, but here is a nice shot of a Black-masked Finch from the grasslands of Serra da Canastra National Park. This might be one of the last shots I'll ever take with my ancient Samsung V70 digiscoping camera, which is near death and desperately needs to be replaced. It's hard to find decent new digiscoping cameras that fit onto compact digiscoping mounts, so I really don't know what I'm going to replace it with!

Black-masked Finch - Coryphaspiza melanotis


25 October: I've uploaded a (mostly!) great set 15 flycatchers today. My favorite is probably the Crested Black-Tyrant below, but check out these Cock-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Tyrannulet, and Southern Antpipit.




22 October
: I'm back home for a week after a couple of fantastic tours to Southeast Brazil. Next stop is Madagascar, and there is no way I will have time to upload all the photos I got over the last month. I'll start with some of the amazing antshrikes that the Atlantic Forest is famous for like the Large-tailed Antshrike shown below, Tufted Antshrike (a rare shot of a female), and a much improved shot of White-bearded Antshrike, though still not great. Also, I finally managed some decent shots of some of the coolest tapaculos in the world, Spotted Bamboowren, Slaty Bristlefront - these are not just little gray things! Rounding out this first batch is a nice Chestnut-backed Tanager.

Large-tailed Antshrike - Mackenziaena leachii


12 September
: It's been a rush to get caught up, since I leave for another Brazil trip in a few days, but I've mostly managed. My favorite from this bunch might be the female White Woodpecker over to the right here. It's one of the most striking woodpeckers in all of South America and I always love seeing them. They're bigger than you expect, too, and are often in quite large flocks which makes them even more fun. The only plumage difference between the male and female is that that the male has some yellow feathers on the hindneck and sometimes the breast. Some of the other good ones are Common Tody-Flycatcher, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Grayish Mourner, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Olive Oropendola, Opal-rumped Tanager, Agami Heron, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Brown Nunlet, and White-fronted Nunbird. The tyrant flycatchers galleries were getting cumbersom, so I've expanded them to seven galleries and separated the tityras and becards into a new gallery for the Tityridae, following SACC. There a few other birds to be transferred into there which I haven't gotten around to doing yet. I've updated the species index to discover that the total number of species on antpitta.com, including birds out of the Neotropics, is exactly 2000. Pretty neat, a nice stopping place.

7 September:
Over the last week, I've been adding more photos from my trips in Brazil and Ecuador, mostly wrens, furnariids and antbirds. Haven't had as much time as I'd like to work on antpitta.com since we'd been working like crazy to get the new Tropical Birding website launched. That's finally done and it looks really nice. In any case, my favorite photo of this bunch is probably the Moustached wren below, though there are some other nice ones like a terrific Barred Antshrike, a singing female White-shouldered Antbird, a White-plumed Antbird (not a great shot but it's a beautiful bird), and a nice male White-browed Purpletuft.

Moustached Wren - Thryothorus genibarbis


30 August: I added some more photos from Ecuador and Brazil, like this roosting Great Tinamou that we found in Yasuní National Park while we were checking a roosting location for Ochre-striped Antpitta that one of the researchers told us about. For a large photo on the tinamou, go here . Other new shots include Sunbittern, Great Potoo, Greater RheaGreen-and-rufous Kingfisher, Jabiru, and Large-billed Tern.

27 August
: Check out a neat photo of a bold 
Purple Gallinule. I've also added some mediocre shots of some scarce and/or tough to photograph species, Ochre-striped Antpitta, Ash-throated Gnateater, and Gray-breasted Crake.

26 August
: A week in Yasuní National Park at the Yasuní Research Station with Andrew Spencer, Nick Leseberg, and Simon Mitchell was a vacation more than anything else. It's not often I get to bird the Amazon without guiding a tour. Weather was hot and insanely humid, but it did not rain more than about 10 drops during the whole week. Great birds there, though it was quite slow at times, perhaps due to the stifling humidity. The normally quiet research station got very crowded for a couple of days when the vice president came in and gave a speech on the Ecuadorian government's proposal to not drill the oil reserves in the national park if wealthy countries pay them not to. An interesting proposal, but it almost sounds like ransoming the Amazon. My best shot is the nesting Lanceolated Monklet that's now the featured photo. Photography in the dark Amazon rainforest is a challenge, but I managed some shots of some rarely photographed species, such as the Chestnut-winged Hookbill below. I haven't had time to add more species to the gallery yet, but hopefully will get a few hours this weekend.

Chestnut-winged Hookbill - Ancistrops strigilatus


Greater Yellow-headed Vulture - Cathartes melambrotus13 August: I'm beginning to work through my recent photos, though it's a slow process, hampered by a horrendous cold I picked up on the airplane. I kind of randomly started with cracids and vultures. I've managed to replace some poor shots of Razor-billed and Bare-faced Curassows, though they certainly can still be improved on, and added a shot of Black Guan from Costa Rica that I overlooked a few months back. I had great luck with both of the yellow-headed vultures, getting decent shots of each both perched and in flight. The photo to the right (Greater) was a rare opportunity as the bird came down the river to drink.

10 August
: Just back from a month in Brazil. I started with a soggy recce in the Northeast, then guided two great tours in a row, one was a short trip to the Southeast Atlantic Rainforest, and the other was my yearly trip to the Pantanal and southern Amazon. My recce was a bit frustrating due to rain. With the help of Steve Jones, a British expat living in Recife and also an amateur bird photographer (see his
excellentwork on WikiAves), I had arranged a trip to RPPN Frei Caneca and the nearby Fazenda Pedra D'Anta, two of the best remaining forest reserves in the region. A couple of weeks before I arrived, the region was afflicted by terrible floods, killing hundreds and washing away large parts of some of the towns near the reserves. It was a very sombre experience to drive through a town where most of the residents had lost everything. I did make it up to the reserves, staying in a park ranger's house with steve, but it rained much of the time we were there, and not only did I not see a lot of what I hoped for, by camera lens got wet and fogged up, drying out only on the day we had to leave, when the weather was of course fantastic! However, on that morning I was treated to the sight of a soaring White-collared Kite, one of the rarest and most endangered raptors in the entire world, which definitely put a smile on my face even if I couldn't photograph it. Thanks to the rain, we did get to watch the last few matches of the World Cup, but I would much preferred to have been out birding I have to admit. Below is my best shot of one of the regional endemics, a Pinto's Spinetail. I've got many new shots to add for the month, which I'll start doing as time permits.

Pinto's Spinetail - Synallaxis infuscata

4 July
: This will be my last update for a while, since I'm about to head for Brazil to lead a couple of tours and to do a recce in the Northeast. Not much to add other than a few photos that I hadn't uploaded yet. I had a disasterous road trip with Iain Campbell to what we thought was remote area of Southeast Ecuador. A few years ago it would have been great, but somehow Ecuador has gotten funding to widen and pave roads that go absolutely nowhere, destroying all the forest next to the road in the process. There were thousands of hectares of forest not far from the road, but absolutely no way of getting into it - at least until the inevitable logging trails go in. Then we had a day from hell - first it rained all day, then the car broke down for inexplicable reasons. It started up again an hour later, and almost immediately we had a flat. We watched the US lose to Ghana over lunch, got the tire fixed which took forever, then the car stopped again. The mechanics had no idea what it was. We decided to try to make it to Macas, and the car died for good a couple miles from the town of Logroño. We pushed it most of the way and then had someone pull us into town where there was a hostal and a dodgy bar that we immediately went to. I ended up having to get the car towed back to Quito at great expense, hassle and time. It turns out the security system had broke and was preventing the car from starting. Not something you can get fixed in the middle of nowhere. I hate security systems, but you can't insure new cars here without them. There is something to be said for beat-up second-hand cars... Anyway, we birded in trashed east-slope woodland for a few hours around Logroño, hardly managing to photograph anything except vultures - which seemed appropriate under the circumstances!

Giant Antpitta - Grallaria gigantea20 June: Coming off my antpitta failure of a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to finally get some decent shots of antpittas with my new 7D. I took it down to Angel Paz's bird sanctuary over the weekend and put it to the test. Things didn't start when I accidentally left my tripod at Tandayapa, and then this little kid scared away a cock-of-the-rock some of us were trying to photograph because he wanted to touch it. Well, I have to admit, the little kid was my godson, so I couldn't get too upset about that. Gabriel's dad Iain decided it wasn't a great idea to take him down after the antpittas, so they stayed up top and hand-fed Toucan Barbets while the rest of us went down. José lent me his tripod, and I got some shots of "Maria" and "Willy" coming into the worms. I was shooting at 1600 ISO and 1/20th of a second (flash is not allowed), and was pretty happy with the results. It's always a great day when I add new shots of antpittas, so I decided to take the opportunity to embed sounds recordings that I've uploaded to xeno-canto into the gallery page. I've got recordings of everything there except for the newly-described Fenwick's Antpitta, and it adds a nice new dimension to the page. I got a few other shots from the banana feeders at Paz de las Aves, including Blue-winged and Black-chinned Mountain-Tanagers, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and Sickle-winged Guan.

8 June
: A few nice new hummer shots today from Mirador Rio Blanco. Again the 7D impresses, as I got some super sharp and nicely lit shots handholding the 400m lens at 800 ISO. Check out the
Green-crowned Brilliant and Green Thorntails. Also, I have updated the photo index, this time adding in quality ratings for each species.

7 June
: Once again I failed to find Rufous-crowned Antpitta, this time at the Mangaloma reserve. It's becoming a habit. I did get to try out the Canon 7D in the dark rainforest understory. Working without flash and at high ISO levels, I was able to get some surprisingly good shots under the circumstances. This juvenile 
Barred Forest-Falcon was shot at 3200 ISO with a 1/50th of a second exposure. Noise is certainly obvious in the shot, but it looks decent if not blown up too much. A had a rare opportunity to shoot two Golden-crowned Spadebills in the same frame. This was at 1600 ISO and also 1/50th of a second. Noise is even less of an issue, but the shot was not 100% sharp, probably due to camera shake at the slow speed. Still, it sharpens up reasonably nicely and I was pretty happy to get something like that under the difficult circumstances. There were a few more shots - see the list below.

Crowned Chat-Tyrant - Ochthoeca frontalis30 May: The Biggest Week was a big hit, drawing an estimated 15,000 birders to the migration hotspot of Ohio's Lake Erie coast. I've added a gallery of photos I took while there. Definitely the biggest moment of the week happened when a Kirtland's Warbler turned up on Friday, May 14th, causing the biggest "twitch" I've ever experienced in the US. An estimated 2500-3000 birders saw it in a single day. It was a lifer for me, and I got there within minutes of hearing the news on the Twitter feed. Sadly, the week ended with a minor disaster, when the trailer that I was staying in, along with two other owners of TB, burned to thr ground, destroying a frightening amount of cameras, bins, scopes, laptops, documents, etc, including my SLR camera that I had been using for the last year and a half. I've replaced it now with the newer 7D, and yesterday had a chance to try it out in the field for the first time. It's very impressive, especially in low-light conditions. The photo above of a Crowned Chat-Tyrant was taken at 800 ISO, but shows no significant noise, and it does reasonably well even at 1600 ISO. I'm looking forward to trying it out in lowland rainforest.

















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