Day 7

Disaster struck early today as Pete had taken poorly overnight and didn't feel confident in straying far from the bathroom. He was insistent that the rest of us stick to the plan and hopefully he would be better for the travel day tomorrow.
Target for today was the endangered endemic, the Yellow-eared Parrot. However, we were aware the road was blacked due to a landslide, a fairly common problem in the montains. The plan was to drive up as far as we could go, walk across the land slide and carry on walking up the road, hopefully getting picked up by a trout farmer to take us to the Reserve at the top of the pass.

The first part went to plan and we made our way across the impressive scar left by the land slide to find a local service bus parked up. No driver, unfortunately, s0 we headed off up the mountain in the, at times heavy, rain. It actually didn't take us that long to find our first Yellow-eared Parrots, a small group, looking rather bedraggled in the rain, were hanging out in some road side trees, give great views.

As we approached the Trout farm, still on foot, Martin picked up a couple of Red-hooded Tanagers, before we were all buzzed by a Tourmaline Sunangle, which at one point looked about to remove one of Phil's eyes it was that close. The reason for this behaviour became apparent we we noticed the the feeders at the farm were empty, the hummer trying to bully us into filling them.

As we birded around the farm area, the service bus came up the road, so we flagged it down and jumped onboard. I'm not sure what the locals made on us, but we were quickly transported up to the summit and were dropped of just outside a hacienda. At this point we were out of the coulds, the sun was out and a group of Yellow-eared Parrots showed well in the sun. The Hacienda allowed visitors in to see the Parrots and the Hummingbirds visiting the feeder, so we made our way into the grounds to enjoy a coffee and the hummers. Most were Tourmaline Sunangles, but a Sword-billed did put in a brief appearance. Phil caused some confussion amongst the hummers when he removed the drinking cup from the kitchen.

We had just finished our 2nd coffee when a bus went past heading back towards Jardin. Alejandro managed to flag it down and we made the short hop to the Yellow-eared Parrot reserve. We didn't go into the reserve itself but did manage to call in a pair of Azara's Spinetails before we headed back down the road, into the rain, towards Jardin.

Whilst there was plenty of bird life, nothing new was picked upon the way down. We did manage to cadge a lift from the Trout farmer down to the landslip, where it was dry. After crossing back over the scar we found our last two new species for the day, Orange-bellied Euphonia and Andean Solitare.

On returning to the Hotel fe found Pete had recoverd sufficiently to take a walk back down to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek, and get some impressive photo's in better light. He also managed a couple of species that had so far had eluded us, Torrent Tyrant and Russet-backed Oropedola.

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