In the past people have been birding regularly in the Botanical Garden of Carolina Park in Quito (0º11’12 S, 78º29’08 W). However, in the winter of 2008-2009 I have been visiting the place continuously, several times a week, and it turned out to be a bigger migration trap than I previously thought. Also a number of other birders came to the place this year to see some of the rare migrants. The biggest find so far was a Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
that I found on 27 November 2008. It stayed the winter in the garden and was last seen on 3 april 2009. There are very few records of this species from the Ecuadorian Amazon but this is the first one from the Andes and highlands. Also present on 27 November was a Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
. This bird may have been of the migratory race not yet recorded in Ecuador. In addition, two Tennessee Warblers Vermivora peregrina
(also rare in Ecuador) were found by Jonas Nilsson and two researchers in late January 2009.
Other birds that were seen in the Botanical Garden this winter include Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia, Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata, Canada Warblers Wilsonia canadensis, Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi (seen by Charlie Vogt), Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus and Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea. All these birds have only been recorded less than a handful of times in the central valley. Furthermore, a number of Blackburnian Warblers Dendroica fusca, Swainson’s Thrushes Catharus ustulatus, Summer Tanagers Piranga rubra and one or two Black-and-white Warblers Mniotilta varia have been spending the winter in the Botanical Garden. Another interesting sighting was a Sand Martin Riparia riparia on 28 February 2009.This species is also rarely recorded in the central valley. During the spring migration a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen 13 march and surprisingly another Prothonotary Warbler was there 31 march until 3 april. A Eastern Wood-Pewee was also present on the 31march. A few observations of Striated Herons Butorides striata were made as well.
Outside the Botanical Garden but also present in Quito was a Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
that was found by Dušan Brinkhuizen on 20 November 2008. The bird was foraging in a small number of poplars in a tiny park on 24 de Mayo Avenue, Centro Historico. The species is also a rare North-America migrant in Ecuador and this record is likely the first for Quito. Based on plumage characteristics it probably concerned a first year bird. The bird was even “twitched” by five fanatic birders. It stayed at the avenue till at least 27 November 2008. Taken all these sightings together Quito birding can be pretty nice!
Roger Ahlman (text and photos)