Date: 1/6/18 7:22 pm From: Nickel, James B <James.Nickel...> Subject: Mindo Best CBC Ever
I have attended many CBC's over the years and have really enjoyed them and the Kansas birding community. One thing I have always wondered about is where have our summer birds gone during the winter, when we conduct our CBC's. I have always dreamed of going to a count where there are some of our summer birds. I look over the data from counts that are further south and think about places like Mexico, Central and South America. This year, because my daughter graduated from college, it was time for a family celebration trip to Ecuador. As luck would have it the Mindo CBC would be occurring during our visit.
In 2016 Mindo had the greatest number of bird species for all counts conducted, about 450 species. I knew I was in for something special when we turned off the highway towards Mindo and there was a 15 foot tall statue of a Andean Cock of the Rock bird. The pre-bird count meeting is called a inauguration. I have never been to an inauguration for a bird count that has an elevated stage with multicolored flashing theater lights, and a fog machine. There were a least 5 different dancing groups. One group had people dressed up as birds and other groups were dressed in traditional Ecuadorian costumes. Each time a group came out a big wave of fog was produced by a machine. The whole community was involved. There were also about 3 or 4 music groups that performed. For 15$ I got 2 bird posters, a t-shirt, a box lunch, transportation to count area, and in my group 2 professional guides. Mindo knows how to throw a CBC party!!!
I birded quite a bit while I was in Ecuador and the Kansas birds that occur in Ecuador that I found are in order starting with the most individuals per species and finishing with the least are: 1. Black Vulture 2. Cattle Egrets 3. Blackburnian Warbler ( I saw more Blackburnians in 1 day then I have seen in my whole life in Kansas) 4.Swainson's Thrush 5. Summer tanager 6. House wren 7.Vermillion Flycatcher 8. Kestrel 9. Greater Yellow Legs 10. Turkey Vulture 11. Canada Warbler 12. Western Wood Peewee 13. Spotted Sandpiper.
Thoughts on Ecuador (1) The cloud forest is stunning for the depth and width of its beauty and biodiversity.(2) Migration is a miracle. Any bird that can make it from Ecuador to Kansas is a testament to strength and endurance. (3)If you know some Spanish, a trip to Ecuador is less expensive than a Alaska trip.(4) I hope to go back in 2 years with a group of Kansas birders.(5) My best Ecuadorian birds were Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird and Ecuadorian Pygmy Owl. Jim Nickel, Peabody, Kansas