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REFUGIO ANGEL PAZ

ECUADOR
LOCALE

# Species*:61
# Excl Vagrants*:61
# Endemics*:0
# Near Endemics*:12
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Cloud forest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Refugio Paz is a private farm inherited by Angel Paz and converted into a nature reserve. The farm was subdivided among the children through inheritance. Angel preserved his land while his brothers larged cleared their tracts. His land remains mostly forested and in quite pristine condition. Angel has gained substantial fame for developing a technique for conditioning extremely rare antpittas and other rare birds to come out onto the trail. There is also an active Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek part way down the trail to the river. The trail is quite steep and often muddy so it can be difficult for people who have ankle or knee problems. Visits must be arranged in advance, as Angel strictly limits the number of visitors allowed on the property each morning so as not to disturb the birds.

Groups must arrive at the blind near the Cock-of-the-Rock lek before first light, so it's necessary to get up quite early, around 4:00 AM. Following a half-hour drive from Mindo and another half-hour walk down the trail, one can observe the birds displaying on the lek for the first 30-45 minutes of daylight. Thereafter, Angel will attempt to lure his conditioned antpittas out onto the trail not far from the lek area. Species reliably seen in recent years have been Giant Antpitta and Yellow-breasted Antpitta. In some years the more secretive and more difficult to see Moustached Antpitta can sometimes also be seen. Recently, Angel has been conditioning Ochre-breasted Antpitta as well. In addition to antpittas, Angel has conditioned the very secretive Choco endemic Dark-backed Wood-Quail, so this species is also seen on some visits. Many other birds can be seen in the forest on Angel's property including Golden-headed Quetzal and Toucan Barbet. A dozen or so hummingbird species visit the feeders at the top of the trail, so groups generally spend time in late morning enjoying breakfast prepared by Angel's staff while watching hummingbirds come in to the feeders.

LOCATION OF SITE

Refugio Paz is located up a quite steep side road from the main highway going towards Mindo and Esmeraldas from Quito. The turnoff is not far east from Mindo Junction. From there the finca is situated near the crest of the road, about 15 minutes from the turnoff.