Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ecuador - Heaven on Earth! Part 1

Guagua Pinchicha Volcano, Ecuador... What a view!
Just when I thought that I could not see anything prettier than what I had thus far in life... I awoke after a late night flight to the spectacular scenery that surrounds Quito, Ecuador. My good friend and I recently spent 6 days in Ecuador doing some birding and sightseeing. To sum up the trip it was nothing short of absolutely spectacular. The only regret was that I did not spend the entire time birding and took 2 full days to do some city tours.

Booted Racket-tail... Tandayapa, EC. This was my favorite of the 20 species of Hummingbirds we saw on our trip.

We spent our time in Ecuador primarily in three places. San Jorge Quito, San Jorge Tandayapa, and San Jorge Milpe. All three are owned and operated by San Jorge Eco Lodges and Reserves. . Each reserve is unique in that is set in a different elevation starting at the top with San Jorge Quito at approx. 9,500 feet above sea level. Within each lodge site you get an entirely different habitat offering a great diversity of birds.

Purple-bibbed Whitetip... Tandayapa, EC.

Of the three lodges, Tandayapa certainly reigned supreme with its wide variety of hummingbirds and their willingness to do a heavy traffic variety show all day as you eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hummingbirds by the hundreds are constantly buzzing around the feeders in an attempt to get their share of the sugar water provided by the lodge.

Purple-throated Woodstar (F), Tandayapa, EC... I did not take many good pictures but this is one of my favorites. She was so "puffed-up"on this perch.

We were fortunate enough during our visits to the three lodge to have Jorge Cruz (the owner and local bird expert) guide us to the hotspots throughout the reserves. He and his wife were both wonderful people and did a fantastic job identifying birds that would have otherwise caused hours of debate. Dr. Cruz was very knowledgeable and his passion for birds is apparent from the very start.

Andean Emerald, Tandayapa, EC.

In all we seen about 123 species while in Ecuador. I fell short of my goal which was 150 but I believe that goal would have been easily hit had we not taken the city tours. This trip brought my Life List to 393 leaving alot of opportunity for me to hit my goal of 500 this year!

More to come....


Kelly said...

Wow! Lucky you...beautiful birds. The color on the last hummer is amazing. It must be unbelievable there.

T and S said... are really lucky like Kelly said. This is stunning array of tiny birds and they seem to pose for you

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal