Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Birding in Ecuador: Part 1

Rob writes: It's been a few days since I returned from my trip to Ecuador but I'm just now getting the chance to write about the trip.

Ecuador was a spectacular country to visit. From the incredible diversity of birds to the wonderful lodges and friendly people, traveling in Ecuador is a fantastic experience. I'll be making several posts about my trip over the next couple of weeks.

After meeting my Sabrewing business partner, Brian, in Atlanta, we boarded our flight Quito. Our friend and guide for the trip, Edison BuenaƱo, met us at the airport and took us to Hotel Quito for the night. I had heard that the hotel property was decent for finding a few birds so I was up early the next morning to see what I might be able to find. After some time on the balcony, I added a few life birds such as the very common Great Thrush as well as Black-tailed Trainbearer.

The view from the top floor of Hotel Quito at sunrise.
Edison picked us up after breakfast and we headed for Reserva Yanacocha. Since I had never been to Ecuador, the lifers came fast! I ended up with 28 lifers here including three mountain-tanagers and 9 hummingbirds.

My first Sword-billed Hummingbird of the trip at Yanacocha.
After spending several hours exploring Yanacocha, we drove the Old Nono-Tandayapa Road towards Mindo. Since it was midday, the birding was rather slow during the first part of our drive but picked up significantly as we got near Mindo. We found a flock of birds and spend about 30 minutes sorting through all the species that were present.

Our final stop of the day was at a bird feeding station that a local has set up behind his house. Since Edison said that place was pretty new, we weren't sure what to expect but it turned out to be awesome! The hummingbird feeders were very active and Sickle-winged Guan came in for a banana late in the afternoon. Our first day ended with 71 lifers!

Once it was too dark to continue birding, we made our way to Septimo Paraiso which would be our home base for the next 3 days. Check back soon to read about out time birding on the Western Slope.

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