Saturday, October 31, 2015

Birding in Ecuador: Part 4 - Antisana

One of my favorite parts of trips to the tropics is the opportunity to visit high elevation areas, especially páramo. Since the Antisana is one of the best páramo habitats that can be visited, I was especially excited to get to the park. It was a beautiful drive from Quito over to the park and we had the added bonus of being able to take some photos of the erupting Cotopaxi since it was a beautiful clear day.

Cotopaxi Volcano - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
Just before arriving at the park, we stopped at a roadside restaurant that had a few hummingbird feeders and is a great place to look for Andean Condor. We had good but distant views of the condor and enjoyed watching Giant Hummingbirds and Shining Sunbeams come in to the feeders.

Although these high elevation sites don't tend to have huge species lists, the quality of the birds you see more than makes up for it! Some of our highlights included Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Teal, Silvery Grebe, Black-faced Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Tawny Antpitta, Chestnut-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Many-striped Canastero, and Paramo Pipit.

Andean Lapwing - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
Black-faced Ibis - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
Carunculated Caracara - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
Paramo Pipit - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
Tawny Antpitta - Photo by Brian Zwiebel
After spending the whole morning birding and photographing at Antisana, we started our long drive back towards Quito and then up through Papallacta Pass to Guango Lodge. Although we had planned to bird near Papallacta Pass, the fog was extremely thick making birding impossible. Check back soon to read about the rest of our awesome trip to Ecuador.

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