Monday, November 30, 2015

Ecuador Day 1 and 2 (Quito and Yanacocha)

Sparkling Violetear (first life bird of the trip), Quito, Ecuador, Nov 16, 2015
I arrived in Ecuador very late on the night of Sunday the 15th and then spent the next day in Quito resting up for the next several days of intense birding. During my off day on Monday I spent some time outside in the small courtyard of the the hotel I was in and despite the activities and noise of the city I still managed to find some life birds including two new hummingbirds...Black tailed Trainbearer and Sparkling Violetear. I also added Eared Dove as a new life bird. Mid morning I walked several blocks up to a small city park (Parque La Carolina) and found many of the same birds I had at the hotel but added Great Thrush and Cinereous Conebill. Five new life birds in a day paled in comparison to what the next several days brought me.

Band winged Nightjar, Yanacocha, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
Hooded Mountain Tanager, Yanacocha, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
Barred Fruiteater, Yanacocha, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
Sword billed Hummingbird, Yanacocha, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
Turquoise Jay, Nono-Mindo Rd, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
Crimson rumped Toucanet, Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador, Nov 17, 2015
On Tuesday I met the guide for the trip Jose Illanes bright and early in Quito and the group then headed out to Yanacocha, high up in the mountains along the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano. We made a couple of brief stops along the way and added a few species. Once we arrived we spent the next few hours there and were rewarded with a great number of birds including hummingbirds (including the impressive Sword billed Hummingbird among them), Band winged Nightjar, tanagers, fruiteaters and many others . We made it out a few miles to where we intended to turn back and then it started to rain (always happens when you are as far away from the car as possible!). We got soaked on the way back but a little time in the car and some food had us forgetting all about it. We then slowly worked our way toward Tandayapa Lodge along the old Nono-Mindo road with several stops along the way that produced more birds (and more rain!).  We made it to Tandayapa Lodge late in the day in the rain but the hummingbird feeders still put on a show with a dozen plus seen in just a little bit of time. Another noteworthy sighting was a Crimson tailed Toucanet that tried its best to capture a hummingbird but had no success.  The first full day on the tour produced 85 species total with 65 of those life birds.

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