Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Our recent trip to Ecuador

We have just returned from a very enjoyable two week birdwatching trip to southern Equador. Our guide, Andres Trujillo, was excellent. Infact he is the best guide we have ever had. His bird knowledge was phenomenal, he knew every call, every bird and he had the patience of a saint, making sure we all saw each bird. Our trip was booked through Ecuador Nature Expeditions who did a fantastic job.  Our itinery and their choice of lodges were spot on, plus they were very reasonably priced ! I have to say though, that rainforest birdwatching is the most difficult birding we have ever done, nothing was easy. Every bird seemed to be obscured by leaves and the forests were dense, giving very little views. But we all did our best and saw as much as we could.

The lodges we stayed in were fantastic, spotless clean, good homecooked food and very helpful staff. Most had hummingbird and fruit feeders which was an excellent way to see birds. We were astounded by the hummingbirds and how close we were to them, hearing and feeling their wings as they flew past you, showing no fear of humans at all. That was a magical part of the holiday.

We experienced all weathers as you will see from our pics but the rain.....dear lord above, it was rain on biblical proportions and that's no exaggeration. It rained for the whole 3 days solid that we stayed in Tapachalaca, it was relentless. It brought down massive landslides and flooding, it is the heaviest and most persistent rain that we have ever been in ! While we were there we heard news that there had been 4 eathquakes at the coast also, in a country that hasn't yet recovered from the massive earthquake earlier this year. We saw bridges that had been brought down, buildings that were cracked from top to bottom and signs on roads saying 'fault line, road shifting'. Very scary stuff indeed.

But the birding.....WOW !  There were birds everywhere, it was fantastic and our guide Andres, didn't miss one of them. Of course the group were all eagle eyed spotters aswell and between us we managed a very reasonable list of birds. The highlight was without doubt the Jocotoco Antpitta, we said it was the 'bird of our life' so far. The hummingbirds were just spectacular to see and we saw 42 different species.....just stunning !

Other birding highlights included gray and pale-browed tinamou, bearded and crested guan, a white-fronted quail-dove, trogons, toucans and motmots, a copper-chested jacamar, El Oro Parakeets, antshrikes, antbirds and antwrens, Watkin's, Jocotoco and Chestnut-naped Antpittas, Cock-of-the-Rock, Umbrellabird,  and well over 400 other birds.

A fantastic trip that we will remember forever !

No comments: