The Guango Lodge is on the eastern slope of the Andes at about 8,800 feet and features humid temperate forest.
Subtropical forest on the eastern slope of the Andes, around 6,000 feet.
(As always, click on the pictures to see a larger version.)
The Artisana Ecological Reserve extends high above the treeline, almost 19,000 feet at its highest point. (I think we only got to about 12,000 feet.) This presents a different kind of challenge for bird photography.
I had dreams of getting a good photo of an Andean Condor, the worlds largest flying bird, but the only ones we saw were too far away for any lens I could reasonably be expected to carry.
Let’s zoom in closer on these cliffs.
Hmmm…what’s that near the top? Maybe if I severely crop the image…
Yup, that’s an Andea Condor all right. (At least according to our guide.) Sorry, but that’s the best I could do.
The Paz de las Aves Reserve features subtropical forest at about 6,000 feet.
The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is a large brightly-colored bird with an oddly-shaped head. It gets its name from the fact that the males get together every morning at dawn and have a contest to see who can scream the loudest.
This is tropical forest at around 1,000 feet.
(October 8 & 9)
The Sachatamia Lodge and Rainforest Reserve, altitude approximately 5,500 feet.
Another Rufus-collared Sparrow. (These are basically trash birds, found everywhere.)
As always, click on the photos to see a larger view.
I was able to get a few birds at the entrance…
The reason that Ecuador has so many types of birds (some other countries have more species, but none come close to the number of species per square mile) is that the mountains give it a wide variety of microclimates. The Yanachocha trail has an altitude more than 10,000 feet and features temperate forests, a very different environment from Quito.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is the highest capital city in the world at about 9,000 feet.
An urban area isn’t an ideal place to look for birds but Guápulo Park offers some nice specimens. (Click the pictures for a larger view.)
A Rufous Collared Sparrow.