DAY 1 - This morning our Ecuadorian adventure began. We left the Quito Sheraton early and met Galo at the airport, flying on to Guayaquil. Once there we met Luis, our driver and headed directly towards wetlands and rice fields south of the city. Among our many great birds the highlight was a spectacular close view of a Horned Screamer!
We continued on to Puerto Bolivar on the coast where we enjoyed a good seafood lunch at the Caribe Line restaurant, while frigatebirds, gray-hooded gulls and pelicans cruised the shore.
We left the lowlands after lunch and entered the foothills ascending to around 500 meters elevation near Pinas. Our destination was the Buenaventura reserve and Umbrellabird lodge. The hummingbird feeders here have to be seen to be believed!
DAY 2 - BUENAVENTURA LODGE
Our number one target here was the namesake bird for the lodge, the very rare and tricky to see Long-watted Umbrellabird. On our first full day we had great weather and we had spectacular views of both female and male umbrellabirds. The muddy slick hike to the birds made for a fun adventure, but it was a big payback.
The fruit and nectar feeders at the lodge pavilion/restaurant made a great place to study the hummers, and other colourful species. This male Green Honeycreeper was a common and beautiful attendant of the feeders.
This cheeky Brown Coati was one of a small band of these trouble makers that took advantage of the bounty of nectar and fruit.
One of the most common hummingbirds was the dainty bee like Green Thorntail. This female hovers near a feeder before getting her nectar reward.
This region boasts many restricted range species. The Pale-mandibled Aracari was one of these specialties. Here he is trying to crunch up a huge beetle for a snack.
There are so many hummers at the feeders here that they regularly perch making great photo opps in the small trees around the pavilion. This aptly name male White-necked Jacobin is one of the common show stoppers here.
Hermits are one of those hummingbirds that look rather ho hum on the colour plates but their behaviour and structure make them a hit. This White-whiskered Hermit, along with Barons Hermit, was a regular at the feeders.