July 6 - 22, 2010
Most of our planning was done by Peter Hawrylyshyn, of Toronto. Since he had been to the area several times, he suggested locations and a guide (Boris Herrera), all of which turned out very well. Places we went include Antisana Volcano, Lodges listed below, Suomax, Cabanas del Rio, Yanacocha trail, Papallacta Pass & Cayambe Coca Reserve, and Milpe Reserve.
Antisana is a high, snow-covered volcano near Quito. The habitat is damp, and it's called Paramo. It's one of only a few places where the Ecuadorian Hillstar can be found, as well as more common furnariids (Ovenbirds) like Canasteros and Cinclodes. A very special introduction to the Andes.
The lodges were all very comfortable and food was good. Along the road near Papallacta Pass we got to explore a bit of Polylepis forest, a special habitat of the high Andes. But the fog made it difficult to find too many birds.
Our focus was multi-flash photography of hummingbirds, and we were quite successful. Total species list was only 300, but we saw 65 hummers, and photographed about 50.
“The Birds of Ecuador, Field Guide" by Robert S Ridgely and Paul J Greenfield, Cornell University Press, 2001.
We stayed at comfortable Eco-lodges in
Mindo Loma - Boris Herrera's family lodge - hummer and tanager photography was good in the gardens and from the balcony.
Tandayapa - difficult access up a steep trail, but being fixed.
Guango, owned by the Bustamante family, good trails and hummer photography.
WildSumaco, owned by Bonnie & Jim Olsen and Jonas, was wonderful for hummers, and very comfortable.
San Isidro is owned by the Bustamante family, and Carmen is a travel agent, able to arrange trips over all Ecuador.