Day 4, Exploring the Reserva Yanacocha and Even More Hummingbirds:
Along with a breakfast that we didn’t mind being a couple of hours late, we were treated to more roads that were as scary as they were bumpy. I wore a motion sickness patch the entire trip to keep me from being sick out the windows of our guide’s car, so the sight-seeing out the windows was much more pleasant for me that most birding trips I have been on. With my camera not working well, I didn’t get many photos, but the camera did manage to work just enough when it mattered. My iPhone came in handy for videos and closer feeders.
Not Lifers, as I have seen Band-tailed Pigeons in flight in both Arizona and California, but I’ve never got a photo or seen them sitting still before, as we did with this large flock resting in trees just off the highway.
Day 5, With a Name Like Cock-of-the-Rock it Better Be Good:
And the bird didn’t disappoint. We had to be on the road at 4:00am so we could arrive before 6:00am so we would be at the mystery location where we could see the bird. All of these trips we took over the week would not have been possible without the incredible help of the guides we hired through Ecuador Nature Tours. This one was to a private area where the owner guides guests to a variety of very difficult to see birds, including the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. It was still just past dawn and dark, so photographs were not easy, but digiscoping was the solution once the birds started appearing, heard before seen but what a sight when they appeared. We spent an hour or so enjoying them, before setting off on an adventure for Antpittas.
These Andean Cock-of-the Rock digiscopes show the bird from behind:
Heavily edited from a darkened exposure of the bird from the front. You never seem to see both eyes at the same time, from the front or back.
On the way to the Antpittas we stopped for a look at a Dark-backed Wood-Quail that feeds at the side of the road early in the morning:
After a brief stop for hummingbirds, where we would eventually have our late breakfast, it was on to finding the Antpittas. The first two were coming close to the road, so after while the first two showed up, along with a bonus flycatcher.
The next two Antpittas were not going to be easy and I was once again lucky to have a walking stick. The destination was deep into the woods, down a steep and muddy tract. But the walk was worth it for a few more Ecuador specialties.
And at the very end of the trail, having survived the mud-slopes, and in need of a rest, we were able to sit and enjoy the...
We ended the trip on a high note, visiting the equator. We passed right through it on our way back into Quito, so it was a fitting end to our trip to Ecuador!