a teatray in the sky

Ecuador day 4: Refugio Paz de las Aves and back to Quito

Posted in 5D Mark II, Animals, Birds, Ecuador, Photography by firthefirst on September 6, 2011

our last day in the Mindo area would prove to be our most exciting.  Miguel loaded up the trusty Land Cruiser well before 5 am and before we were fully awake we were barrelling through dark cornfields to get to Angel de la Paz’s wildlife refuge to see the morning mating ritual of the cock-of-the-rock.  we hiked down wet slopes in the pitch black while bees ranged around us and waited for the show to begin.

cock-of-the-rocks are odd-looking birds with a large red crest that exaggerates the size of their head.  groups of males will get together every morning to screech and shake their highly visible heads to hopefully attract a female into their midst, after which she will pick a winner to mate with.  it’s a high-risk effort, as their loud, vibrant antics are equally likely to attract predators.  the party starts just as the faintest light creeps into the forest, and in twenty minutes, just as your eyes begin to adjust, it’s over.

antpittas are hard to find since they run along the forest floor rather than perching on the canopy, but Angel is a master of bird calling and so we got to see a few of these skulkers.

after a very late breakfast we hang out at the Septimo Paraiso feeders for a bit before starting the long wet drive back to Quito, and I manage to finally get half-decent shots of a few really need hummingbirds that I’ve been trying to shoot the entire time.

our arrival back in Quito signaled the beginning of the GAP Adventures portion of the tour … and more importantly, meant we would soon be in the Galapagos.  Tina and I were pleasantly shocked to discover how nice our hotel was, and it really made us wonder: if our lodgings are this nice, what do you get if you sign up for the “luxury” level instead of the “comfort” level?  we also realized over the course of dinner that overall we are still fans of Peruvian ceviche over Ecuadorian ceviche, and ordered accordingly.

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2 Responses

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  1. Tina said, on September 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    yummmm…. ceviche. amazing “neat” hummingbird shots. reliving the birding experience 🙂

  2. ladyladylike said, on September 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Wow, these images are just wonderful! I’ve been to Quito, Riobamba, Cuenca and Guayaquil! So inspired to see your travels 🙂 Such a breath of fresh air.


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