Ecuador: A Hummingbird Extravaganza: Feb 08—17, 2013
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Chestnut-breasted Coronet — Photo: David Wolf
Ecuador is one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, and this exceptional natural wealth can be experienced perhaps best through its incredible hummingbird diversity. During this weeklong trip we will be able to observe some 60 different species under the most favorable viewing conditions found anywhere. This tour has been specially designed for hummingbird fanatics and photographers and anyone who would like to experience the Neotropics through these spectacular living gems.
On this Hummingbird Extravaganza we will follow an easy transect up and over the eastern and western Andean slopes to revel in a spectacle of color, glitter, and frenzy unlike anything one could ever imagine. This is a world of hummingbirds—these tiny (or not so!) creatures that can fly backwards, sideways, and even upside down, as they feed, battle, and interact with each other at a dizzying pace. We will concentrate on observing and/or photographing as many species of this intriguing family as we can. Ecuador is a hummingbird-rich country that has grown to embrace these birds like no other.
Our journey takes us to a variety of key sites at different elevations along both slopes of the northern Andes, each maintaining wonderful hummingbird feeding stations where we can comfortably watch, compare, and enjoy a wide range of species. We will also take the optional opportunity to explore forest trails and observe flowering plants in search of the few species that don't visit feeders regularly. This is an opportunity to focus on these marvelous creatures in a very relaxed and easy manner. We will stay at comfortable lodges and visit the most renowned hummingbird localities in northern Ecuador, including the high tundra-like páramo zone along the Papallacta Pass, temperate zone forest at Guango Lodge, Amazonian foothills at Wildsumaco Lodge, elfin temperate forest along the western Andean crest at Yanacocha Reserve, and the western subtropical and foothill cloud forests of the Mindo-Milpe area and Sachatamia Lodge.
We can expect as many as (and maybe even beyond) 60 species of hummingbirds! Just a sample of what we may find includes: White-whiskered Hermit; Violet-tailed and Long-tailed sylphs; Black-tailed Trainbearer; Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted pufflegs; Collared and Brown incas; Buff-winged Starfrontlet; the unimaginable Sword-billed Hummingbird; Great Sapphirewing; Buff-tailed, Chestnut-breasted, and Velvet-purple coronets; Booted Racket-tail; Purple-bibbed Whitetip; Green-crowned, Fawn-breasted, Black-throated, and Empress brilliants; Wire-crested and Green thorntails; White-bellied and Purple-throated woodstars; Fork-tailed and Green-crowned woodnymphs; and Gould's Jewelfront. This is a perfect itinerary for fanatics, photographers, beginners, and families that feel the urge to delve into the world of tropical hummingbirds in a light-paced but "full-on" fashion.
Good accommodations; hummingbird feeders in lush Andean gardens; good to excellent cuisine; some field lunches; optional light walking on varied terrain; roadside and light forest birding; midday rest periods; cool to mildly warm and humid climate.