Northern Ecuador Hummingbird & Tanager Extravaganza: Mar 15—24, 2019
A Relaxed & Easy Tour
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Ecuador is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, and this exceptional natural wealth can be experienced perhaps best through its incredible hummingbird and tanager diversity. During this weeklong trip we will enjoy up to 60 different hummingbirds and perhaps 40 distinct tanagers under the most favorable and relaxed viewing conditions found anywhere. This tour has been specially designed for birding enthusiasts and photographers, along with anyone who would like to embrace the Neotropics through these spectacular living gems.
This Extravaganza follows an easy transect up and over the eastern and western Andean slopes to revel in a spectacle of unimaginable color, glitter, and frenzy. This is a world dominated by these two families: 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—and tanagers, characterized by their plethora of vibrant colors. We will concentrate on observing and/or photographing as many species within these intriguing families as we possibly can.
Our journey takes us to a variety of key sites at varied elevations, each maintaining wonderful nectar and fruit feeding stations where we can watch, compare, and enjoy a wide range of species in surprising comfort. We will also take optional walks 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 and tanager localities in northern Ecuador’s high tundra-like páramo zone at Antisana and along the Papallacta Pass, temperate zone forest at Guango Lodge and Cabañas San Isidro, Amazonian foothills at Wildsumaco, elfin temperate forest at Yanacocha Reserve, the western subtropical and foothill cloud forests of the Mindo-Milpe area, and the Pacific coastal lowlands at Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary.
The names alone are mouthwatering! Just think hermits, sylphs, trainbearers, pufflegs, incas, starfrontlets, sapphirewings, sword-bills, sunbeams, coronets, racket-tails, whitetips, hillstars, brilliants, thornbills, woodstars, woodnymphs, jewelfront emeralds, sapphires, and fairies! And what about Glistening-green, Orange-eared, Flame-faced, Golden-eared, Paradise, Emerald, Rufous-throated, Golden-crowned, and Grass-green tanagers, or Hooded, Lacrimose, Blue-winged, Black-chinned, or Scarlet-bellied mountain-tanagers!
This is a perfect itinerary for fanatics, photographers, and even beginners who feel the urge to delve into the world of tropical hummingbirds and tanagers in a light-paced but “full-on” fashion.
Good accommodations; bird feeders in lush Andean gardens; good to excellent cuisine; some field lunches; optional light walking on slightly varied terrain; roadside and light forest birding; midday and evening periods of R&R; cool to mildly warm and humid climate.