After our high-elevation adventure netted us numerous new birds we headed to lower ground, but on the east slope of the Andes Mountains, an area of Ecuador we had not yet begun to explore.  We would only have two-and-a-half days on the east slope but Renato had put together an itinerary that we hoped would net us quite a few species.  Our first stop, where we would bird for as long as the light held out, was the wonderful Guango Lodge.  At about 2,700 meters Guango Lodge is well above the Amazon and sits in temperate, but humid, forest.

From the moment we pulled in to the driveway of the lodge we were birding, literally, as hummingbird feeders sit next to the driveway.  And what hummingbird feeders!  They were loaded with good birds, most of them new to our group of Queens birders, though a couple were repeats from earlier in the trip.  We oohed and aahed and stared and photographed for at least fifteen minutes without walking more than ten meters from the van.  Then we realized that there were more feeders by the lodge and all of our heads simultaneously exploded.  It was pretty impressive…

Below are some of the images I managed to get despite the low light and the fact we couldn’t spend much time at the feeders because we had some trails to walk to search for more good birds.  I am one hundred percent sure of the identifications on every image except for the last two (though I am pretty sure about them, or, at least, as sure as a one-time visitor to South America can be about South American hummingbirds that he has only seen once) so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong on them!

Collared Inca Coeligena torquata

female Mountain Velvetbreast Lafresnaya lafresnayi

Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis

Chestnut-breasted Coronet Boissonneaua matthewsii

female White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant

Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera

Masked Flowerpiercer Diglossopis cyanea (obviously NOT a hummingbird)

White-bellied Woodstar Chaetocercus mulsant

Collared Inca Coeligena torquata (click for a bigger view)

female Tourmaline Sunangel Heliangelus exortis (click for a bigger view)

female Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi

The feeders were amazing but they were only a precurser to even better birding to come (I know, I know, I wouldn’t have believed it either but wait until the next post!).

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.