Some readers may have noticed that I haven’t been myself lately, that my blogging output has diminished, to say the least. While the safe money on why my brain is a bit mushy would certainly be on an excess of book reviews in December, I have a much more reasonable explanation: I am going to Ecuador next week!
Yes indeed, the birding gods have smiled upon me once again, sending their emissaries Renato and Paola to graciously invite me to the world’s only eco-lodge inside a 2500 year old caldera. Pululahua Hostal will be our base of operations as we explore both spines of the Ecuadorean Andes.
Why is a regrettably brief trip to Ecuador sufficient to blow this man’s mind? Maybe because Ecuador has the highest avian species diversity in the world with over 1600 species packed into a country the size of Oregon. Maybe because the field guide is as thick as a telephone book, the old Yellow Pages kind. Maybe because the Northern Hemisphere’s infamous Little Brown Jobs are both garish and unmistakable in comparison to the equatorial profusion of ovenbirds, antbirds, and tyrant flycatchers. An outside observer might well think I’ve been studying for a doctorate in South American ornithology over the last few weeks. Folks, I’m just spending four days in Ecuador.
But what an amazing four days these presage to be. Renato has pieced together a preposterously thrilling itinerary that includes most of the hottest spots in the Quito area:
- Nono-Mindo Road, aka the Ecoroute
- Refugio Paz de las Aves
- Reserva Mangaloma
- Mirador del Rio Blanco
- El Milpe
- Pallapacta Pass
- Guango Lodge
All this in four days! If the exhaustion doesn’t end me, the sheer ecstasy of all those birds might.
Believe it or not, I’m not making this announcement to boast… I expect that my trip reports will do the talking on that score. Instead, I’m inviting YOUR reflections on birding Ecuador. Have you been to any of the locations I’ve mentioned? Have any tips you’d like to share? I’ll take all the advice I can get!