The half-day we spent at the Antisana Ecological Reserve in the highlands of Ecuador was one of the great highlights of our eight-day trip.  The birds were great but what this post will focus on is the sheer grandeur of the landscape, a landscape that is difficult to describe with just words.  Antisana Ecological Reserve is comprised of over 120,000 hectares of land, so it is immense, and the section we visited was the high elevation páramo, which is, despite being near the equator, above the treeline.  Though we reached an elevation of over 4,000 meters, two snow-capped volcanos, including the parks namesake, Volcan Antisana, still towered over us, their peaks often in the clouds.  The elevation and the scenery made for what was truly a breathtaking panorama, one that I hope to revisit someday.

Only an hour from Quito, the páramo part of the park is actually grazed by sheep, and the runoff from the snow-capped peaks is used as a municipal water supply.  Despite the human presence the feeling of the landscape was one of isolation and wildness and the occasional vehicle or person encountered felt wildly out of place, even when standing on the side of the road.  My next post will focus on the birds we found in Antisana Ecological Reserve but, until then, enjoy the landscapes.

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 and Desmond Shearwater. 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.