Sunday, June 12, 2016

Birding in Tandayapa, Ecuador

We decided that once we were down in Ecuador for our Galapagos Island trip we should spend a little extra time doing something else. So we planned a birding trip. I found the Magic Birding Circuit on Tripadvisor and an itinerary was set up for us to visit the San Jorge Eco-lodges in Tandayapa and

Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Tandayapa is in the sub-tropical cloud forest of the Andes Mountains. The views from our room were spectacular! It was a little overwhelming at first - just us and the forest. However, the husband and wife team in the dining area and our birding guide, Miguel, made us feel right at home.

San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa

View from our room
Hiking trail for birding

This is the open area for meals. It was wonderful to sit and eat and watch the birds come in. Our guide, Miguel, and a Washington State student joined us on this day.

Glasswinged Butterfly

We also spent a couple of days at their San Jorge Eco-Lodge Quito located just above Quito in the Pichincha protected forest. Here we joined a group of about 10 birders. 
We are off on a birding trek with Dr. Cruz and Miguel as our guides. For us low altitude people the climb was quite strenuous. The path finally leveled out and the going was much easier.

Our hike ended at a pretty waterfall where we found a Saphire-vented Puffleg.

Saphire-vented Puffleg
My next post will feature some of the birds we saw. It's time to return home and rest!

The Birds From Our Trip To Tandayapa and Quito

Here are some of the birds we saw while staying at the San Jorge Eco-Lodges in Tandayapa and Quito, Ecuador.

Silver-throated Tanager 
Thick-billed Euphonia 
White-necked Jacobin 
White-lined Tanager (Female)
Andean Emerald
Blue-and-Yellow Tanager 
Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 
Blue-gray Tanager 
Black-capped Tanager 
White-winged Brush-Finch 
Rufous-naped Brush-Finch 
Rufous-collared Sparrow  
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager 
Shining Sunbeam  
Red-headed Barbet 
Lemon-rumped Tanager 
Purple-throated Woodstar 
Sparkling Violetear 

Golden-headed Quetzal 
Golden Tanager 
Golden-naped Tanager 
Great Thrush 
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 
Brown Violetear
Crimson-rumped Toucanet 
Fawn-breasted Brilliant

We booked our trip to the Galapagos Islands and the birding tour for Quito and Tandayapa about 2 years ago. This was a very active vacation and we wanted to do it while we were in good health. We have wonderful memories and lots of photos! Adios from Ecuador. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Galapagos Island Adventure Part 1

Two years ago my husband and I decided we wanted to experience the Galapagos Islands while we were healthy enough to enjoy all the activities offered by a Galapagos tour. After a lot of research we chose Celebrity Xpedition and it was worth every penny. I love birding and we both love to take photos so we were in for an exciting adventure.

We visited the inner islands of Santiago, Rabida, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, San Cristobal and Bartolome. We enjoyed leisurely walks, hikes, shorkeling, swimming, visits to the Interpretation Center, the Charles Darwin Station and Giant Tortoise Breeding Center.

You had to be sure-footed to walk on some of the uneven surfaces. We were always accompanied by guides who spoke excellent English and were very knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and history of the islands.

Lava rock walk at Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
North Seymour Island walk
We hiked up and over the mountain to get a good look at the Red-footed Booby at Punta Pit, San Cristobal Island. This is the only site in the Galapagos where you have a chance to see all three species of boobies - the Blue-footed, Red-footed and Nazca Booby-  and we did!
Red-footed Booby and chick

Blue-footed Booby
Nazca Booby

Riding the zodiac was the way to get from the ship to shore or for close rides along the coast line. Below are two photos taken along the rock walls.

Marine Iguana and Sally Lightfoot Crabs
Flightless Cormorants

Galapagos Island Adventure Part 2

There is a great variety of wildlife on and around the Galapagos Islands. We boated around the coastline in our small zodiac boats, walked along the shore and over rocky terrain, snorkeled, and hiked over a small mountain to see these wonderful creatures.  Here are photos of some of the wildlife we saw.
Striated Heron and Sally Lightfoot Crab
Sea Lions
Sea Turtle
Great Frigatebird     Female
Great Frigatebird    Chick
Magnificient Frigatebird    Male
Galapagos Penguin
Giant Galapagos Tortoises
Swallow-tailed Gull
Sally Lightfoot Crab
Galapagos Mockingbird
Smooth-billed Ani
Land Iguana
Spotted Eagle Ray

The Galapagos is where you come to see Darwin's Finches. The naturalist helped with identifying these finches by looking at their bills.
Small Ground Finch
Medium Ground Finch
Large Ground Finch
Warbler Finch