Ecuador Part 2

Alan and I had been discussing a trip to South America for some time. For many years I have dreamed of traveling there to see the amazingly colorful birds and the wildlife. About the 2nd week of December we began to seriously think about going in early 2022. Having visited many of the countries in South America, Alan is quite knowledgeable about them. After discussing the options, we decided on a trip to Ecuador for the month of February. We wanted to travel on our own rather than with a tour group, allowing us to travel at our own pace and to the locations we wanted to visit. However, it also meant we had to do all the planning. We only had six weeks to plan our itinerary, reserve lodges/hotels where we would stay, find local guides, etc. Things were very intense for about three weeks! But all the details fell into place – we were able to reserve the accommodations we wanted and work out all the other arrangements. The logistics of the trip went so smoothly. All flights were on time, our bags arrived with us, the guides were all amazing. We couldn’t have asked for a better trip!

Over 1600 bird species have been recorded in Ecuador. This is partly due to the wide variety of habitats. Many species of birds can be seen within a small geographic area. This makes Ecuador one of the leading birding destinations on the continent. During our four week trip, we observed 441 species of birds!

There are so many families of birds that are very different from those in the US, like this Barred Fruiteater.

It is always cool to see owls, we saw six species all together.

The Cinnamon Flycatcher is one of my favorite birds…

as is this Ornate Flycatcher.

We loved the wall of windows in our room at Cabanas San Isidro!

February is the beginning of Ecuador’s rainy season and fall. The temps were unseasonably cool during our visit and there was a lot of rain. There were a few plants in bloom.

We also saw a some butterflies and moths.

I first saw this creature feeding on flower nectar in a garden at Wild Sumaco Lodge and thought it was a hummingbird. After looking more closely I realized it was a moth. I had no idea what kind so I uploaded a photo to iNaturalist and was able to get an ID of Titan Sphinx. As well as Mexico, South and Central America, this species is also seen in the United States. This Butterflies and Months website has more info on where it has been seen in the US. Has anyone seen this moth before? Looks like around the Galveston area of Texas has had sightings.

In Southeast Arizona, there is one Trogon species that is locally common . My first trip to the Chiricahua Mountains in spring 2019 was inspired by the desire to see an Elegant Trogon, which nests in Cave Creek Canyon. On the trip, I had several excellent observations and was hooked on birding from that time.

There are twelve trogon species in Ecuador. During our trip, we were able to observe six species!

This is me trying to photograph the above Blue-tailed Trogon. He finally perched where I had a clear shot of him.

This pair of Masked Trogons were daily visitors to the deck of Cabanas San Isidro Lodge. They would perch in a tree right by the deck and give us wonderful photo opportunities. This pose where they cock their head and give you a quizzical look is very typical of trogons. They really are quite lovely.

Another favorite bird family is the Manakins. These small colorful birds are often found low in the forest – at about eye-level. They were quite curious and sometimes would fly close like they wanted to check out what was walking in their forest.

We saw nine species of woodpeckers.

It was nice of this Lineated Woodpecker to pose right in front of the group of leaves so there wasn’t the dreaded white sky background. Unfortunately most of our days were white sky days.

In preparation for the trip, I studied the birds that would likely be seen in the areas we would be visiting. There were many that had stood out to me and were on my “wish list”. At the top of the list was the Military Macaw. This is a huge, long-tailed parrot with spectacular plumage. Sadly, they have been eliminated from much of their historic range due to being captured for the pet trade. They are seen in the area of Wild Sumaco Lodge where we stayed on the East Slope of the Andes Mountains. Our excellent guide knew where they were likely to be seen during the day. We hiked to the location and I was blessed to be able to see these two perched close enough for good viewing and photos. This was certainly a highlight of the trip.

Writing these posts and viewing the photos again has brought back so many great memories. It was truly an amazing trip that I will always remember.

6 Comments on “Ecuador Part 2

  1. Your amazing photographer colors of birds are magnificent. Also enjoyed Photos of Butterflies


  2. As always your pictures are amazing. Don’t forget to come see us when come back to Colorado.


    • Thanks Joyce! Hope you and Dorty are well. I don’t think we will make it to Colorado this summer. Have some other plans in the works. When we do return will look forward to seeing you.


  3. I saw one of the Titan Sphinx last year here in North Texas (had no idea what it was until seeing your picture of it). There was a reported sighting of one on the Butterflies and Moths website in a county bordering mine. Pretty cool, thanks for sharing the pictures.


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