|Mist over the forest of San Isidro|
My old friend and I woke up in a miniature, well-kept cabin, groggy at 5 in the morning. Soft droplets of rain resounded against a square skylight. It was my first day in Ecuador and I felt an eagerness, unparalleled by no other, to explore. My friend, Mr. Joost (my old teacher and Ecuador guide), and I left the Guango lodge. As we walked into what seemed like a cloud, solemn and darkened hills shrouded us. Few things in the Andean foothills are so saddled by reverence as the powerful landscape. As we pull up near a trail, we meet a short, tan character. He wears an old pair of Leica binoculars, and bears a long aluminum tripod mounted with a Kowa scope. He was our bird guide--Edwin. Explaining that the Eastern Andean foothills have some incredible species and examples of speciation when compared to the Western foothills (a sight I would visit days later), Edwin took us to a set of Hummingbird feeders. We blasted down a rocky ridge towards a sheltered cabin. Around the cabin seven pick feeders rested, replete with sweetened water. A mere scan of the area would give a birder at least four quick species. I spent several hours at the feeders, and saw a number of Hummer species including the incredible Swordbilled. Other notable Hummer species that were particularly exciting were:
- Tourmaline Sunangel
- Long-tailed Sylph
- Tryian Metaltail
Attached is the species list (recorded with Mr. Peter Joost) from San Isidro and Guango, two incredible sights that we explored with Edwin.