Ecuador Travel Diary - p. 3
7 April 2002
Tandayapa has a unique "bird feeder."
Beneath a deck near the terrace is a fluorescent tube rich in ultraviolet light.
Each night its light attracts hordes of moths, who perch unsuspecting on nearby limbs and
posts. At dawn the insectivorous birds descend on them for breakfast, which provides
another easy photo shoot. Common visitors are White-winged Brush-finch, Dusky-capped
and Golden-crowned Flycatcher, and Brown-capped Vireo. My favorite, however, is
Red-faced Spinetail. It is a member of the furnariids, a tropical family of mostly
drab skulkers. Furnariids seem to take special delight in torturing birders by
calling from dense undergrowth without ever showing themselves. It's nice to have a
chance to photograph one.
8 April 2002
Today my driver Renato and I set off for the village of Mindo in search of hummingbirds
that live at lower elevations. By chance we stop at Septimo Paraiso,
a lodge whose charming owner, Ana Lucia Goetschel, gives us a tour and invites us to
birdwatch. Almost immediately I hear the call of Toucan Barbet in a fruit-laden pico-pico
tree. This barbet is one of the most eagerly sought birds of the trip. Barbets
are found in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. They never amounted to much here, but
one branch of the family did splendidly, evolving into the toucans that are such an
enjoyable feature of the American tropics. The Toucan Barbet has traits of both
We ultimately find Mindo Lindo, a small forest preserve. Hummingbird
feeders around the main house are the best place in the world to see Velvet-purple
Coronet, one of Ecuador's most beautiful hummers.
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