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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Ecuador: The East Slope of the Andes

We’ll leave Quito for the high elevations of Papallacta Pass. That’s right, snow on the Equator.
Variable Hawk is one of the species to be looked for way up here… …as is Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, a bird found only on the highest peaks. The fascinating alpine plant life is second only to the birds, like this Many-striped Canastero.
Heading downhill we’ll stop at Guango Lodge for lunch. Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan can often be found in the parking lot.
The hummingbird feeders are famous, here a stark contrast between the long-billed (Sword-billed Hummingbird) and the long-tailed (Long-tailed Sylph)…
…and Collared Incas are as aggressive as they are striking. Further down hill we’ll arrive at Cabanas San Isidro… …with all the comforts of home. The birding is excellent. Green Jays are common and noisy in the morning…
…as is Common Bush-Tanager. An antpitta feeding station near the dining room often attracts a White-bellied Antpitta…
…and a light left on out front brings in the insects like this big atlas moth.
Cinnamon-mantled Woodpecker is a splash of color in the foliage… …as is Saffron-crowned Tanager, one of more than a dozen tanager species possible on the property. Quiet dirt roads give us access to pristine cloud forest…
…where we may run into Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant along the Guacamayos trail. East from Cabanas San Isidro the Andes drop into the Amazon Basin through the altitudinal zones of hundreds of species of birds. In the lower foothills the scarce Coppery-chested Jacamar becomes a possibility…
…as does the local Cliff Flycatcher. In this “magic” elevation between the Amazon lowlands and the Andean foothills at the foot of the Sumaco volcano lies Wildsumaco Lodge… …whose back porch overlooks forest and some of Ecuador’s best hummingbird feeders…  …with the possibility of Napo Sabrewing, a foothill specialty… …or maybe the colorful Gould’s Jewelfront… …and Chestnut-fronted Macaws may fly overhead at any time. From here we’ll turn back into the Andes toward Quito, but not before stopping again for other mountain specialties like Viridian Metaltail… …or Red-crested Cotinga. At tour’s end, I suspect we’ll all agree that the east Andes are great for birds and epic views alike.