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Jon Feenstra on his just- completed tour, Ecuador: Mindo and the Northwest Andes

February 12: Jon Feenstra on his just- completed tour, Ecuador: Mindo and the Northwest Andes

We just got back into civilization after a week of birding the Mindo area of northwest Ecuador. We sampled a variety of forest habitats from elfin woodland below treeline to lowland rainforest, but mostly stayed within the pleasant, always birdy, and almost uncharacteristically sunny cloud forest. We ended up with 299 total bird species including 37 species of hummingbird. 


A pair of Giant Antpittas at Reserva Paz de las Aves. The ingenuity and hard work of Angel Paz, the Andean farmer turned antpitta savant, allowed us to see four species of antpitta that day (as well as other shy forest birds like Dark-backed Wood-Qual and Rufous-breasted Antthrush). 


An Orange-breasted Fruiteater eyes us from the canopy. This scarce and local bird is almost common at Reserva Amagusa in the super humid, moss-caked cloud forest near the town of La Delicia.


Toucan Barbet, one of the local specialties of the Choco cloud forest. We had decent looks at this bizarre thing on four separate days of the tour. Always a crowd-pleaser.


A big spiky caterpillar that is much bigger than George Washington’s head. Maybe it was some kind of lost sea-creature, but we carefully moved this thing off the floor and back into the forest.


The group watches some tanagers in the driveway of our lodge. We had more than 80 bird species our first morning just around our lodge outside of Mindo.

Beryl-spangled Tanager was probably the most common bird that morning.

Posted: February 12, 2017