WildlifeKate in Ecuador: Day 2 – We head to Maquipucuna Reserve

It was a 5am start this morning and, after a good sleep, I felt much refreshed and ready to face another exciting day. Heaving all my gear downstairs, I was soon loaded into Danny’s truck and we headed out of Quito. It was good to get out of the city and start to see the landscape change. I was excited about the day and, with binoculars on my lap, Danny always had his eyes peeled for species along the way. Once off of the main roads, the bumpy forest tracks were good for birding and we stopped frequently to make a scan of the surroundings.

Danny stopped off at a location that he explained was often good for birding. Bumping down a narrow track, we pulled up above a fish farm in the valley below. There were  lots of large pools, where fish were being bred and grown on. None of the pools were covered, so  it was  a bit  of  a magnet for a range of species. Scanning with his scope, Danny called me over. There, sitting on a wire above the pools was the largest kingfisher I’d ever seen!   Sadly, it was too far away to photograph, but I was happy to watch it until Danny spotted another species, this time the Green Kingfisher. There were a couple of these, sitting right on the edges of the pools. These were smaller, but still larger than our UK kingfisher. #gallery-21638-17 { margin: auto; } #gallery-21638-17 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-21638-17 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-21638-17 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Not only did we see a huge number of birds around these pools, but also in the trees nearby. Some of these, I was able to photograph. This beauty is the Common Tody-flycatcher; one of about 30 species of flycatcher! It flitted around in the trees close to the track, so I was able to get a few shots of it…..

Everywhere I looked, I could see birds; each one a lifer! It is strange to be in a position where every bird you see is  a ‘lifer’ and when you simply can’t ID anything! A good guide is pretty much essential here as the Equador Bird Book is epic and I would never have seen, let alone be able to identify, all the species around.

Many are SO brightly coloured…… it just blew me away!

This is the swallow tanager…

… and the Golden tanager….