For my second day in Quito, I decided to get out of the city. I signed up for a “Bird Photo Tour” that would take me north west of the city, to the Tandayapa Cloud Forest Reserve. Pickup was early, 5:30 am and the first stop was the San-Jorge Eco Lodge just outside of Quito. Unfortunately, the birds weren’t very active and the light wasn’t very good so we began the trek to Tandayapa. Although only 47.2 km, the Old Nono-Mindo road is very windy, up and down the sides of the mountains, and the drive takes more time than you would think it should.
It was a very scenic drive, and with many stops to look for birds, we didn’t arrive at Tandayapa until almost noon. Here are some of the birds we encountered along the way.
This is a male American Kestrel, the smallest of the falcons he was about the size of a dove. He posed nicely for us on his fence post.
My guide Miguel told me what this bird is, but I didn’t take notes and weeks later I just can’t remember. It may be a species of Puffbird.
A black-chested Tanager snacks on a berry
The views and scenery along the way were spectacular, unfortunately I was so focused on the birds that I didn’t take many pictures; here are a couple. This is rugged farmland!
Arriving at Tandayapa, we took a small detour to find an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock that had been nesting nearby. Fortunately she was still there, on her nest in the rock face. A bizarre looking bird, this female is less colourful than her male counterpart, but still beautiful.
At Tandayapa there were so many different bird species in the trees and on the flowers.
This little Choco-Brush Finch was fun, he had attitude and was a bit of a poser…
With some of the birds, the difference between the male and female is striking, take these Swallow Tanagers for example…
These next few I haven’t been able to identify, next time I’ll take notes
The lodge at Tandayapa has a lovely observation deck, surrounded by hummingbird feeders. This deck also serves as the dining room where a delicious lunch was served. How is this for a table with a view?
I had some fun trying to capture photos of the many hummingbirds; more interesting results once I started using the flash.
The Long-tailed Sylph has a long beautiful tail – the female will pick the male with the longest tail to mate with. The first 2 are without flash, the 3rd is with the flash; they absolutely sparkle when the flash is used.
All in all it was a great day, I was happy to get out of the city and had fun trying to capture all of these beautiful birds!