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Posts Tagged ‘Andean Condor’

On the morning of February 27, the next to last day of the trip, we had a wonderful surprise. As we climbed towards Yanacocha Reserve on the western slope of the Andes, we saw a condor flying over the valley below. Lelis ordered us out of the bus. We stood on the side of the mountain as the Andean Condor circled for several minutes right in front of us. This huge and magnificent bird invoked a greater emotional response in me than any other bird on the trip. It was an awe-inspiring moment that I will never forget. Lelis informed us that the condor is critically endangered in Ecuador. He said that farmers have persecuted the Andean Condor because they believe that it kills their livestock, and that belief is somewhat true as condors do sometimes attack newborn animals if carrion is scarce. Some reports state that only 50 birds still survive in the wild in Ecuador. The San Diego Zoo website provides interesting facts and additional reasons for the decline of the Andean Condor.

Andean Condor

Andean Condor. Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

The flowers in Ecuador were plentiful and gorgeous, including those below that Jeannie photographed from this part of the trip.

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Reserva Yanacocha

Reserva Yanacocha.  Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Rufous Antpitta

Rufous Antpitta. Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

At Yanacocha Reserve we saw more wonderful birds including two more “tame” antpittas that came to the viewing station for the reward of worms, Rufous Antpitta and Tawny Antpitta.

We spent the night at Guango Lodge where we had more great birding. Our last day of the trip, we started the morning in the area around Guango Lodge where we found a female Torrent Duck, a Torrent Tyrannulet, and a White-capped Dipper. There is something very appealing about these birds who manage to survive in the cold, fast-flowing rivers and streams of the high mountains.

White-capped Dipper

White-capped Dipper. Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Beautiful birds at Guango Lodge included Turquoise Jay and Masked Trogon.

Turquoise Jay

Turquoise Jay. Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Masked Trogon

Masked Trogon

After lunch at Guango Lodge, it was time to head back over Papallacta Pass again and on to Quito.

Gas prices

Gas prices.  Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

We were all amazed at the gas prices, which are subsidized by the government. Prices are in US Dollars, the official currency of Ecuador.

Below: the view of Quito as we approached the city.

Quito

Quito.  Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

This wonderful trip had ended all too soon. We enjoyed getting to know the beautiful country of Ecuador, the gorgeous birds, and our new friends. Thanks to Lelis and John for leading us on this adventure and to Jeannie Mitchell for generously allowing me to use her beautiful photos in my posts about the trip. More of my photos are on Flickr and John’s photos for the trip can be viewed at http://www.pbase.com/jxdrummo/ecuador_birds_feb_2013.

Our group of birders

John Drummond, Lelis Navarrete, Mary Ellen Moore & John Balog, Ron & Jeannie Mitchell, Shelley Rutkin, Ted Vawter

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