5 DAY BIRD PHOTO TOUR

OVERVIEW

Five glorious days to photograph the most dazzling bird species in Ecuador's imposing Andean valleys, mystical could forests and deep-green tropical forests. Be prepared to delve into Ecuador's most biologically-diverse bird photo reserves and eco-lodges looking for endemic hummingbirds, vivid tanagers, splendid toucans, skulking antbirds, agile warblers, and, many more. 

DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 1

Pick-up from Quito airport and transfer to San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito.
Overnight San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito.

DAY 2

Bird Photo Yanacocha Reserve & San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito:
Our journey begins with a hot cup of Ecuadorian coffee in the festive "Cucayo" breakfast room at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. Rainbow bearded ThornbillAfter breakfast, we drive for 40 minutes to Yanacocha Reserve which runs through the Andean slopes of Pichincha Volcano. At this elevation, we will photograph several high-Andean hummingbird species such as the Sapphire-vented Puffleg, Great Sapphirewing, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Golden-breasted Puffleg and Sapphire-vented Puffleg. Optional 1 mile trail photography to find the stunning Golden-crowned Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Rufous Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, and Rainbow-bearded Thornbill. Yanachoca is also home to the critically endangered Black-breasted Puffleg which is casually observed. We return to San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito for lunch.

Black Tailed Trainbearer 5Black-tailed Trainbearer. Photo taken at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. © Luis Alcivar

After lunch we head to the main hummingbird patio to set-up our first hummingbird multi-flash station. The hummingbird feeders at the lodge are visited by the Black-tailed Trainbearer, Green-tailed Trainbearer, the bizarre-looking Sword-billed Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Tyrian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, and the tiny White-bellied Woodstar. Optional 0.5 mile trail photography around the lodge to look for the Tufted Tit-tyrant, Rufous-naped Brush-Finch, Azara's Spinetail, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Red-crested Cotinga, and, the Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant. 
Overnight: San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito.

Sword billed Hummingbird 5The Sword-billed Hummingbird at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito. © Luis Alcivar

DAY 3

Birding San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa - Hummingbird Sanctuary:
After breakfast at our Quito lodge we drive for 1 hour to San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary located in the heart of Tandayapa Cloud Forest Reserve. Upon arrival, we begin shooting from the 4 observation decks overlooking our prime cloud forest reserve and the bird feeders around the lodge which will provide an incredible amount of birds species.San Jorge Eco lodge Tandayapa Deck The bird feeders in front of the main patio are visited by multicolored bird species like the Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Streak-capped Treehunter, Three-striped Warbler, White-winged Becard, Metallic-green Tanager, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Golden-naped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Silver-throated Tanagers and many more. Additionally, the hummingbird feeders in front of the breakfast room will be crowded with hummingbirds including the iconic Booted Racket-tail and the Violet-tailed Sylph.

Booted Racket tail 5The exotic Booted Racket-tails are commonly seen at San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa. © Luis Alcivar

After lunch at our open-air restaurant overlooking the impressive valley of Tandayapa, we set-up our second hummingbird multi-flash station to get flight shots of the following hummingbirds: Western Emerald, Masked Trogon 4 Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, White-necked Jacobin, Purple-throated Woodstar, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Green-crowned Woodnymph, and, the much sought-after Booted Racket-tail and Violet-tailed Sylph. In the late afternoon, optional 1 mile trail photography to look for the Scaled Antpitta, Toucan Barbet, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Masked Trogon, White-winged Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Ringed Kingfisher, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Immaculate Antbird, Plain Antvireo, Uniform Antshrike, Russet-crowned Warbler, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Bat Falcon, White-throated Quail-Dove, Golden-headed Quetzal, and, with some luck, the enchanted White-faced Nunbird. 
Overnight: San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa - Hummingbird Sanctuary.

Day 4

Andean Cock-of-the-rock LEK & Angel Paz Antpitta Feeding Station:
After breakfast at the lodge, we drive for 1 hour to the best Andean Cock-of-the-rock LEK hide in Ecuador (LEK: gathering of male birds that engage in competitive display).Giant Antpitta 4 The Andean Cock-of-the-rock is without-a-doubt the most iconic and stunning bird species of Ecuador and from this hide, the cocks will be displaying and loudly calling at a distance of roughly 50 feet with birds occasionally flying much closer. After this unforgettable show, we will continue to Angel Paz's Antpitta Feeding Station where up to 5 (otherwise very rare and skulking) antpitta species can be closely photographed. Seasonally, all five species can be photographed including the Giant Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Moustached Antpitta, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, and the Ochre-breasted Antpitta. At this same place, the Dark-backed Wood-Quail and the Rufous-breasted Antthrush also visit the bird feeders.

Andean Cock of the rock 5The Andean Cock-of-the-rock leks in the the upper valley of Tandayapa © Luis Alcivar

After Angel Paz we drive for 30 minutes to Old-Nono Mindo Road Hummingbird Feeding Station. Here we will set-up our our third hummingbird multi-flash station. This place will have a couple of new species icluding the Speckled hummingbird, Gorgeted Sunangel, Empress brilliant, Velvet purple Coronet, Brown Inca and, the elegant Collared Inca. The banana feeders at this place are also visited by the endemic Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan. After a delicious boxed lunch we return to San Jorge Eco-lodge Milpe.
Overnight: San Jorge Eco-lodge Milpe.

Plate billed Mountain Toucan 5Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan © Luis Alcivar

Day 5

San Jorge Eco-lodge Milpe Bird Sanctuary:
We spend the entire morning at our fourth  hummingbird multi-flash station, our Milpe lodge will have a surprising amount of new species including the Green-crowned Woodnymph, Orange breasted Fruiteater White-whiskered Hermit, Green Thorntail, White-necked Jacobin, Green-crowned Brilliant, and, casually a Long-billed Starthroat. The lodge has also several banana and moth feeders that are seasonally visited by up to 30 different species of birds including the Spotted Woodcreeper, Cinammon Becard, Bay Wren, Western Slaty Antwren, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager,  Pale-mandibled Aracari, Choco Toucan, Green Honeycreeper, Silver-throated Tanager, Yellow-rumped Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, Black-winged Saltator, Thick-billed Euphonia, Orange-crowned Euphonia, Pallid Dove, Orange-billed Sparrow, and casually Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove. 

Glistening green Tanager 5The Glistening-green Tanager is one of the highlights of San Jorge Eco-lodge Milpe 

After lunch at our eco-lodge, we drive the nearby Mindo Road Bird Feeders. This feeders are visited by Toucan Barbet, Black-stripped Sparrow, Blue-necked Tanager, Scrub Blackbird, Flame-faced Tanager, and, the endemic Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager. There is also a section with hummingbird feeders with two spectacular species, the Velvet-purple Coronet, and the Empress Brilliant. After getting these last gems we drive directly to Quito.
4:00PM Transfer Quito airport or to any hotel in Quito area.

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END OF ITINERARY