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Ecuador - Galápagos 2004

1.  High Andes

 2. Galápagos 

3.  Espanolá  


Ecuador - Galápagos 2004

by Emmalee Tarry


High Andes

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Giant Land Tortoise

Giant Land Tortoise symbol of the

About The Trip
The trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands was organized by Bill Drummond and Karen Fay. The first week was spent on land in Ecuador. I only joined the trip for the second week in the Galápagos, but got in two days of birding in the high Andes around Quito. These two days and the reports from the those whose did the whole trip have convinced me that Ecuador is an excellent country in South America for birders. There are lots of birds, a good field guide, tourist facilities, and a stable government. I will go back to Ecuador.


We had plenty of leaders on this trip. Each boat in the Galápagos is required to carry an Ecuadoran guide. The guide on the first boat was very good at explaining the procedures for visiting each island and knew about the natural history of general interest to tourists such as giant land turtles, sea lions, iguanas and very big birds. The guide on the second boat was worthless.

Arrangements in Ecuador were made by Juan Carlos who is a fairly good bird guide on his own. He is the owner with his wife of the lovely B&B El Jardin where we stayed in Quito. Their yard was full of birds. It was quiet, clean, comfortable accommodations with good food served right on the grounds.

The artist for the book the Birds of Ecuador, Paul Greenfield was the main birding leader. Here Paul shows a dead finch found along the road to the enthusiastic and energetic Pauline.

Paul Greenfield author of the Birds of Ecuador

High Andes

I actually was only on the trip for the Galápagos leg, but since I arrived two days early, I got to bird with the group in the high Andes mountains near Quito. On the second day we birded on the slopes just below the mountain Antisanna (above). It was so beautiful in the mountains and the birds were great. I just can't resist writing something about these two days

The first day Diego Andrade (below right), a partner of Juan Carlos took Daan Sandee, Noel Mann and myself to the Yanacocha Reserve where eventually the rest of the group caught up with us.

Quito is a large city located at 6000' in the interior of Ecuador. Yanacocha is even higher at 10,000'

High Andes view 
Noel Mann, Daan Sandee and Juan Carlos 

Daan and Noel are traveling the world and I last ran into them in New Zealand. 

Emmalee Tarry in Ecuador 

Here I am at Yanacocha looking a little whipped. I am standing south of the equator and the far mountain range is north of the equator. Going from sea level in New Hampshire to 10,000 feet in one day left me rather breathless 


Here is a shot of the easy trail that winds along the side of the mountain at Yanachocha. It was a gradual uphill or downhill most of the way. We were there on a Saturday and were bothered by bicyclist whizzing past without warning.

 I eventually started walking in the middle of the track with my walking stick to the side to prevent them from passing without my notice. 

Hummingbird Saphirewing 

There are hummingbird feeders at points along the trail and I was able to photograph this Sapphirewing with my point and shoot camera. The feeders were busy and made nice resting spots along the trail. Birds seen included: Black Flowerpiercer, Band-tailed Pigeon, Great Thrush, Hooded Siskin, Plumbeus Sierra Finch, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Superciliary Hemisphingus, Red-crested Cotinga, Brown-bellied Swallow, Black Vulture, Variable Hawk, Unicolor Tapaculo, Band-tailed Seedeater, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Sapphire vented Puffleg

Wild Horses in high Andes 

On to Antisanna. Here is a band of wild horses grazing peacefully on the slopes. Birds along this road were: Andean Condor, Black Vulture, Variable Hawk, Carunculated Caracara, American Kestrel, Andean Coot, Black-winged Ground dove, Eared Dove, Giant Hummingbird, Ecuadorean Hillstar, Andean Lapwing, Black-faced Ibis, Bar-winged Cinclodes, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Many-striped Conistero, Brown-backed Chat Tyrant, Paramo Ground-Tyrant, Paramo Pipit, Black Flowerpiercer, Cinerous Conebill. 

The woman with her son posed for a picture beside the high lake that is her home. They were dressed in their Sunday best probably for a visit with relatives.

At or near this lake we saw Silvery Grebe, Andean Teal, Andean Coot, Andean Gull.

Mother and child going visiting 

A member of the group paid the woman to pose for this picture. Be sure to do this as a little money means alot to rural people. 


Trip ReportsEcuador - Galápagos 2004  |  1. Introduction - High Andes |  2, Galápagos  | 3.  Espanolá   Top of page      Comments to webmaster