Alice and I had been talking about visiting the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador for many years, and we finally decided to do it! We researched various trip options, and finally decided on the National Geographic/Lindblad tour on the Endeavor II. Alice is not a birder but enjoys seeing wildlife. When she saw that there was a pre-trip to the Mashpi Eco-lodge in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, she asked if I wanted to add that to our trip. It took me only a few seconds to answer, "YES!" More than 400 hundred species of birds have been reported in the Masphi Reserve. Our adventure started with a flight to Quito, Ecuador that arrived a little before midnight on January 7, and by the time we got to the hotel in the center of old town Quito, it was about 1:00 the next morning.
Our Quito hotel, Casa Gangotena, was a private mansion that had been converted to a boutique hotel, and was located in the heart of old town Quito at the Plaza San Francisco. When we awoke early for a city tour, the first birds I saw in Ecuador were several hundred Rock Pigeons in the plaza square. Well, I guess that was to be expected. Central Quito is about 9,000 feet in elevation, and the old town is bounded by the Winged Mary statue to the south a thousand feet higher, and the Basilica del Voto Nacional to the north.
The Basilica and Winged Mary
Our city tour went first up to the Winged Mary statue, and I got my first Ecuadorian life birds there.
Male Great Thrush
Female Great Thrush
There were Eared Doves there and all over Quito.
Our city tour included visiting two cathedrals. The Cathedral of Quito, located at Plaza San Francisco and dating back to 1535 after the Spanish foundation of Quito, was magnificent. There was gold everywhere we looked when we were inside.
The Cathedral of Quito
After two weeks in Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands, I had taken 7,000+ photos. I have included only a small portion of these photos in this report, and at the end of the report, I have added more photos and complete lists of the avian species seen.
Click here to continue on the trip to the Mashpi Lodge