And we're off on the next adventure: this time to see some of the wonderful hummingbirds of Ecuador and hoping to photograph at least a couple of their endemic species. I flew from Los Angeles to the Miami airport and thought I was transported back in time to the 1960's. Peace & Love? Good message for todays times as well.
I arrived in Quito and was met by Xavier Munoz, owner of Neblina Forest Birding Tours, who transported me to the
first destination, the Puembo Birding Lodge.
Puembo Birding Lodge is in the Quito suburb of Puembo, a small and historic town located in close proximity to the new Quito international airport. The place is run by Mercedes Rivadeneira, a powerhouse of a woman who not only runs the lodge, but has been an influential conservationist for 30 years. She has an enclosure at the lodge set aside with the perfect environment for breeding the endangered endemic Andean Marsupial Tree Frog, and three of the females are pregnant! She also runs a dog rescue operation to help as many of the abandoned street dogs as she possibly can. The lodge has cozy and comfortable rooms and Mercedes is the perfect hostess who treats all her guests like family. She has a glassed-in garden where you can sit and comfortably watch the hummingbird and other feeders attract the many birds of the area.
When I arrived at the lodge, I met up with Tom Wood and Sheri L. Williamson of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, the organizers for the trip. Sheri is the author of the Peterson Guide "Hummingbirds of North America" and is a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge about hummingbirds. After spending ten days with her, I feel like I took two semesters of ornithology courses!
The property where the lodge sits was owned by Mercedes' parents, and her cousin José owns the much larger property across the street with additional lodging. He also has a large garden frequented by the Black-tailed Trainbearer, Western Emerald and Sparkling Violetear hummingbirds.
Sheri, Tom and I spent the day photographing the hummingbirds on Jose's property.