My time in Ecuador this fall was closing in, and I managed to squeeze in one more day of birding before my flight back to Canada. There are some great places to visit within a couple hours of Quito, but some present a challenge in how to get there if you are using public transportation. I also wanted to visit somewhere I hadn't been to yet. So I decided to visit Guango Lodge for a day. This beautiful little lodge is located approximately 2 hours east of Quito, along the main eastern route that heads towards Baeza & Tena, just beyond the town of Papallacta. On November 16, I grabbed a bus from central Quito and arrived at the lodge in good time.
|Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)|
Guango Lodge is nestled high in the eastern slope of the Andes at about 2700 metres. The property has some trails and has a nice riverfront location (great place for Torrent Ducks and White-capped Dippers). However the main attraction at Guango Lodge is the hummingbirds. It is one of the best places for the magnificent Sword-billed Hummingbird, which is a regular visitor at the feeders. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I was greeted by a flurry of activity at the feeders in front of the lodge. This is the best place to see Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph & Tourmaline Sunangel, which were all plentiful among other high-elevation species. I was met by the friendly staff, who gave me a bird list and a trail map, and I was set for the day.
|Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi)|
After acquainting myself with the hummers, I headed out along the Torrent Duck Trail that follows the river beside the lodge, in hopes to find the ducks, but with no luck (always a good reason to go back!). However, I got a great view of a White-capped Dipper along the rocks, among other birds along the trail, including Andean Guan, Black-headed Hemispingus, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Northern Mountain-Cacique and Mountain Wren. I spent my day birding the trails near the lodge and enjoying the hummingbird feeders.
While spending time at the lodge with the hummers, I met a lovely group of birders/photographers from Spain and after some nice conversation, we realized that our travel paths have been quite similar - through northwestern and eastern Ecuador, Panama, and even in Canada. I enjoyed a delicious lunch with them at the lodge and swapped stories. They also got some fantastic photos that day, quite impressive.
|Turquoise Jay (Cyanolyca turcosa)|
Before catching the bus back to Quito in the afternoon, I found a group of Turquoise Jays along the trail. These beautiful, curious birds provided great views but did a good job at shying away from the camera, always managing to hide behind a stick or a leaf!
I'm already looking forward to my next visit, and next time I'll plan to stay at the lodge or closer at least so I can catch some of the early morning birds. But this trip did not disappoint with 12 species of hummingbirds and 10 lifers I was a happy birder!