Waking up with the birds

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It is holiday – so obviously the alarm clock is going to wake me up at a bit before 6 in the morning. What a great idea it was yesterday to book a guided bird watching tour this morning. I guess there is no way around it – bird watching is best done just after daybreak when the birds tend to more active.

When we get down to the reception it is still dark. But the guide we had booked the day before had already arrived – and he had a piece of good news – apparently the missing bag had reappeared in Quito. It was a relief so now we don’t have to hurry back to Quito to do additional shopping instead we can enjoy the bird watching and a breakfast after we return in a few hours’ time.

Baby bird

We walk out from the hotel to go and have a look at birds around the area. It doesn’t take long before we spot the first couple of birds in the street of Mindo village and Alex bring out his big telescope to look at the birds. Unfortunately the birds seems to insist on place themselves against the light so it is pretty much impossible to get pictures of the colours of the birds.

We continue walk out of the village along a small dirt road leading a bit up the hill. There is a few more birds around – but these birds also seems to place themselves almost universally against the light – hence the pictures keeps coming out a bit dull and somewhat blurry because of the lack of light.

As we walk further up the road the sun continues its rise on the sky improving the light condition reducing the shutter speed on my camera and improving the colours on the birds. We see a few parrots on a tree and I do manage to get a couple of decent shuts of them.

We get to a small river from where we team up with another couple going on a morning birding trip. Apparently the walk up the hill is a bit long so the two guides decide to call for a taxi so we can reach the higher located bird spots where we will be spotting more birds.

The taxi ride is pretty short through the forest and we get out and walk to the top of a hill where there isn’t much to see initially. There is a great view of the surrounding area and we enjoy the view for a while during which the guide prepare a couple of feeders with whole bananas and cut bananas to attract different kind of birds.

It takes a while before the bird’s starts showing up – so we look for the birds far far away in trees down below. There are a few birds down there and when there is no birds for a moment Alex manage to spot a wild living orchid on the top of a tree. I know we saw a bunch of orchids yesterday in the garden of our hotel – but I find it more fun to actually see the orchid growing wild.

Then suddenly a couple of green tucans shows up – we look at them at the feeder above our heads. It is the same species of tucan we saw yesterday in the garden of the hotel. The tucan is followed by a lot of small but very colourful birds enjoying a feast of the bananas in the feeders. The birds keep coming and we stay for quite a while watching the many different birds. Then another species of tucan shows up – it got yellow colours which is more like the colours I connect with a traditional tucan than the green colours of the first tucans.

After a good long bird spotting at this location we leave to go for another location a short walk away from the first feeding location. We sit down in a small hide which hide us a bit while the guides prepare some more bananas for the birds to attract them. A lot of different small hungry birds show up to feast on the bananas – the birds is not the only hungry animals out there. A squirrel show up getting its share of the bananas. The birds don’t all eat neatly so a few pieces of bananas is dropped to the ground – this attracts a small rotten of some sort a bit bigger than a guinea pig. It comes by a couple of times eating the bananas.

We stay there a while watching the many small birds and then finally we get up from the hide and walk back to the first stop. Apparently there are another species of tucan which sometimes show up there eating at the feeders. We stay a little longer hoping for the birds to show up – but unfortunately they never show. So we just head down the hill walking instead of catching a taxi. The walk doesn’t take too long – since we don’t stop all the time looking for birds. We finally arrive back at the hotel after about 4 hours of spotting birds. It is time to sit down and have a late breakfast – fortunately the hotel offers late breakfast for people who have been out bird watching in the morning. While we are sitting down eating breakfast we are not the only one’s having a snack. Behind us a lot of humming birds show up around the feeders having a sip of sugar water.

Alex is so kind to give us a list of the many different birds we saw during the morning and the names of all the humming birds. Unfortunately the list isn’t all that helpful after getting home since I can’t really remember which birds is which specie.

After breakfast we have a couple of hours to relax before we catch a bus back to Quito. I spend the time at the hotel. I just can’t get enough of those cute tiny humming birds.

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