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Old 01-07-2015, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio

I will be posting about several places I have visited recently in Ecuador. Not all of the information will be bird related, but since 90% of it is, I will place it in this forum if it is no bother to anyone else.

The first place I wish to describe is a small farming community 23 de Junio. This community is easy to access by taxi from the very popular tourist destination of Mindo. There is also some public transportation available for those interested in saving money and/or fossil fuels. One of the families in this small community has built a lodge to serve ecotourists, I hope this will bring some money into the community and boost the sense of pride in the land that the locals maintain. From what I saw the farming was often very traditional such as using donkeys to carry materials from point A to point B.

The lodge looked to be very cozy and they've done some amazing art work out of used tires.
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Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djlodge.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Long Wattled Umbrellabirds

The fields surrounding the town are said to be the most reliable place in Ecuador to see a strange bird known as the Umbrellabird. I couldn't let a chance like this go by so I called and scheduled a visit for the next morning. At 20$pp. for a half day tour this seemed like a bargain, 15$$ if you only want to see the Umbrellabird location.

While waiting for the Umbrellabirds we were rewarded with many treats including monkey calls, parrots (including the bronze winged in photo), and Guayaquil woodpeckers. Unfortunately, an unexpected arrival scared off the Umbrellabird after watching him for several minutes. We were then forced to make a decision: Move to where the Umbrellabird went for closer photos or go into the highlands and find more species.
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Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djumbrella.jpg   Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djbronzewingparrot.jpg   Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djguywoodpecker.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Highlands

After a very tasty breakfast at the lodge of home made cheese empanadas and coffee, we headed off into the highlands. It is extremely scenic up there and you can see far away volcanos. We were however here primarily to see the birds. The first bird we saw was a golden-headed quetzal flying just feet in front of our faces. It was a very beautiful bird and that alone would have been worth the ride up into the mountains. After some searching, it seemed most of the birds were deep in hiding. I began to wonder if we would see much else but our local was confident the birds were along the road. Of course, he was right, within a half hour we were finding birds left and right including the birds I had most wanted to see.

Toucan Barbets were soon discovered and at least one held a pose for me. Now, I was really glad I had made the trip up here. Within five more minutes, we had found my most wanted bird for the entire trip - The plate billed mountain toucan. It was amazing to watch it feed for an extended period of time and our guide was very encouraging and helpful locating the best views of the bird despite having already put in many hours of work showing off birds.
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Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djmountaintoucan.jpg   Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djtbarbet.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:47 PM   #4
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Default The road back down

On the way to drop our guide off, a few more birds were spotted. A toucan, squirrel cuckoo (look at that tail!), and a roadside hawk all posed for (distant) photos. My only regret is that I did not stay in the lodge so we could have visited other nearby areas such as where the monkeys are.
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Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djsqcuckoo.jpg   Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djtoucan.jpg   Northwest Ecuador: 23 De Junio-23djroadsidehawk.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:11 PM   #5
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Very interesting midwesternerr. I like the 3 bird pictures
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:49 AM   #6
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Cool! I enjoy seeing bird pics from places I am not likely to visit. Thanks for sharing them. Looking forward to more!
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Old 01-08-2015, 02:42 PM   #7
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Thanks Midwesterner, we love your picture threads. I like that birdtail on the reuse of a tire.
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