October 5 – Birds, Canyons, and Volcanos

We awoke the next morning to the sound of birds chirping and the aroma of coffee wafting in from the outdoor eating area.  There were hummingbirds everywhere!  After a simple breakfast with fresh fruits and bread, we loaded up in the truck and, bringing the hotel owner with us, headed up into the hills to see if we could spot some exotic birds.

 

With spotting scopes and cameras in tow, we stopped and looked for birds.  The first one we spotted was a falcon high up on a dead tree overlooking his territory. Next we hiked down a path into the jungle.  Right off the bat, our guide excitedly trained his scope on a bird in the distance.  A toucanette  with a berry in his beak sat long enough for us all to see and get a picture through the scope.

We then ventured to a small ridge where our guide had a feeding station set up in front of a blind that we sat behind.  Once the food was set out (slices of fresh fruit and plantain), the action started, with tons of birds appearing out of nowhere to feast.

After our morning hike, we headed out of Mindo back up into the Andes Highlands.  Our next destination was the city of Latacunga, but before there, we drove up into the highlands and visited the volcanic crater of Quilotoa, over 12,000 ft in elevation.  The scenery was fantastic on the way up, with awesome views of the mountains and countryside.

And of course, our drive would not be complete without having lunch at a local truck stop…the food was delicious!

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