Ecuador Travel Diary
1 April 2002
Somewhere in the world there may be an easier place to
photograph birds than Tandayapa Bird Lodge, but I've yet to see it. Located at 5700
ft in the cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, it's a cool contrast to the hot dry
Pacific coast of Mexico.
One of the nice things about Tandayapa is that you don't have to plod
up the mountain for the birds - here they come to you. Want hummingbirds, you say?
How about 100 or so, all day every day, attending the 13 sugar-water feeders around
the lodge terrace? Looking for variety? A remarkable 30 species of hummers
have been recorded at the feeders. If you don't see 20 species in a day or two, you
just aren't trying.
2 April 2002
There are, it seems, rules of engagement in the never-ending donnybrook among the
hummers. The larger ones generally try to bully others of their size. Brown
Violetears and Sparkling Violetears, for example, can't stand the sight of each other.
The small fry, including Booted Racket-tails, Western Emeralds, and Purple-throated
Woodstars, mostly squabble among themselves. The male Racket-tail is quite the
dapper gent with his white leg tufts and long racket tail with blue feathers at the
tip. Both are displayed prominently when two males face off in mid-air inches apart,
waiting to see who blinks first.