We drove west and uphill thru villages and farms as we exited the sprawl of Quito. After topping a final ridge, we soon arrived at Yanacocha Reserve, situated at 10,500′ altitude.
On the approach to Yanacocha Reserve
In the mist, the Yanacocha Reserve sign
At the Reserve headquarters we found feeding stations and hummingbird feeders. One station had a resident Antpitta:
Also at that feeding station we saw Grey-browed and Yellow-breasted Brushfinches and other birds:
Yellow-breasted Brushfinch in a Polylepis tree
A Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager takes his turn at the banana
Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager
At and around the hummingbird feeders:
After spending considerable time around the feeders, we left on a hike along the Trocha Inca (Inca Trail). Cloud forests are dark, making it difficult to capture satisfactory images. More than birds, I photographed the very interesting vegetation, views of the fog-shrouded hillsides and other details:
Don’t throw trash
The Poor Man’s Umbrella has leaves 4-5 feet wide
At a considerable distance, a Black-chested Buzzard Eagle
Hooded Mountain Tanager
Poor Man’s Umbrella developing leaf
A side trail
We hiked to the Jardin de Colibris and back along the Trocha Inca. “Colibri” is the Spanish word for hummingbird, while “Quinde” is the Quechua word. “Sendero” is the word for path.
Poor Man’s Umbrella stalks and fibers
Poor Man’s Umbrella flower
We passed the following two signs along the trail:
This sign was found at one of the hummingbird feeding stations
Poor Man’s Umbrella
A steep and heavily forested ravine
On the return
Lunch at the small restaurant consisted of tasty local foods. Every meal we were served in Ecuador (and here) included a delicious soup.
After lunch, we descended the canyon of the Rio Alambi, completing the Mindo Ecoroute. Our destination for this and two additional nights was Sachatamia Lodge.
When you meet an oncoming vehicle, one or both vehicles back up until a widening of the road is found
After taking off, this Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle was pestered by a kestral.
Turquoise Jay. Edwin’s green laser beam is seen illuminating leaves to the right of the bird.
Cecropia platensis, which grows only at a particular elevation
Cecropia platensis. The leaves of this tree are highly reflective, and look white at a distance.
We stopped so that I could photograph the tree seen above, and it was here or close by that we heard activity at a Cock of the Rock lek, below and across the canyon. What is a “lek”? A lek is a location where males of a species gather to perform for one or more females, upon which basis the females choose which male to copulate with, reminiscent of intercollegiate athletics. Most close at hand observations of this extraordinary-looking bird are made at leks (as would be the case for us on Day #5). This particular lek was known to Edwin, who predicted that eventually the birds would leave the lek and begin to fly around the area. Sure enough, we were soon treated to the sight of these sizable bright-red birds flying back and forth across the canyon, and close to where we had stopped.
The cloud forest
Plate-billed Mountain Toucan
Quito to Sachatamia Lodge by way of the Mindo Ecoroute
Link to Day #3: