Tandayapa Pre-trip Nov 09—10, 2007

Posted by Paul Greenfield

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Paul Greenfield

Paul Greenfield grew up near New York City and became interested in birds as a child. He received his B.F.A. from Temple University where he was an art major at the Tyler S...

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As a "first day in Ecuador" experience prior to our Galapagos Cruise, we embarked on a day-trip to the Tandayapa Valley on the northwestern slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, west of the capital city of Quito. This was not only an opportunity to see a wonderful natural area of species-rich Ecuador, but also a chance to build a basis of comparison between two superficially similar, but really very different areas located along the equator—one in high biodiversity Andean cloudforest, and the other on a relatively species-poor oceanic archipelago found 600 miles off the coast of South America.

We enjoyed some birding in the clouds, and spent much time watching the wonderful hummingbird show—the best in the world—at Sachaquinde, with 17 species buzzing about and interacting with all the glitter imaginable. Several of the species we enjoyed were Chocó-Andean bioregional endemics, including Western Emerald, Empress Brilliant, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Violet-tailed Sylph, and Purple-throated Woodstar. This, of course, was in sharp contrast with the Galapagos where there are no hummingbirds.