Tandayapa Pre-trip Galapagos Cruise Jun 20—23, 2017

Posted by Paul Greenfield


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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Our June Tandayapa Pre-trip offered up a hearty taste of Ecuador’s highly biodiverse Andes, while designed to complement and serve as a comparison with the famed and markedly different Galapagos Archipelago that our group was preparing to visit. This country’s continental northwest region certainly holds a treasure-trove of avian and other natural goodies, although it can also expose its challenges, and this trip was no exception. As we initiated our adventure, we were witness to the unseasonal and relentless local climate conditions that had been assaulting much of the Pacific coast of South America for several months, much of which had been brought on by last year’s El Niño climatic event, which we thought we were done with by the end of May. But these more recent untimely hot, sunny mornings and pounding afternoon rains might either be a product of a continuation of the effects of this event, or perhaps even just one more piece of evidence that human induced climate change is a reality…or both!  I include here a link that may be helpful in understanding more clearly just what the El Niño incursión is all about: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/28/temperature-boosting-el-nino-set-for-early-return-this-year

Flame-faced Tanager

Flame-faced Tanager— Photo: Paul J. Greenfield


Regardless of their origin, the local weather conditions we encountered gave clear evidence to its effects; many species were nesting—when they rarely or “never” do in June—causing many birds to be sort of out-of-the picture. The sunny mornings made finding bird activity a real “easter-egg hunt,” and the afternoon rain we witnessed the first afternoon…well, was sort of like “singing in the rain,” only without the music! Luckily, we were serendipitously spared afternoon downpours on our one-and-a-half remaining afternoons. I must say that faced with this overall reality, our “team’s” positive good spirits, patience, sharp eyes, and a touch of good-old birder’s tenacity prevailed overall, and we managed to eke out some pretty cool birds!

Read Paul’s full report in his Field List.