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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Cajas National Park

ECUADOR | Saturday, 9 March 2019 | Views [31]

Llamas at Cajas National Park

Llamas at Cajas National Park

WE MET UP WITH OUR FELLOW TRAVELERS AT DINNER last night.  Kathy is a California native, Stan is from Long Island with an accent to prove it and Laurie — ♂️— hails from Australia, mate.  Dusan — the ‘h’ is implied — our guide, comes from the Netherlands, has a Serbian mother and an Ecuadorian wife.  Nestor, who drives the big VW van and also owns the company, rounds out the crew.

Our

   Our Gang: Kathy, Laurie, Stan, Gil and Connie

After our 6AM breakfast it was a long, uphill drive from Guayaquil to Cajas National Park, from sea level to 13,000 feet.  We stopped along the way at one of Dusan’s “secret” places for a look at the very rare Ecuadorian tapaculo, a bane to photographers.  It shall remain heard but unseen.  I did manage a good photo of a pair of hard to see slaty ant wrens as a consolation prize. 

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   Slaty Antwren  ♂️                               Slaty Antwren ♀️

The quary for the day was the great cone bill, found with the help of local guide Eddie.  It seems that Dusan’s official title is “trip leader” and we will need officially sanctioned guides in the national parks.  It being Saturday, we had to contend with dozens of locals who came to picnic, hike and see the llamas, domesticated beasts that hang out around the restaurant.

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   Giant Conebill

Despite the distractions, wind, a bit of rain and the scant O2 we succeeded in seeing the tit-like dacnis, tawny ant pita and several colorful hummingbirds, my favorite being the Ecuadorian hillstar.  None of the guys are very fit and I staggered up from the lake feeling completely nackered.  So much for an acclimation period.

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   Ecuadorian Hillstar

It was nearly three when we had lunch at San Juan, one of a string of trout farm restaurants that line the road — worth the wait, for sure.  We stopped again for another look at the violet-throated metaltail and the unremarkable mouse-colored spinetail.  Today’s totals: 68 species, 11 lifers for Connie.

 

 

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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