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

Saraguro and Reserva Yunguilla

ECUADOR | Sunday, 10 March 2019 | Views [28]

White hats, Fiesta of the Virgin of Saraguro

White hats, Fiesta of the Virgin of Saraguro

IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE THAT A SMALL, NON-DESCRIPT BIRD could cause a conservation movement.  But that’s just what the Pale-headed Brush Finch has done.  Once believed extinct due to habitat destruction and predation by shiny cowbirds, a small population was discoverd in what is now Reserva Yunguilla.  The conservation group Jocotoco — more on them later — purchased about 200 hectares and opened a hunting season on cowbirds and the Brush Finches have started to recover, from 10 pairs to about 200 individuals today.  

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   Jocotoco Foundation

This isn’t an easy place to get to.  Even though the area is popular with wealthy Ecuadorians, the access road is terrible so when Nestor felt it was no longer prudent to drive, we set off on foot.  The downhill trek was easy which meant it would be rough sledding on the return ascent.  Two hours of searching using Dusan’s playback calls resulted in a few brief sightings and one blurred photo that looks more paranormal than ornithological.

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   Nice smiles, good food

They were dancing in the streets in Saraguro despite the rain showers.  It was the Fiesta of the Virgin of Saraguro and the party would go on all night long.  Hostelaria Saraguro isn’t much — simple, unheated rooms and no restaurant — but it’s the best place in town.  But Dusan found a spectacular restaurant with gourmet Ecuadorian dishes that almost made up for the scant accommodations.  Unfortunately, we’ll be here for two nights.

 

 

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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