Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Ecuador January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010
Miami - Toronto - Waterloo

We awoke to the sound of the alarm in the adjacent room going off. It appeared that it was not being rented so the alarm continued beeping until we left our room.
Breakfast was not available until 07:30h but we had to catch the 07:00h shuttle to the airport.
There were long lineups moving very slowly everywhere and no one to offer assistance of any kind. One elderly couple were obviously having great difficulty with the automatic check in and had I not already secured my place in the line up I would have helped them. They approached one uniformed fellow who brusquely told them to follow the instructions on the screen. I suspect this passenger had little experience with computers, perhaps none at all, and he was clearly befuddled by the whole process. He kept returning to his frail-looking wife with a hopeless expression on his face.
A haughty, officious-looking woman, an employee of American Airlines, was asked a question by a passenger. He obviously didn’t hear or didn’t understand her response so he asked again. Her reply dumbfounded us, "I already told you, sir. I don’t know why you don’t listen." Charming, huh? Excellent customer relations skills, huh?
The process of getting through security was slow, all hand luggage was examined, we had to remove shoes, sweaters, belts, jackets etc and were subjected to a full body pat down.
When we finally made it through we got a coffee and Miriam had a muffin for breakfast. I had sushi!
We walked to our gate but after sitting there for a while were told to move to another gate. It was late when we took off, but we were just relieved and happy to be on the final leg of our journey.
Upon arrival at Pearson International Airport in Toronto we were speedily processed through Canada Customs and Immigration, retrieved our bags and caught the shuttle to pick up our car.
It was good to be home!
 
General Commments

We had a great birding experience and would recommend Ecuador to anyone looking for a birding adventure in South America. There were no long journeys and we found birds everywhere we went, even in downtown Quito.
We loved the country, the people and the wildlife and we are determined to return.

Major Highlights

1. Four Andean Condors
2. Angel Paz and the Antpittas
3. So many hummingbirds
4. So many tanagers
5. A lagoon full of Hoatzin

Major Disappointments

1. No Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe
2. Missing the Agami Heron
3. Not finding the Mystery Owl at San Isidro
4. Only one new owl species for the whole
trip
5. Not visiting the Oilbird cave

Acknowledgements

Marcia Balestri, ever helpful, provided copies of her trip reports and species lists for two trips to Ecuador.
Albert and Esther Goetz first put the idea of Ecuador in our heads.
Jimmy and Ruth Marie Lyons gave us a great deal of information, including an excellent video, and put us in contact with Mercedes Rivadeneira of Neblina Forest.

Further Information

David M. Gascoigne or Miriam Bauman
606 Osprey Drive
Waterloo, ON
Canada N2V 2A5
519 725-0866
Fax 519 725-1176
email: theospreynest@sympatico.ca
blog: travelswithbirds.blogspot.com

Total Species Summary

The tabular format I use for this summary is not compatible with my blog. If you would like a copy please request it by email.

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