A few highlights wrapped up in few words.
Ecuador.....hmmmmm... Diane, Les, John, Pete Howard and Doris all ventured down to Ecuador for a few days of birding. Pete came down early and we birded the coastal area of Ecuador and experienced the traffic ' down and up' the west side of the Andes. Trust me, just because you are in a third world, doesn't mean there is no traffic; cars and trucks. No...quite the opposite. There is traffic but what is lacking is 'infrastructure to support that same traffic'...But we managed to get in a few days birding the marsh land as well as the Ayampe River area. We came out with little bug bites, which is a huge plus.
Now...all others arrived and we birded the eastern side of the Andes. Excellent birding as we saw close to 150+ in the first day alone. A great lodge, excellent food, a few beers, and no rain. THAT, was the last of that, though as rain was the name of the game on the eastern slope for eternity it seemed. We left in the rain and we couldn't return 'due to the rain'. It was way to dangerous as many fatalities occurred with rain causing mudslides and road washouts. A complete bus was 'overcome' along with numerous cars as the rain lasted a solid 7+ days,
But we managed to bird the Paramo area in the Andes as well as the rich Mindo Valley, Miple and Rio Salanche areas. Some solid birding with some solid birders who enjoyed the culture that was offered, the nightlife---as one couldn't help but to take part of that if not just to 'listen'....
We also enjoyed the traffic as driving in Ecuador is anything but normal. If you thought the NJ Turnpike was bad, ah.....just drive South America and you know what driving truly is. In two 'formal lanes' ...there are actually 3 or 4 traffic lanes as cars just weave in and out on highways, passing on curves etc. The passengers of the vehicle have a few options, (a) take a nap and don't look but trust the driver, (b) keep your eyes wide open and swear often, or (c) look out the side window at the holes in the road and lack of pavement. I am probably missing an option in there.
So,...Ecuador a success as we saw close to 350 birds....and experienced the culture of Quito, the country.....the people. Life is all about experiences my friends and the more you have, the more life you lead.
Now.......the latter part of this guys summer was spent in Tucson, Arizona. But sadly the birding was lacking as the weather is hot....but there are monsoons and if you know where to look, you can find birds. Just hit the canyons and the mountains and do so prior to 10am and you shall find birds. Hummers, odd sparrows, grosbeaks and the lot. Stay on the paths as it is snake season but in the entire time I was there, I saw '0' snakes' Of course, I am sure they saw me....
Back to New Jersey and fall birding.....Cape May....migration at Brig, etc... ooo la la. Have you noticed the images being posted to our AAS Facebook page by Howard, Colleen, and Kevin...if not...visit that page and peruse the excellent fotos as they capture what we truly love. .