Week 5-6: Bird Photos from Mindo Cloudforest Foundation’s Milpe Reserve – February 8 – 21, 2009
I headed off from Tandayapa Bird Lodge on the 8th and made my way to the town of Los Bancos. I was making my way towards my next stop which would be the Milpe reserve. On the way though, I wanted to stop in and do some photography at the fruit feeders at the Restaurant Mirrador Los Bancos.
I spent two nights in Los Bancos at this fantastic little restaurant. It was such a comfortable base and the views over the river valley made for a spectacular back-drop. But of course my focus was on photographing the birds that frequently came in to the fruit feeders. In all honesty the conditions for photography were not ideal and it was a challenge to pull out some quality images. But by the time I left I was pretty happy with the images I had managed (especially of Guira Tanager, Pale-mandibled Aracari, Silver-throated Tanager and Blue-gray Tanager). An added bonus was meeting and having lunch with a few “Quitenas” (girls from Quito) who promised to show me around town when I get back to the city. ☺
On the 10th the owner of the restaurant (Patricio) was kind enough to give me a lift over to the reserve that is located only a few kilometres outside of Los Bancos. I was excited to be at Milpe but I was also really tired so it was straight to bed for me.
I awoke to find out that the Milpe reserve is a really cool place. There are some good trails working through the property that are very active with bird life. They have hummingbird feeders that attract 7-8 species including some really cool ones like Green Thorntail, Velvet-purple Coronet and White-whiskered hermit. There is also a bird-friendly shade coffee plantation and the main road that leads to the reserve can also be productive. Plenty to keep me busy for the next 2 weeks!
I spent much of the first week walking the trails in the morning and then shooting hummingbirds in the afternoon. I was usually forced under cover by early afternoon when rain came nearly every day (torrential at times). But fortunately there is a perfect area where I could keep shooting hummingbirds and stay dry.
All the rain meant that the power was intermittent and out for a several days. We had no running water for most of the 2 weeks that I was there. And I couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee to save my life! I have also been hearing rumors that several of the main roads are washed out or have been covered by landslides. It’s a bit hard to type right now because my fingers are crossed that I can actually get back to Quito tomorrow. Oh how I long for a hot shower (or any shower for that matter) and a good cup of coffee
There are plenty of good birds around here at Milpe. But to be honest photography has been challenging. I definitely haven’t got as many “WOW” factor images as I had hoped for. But it has been a good stop nonetheless. I am looking forward to a few down days in Quito to relax and explore the city. Afterwards I’ll head back up into the highlands around Papallacta and Antisana. Should be fun!