A Day at Bellavista Lodge

Tuesday, March 1

We were up at 6 am for our early-morning bird walk. We met Andrea and the three others and basically just birded around the lodge itself. We saw a lot of the usual species plus a few lifers. Once the walk was over we headed to the restaurant for breakfast, which was fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, and tea. We also had some muesli, which was very tasty. By the time we had finished eating and chatting to the South Dakotans, we didn’t have much time before our next guided walk was scheduled to begin.

A rare view of Volcan Pichincha

This time we had two new people with us, two professors from Atlanta. We started out along the Heliconia trail, stopping to watch two guans feeding at the compost bin, then headed further along until we met up with the Luna trail. Andrea was explaining the different plants and vegetation plus the birds as we went along. The Luna trail contoured along before climbing up to the road. From here we went to look at the research station, which can be rented by groups.

Sleeping moth

By now clouds were swirling up from the valley, but it was still a very pleasant day. Leaving the research station, we followed the road back towards the lodge until we reached the Water trail. This headed down very steeply, following a creek which is used for water supply for the toilets and laundry. Near the bottom we heard a loud drumming sound which Andrea said was made by the Powerful Woodpecker. This woodpecker closely resembles our Pileated Woodpecker and luckily for us we saw not one but two of them very clearly. Unfortunately they were too far away for photographs but through the binoculars they were spectacular.

Chestnut-capped Brush-FinchThe lodge squirrel

Back at the lodge we dispersed to our various rooms, then met again for lunch. This time we had the two professors with us, and we found out that they teach people to be science teachers and were in Ecuador to research out possible trips for their group. Lunch started with seafood chowder, followed by chicken breast in red wine sauce and potatoes. Dessert was a pudding with fruit sauce, similar to a parfait.

Strong-billed Woodcreeper

After lunch we decided to take it easy, so we wandered around a bit, then walked down the road to see what we could see. This turned out to be not much, and rain was threatening, so we headed back and had some tea. Sitting in our room was very pleasant and relaxing. After a while we put on our rain capes and headed out to look for new species. We sat at the various hummingbird feeders to see what visited, then walked back over to the compost bin. The male and female guans showed up to eat the fruit at the bin but didn’t stay too long, and while they were there we identified some Plushcaps.

Masked Flowerpiercer
Booted Racket-tail

We then headed back to sit on the soft lounge chairs outside the dining room. By now the rain was teeming down, but we were dry, so all in all it wasn’t bad at all. Just as it was getting dark, a little thrush walked along the path below us, and it turned out to be yet another lifer, a Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush. Dinner tonight was homemade pizza with fruit for dessert. After we were done we met with Flavio, the local manager, at the office to settle our bill, because we were leaving early the next morning with Andrea to visit the Yanacocha Reserve on our way back to Quito. We packed up as much as possible, then went to bed.

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