Hummingbirds are on the agenda for anyone taking a bird photography or bird watching trip to Ecuador. Gary and I planned our photo tour in March to see as many hummingbirds as possible during our 10-day stay in the country.
Ecuador has more than 132 hummingbird species. That’s more species than any other country and 40% of all hummingbird species in the world.
Lucky for us, hummingbird feeders are a common sight around Ecuador. We chose our stops during this trip based on hummingbird feeding location so we could maximize our photo and viewing opportunities.
First stop was Guango Lodge on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. Guango is great for photography with a new hummingbird “Pavilion” by the bus parking area. There are natural perches by each feeder. This gave us an opportunity to photograph the hummers as they rested between visits to the feeders.
We used flashes to bring out the sparkle in the hummingbird’s feathers. Everyone used a diffuser of some sort to soften the light so the flash wasn’t so obvious. I used the Lumiquest Softbox. Someone else used the Rogue FlashBender 2. No need for a flash extender since the hummers were 6-10 feet away most of the time.
Our guide, Nelson Apolo Jaramillo, suggested that we leave Guango in the afternoon and visit a friend’s lodge about 45-minutes past Guango. We all agreed and drove down to Rio Quijos Eco-lodge on Hwy 45. The lower elevation gave us some new species.
Our hummingbird photography continued a couple of days later as we moved across Quito to the Yanacocha Reserve. The reserve headquarters has a nice café, restrooms, and trails. These are situated near a covered hummingbird photography area. Lots of natural perches around the hummingbird feeders.
The target species here was the sword-billed hummingbird.
Our next stop was the Mindo Valley lower down the western slope of the Andes. Our lodge in this area was Septimo Paraiso. It truly is Seventh Heaven in so many ways.
We gave everyone a full-day of photography and birding on the grounds of Septimo Paraiso. There are several hummingbird feeding stations as well as fruit feeders for perching birds.
I set-up the hummingbird flashes in the garden under a nice pavilion that was ringed in hummingbird feeders. Once I got the set-up working then we traded out every hour. Each person in the group got to use the flashes. Everyone got at least one nice photo with the multi-flash set-up.
The next two days were devoted to visiting several location in the Mindo area that featured hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders. We went to Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve, San Tadeo, and the Birdwatcher’s House.
Each stop gave us a couple more species of hummingbirds plus more opportunities to photograph familiar species.
Come back tomorrow for news about tanagers and other perching birds.