Ecuador, the country of the Hummingbirds, Tanagers and more, the perfect photographer’s paradise
Ecuador is famed for its extraordinary diversity. With a superb selection of lodges and reserves, many of them with excellent feeders, it is one of the premier bird photography destinations in South America. The jewels of the Andes, the hummingbirds, will feature heavily; fantastic feeder set-ups allow excellent photographic opportunities of these “winged gems”. While hummingbirds are undoubtedly a front and center feature of this tour, they will also be accompanied by other colorful tropical birds, including an assortment of tanagers, toucans, trogons, woodpeckers, and even the incredible, vivid scarlet Andean Cock-of-the-rock. An optional extension to Sani Lodge in the Amazon is also available.
Note: On some departures, the tour is run in reverse order.
The tour leader may modify the plan on any particular day based on weather, feeder activity, recent sighting information, newly opened sites, and other factors. As most of the tour is based in just a few lodges, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary.
Easy to moderate. Much of the main tour will be spent near feeders which are accessed by only a short walk. At Refugio Paz, we will need to walk roughly half a mile (about 1 km) on moderately steep and often slippery trails in order to photograph some of the special birds. There will also be short walks on trails to target a few things at Milpe and Guango. Parts of at least three days will be spent at high elevations above 11,500 ft. (3500 m.), however little walking is done at these altitudes, and those nights are spent much lower at 8500 ft. (2600 m). On the extension, much more walking is required, up to 3 miles (4.8 km) a day, and sometimes on trails that are very muddy (the lodge provides rubber boots), and accessing the canopy tower requires climbing up 120 ft. (37 m.) via a sturdy and well-made staircase.
Good, all have private, en-suite bathrooms, and full-time hot water. All lodges on the main tour have 24hr electricity. On the extension, electricity is provided by a generator that is turned on for limited hours, but it provides sufficient time to charge camera batteries and devices.
Usually very pleasant (mostly 55°-75°F, 13°-24°C), but cold at Papallacta and Antisana (possibly down to near freezing) and hot on the one day at Suamox and for the entire extension (up to c. 90°F/32°C). Some rain can be expected, especially in the afternoons and evenings, and intense downpours are not unexpected on the extension (good rain protection for your gear is essential).
To provide our clients with unique moments of enjoying and having fun with this hobby, through Photography we can capture unique moments in contact with wildlife, birds, mammals, and landscapes our photos will help us to understand biodiversity, Bird behavior and capture moments not available on the binoculars, you can capture your own pictures and memories and take them with you to home, but mainly develop your skills and your personal relationship with your camera and gear.
A good 300mm lens (or high-end zoom that covers 300mm) and a full-frame camera are ideal for hummingbirds, but a longer lens is better for most other birds. A 500mm with a 1.4x or 600mm are the best options, but a 300mm with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters also usually does a great job. A smaller lens can be nice for scenery shots in the high Andes. A flash (where permitted) is also useful since light can be quite low early in the morning and inside the forest. 100- 400 lenses with an independent body are also important if possible. Weather permitting, there will be some opportunities for optional nocturnal macro photography, especially on the extension, where a good macro lens and flash (a ring flash or off-camera flash is best) would be useful. Flash is not permitted at Paz de las Aves or Mashpi Amaguza.
Wildlife photography in the Amazon is as tough as it gets. We had hesitated to offer a trip until we went to Sani Lodge in early June 2015, and that totally changed our minds. After a few days there, we came back with chips loaded with great photos, and were convinced that this was THE place to do it. This extension can also be done at any time as a custom tour, and longer and shorter packages are possible.
*Please note: For the Amazon Extension, a Tropical Birding guide will only accompany the group if there are three or more people. For groups of only one or two people, a local, bird guide from the lodge will be used.
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