Photographic highlights from Bellavista, Ecuador

After arriving back in the UK last Saturday, I now am in the possession internet again, which should allow me to upload quite a few more images from my trip to Ecuador over the next few weeks. I am going to start the instalment with a blog of photographic highlights from my time at Bellavista Lodge. It is going to take a long time to produce a detailed trip report-style blog on my time in Ecuador overall,  and so for now I will focus on particular areas or species. I have uploaded a selection of images for this post, which were all taken around the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve area, near in the Tandayapa Valley in Pichincha province, Ecuador. The equipment I used to take all of the bird images was a Canon 7D and Canon 300mm f2.8 USM lens, whilst any macro work was using a Sigma 105mm f2.8. I hope you enjoy…

A Montane Woodcreeper- the other common species of woodcreeper at Bellavista, and a much smaller relative of its monstrous cousin

Two of the lodges most colourful tanagers: the stunning Grass-green Tanager above, and the bright Blue-winged Mountain-tanager below. The latter of these species is said to be the leader of mixed species flocks, and it is certainly true that their high pitched and excited calls are often the first thing that is heard before a flock is encountered. It is thought that other species such as warblers, furnariids, and woodcreepers follow the tanagers because of the increased protection they offer from predators. Tanagers such as the blue-winged mountain-tanager feed on fruits and berries in the forest canopy, and spend a much higher proportion of their time scanning the horizon and skies for predators; furnariids, woodcreepers and warblers on the other hand, spend a large amount of their time rummaging around in moss and with their heads in crevices and cracks, thus spending much less time on the look out. This is just reason why mixed species flocks are thought to exist in rainforests and the tropics.

                                                                               HUMMINGBIRDSI have uploaded a small selection of hummingbird images taken whilst I was in the country, and virtually all were taken at Bellavista. Unfortunately I did not have the luxury of a multi flash setup whilst I was there, and so did not manage to obtain any picture-perfect flight shots with frozen wings and perfect lighting etc. Most of these images were taken with natural light, and a few with fill-in flash.

Buff-tailed Coronet
            Violet-tailed Sylph

Purple-throated Woodstar

Buff-tailed Coronet
Andean Emerald

Green Thorntail

Purple-throated Woodstar

male Green Thorntail

Here are a variety of images of insects that I took whilst at the lodge. With very little work done on any of the lepidoptera in the valley, there were no resources on any of the species, and so identification beyond family level was virtually impossible. I therefore just had to appreciate them without IDs, which was quite tough when every morning some of the most amazing-looking moths were devoured by a horde of  different birds!


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