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  1. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    You’re absolutely right. In fact, if our Ecuador trip had been a full-on birding trip, I wouldn’t have chosen Mashpi. I’m sure you could see more birds by using local guides, as well as spending a lot less money. It’s a different kind of experience.
  2. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    22 January All good things must come to an end. This was our last morning of bird-watching and our last day in Ecuador. We started at dawn on the top deck of the lodge: it was a great opportunity to see some of the larger forest specialities, in particular Baudó Guan and Long-wattled...
  3. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    Thanks, Mike. Do it ... you won't regret it!
  4. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    21 January Time to see some more Hummingbirds. Just inside the entrance to the reserve, there’s a shelter with some hummingbird feeders. It seems to attract lots of other small birds: flycatchers, tanagers and so on. (Again, food is put out for them.) Before dawn, we were ferried up to the...
  5. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    Thanks for the kind comments. 5 months in Ecuador sounds like heaven.
  6. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    The BBC produced a (rather gushing) documentary on Mashpi Lodge, in case anyone's interested. It's still available on iPlayer.
  7. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    20 January Another early start. We set off on foot through the forest before dawn to have breakfast at one of the top birding spots. Our disappointment the previous afternoon was explained: the afternoon is usually quiet, the early morning definitely very noisy! We didn’t stop much on on the...
  8. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    19 January Having arrived back in Quito the previous afternoon, we were off again at the crack of dawn: we headed out of Quito in a minibus for Mashpi Lodge, about two-and-a-half hours’ drive north and (thankfully) at only 900m above sea level. En route we stopped for lunch at the ancient ruins...
  9. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    18 January After eight days of cruising it was time to leave paradise. Before returning to Seymour Airport for our flight back to Quito, we stopped off for an early morning stroll on Mosquera Islet, a low and unpromising stretch of sand and rock. The main attraction was the sealion colony...
  10. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    17 January The next morning took us to the east side of Santiago and a walk across the pahoehoe lava of Sullivan’s Bay, with good numbers of Galapagos Penguins on the shore. No new birds today, but in the afternoon we had a real treat — perhaps our best birding day of the Galapagos trip...
  11. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    CORRECTION: 150 mating pairs
  12. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    My uneducated guess is that it's a bit of whale skeleton. We did see other whales bones lying around at Punta Espinoza.
  13. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    16 January Overnight our boat took us round the northern tip of Isabela to Santiago Island. The main event of the day was a morning hike along the shore of James Bay. This is a rocky shore with a wide tidal zone full of rockpools and, inevitably, thousands of Marine Iguanas and Sally...
  14. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    15 January The morning found us at Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. The cove itself was full of Brown Noddies. We landed for a hike up the hillside and great views of Isabela’s volcanoes. On the way back down we stopped to look at the salt lagoon of Darwin Lake — a circle of brilliant blue water...
  15. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    14 January (afternoon) There was plenty to digest over lunch. After the cormorant-octopus-sealion incident, we’d had a couple more close encounters with sealions. Swimming in their presence was really extraordinary. They’re big beasts that swim like lightning and yet they’re able to turn on a...
  16. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    14 January (morning) The day at Isabela Island began with a dinghy ride into the mangroves at Punta Moreno. As we approached the shore, we had our first sight of Flightless Cormorant on the rocks. In the sandy, shallow bay there were plenty of rays — Spotted Eagle-Ray, Marbled Ray and Diamond...
  17. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    Land Iguana is on its way!
  18. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    13 January The next morning we found ourselves moored off the small harbour of Puerto Velasco, on the west side of Floreana. Our early morning landing at the small harbour brought us within touching distance of more Galapagos Sealions asleep on the dock and lots of Marine Iguanas (see pics). In...
  19. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    12 January We’d booked a seven-night cruise. These week-long cruises generally do one of two circuits. We were on the western circuit, which would take us south to Floreana Island, then west round the southern tip of Isabela Island (the largest of the Galapagos), north up the western side of...
  20. Matt Bell

    Ecuador and the Galapagos, Jan 2020

    Lots more Galapagos still to come, Deb!
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