Date: 10/11/17 5:10 am
From: Ragupathy Kannan <0000013b0ad14faf-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Ecuador birding for the AAST!
Want to add about 200 Andean birds to your life list?  Then come with us to Ecuador March 2018 and support the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust!  Detailed itinerary below.  Cost $2500 plus air.  Maximum 11 persons, only three seats left.  --Kannan


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Date
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Day of Week
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Itinerary
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Overnights
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Activities

 
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Meals 
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Mar

16
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Friday
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Arrive Quito
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Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel

 
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Quito, Ecuador, is a spectacular city positioned just a few miles shy of the equator in a narrow valley surrounded by volcanoes. At 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the second highest capital city in Latin America, and maintains a pleasant spring-like climate all year round. Quito is also the cultural epicenter of Ecuador, with a plethora of museums, expansive outdoor parks, and colorful festivals and fairs. Upon evening arrival into Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, you will be met by Andean Discovery staff and transferred to your hotel to relax after the long flights. 
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17
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Saturday
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Quito / Tandayapa Valley
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Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge

 
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Join your guide for a memorable morning of birding just outside of Quito in the Yanacocha Reserve, in the high-altitude, elfin Polylepis forest on the western slope of Pinchincha Volcano.  The reserve was established in 2001, with involvement from the local community, to protect some of Ecuador’s aviary treasures.  You can find the critically endangered, endemic black-breasted puffleg (the iconic bird of Quito) and large Andean hummingbirds including the Great Sapphirewing and the elusive Sword-billed Hummingbird.   The reserve has stunning views of the volcanic summit and is also home to wildlife like the puma and spectacled bear.

Later this afternoon travel to the famous cloud forests of Mindo. Watch the scenery transform as you descend the high slopes of the Andes into the lush green forests below, keeping an eye out for waterfalls and cascades along the way. Located in one of the most bio diverse regions in the world, Mindo is home to over 300 different species of tropical birds including toucans, quetzals, owls, and hummingbirds and countless other plant and animal species.
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B, L, D
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Mar

18
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Sunday
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Tandayapa Valley
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Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge

 
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After breakfast, proceed on guided hikes in the beautiful Tandayapa Valley. Bellavista, located on the old Nono-Tandayapa-Mindo road, is synonymous with one of the very best birding areas in Ecuador. This is an area that has won the Audubon Christmas Bird Count for the highest number of bird species seenin one day! And now, with the recent declaration of the road from Nono – Tandayapa – San Tadeo as the first Ecoroute in Ecuador, more habitats will be protected in the region for birds and wildlife in general. During the stay here, you will walk parts of the extensive trail system (6 miles of trails), or the little travelled dirt roads that cross the Reserve. There are always great birds to see, whether a good tanager flock, specialty birds like Plate-billed Mountain Toucan and Tanager-Finch, Toucan Barbets, or strange calls inviting for identification! You will certainly see numerous species of hummingbirds! You will have the opportunity to take day excursions to different elevations for different birds. Have meals at the lodge restaurant, which boasts magnificent views and additional opportunities for spotting endemic and native birds.
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B, L, D
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19
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Monday
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Refugio Paz de las Aves Reserve
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El Séptimo Paraíso
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Early rise this morning and transfer to the recently opened and already famous reserve Refugio Paz de las Aves, where a Cock-of-the-Rock lek awaits you, and up to three usually elusive Antpittas can be seen at truly incredibly close quarters. Return to Mindo for lunch and additional birding opportunities.
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B, L, D
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20
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Tuesday
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Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary
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El Séptimo Paraíso
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After breakfast, descend the Andes to Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary located at 300 meters above sea level. Here it is possible to spot many of these bird species, which can otherwise only be seen with an expedition to Esmeraldas province or even Colombia. Look for the Purple-chested Hummingbird, Choco Trogon, Double-banded Graytail, Black-tipped Cotinga and Blue-whiskered Tanager. Enjoy birding from the trails and canopy observation towers. Enjoy a box lunch before returning to Mindo.
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B, BL, D
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Mar

21
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Wednesday
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Milpe Bird Sanctuary
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El Séptimo Paraíso
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Early rise and transfer to Milpe Bird Sanctuary. Opened in March 2004, Milpe has recently been expanded to 100 hectares (247 acres), now including the adjacent Milpe Gardens, which has easier access to the Chalhuayacu river valley and makes a great addition to our already ample trail system. The sanctuary covers an altitudinal range from 1020-1150m (3340-3770 ft). Many of the most spectacular Choco endemics occur here: Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Glistening green Tanager, Club-winged Manakin and Long-wattled Umbrellabird to name just a few. This site is also known for having the rare Moss-backed Tanager.
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B, L, D
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22
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Thursday
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La Cuchilla de San Lorenzo Trail / Quito
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Swissotel Quito
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After breakfast, transfer to La Cuchilla de San Lorenzo trail for a morning of birding. After lunch, travel to zero degrees latitude and visit the Mitad del Mundo equatorial monument. Stand with one foot in each hemisphere and test out the effect of gravity on the equator through a series of interactive experiments. For example, is it possible to balance an egg on the equator? Return to your hotel in Quito later this afternoon. Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner and discuss all the wonderful birds that will be added to your Life Lists.
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B, L, D
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23
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Friday
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Quito / Depart
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This morning you will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flight.
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B
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