Volcanos make up much of the Andes mountains. Our drive from Quito to Baños was gorgeous! We were able to see several volcanos playing peek-a-boo with the clouds.
Baños, a little tourist town known for its thermal waters, is situated on the “safe” side of Tungurahua. Tungurahua is a volcano that spewed forth ash as late as January. (I see that it has continued to spit ash since then.) That afternoon we drove up the mountain a little ways and from there got a good view of the volcano.
We saw a few birds too, including the Great Thrush, and the Glossy-Black Thrush. We were to see the Great Thrush again and again as we headed south. But we never again saw the Glossy Black. Nor did we ever see again the Hooded Mountain-Tanager, a beautiful large tanager which we also got to see on that short drive up the mountain.
The next day we went to see an awesome waterfall called the Pailón del Diablo. On the way we stopped by the side of the road to take a picture and saw several birds there, including Russet-Backed Oropendola and Inca Jay. It was a fortuitous stop.
As we started down the trail to the waterfall we were entertained by a little Yellow-Browed Sparrow that was singing its heart out beside the path. We followed the river as we went further down the trail. Eventually, there were a couple of swinging bridges that crossed the river deep in the gorge bringing us to the waterfall. It was awesome to be so close to it!
In the river that fed the waterfall we saw a female Torrent Duck. It is a duck that thrives on rough water. It is the original white water rafter. She was totally in her element as she swam upstream through the rapids!
We also saw the Pied Water-Tyrant, a little black and white bird that dashes in and out of the rocks on the edge of the river.
That afternoon we left the Baños area and headed for Cuenca. It was a slow and foggy drive on curvy roads through the Andes.
In the Baños area: Montane Woodcreeper, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Great Thrush, Glossy-Black Thrush, Blue-Grey Tanager, Rufous-Collared Sparrow, Palm Tanager, Eared Dove, Russet-Backed Oropendula, Magpie Tanager, Tropical Kingbird, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-Bellied Seedeater, Blue and White Swallow, Inca Jay, Blue-Necked Tanager, Yellow-Browed Sparrow, Pied Water-Tyrant, Torrent Duck, Spotted Sandpiper, Olive-Spotted Hummingbird
Next blog: Cuenca