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Ecuador 2020: Zicktrip from the Andes to the Amazon

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Y'all, I'm in the blender with the new book coming out. But my 2020 schedule don't care. Schedules are schedules and stuff happens when it has to. So while I'm prepping for my book tour to Philadelphia this weekend, building a booktour in Florida, and packing for a Bird Watcher's Digest Reader Rendezvous to South Africa in less than two weeks, I've had to stop today to dig out a bunch of photos and write a blogpost about Ecuador, where Mario Cordoba and I will be leading a trip, February 11-21, 2020!

I know. My head's spinning, too, just thinking about it all, much less showing up for it and making it all happen. First, the Philly dates, for those of you who might want to hear the brand-new Saving Jemima talk:

Two Zick engagements coming up this weekend. Sat. Sept. 21, 2019, 11 AM: "Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-luck Jay" at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, 1201 Pawlings Rd., Audubon, PA 19403. Conrad the Jay with his person, the fabulous Education Director Carrie Barron, will also appear!

Me, Conrad and Carrie at the last American Birding Expo in Philadelphia, September 2017.

If Saturday morning doesn't work, then come on Sunday afternoon!
Sun. Sept. 22, 2019, 2 PM:  "Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-luck Jay" at Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens, 631 Berwyn Baptist Rd., Devon PA 19333 PA. Conrad the Jay will be here, too! Call (610) 647-8870 for information.

Now. About Ecuador. My beloved friend Mario Cordoba and I have led two trips there in 2017 and 2018, both for Holbrook Travel, with wonderful local guides. As we rolled along in the bus, we daydreamed about streamlining things, about cutting down the bus time on winding mountain roads; about spending more time birding and mothing and botanizing. So Mario, a logistical wizard, came up with an itinerary that will get us in amongst the birds and flowers, with more time at each wonderful lodge (two and three nights at each), and more time to settle in and explore. More time to do what we came to do. We wanted to see what it would be like to roll down from the ultra-high Andean paramo habitat to the Amazonian lowlands, to watch the birds and animals and vegetation go from high-altitude cloud forest to the land of manakins, monkeys and three-toed sloths, with the jaw-dropping Ecuadorean array of hummingbirds prodding us along all the way. 

The first night will be in the charming spa town of Papallacta, where we hope to soak in a thermal pool.  We'll take off the next morning for Guango Reserve in San Isidro, and get in touch with mountain tanagers, turquoise jays and a ridiculous array of hummingbirds, including the sword-billed

and the purple-throated woodstar (this is a female). 

We will spend time at two lodges we've visited  and adored before: Two nights and fabulous days at San Isidro, with fabulous food and roving flocks of supertame Inca jays (!!!) 

There are long-tailed sylphs there (this is a violet-tailed, but you get the miraculous idea).

From there, we go on to Wildsumaco in the eastern foothills of the Andes, which boasts more than 30 species of hummingbirds and some nice lowland species like spadebills and manakins--even military macaws and antpittas. Two nights there, then on to Coca. We get there by canoe!! 

There's a canopy walk with monkeys, huge kapok trees and sloths. We're in the lowlands now.

Here. Look at these moths. This is the kind of stuff you see at lower elevations. (these are from Pinas (Umbrellabird Lodge). 

When I'm literally dropping from exhaustion, you'll still find me slinking around with my flashlight and iPhone, recording the undreamt of under the lodge lights. That's what Ecuador is like. Sensory overload, beauty overload, diversity overload. And overload is where a field naturalist most loves to be.

We'll have three nights at Sacha Lodge--heaven! And then we fly back to Quito. It'll be like painless magic. 
I am STOKED about this trip, because logistics mean a LOT when you're talking about bus rides and winding Andean roads. Let's DO THIS!

I'm looking for people who would like to experience this incredible Ecuadorean journey with me and Mario (far left).  It's going to be a small group, because the lodges are small
and that's how we like 'em. 

Halloween Night 2018 in Cuenca, Ecuador. The MOST fun. Woot!! 

Dates: February 11-21, 2020. For details, including price and itinerary, head on over to this link: 


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