When our host, Mercedes, suggested we go to Antisana on our last full day in Ecuador so we can see Caracaras and Ibises, we politely declined. Our excuse (which was really lame) was that we were exhausted. "We'll just bird around your neighborhood," we told her. We returned to our room while she prepared our dinner. I gave it much pondering and the thought of garnering more lifers persisted on my mind. I discussed this with my wife. While having dinner, we told Mercedes that we changed our mind and please contact Luis so he can pick us up tomorrow.
Bright and early the following day as we were about to embark, Mercedes noticed that we only had three layers of clothing on. "You will need more than that" she said. Then she quickly rushed to her house and brought two sweaters - one for me and one for Cynthia.
The road to Antisana was quite birdy. Thanks to Luis' keen eyes we got Paramo Ground Tyrant, Plain-colored Seedeater, Chestnut-winged and Stout-billed Cinclodes, and Plumbeous Sierra Finch. These were all added to our life list, among others.
One of the highlights was the Carunculated Caracara. There were lots of them walking on the grassland.
As we approached La Mica Lake, one could say: And then there were birds....most of which had their names begin with "Andean":
And the most memorable of all:
To cap an already exciting trip, Luis' sharp eyes gave us our final lifer: the Red-crested Cotinga.
When we returned to Puembo, we thanked Mercedes profusely not just for insisting that we go to Antisana but also for providing an extra layer of clothing for us. It was indeed very cold up there almost to the point of freezing. After all, we were more than 3500 meters above sea level high up in the Andes mountains.
It was an awesome end to our birding trip to Ecuador.
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