Day 12 of our trip was marked by the flora and fauna at an altitude of between 1000 and 2500 m (intermediate elevation for Ecuador) – but also by the rain. Nonetheless, we set off in search of an Inca pyramid and rock formation. Unfortunately, we struggled to take photos of either because of the heavy precipitation. We were determined to come away with more sound recordings, though, no matter how unfavourable the conditions were. And so we pulled on our wellies and headed through the cloud forest near Baños. It’s hard to comprehend just how many species of plants and animals call this wooded area their home. It would be difficult to find such dense biological diversity in any other country, and we really got a sense of that as we explored this part of Ecuador.
As one could imagine, we had a fair amount of mud to contend with, but we still managed to achieve almost everything we had set out to do.
What the fog couldn’t hide was the sheer volume of plastic waste and other pollution from humans deposited in the forest. What a stark and sad sign of the Anthropocene in this environment.
Flying gems. Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) are one of the most fascinating bird groups of the New World. In Ecuador they are particularly rich in species and shapes.