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-> Highlands -> Introduction
10 - 12 October
we were forced to turn back from the blocked old Nono-Mindo road,
we retraced our route back through Tandayapa, and headed back to
Quito via the main road. Our destination was the old hacienda, now
a hotel - the Hosteria La Cienaga. We were to stay there for two
nights, to visit the Cotapaxi National Park and, en route back to
Quito, the Pasochoa Reserve.
can recommend La Cienaga for a couple of nights of luxury! Apart
from the grand old house, the gardens and grounds are well worth
exploring, and we spent quite a few hours birding in the area.
our stay in the highlands, we had a 9-seater mini-bus (!) a driver,
Miguel, and an excellent Ecuadorian guide, Norby Lopez Granda.
was a free-lance birding guide, hired by our ground agents, Angermier,
but his full-time job was working for a foundation which was establishing
a new lodge on the Rio Napo, further down stream from La Selva Lodge.
was very friendly, but professional, spoke excellent English (well,
American, really!) and was well-equipped with good quality bins
and scope (both Swarovski), a recorder (which he used to record
and play back calls, rather than use pre-recorded tapes) and the
new guides' tool - a laser dot pen, to guide his clients onto the
bird! Norby was not only knowledgeable about birds, and knew their
calls well, but he was also a good all-round naturalist.