Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hummingbirds of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

On our way to the Galápagos Islands, we stopped for a few days in Quito, Ecuador. Among other tourist activities, we took a two day trip to Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve located in the Tandayapa region on the western slopes of the Andes, north west of Quito.

Cloud Forest, Tandayapa, Ecuador
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 21mm, ISO 400, f/8 1/160

Bellavista Lodge was our home for two days.

Bellavista Lodge, Tandayapa, Ecuador
View from our room, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 28mm, ISO 800, f/8 1/100

Bellavista and the surrounding area is home to more than 30 species of hummingbirds, many of which can be seen at the feeders right next to the main path through the lodge grounds...

Hummingbird feeders, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 1250, f/2.8 1/250
Hummingbird feeder, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 3200, f/8 1/250

There are many natural and manufactured perches around the feeders offering opportunities to photograph the hummingbirds in more natural surroundings as they stop (albeit usually very briefly) on their way to and from the feeders. The constant cloud cover created an even lighting but it was very dull all day so it was a challenge to get a reasonable shutter speed without having to raise the ISO too much.

Booted Racket-tail (male), Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/640
Booted Racket-tail (female), Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/250
Buff-tailed Coronet, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1250, f/2.8 1/400
Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/320
Green Violetear, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1250, f/2.8 1/400
Violet-tailed Sylph, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 800, f/2.8 1/1250
Gorgeted Sunangel, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1250, f/2.8 1/800

The bird feeders also provide opportunities for capturing the birds in flight as they hover nearby. The dull light meant it was impossible to use shutter speeds high enough to freeze the wings (without bumping the ISO to a ridiculous number) but the blur does give a sense of movement to the otherwise stationary birds.

Booted Racket-tail (male) + Green Violetear, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 3200, f/8 1/400
Collared Inca, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/400
Green Violetear, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/500
Purple-throated Woodstar (male), Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 2000, f/4 1/500
Purple-throated Woodstar (male) + Booted Racket-tail (male), Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 2000, f/4 1/640
Speckled Hummingbird, Bellavista Lodge
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1250, f/2.8 1/500

On the way back to Quito on the 2nd afternoon, we stopped at Alambi Hummingbird Paradise. This was a few kilometres down the road and a few hundred metres lower in altitude than Bellavista and had an almost completely different collection of hummingbirds.

Andean Emerald, Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/400
Brown Violetear, Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/800
Green-crowned Brilliant, Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/800
Green-crowned Woodnymph, Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/1000
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/1000
White-necked Jacobin (male), Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/500
White-necked Jacobin (female), Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/400
Purple-throated Woodstar (male), Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/2500
Purple-throated Woodstar (male), Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/1000
Purple-throated Woodstar (female), Alambi Hummingbird Paradise
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4 1/1600


Hummingbirds were not the only attraction...the next post will feature other rainforest birds displaying an amazing array of colours...

2 comments:

  1. A magnificent series of images of the Hummers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Incredible. The beauty of the hummingbirds and your amazing talent are great equals. Thank you for sharing these photographs.

    ReplyDelete

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