In case you missed it, 2018 is “The Year of the Bird” and in celebration thereof, NatGeo (i.e., National Geographic) has inaugurated an avian tour in Ecuador.  Dorky as it may sound, my sister Liz and I like birdwatching, so we signed up for NatGeo’s expedition and spent ten days in Ecuadorian rain and cloud forests watching hundreds of that country’s 1,600 species of birds.  Here are a few photos from that trip.

Let me sleep, please.

Hey! Can’t anyone get a good sleep around here?

This bird is a Lyre-tailed Nightjar and, as you can see from his expression, he is not quite ready to wake up and start the day (or, in his case, the night).  This is exactly how I felt most mornings when we rose at 5:00 a.m. so we wouldn’t miss the morning bird activity.


Dawn on the Lagoon at Napo

Our dugout canoe at the Napo Wildlife Center, waiting for us to set out for the day.  Luckily, our guide, Marcelo, and his assistant, Fausto, did all the paddling.

Jungle foliage

The view of the jungle from our dugout canoe.

“Dense” doesn’t begin to describe the ecosystem of the rain forest.  This stretch is on a small stream off the Amazon River in the Yasuni National Park.  Hours after I took this photo we returned by canoe to this area just in time to see a jaguar resting in the bushes.

Liz in canoe

My sister Liz prior to the appearance of the jaguar.

A few days into the trip, we traveled to Antisana Ecological Reserve.  There is a volcano hidden in the clouds behind us.  Of the two or three specks (humans) in this vast landscape, I am the short one.

liz and Juan Carlos

Breakfast al fresco with our biologist/avian expert guide, Juan Carlos.

For more information about this wonderful trip, check out National Geographic’s description HERE.





About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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