Restaurant El Mirador de Los Bancos: June 15, 2009

This is certainly one of the easiest birding sites in northwestern Ecuador and deserves a visit from any birder traveling in the area. Located in the rough and tumble town of San Miguel de los Bancos, this restaurant cum cabins offers good food, great service, and spectacular birds that flock to the nectar and fruit feeders throughout the day. While most birding tours stop here for lunch, preferring to stay the night at a fancy lodge in Mindo, independent birders like myself make this our base camp for birding the northwestern foothills as clean and comfortable accommodations are only $10 a night.

Although the usual birds that visit the feeder aren't worth getting too excited about, it's great to see them up close and at eye-level for once, instead of straining your neck to look at them overhead in the canopy. Birders have reported some excellent birds on occasion though, including the Glistening-Green, Guira, and Emerald Tanagers, Crimson-Rumped Toucanet, Yellow-Collared Chlorophonia, and Black-Throated Mango. Imagine the opportunity of photographing some of those beauties from two meters distance!

Notable birds seen: Black-Cheeked Woodpecker, Red-Faced Spinetail, Golden Tanager, Thick-Billed Euphonia, Black-Striped Sparrow, Orange-Billed Sparrow.

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