Mirador Rio Blanco: February 26, 2010

This hostal-restaurant is famous among birders for having one of the best fruit feeders on the northwestern slope, which has received visits from such sought-after species as the Emerald, Glistening-Green, and Rufous-Throated Tanagers as well as the Yellow-Collared Chlorophonia. Located in the town of San Miguel de los Bancos, just fifteen minutes past the turnoff to Mindo as you travel the main highway from Quito, Mirador Rio Blanco boasts active fruit and hummingbird feeders, incredible views of the Rio Blanco, tasty food and juices, and comfortable and inexpensive accommodation (the cabins cost $10 per person; call ahead at 2770307). In fact, I've used the hostal as a base for birding the northwestern foothills probably a dozen times, visiting Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Mashpi Reserve, Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary, and other sites in the area from here as it's more conveniently located than Mindo itself. Aimee and I recently spent a rather noisy Friday night here, finding Green Thorntail, Green-Crowned Woodnymph, and Long-Billed Starthroat at the hummingbird feeders before dark. By dawn the next morning we were enjoying Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at Refugio Paz de las Aves.

Notable birds seen: White-Collared Swift, Green Thorntail, Green-Crowned Brilliant, Green-Crowned Woodnymph, Long-Billed Starthroat, Red-Faced Spinetail, Golden Tanager.

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