After lunch on our first day, we set off for our afternoon hike. Walking along different trails, we saw many more plants and much more wildlife, including this Plate-billed Mountain Toucan at the center of the picture:
We got back to the main grounds right around 4pm on Saturday, the time at which Ecuador played Venezuela in the Copa Americana. Never mind the women's World Cup, the Copa Americana between North and South American countries is the tournament to be watching here. Venezuela doesn't have the best team, but they recently put up a good fight against the Brazilian powerhouse, so the match could go either way. As they returned from their treks, both employees of the lodge and guests gathered in the lounge to share some popcorn, some Pilsener beers, and watch the game. Ecuador ended up playing poorly and losing 0-1, but it was fun to have 15 people all together suffering the highs and lows together.
The game ended right before dinner, and everyone headed to the restaurant to partake in humitas, which is a sweet cornbread with some cheese added as well. Our guide David helped us fill out a checklist of all the birds we'd seen that day, and we all headed up to our rooms early to rest up for the 6:15 morning bird watching. I read some of one of my books, In Praise of the Stepmother. Here's a picture of my room:
At 6:15am on Sunday we headed out to spot birds. David explained that the lights of the lodge attracted a lot of bugs, and that lots of birds were around early in the morning to feed on the bugs. This certainly seemed true, as we saw all kinds of species close up and didn't even have to leave the paths of the reserve's site. Here is a Masked Trogon, perched behind one of the signs on the grounds:
Here's a picture of the entrance to Bellavista and one of the housing options, to give you an idea of what the bamboo construction looked like there:
From there we all had breakfast before setting out on our last hike. We saw more birds on different trails, walked through a bamboo forest, learned about the differences between primary and secondary forests, and saw some great views. At the bottom of this shot is the Bellavista main grounds:
I spent a really nice weekend in Bellavista. Learning about the birds and plants that were native to the area was very enjoyable, and it felt good to get out into nature and do some hiking. I also got to see a different part of Ecuador's ecology that I hadn't visited before. Here's one final picture of the rolling hills of the cloud forest:
I'm still trying to figure out what to do on my last few weekends here, but I do promise to bring back good pictures and interesting stories to post!