EcoClub 3: Birds with a Side of Ham-and-Cheese Sandwiches

This Friday we took EcoClub on a special field trip to the Jocotoco Bird Reserve in Ayampe. It was a blast hiking through the dry tropical forest and playing in nature with fourteen elementary and middle school kids. 

We learned about the Esmeraldas Woodstar, the world’s second smallest hummingbird and the reserve’s most famous resident. We debated the colors and diets of numerous birds, pondered the absence of panda bears despite the plethora of bamboo, and consumed 40 ham-and-cheese sandwiches.

On the way back, we detoured through the nearly-dry Ayampe River where we chased fish and examine tadpoles in a plastic cup. It was a great day for environmental education and plain old fun in nature!

Setting off.

Trying out the equipment.

Our first spotting, a gallinazo negro, black vulture.

New birds and new friends.

The ever-present soaring frigatebird.

Many of the town's adults joined us and had a great time.

The volunteers got a little silly, too.

We watched wildflowers when we couldn't find birds.

A young EcoClubber models a painted Jocotoco bird sign.

This independent birder, Rene, showed off his book to a couple boys...

... and soon was entertaining a mob!

The one hummingbird we didn't frighten away with our noise.

A tadpole to bring home to Mom and Dad.


  1. So much fun at day camp! The Guayaquil woodpecker looks similar to our pileated, except he has fewer black and white stripes on the neck, and a barred instead of black breast. Is he as big as the pileated? Do they have a supply of small binoculars for the kids? And most importantly, what blossoms have become your lovely nose-pieces?

  2. The Guayaquil woodpecker isn't as large as the pileated, but it's still considered a "large woodpecker" in my bird book. (There are two separate woodpecker sections -- the large woodpeckers with showy red crests that remind me of pileateds, and the smaller plain-headed woodpeckers that remind me of flickers/hairys/downys.) The junior park rangers who helped orchestrate the field trip had a supply of binoculars for the kids. The nose blossoms are Heliconia, an important hummingbird-pollinated flower. Hermits (a group of hummingbirds with long, down-curved bills) especially love Heliconia.

  3. Surprisingly no, just tadpoles and birds! I was too busy keeping track of kids to notice the bugs :)


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