We scheduled a bird watching trip with Richard Hernandez for a lay over day after a cruise to the Galapagos. Our trip to Ecuador would not have been as wonderful if we had not taken the trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest. Richard emailed and asked if we wanted to see the "Cock of the Rock" and if we did we would have to get up and be ready to go at 4:00AM from our hotel in Quito. The group of 4 said we would be ready. Richard was on time and off we went on the adventure of a life time. We though nothing could top our cruise. Although getting to the ranch where the birds are was not for the faint of heart(rains had washed out the bridge and we fordged the stream) and then hiked for about a half hour into the jungle, only to find out the a group of world travelers from Europe had already made it before us. I might add this was in complete darkness, so bring a flashlight. At the lookout we were rewarded with a view of the birds putting on a show at dawn and on the hike back added another 10-15 birds to our life lists. For breakfast we went to a lodge where we added 18 different hummingbirds and many other birds that came right up to the table. The birds were amazing. It was like being in a movie for public television. We visited the Butterfly Garden which was very well done and then lunch at another location that had feeders covered with new hummingbirds. Richard knew all the names of the birds we saw and had local stories about all the flora and fauna. We all agreed that our trip to Ecuador would not have been as wonderful as it was if we had not spent the day with Richard in Cloud Forest. I want to add that the average age of our group of four was 73 and although it was a little rough hike in the morning we all made it and Richard made sure that we were all safe and well taken care of throughout the day.
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