Turns out I’m avianophilic.

“I’m going traveling to find myself” is one of the great statements of our age, perhaps even part of our zeitgeist script. Sometimes it seems better to me to say “I’m going traveling to MAKE myself” instead, but today is not one of those days. During today’s traveling I found out another wee factoid about myself. Turns out I like bird watching. Who knew?

They’re way too fast for me, but you can sorta see a yellow feller, and the blue one in the top left.

Perhaps I should hedge that a tad; it turns out I like bird watching…in Mindo, Ecuador. If you’ve ever been here I bet you’re nodding your head in comprehension right now.

The guide book sayeth “Mindo is home to over 400 species of birds, and 250 of butterflies.” I read this and shrugged approval, along the lines of “cool…sounds nice…at least that means there’ll be trees…too bad they killed all the charismatic macro-fauna (like the monkeys, sloth, and capybara I saw in Costa Rica).”

But then I found myself…sitting in the breakfast area of our hostel next to the river, where they put out bananas for the birds and hung a hummingbird feeder. I found myself…watching xxx’s with their bright yellow bellies, xxx’s with their pale blue tails, xxx’s with their positively florescent yellow little bodies, and at least half a dozen species of hummingbirds, including the one I know, the rufous breasted hummingbirds chasing each other around the feeder, dusky red tails cavorting.

Xxx. I was going to look up the names of the few most remarkable birds we’ve seen, but a quick search for “birds of Ecuador” informed me that this tiny country has 1663 species. Oh for crying out loud. Or perhaps better yet: oh for cheering out loud.

Then this afternoon we went for a walk in the unofficial nature preserve of “Mindo Lindo” as equatorial raindrops fell on our shoulders, palm fronds brushed our hips, and spider webs flirted with my cheeks (since K was graciously letting ME walk in front…) We could hear the birds, but in the shaking leaves of an equatorial rainstorm, couldn’t see them.

Then we were drinking a cup of fresh lemongrass tea with the owner in his beautiful natural-wood house with tons of books and no television, looking out the plentiful windows at all the now-familiar amazing ones, plus these little winged bursts of chromatic incredulity (although to be perfectly honest, the ones we saw were bigger and brighter, less rumpled looking). Note: not my picture, I found them on this site: http://antpitta.com/images/photos/barbets/gallery_barbets.htm


So now, here, this week, I am a bird watcher. I don’t know shit about what I’m looking at, but I sure am happy doing it.
PS. I did know the general name for one thing we saw on the forest walk, although I’ve never seen a purple one before…