Sunday, May 16, 2021
Day dawned earlier in Ecuador for some of the group than for others. Dr. Meyer, Emmylou and Sabrina started the birdwatching early while everyone else caught up on rest after the late night arrival. The early morning scouting yielded some good results. Outside of reception, Dr Meyer spotted a sparkling violet-eared hummingbird flitting around collecting lichen to build up her tiny, camouflaged nest. He made sure to share it with Dr. Sherwin after breakfast since its a rare opportunity to spot that behavior!The group was also lucky enough to spot a Western Emerald (another specie of hummingbird native to the area), a tree full of Saffron finches, several Vermillion Flycatchers with their bright red heads, and many brave Rufus Collared sparrows. Charlie both saw and photographed her first hummingbird!
That's not the only exciting animals around today! Mooing cows in the field neighboring our hotel excited Erica and everyone was in love with the hotel dogs who were constantly returning for some attention. The family's cat was also very popular. At sunset we were able to hear frogs croaking away, but no sightings yet! There have also been a few pill bugs and even a leech!
Animals were not the only new experiences on the list for the day. There were several new foods introduced today. We were introduced to taxo, a local fruit that at first glance looked like a banana but seems to be more closely related to a passion fruit once opened (in taste too!). Also at breakfast were some tuna, cactus fruit, for us to try. Patrick found an “ice cream fruit” tree and shared around pieces of guanabana for those interested in trying yet another new fruit! At lunch, we learned that even pizza can be topped a bit differently in Ecuador. While Ellie went with a tried & true margherita pizza, others tried corn on top for the first time and spicy chorizo lived up to its name! At dinner, everyone was given the opportunity to try the local favorite, Cuy, roasted guinea pig. The general consensus was that its flavor is somewhere between chicken and fish.
Between orientations, games and bird watching, we squeezed in some pool and hot tub time. While we completed our swim test, we found out that neither Alex nor Kat can float! We also got a small lesson from former synchronized swimmer Sophie on how to do the ballerina and the flamingo.
This has been an exciting first day for all of us, but especially Stephie who's on her first trip abroad! We look forward to sharing more tomorrow!
P.S. Leader of the Day will start posting from tomorrow onward!
You can check out more trip photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8eDMdvX8mXmMNTzx5