Skip to content

Life at Las Tangaras

September 13, 2011


On the normal day we get up around 7 or 7.30. Time for a Coffee and some breaky on the balcony. As the sun comes up it burns the mist off from the valley, the last little bits holding on in the shade down by the river. We normally get a start on things quite early, before it gets too hot. We´ve got a few projects on the go. Building a new camping area down by the Rio Nambillo, maintaining trails and putting stairs into steeper, slippery bits, revarnishing the cabin, as well as making signage and putting it up.   As well as this we have been maintaining some data collection for ongoing studies. We keep a daily list of Hummingbird´s coming to feeders at the cabin (usually around 10 species a day out of about 20 locally present). This is not hard work – once you´ve learnt who´s who,  it involves sitting on the deck (see  ´coffee´ section below) and watching these amazing birds. Still very enthralling, saw a new species for the first time yesterday. We also are adding to the data collected on the Andean Cock of the Rock. A few times a week we go up to the ´Lek´(area where males congregate to display and try attract a mate) and observe which birds are there (most birds have colour bands for id) and try to record  what behaviour leads to successful mating. They are amazing birds, and it is a unique feeling to be sitting amongst 15 or so birds squawking and hopping about in the half light of dawn… We normally fit in a few mo re hours pottering in the afternoon (or sitting in the hammock…) depending on the rain. It gets dark around 6ish (we´re very close to the equator – so it’s almost exactly 12 hours of daylight) so after a few hours by headtorch and candles we turn it by about 8 or 9.


The research cabin at Reserva Las Tangaras, with the stunning cloud forest of cordillera nambillo in the clouds behind

Clearing a site for a toilet at the campground.















Breaky is normally porridge or bread if we have it – we get bread whenever we´re in town, and have been baking a few loaves too. Fresh tomatoes, avocados and pineapple are cheap as they´re normally on the menu too. Coffee grown round the highlands and roasted locally (on the street) in Mindo is excellent, strong and tasty, although havn´t been able to find it in large grinds yet, so far its always very fine grain for filter coffee. Travelling through Chile before we got to Ecuador we got used to having lunch as our main meal, so we usually stop for a few hours in the middle of the day to cook up a feed. This works great as the middle of the day is often too hot and humid to get much done. Because we are cooking for ourselves we´ve been eating pretty western food. Fresh fruit and veg are cheap so we´ve been eating heaps of them, only downside is they´re heavy to pack in! When we go to town we normally get Almuerzo, a sort of set menu lunch. Normally about 2.50US its always a soup with meat or chicken (read; bones), veges, and rice or barley, usually with some corn and yuca (a starchy root), then comes the main (al seco) which is usually a tasty meat stew served with rice, pinto beans and a fried banana. Normally comes with a fresh juice (mango, pineapple, papaya, passionfruit) to wash it down. normally its pretty good, although always pretty much the same. In the evening we normally have a light “once” of some bread or leftovers, sometimes rice…


When I  asked Pascual, the Ecuadorian guy looking after the place before us about seasons, he said “August is summer, it doesn’t rain much, the rest of the time it rains”. So far it has been relatively dry, but we got our first taste of real rain the other day with about 50mm in 12 hours, a good test for the new guttering we put up the week before, but still nothing in terms of rain. (The month before we arrived Dusti recorded 210mm in 24 hours! We hardly got that much in our first month!) The temperatures so far have been pretty much the same everyday – lows of about 14, highs of about 23. (celsius) Although the very high humidity makes it feel much warmer. It´s very strange for us folk from New Zealand to have the same weather every single day, and not all four seasons in one day. Generally it has been sunny in the morning then from about 2 pm it starts to cloud over and will sometimes rain in the late afternoon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Phillip Burnett permalink
    July 10, 2013 5:34 pm

    Hello there, i recently just spoke to some people that had been staying at your reserve in Mindo, and everything they said to me sounded amazing! I was interested particularly in the potential to stay there for a long period of time and taking on a leadership role. I would love to hear more about the possiblity to take part in the inspirational work you do. I do have various talents and experinece of my own that i believe could be a good fit with your project aims. I would be happy to tell tell you a whole lot more about myself if you are interested. I look forward to hearing from you soon. King regards and all the best, Phil.


    • August 10, 2013 10:52 pm

      Hi Phillip, great to hear you are interested in the reserve.if you want to get more involved in the scientific side, I would recommend looking at the lifenetnature website as this is really the best way to get more involved in the projects happening. The bird ringing group are coming back in december- i really do recommend it.

      Otherwise the reserve has managers who sometimes need help with more physical tasks such as trail clearance etc. please do let us know what works for you. Thanks, Freya


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: