On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

I just got back from another trip to Ecuador with a university Study Abroad class from Kansas State University. We had a great group of students, and saw lots of sights in the Quito area, in the Ecuadorian Amazon region at Tiputini Biodiversity Station, and, of course, in the Galapagos. Here are some of the photos (from a trip to Antisana, a spectacular volcano southeast of Quito); I’ll be submitting more as I finish working my way through the thousands of image files that I brought back!

Taken on 2019-05-23 00:00:00

Antisana region of Ecuador

The Giant Hummingbird is a species that lots of birders visiting the Andes would love to see. It is approximately the size of a starling, and is the largest hummingbird species. Not as flashy as some hummers, but I was really happy to find one that was very accommodating!

Taken on 2019-05-23 00:00:00

Antisana region of Ecuador

The Sparkling Violet-ear is a medium-sized hummer that is found on both the east and west sides of the Andes. Those violet “ears” of this male can be flared out in antagonistic interactions with other hummers, but I’ve never succeeded in capturing that pose/ Nevertheless, it is a very handsome beast.

Taken on 2019-05-23 00:00:00

Antisana region of Ecuador

The Black-faced Ibis is a rare and very local resident near highland lakes in Ecuador; it is much more common in the southern Andes. Formerly considered to be conspecific with the Buff-necked Ibis of the Amazonian region, it was split from that species in recent years.

Taken on 2019-05-23 00:00:00

Antisana region of Ecuador

The Black-tailed Trainbearer is a short-billed long-tailed resident of the paramo, the grassy, shrubby highland region of the Andes. They are known for being non-aggressive, which is rare in hummingbirds, and indeed this one was frequently displaced from a perch or feeder by the Sparkling Violet-ear in the previous photo.

Taken on 2019-05-23 00:00:00

Antisana region of Ecuador

The Blue-and-white Swallow is a common South American species, and can be found anywhere from sea level up to 4000 m elevation (approx 13,000 ft). And these guys were at just about that upper limit, in the rarefied air of the Antisana Ecological Reserve. But they have a nest burrow, and seemed to be able to get around quite readily at that altitude, a feat that I was unable to replicate.


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

12 replies
  1. 1
    satby says:

    Hummingbirds!! I love them and never even heard about these species before. Thank you again Albatrossity for your wonderfully informative, beautiful pictures.

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nothing quite like Tuesdays with Albatrossity.

  3. 3
    eclare says:

    Just amazing photographs! Thank you!

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    The hummer is pretty sweet. @OzarkHillbilly: It’s going to be a good day.

  5. 5
    Miki says:

    If I had a soul, it would be a Sparkling Violet Ear Hummer.

    Fabulous pics and stories, Dave. TY!

  6. 6
    J R in WV says:

    This is some of the best from B-J. What a community~!

    Thanks for yet another splendid photo set of amazing birds! We’re gonna see the world with Albatrossity and so far it’s really great!

  7. 7
    Another Scott says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these, John James Albatrossity. It’s always a great treat.


  8. 8
    Barbara says:

    I so look forward to seeing pictures from Albatrossity.

  9. 9
    Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!) says:

    Very nice pics! I loved that region when we were there this past January, but we only spent one day at high elevation.

  10. 10
    arrieve says:

    What a treat to wake up to bird pics from Albatrossity. They’re gorgeous as always, but that giant hummingbird is especially amazing. I couldn’t even imagine a hummingbird the size of a starling, and yet, there they are!

  11. 11
    Betty says:

    Just beautiful. Amazing photography.

  12. 12
    TomatoQueen says:

    Just wow, what beauties. Thank you.

Comments are closed.