|Mountain peaks, lakes and heathland of El Cajas NP.|
This landscape is 4200 metres above sea level; for those of us from lower down, this is high enough for our lungs to know that things aren't normal!
|Lake below the visitor centre.|
|El Cajas cloud forest.|
|Creek in the cloud forest.|
|Sapphire-vented Puffleg Eriocnemis luciani, above and below (on Passiflora flowers)|
at the edge of El Cajas cloud forest. The lovely fluffy 'trousers' which give its name can be seen in both pics.
|Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus, roosting in big old Polylepis.|
This owl is found throughout much of the Americas;
this one was a most exciting find on our most recent visit to El Cajas.
|Elleanthus sp. above, and|
Epidendrum sp. below, El Cajas cloud forests.
(As ever, any help with more specific identification appreciated.)
|Odontoglossum sp. above, and unidentified (by me) orchid below.|
|Pleurothallis sp.; I love this genus, with the charismatic little flowers apparently growing |
out of the huge leaf.
|This epiphytic lycopod - which I think is Huperzia sp. - is a representative|
of an ancient lineage which long predates the flowering plants around it, including those on which it grows.
|Bomerea sp, family Alstromeriaceae.|
This lovely vine is in the same general group as lilies.
|Both Many-striped Canastero Asthenes flammulata (above)|
and Stout-billed Cinclodes Cinclodes excelsior are ovenbirds
which specialise in these high cold wind-swept grasslands.
|Valeriana rigida; valerians are found throughout the Americas and Europe.|
|Gentian, Gentiana sp.|
|National flower? Maybe it's not official, but I reckon it should be!|
|Ecuadorian Hillstar on Chuquirahua. This tough little hummer doesn't deign to descend below 3500 metres.|
Until recently it was regarded as an Ecuador endemic, but perhaps annoyingly it was recently recorded
just across the Colombian border.