“We had a wonderful time in Ecuador under Heike’s expert guidance! Heike made all the arrangements for us at short notice, but everything still worked out perfectly. With her extensive local knowledge of the landscape, birds and wildlife, and her fluency in Spanish, English and German, she guided us skillfully, patiently and tirelessly, visiting a wide range of different and beautifully wild habitats, from the lowland rainforests to the windswept, high-altitude páramo. As wildlife photographers, we were more in interested in spending time on good photo opportunities, rather than putting together a long list of birds, but in the end we successfully achieved both! We came home with some 15,000 photos of some spectacular birds, but also “listed” more than 450 different species, including many fabulous hummingbirds (more than 50 species!), tanagers, woodpeckers, as well as the San Isidro “mystery owl” and many other interesting birds as well, finishing off with sightings of Black-faced Ibis, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and the magnificent Andean Condor. What a way to end the trip! A big “Thank you” to Heike for her excellent organisational skills, patience (in coping with two demanding and difficult English bird photographers!) and, above all, her friendly companionship and enthusiasm in sharing her passion for wildlife with us.”
From November 18 until December 4, 2011, I took part in a solo birdwatching trip in the company of Heike Brieschke, trying to observe birds in northern Ecuador. The objective of this trip was to visit the diverse and ornithologically rich reserves at different altitudes in the country, from the lowlands of the coast up to the páramos at 4,000 m. In this wide variety of landscapes (wetlands, coastal rain forest, cloud forest, high montane forests, Heike was able to show me countless fascinating and constantly new species of birds. Highlights were the mischievous toucans with their impressive bills, the graceful trogons exposing their conspicuous red breasts as well as the countless tanagers flashing all the colours of the rainbow. Apart from the incredible diversity I was overwhelmed by the blaze of colour of Ecuador’s bird life. I will never forget the “flying gems” – the hummingbirds. I was shown no less than 48 species of them during this trip! Thanks to Heike’s skilled and dedicated ornithological guidance our list at the end of the trip counted well over 400 species. A big “Thank you” to Heike for this great birding tour!