Following a sleepless 22 hours of transatlantic and trans-Caribbean flying, I have arrived safely in Quito, Ecuador! As the world’s second highest capital city (at a dizzying 3000m) my initial steps were understandably slow and deliberate in order to not pass out while climbing the stairs! Quito is arguably the most lively and hectic place I’ve ever been, and with a fantastic situation, being nestled between multiple volcanoes.
After organising necessities for my approaching fieldwork (more of that later!), and after many meetings where my comprehension of Spanish was put to the test (and admittedly the old ‘smile and nod’ technique was of great use) my supervisor Bente Klitgaard and I visited the Quito Botanical Garden. This place is truly a bijou little oasis in the smoggy, noisy and manic milieu of Quito. Top of the list of sightings for today include beautiful plants from the high-Andean Paramo, many tropical trees, countless orchids and my first ever view of a hummingbird; the black-tailed trainbearer (Lesbia victoriae), pictured below. This beauty was feeding on one of the many Fuchsia bushes planted around the gardens, and my overreaction to seeing this beautiful creature was thankfully not seen by too many people.