Jorupe: July 21, 2008

My favorite of the Jocotoco reserves thus far, Jorupe is located in southern Loja Province, protecting a large swath of deciduous woodland. While large ceibo trees are a common sight on the drive down from the city of Loja, only in the reserve will you find a dense thicket of forest understory as well; in other parts of the country, animal grazing has destroyed this critical aspect of the habitat. The upper regions of the reserve, which extend well above 2000m, supposedly contain habitat similar to that of Utuana, but it has yet to be birded extensively.

I stopped by the reserve on the afternoon before my visit to make arrangements with Leonidas, the caretaker and guide, for an early start. Guided visits are mandatory at this point, but Leo is a great guide and knows the birds in the reserve quite well. Without him I certainly would have struggled to identify several raptors, including the Bat Falcon and the Savanna Hawk, and I doubt I would have had as good of looks at the prized Henna-Hooded and Rufous-Necked Foliage Gleaners, although the use playback certainly helped. Leo did a little playback of his own though, whistling in a Watkins's Antpitta for a close up and prolonged view.

In general, I was amazed by the level of bird activity in the reserve, even though the boreal migrants were away in the northern hemisphere at the time. Spectacular birds such as the White-Tailed Jay, Ecuadorian Trogon, and Blue-Crowned Motmot seemed to be everywhere, swooping around and making noise all morning. Even dealing with flycatchers was fun, as Leo and I cleared up the identification puzzle of the Slaty and One-Colored Becards with repeated viewings of each. Throw in several unique birds such as the Pauraque and Pacific Pygmy Owl, and you can see why I had such a rewarding visit.

A note to future visitors: guest cabins should be ready within the reserve in six months to a year, although accommodations in Macara, which is only ten minutes away, are still cheap and easy to obtain. Just look out for the crickets!

Notable birds seen: Savanna Hawk, Bat Falcon, Blue Ground-Dove, Gray-Cheeked Parakeet, Pacific Pygmy-Owl, Pauraque, Amazalia Hummingbird, Ecuadorian Trogon, Blue-Crowned Motmot, Golden-Olive Woodpecker, Scarlet-Backed Woodpecker, Blackish-Headed Spinetail, Rufuos-Necked Foliage Gleaner, Henna-Hooded Foliage Gleaner, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Streak-Headed Woodcreeper, Plain Antvireo, Watkins's Antpitta, Tumbesian Tyrannulet, Pacific Elaenia, Slaty Becard, One-Colored Becard, White-Tailed Jay, Rufous-Browed Peppershrike, Plumbeous-Backed Thrush, Yellow-Tailed Oriole.

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