Bosque Protector Jerusalem: October 25, 2009

This unique interandean reserve is bound to become a regular site on the birding circuit in Ecuador, as it's located less than an hour from Quito and offers the best chance for birders to sweep up a nice variety of birds of the highlands, including Scrub Tanager, Blue-and-Yellow Tanager, Giant Hummingbird, Streaked Saltator, Golden-Rumped Euphonia, Harris's Hawk, Purple-Collared Woodstar, Black-Tailed Trainbearer, Streak-Throated Bush-Tyrant, Vermilion Flycatcher, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Common Ground-Dove, Band-Tailed Seedeater, and a few others. Granted, you won't see many other birds besides those listed above, but that's a substantial addition to any birder's list who is principally visiting the northwestern slope or the eastern lowlands. The acacia forest and dry scrub also harbor a few rare birds like the Buff-Fronted Owl, which should be reason alone to check it out.

I visited the reserve most recently on a Sunday morning, when swarms of vicious gnats permitted me only a few hour's stay. Fortunately, in a short period of time I managed to round up almost all of the northern highlands specialties, including a pair of adult Harris's Hawks and multiple displaying Purple-Collared Woodstars. There's a small reservoir near the parking area where a pair of Giant Hummingbirds were busy sallying over the water to catch insects, their white rumps obvious in the morning light; Blue-and-White Swallows and a male Vermillion Flycatcher were also feasting on the recently hatched insects, which seem to be pervasive right now in the interandean valley communities of Cumbaya and Tumbaco.

With its considerable infrastructure, the reserve also functions as a recreational center, and Ecuadorians flood the park with music and loud conversation sometimes on the weekends. A fair amount of people also make use of the camping sites, rising early to play games with their children and noisily explore the trails. In addition, there are frequently model planes soaring overhead emitting an irritating buzz and whine all morning. I'm not saying that all these distractions will necessarily spoil your visit, though, as there is plenty of space to explore the reserve in relative quiet. If you arrange to come on a weekday, however, you can be sure to bird in peace.

Notable birds seen: Harris's Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Ground-Dove, White-Bellied Woodstar, Purple-Collared Woodstar, Black-Tailed Trainbearer, Giant Hummingbird, Crimson-Mantled Woodpecker, Azara's Spinetail, White-Crested Elaenia, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Vermilion Flycatcher, House Wren, Rusty Flowerpiercer, Golden-Rumped Euphonia, Blue-and-Yellow Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Streaked Saltator, Hooded Siskin, Band-Tailed Seedeater, Ash-Breasted Sierra-Finch.

1 comment:

artuso birds said...

can you provide directions on how to get there?

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