Bosque Protector Jerusalem: April 8, 2014

Having spent the morning at Refugio Paz de las Aves, I was driving north through the highlands on my way to Ibarra during the late afternoon. Passing by several signs for Bosque Jerusalem on the Pan-American Highway, I couldn’t resist stopping for an hour or two of birding before sunset. This infrequently birded site is located in the inter-Andean valley about an hour north of Quito, and the habitat is arid scrub and woodland mixed with stands of cactus. It’s a reliable place for Scrub Tanager, Harris’s Hawk, Streaked Saltator, and Golden-Rumped Euphonia, and Buff-Fronted Owl has also been recorded here in the last few years. There is a wide trail to explore, along which are posted placards describing the birds of the area, and there’s also a large reservoir, where I’ve seen Giant Hummingbird feeding on insects. Supposedly, the large eucalyptus trees along the entrance road and near the cabins are also good for Stygian Owl.

While I didn’t take any good photographs on this visit, I did record the above species in quick succession. The birds here give the impression of being unusually skittish, but perhaps that’s just because Eared Doves seem to be constantly streaming overhead. I noted several territorial Purple-Collared Woodstars squabbling in the treetops, a hummingbird I haven’t seen anywhere else. In response to some pishing a Swainson’s Thrush also popped up from the undergrowth alongside the reservoir, perhaps on a brief stop over from Eastern Ecuador on its way back to North America. Aside from missing the Giant Hummingbird, I also dipped on the Blue-and-Yellow Tanager, one of my favorites of the inter-Andean valley that I used to see in my front yard occasionally when I lived in Cumbaya, in the suburbs of Quito. Exhausted, I skipped owling and pushed ahead to Otavalo for the night.

Notable Birds Seen: Harris’s Hawk, Eared Dove, Purple-Collared Woodstar, Western Emerald, Black-Tailed Trainbearer, Sparkling Violetear, Crimson-Mantled Woodpecker, Azara’s Spinetail, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Vermillion Flycatcher, Blue-and-White Swallow, Southern House Wren, Great Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Scrub Tanager, Golden-Rumped Euphonia, Streaked Saltator, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Hooded Siskin.

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