On the Road to Zamora

Saturday, July 19, 2008: Today was the long drive to Zamora, made longer by extensive road construction between Loja and Zamora.

Our first birding stop was not far from Cuenca. Highlights there included Golden-bellied Grosbeak and Chiguanco Thrush.

Golden-bellied Grosbeak Chiguanco Thrush Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager
Golden-bellied Grosbeak Chiguanco Thrush Scarlet-bellied

Another Variable Hawk was spotted as we continued south. This time it was the Red-backed Hawk form. Other brief stops added better looks at Black-Billed Shrike-Tyrant and a Black-tailed Trainbearer. At one point, we stopped for a stunned Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager. Our driver placed it in some vegetation. After collecting its wits, it flew off. We also added Red-crested Cotinga to our list.

Oña Valley

We made a long stop in the Oña valley, an agricultural area. New birds here included White-crested Elaenia, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Pacific (Pale-legged) Hornero, and Peruvian Meadowlark. Besides the Hornero itself, we also found a hornero nest. Such nests are typical of the Furnariidae, and are the reason they are called “ovenbirds”. Vermilion Flycatcher was present here. Unlike the Rio Napo, they are expected here.

Pacific (Pale-legged) Hornero Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant Vermilion Flycatcher
Pacific Hornero /
Pale-legged Hornero
Vermilion Flycatcher
Hornero Nest Tillandsia Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Hornero Nest Tillandsia Southern
Peruvian Meadowlark Peruvian Meadowlark American Kestrel
Peruvian Meadowlark American Kestrel


Acanama View
Acanama View

After the birding break in Oña, we returned to our journey. The next big stop was an old road at Acanama. We quickly found some Golden-plumed Parakeets, but were unable to get great looks. We expected to refind them later, but never did. It was somewhat rainy, but we managed to get our picnic lunch in, and do some birding. New birds included Black-headed Hemispingus, Glowing Puffleg, Blue-capped Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, and Blue-and-black Tanager. The people in this area seem extremely poor. We had more lunch food than we needed, and invited some of them to take it.

On to Zamora

Andean View
Andean View

Delays and general slowdowns due to construction made it a very long drive to Zamora. The scenery was great. Had I been on my own, I doubtless would have stopped many times to take photos. Somewhere in here we found Violet-fronted Brilliant. We finally got to Zamora with its giant floral clock. Our lodging at Copalinga was only a short distance farther. It was getting late when we arrived. The dinner at Copalinga was excellent, doubly so after the long day's journey.

Today's totals were 36 species including 15 lifers, making a grand total of 255 bird species with 175 lifers.

Finca Copalinga, Zamora