Ecuador 2011
February 14 - Copalinga Lodge and Old Loja-Zamora Road
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Bird List
Copalinga Lodge, operated by Catherine Vits and Boudewijn de Roover is a gem among ecolodges, with fine food, terrific birding and an excellent location. It's a little less than 3 kilometers from the Bombuscaro entrance to Podocarpus National Park, near the Rio Bombuscaro. It's at about 900 meters elevation, in the Amazon basin but still relatively high with steep hills. The variety of birds was very impressive, if hard to photograph in the dim light under the thick canopy.

The Old Loja-Zamora Road, if anything, was even birdier than the Park with much better light. Perched on the edge of the river valley, it gave us excellent views of the canopy top downslope. We enjoyed terrific views of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and an immense selection of tanager species. For sheer variety of colorful species, it's hard to imagine a place more specacular than the Old Loja-Zamora Road. The road itself had very little traffic, but was in good enough shape for easy, comparatively flat walking. Across the narrow canyon, lovely cascades and waterfalls stream down the canyon walls. At the upstream end of the road, the river narrows through a spectacuar gorge.

We spent the late afternoon birding an abandoned airstrip still lower down, closer to the lowland jungle. We found a nice selection of Amazonian species.

The river itself gave us nice views of White-capped Dipper but, alas, no Torrent Ducks. Overall, an excellent day.

Click on a photo to see a larger version

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Black-billed Thrush

Golden Tanager

Blue-browed Tanager

Blue-necked Tanager

Golden-necked Tanager

Black-crowned Tityra

Lineated Woodpecker

Masked Tityra

All photos and text © 2011 Jim & Nancy DeWitt / Frozen Feather Images