Loja, Ecuador: Catamayo and Local Parks
One day, Dave and I decided to go to Catamayo to see what is there. That is where the airport is that serves Loja. It takes nearly an hour to get there, but Loja is such a hilly place that you have to go a way to get to a flat place. But the fact that it is a flatter, more arid place makes it attractive to different birds. We read that the road to the dump above Catamayo was a good place. And sure enough. There we saw Croaking Ground-Dove, Tumbes Sparrow, Groove-Billed Ani, Dull-Colored Grassquit, Pacific Parrotlet, Long-Tailed Mockingbird, Pacific Hornero, Eared Dove. While along that road some friendly folks invited us to their place on the top of the hill. They wanted us to see the town and airport from a good vantage point. They gave us each a really sweet local fruit called a zapote. They were different from the zapotes in Mexico. Meeting those folks was truly serendipitous.
We drove to the airport which we read was a good spot, but since they were doing construction on the parking lot we gave it up. We did go down a little country road. But there we didn’t see anything new. And after a quick drive through the town and a bite of lunch, we returned to Loja.
One morning we went to a little park in town named Daniel Alvarez. It was surprisingly full of birds: Fasciated Wren, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Saffron Finch, Pacific Hornero, Groove-Billed Ani, Black Phoebe, Tropical Kingbird, Eared Dove, Spotted Sandpiper, Amazilia Hummingbird, Shiny Cowbird, Scrub Blackbird, Sparkling Violetear, Peruvian Meadowlark, Blue and White Swallow.
One of the most fun was the Fasciated Wren. There were a bunch of them and they were all very busily building nests. Another fun bird to see was the Saffron Finch. It very boldly sat on the fence or ran along the path not mindful at all that I was there taking his picture.
The Japiro Park was large and quite full of people when we visited it late one day. Even though there are signs telling of all the birds that can be seen there, we didn’t see very many. But we did get a good look at the Golden-Olive Woodpecker.
They had parked some cattle there as lawn mowers and we saw a Shiny Cowbird or two hanging around. No wonder they are called cowbirds! We enjoyed walking around the park and people watching. People are fun to watch too!
That morning we had gone to the Jardín Botánico Reinaldo Espinosa or the Botanical Gardens. At first, we saw surprisingly few birds, but lots of plants and flowers. However, we were excited to see a Streak-Headed Woodcreeper running up the trees looking for bugs. A new bird for us was a nesting Smoke-Colored Pewee. We watched the nest until we got a good look at the bird.
As the morning progressed we saw: Streak-Headed Woodcreeper, Fasciated Wren, Pacific Hornero, Scrub Blackbird, Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Great Thrush, Rufous-Collared Sparrow, Eared Dove, Smoke-Colored Pewee, Amazilia Hummingbird, Slate-Throated Whitestart.
See my next blog for more on Loja.
Extra thought: The following birds are the same species Sayornis Nigricans. Look how different they are on different continents.