Besides the main road that goes along the ridges of the Andes Mountains is another, less traveled, road along the east slope of the mountains. Our plan was to take that road north from Zamora to Quito.
After a leisurely morning at Copalinga, we headed north on the eastern route E45. Along the way we stopped at a bridge because we saw some large birds in a tree. It turned out to be a fun stop with a number of birds. We saw a few new ones there as well as old friends:
Violaceous Jay, Black Vulture, Silver-Beaked Tanager, Great-Tailed Grackle, Russet-Backed Oropendula, Black Caracara, Roadside Hawk, Social Flycatcher, White-Banded Swallow, Thick-Billed Euphonia
In the early evening we arrived in Macas where we stayed at Casa Upana, a bed and breakfast recommended to us by our hostess in Copalinga. There we enjoyed some hors d’oeuvres as we got acquainted with our hosts before we headed out for supper. The accommodations were very comfortable and our hosts were friendly. (http://www.realnaturetravel.com)
Early the next morning our host, who is a bird guide, took us into his large backyard where we saw the following species:
Ash-Browed Spinetail, Bananaquit, Black Vulture, Black-Billed Thrush, Black-Throated Mango, Blue-Black Grassquit, Blue-Grey Tanager, Blue-Necked Tanager, Blue-Tailed Emerald, Bran-Colored Flycatcher, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-Faced Tyrannulet, Great Antshrike, Greyish Saltator, Lesser Kiskadee, Lined Antshrike, Palm Tanager, Red Pileated-Finch, Rufous-Collared Sparrow, Silver-Beaked Tanager, Social Flycatcher, Spot-Breasted Woodpecker, Swainson’s Thrush, Tropical Kingbird, Tropical Mockingbird, White-Bellied Woodstar, White-Lined Tanager
We were all very excited to see the Red Pileated-Finch as it was a special find. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of him, but I was able to capture some other birds on camera which to us were also exciting.
After birding, his wife treated us to a fantastic breakfast served on a porch where eating was punctuated by bird sitings. We would have loved to stay longer and check out the birding possibilities there but we had to leave.
We set out for Quito, still on the eastern road. When we got to the Napo river we went along the facing road for a short ways and stopped. We walked down a trail towards the river. There our attention was drawn to some long-tailed birds that turned out to be Long-Tailed Tyrant. Then we saw a woodpecker with a yellow eye and red breast! It was Yellow-Tufted Woodpecker. Our quick stop there produced:
Blue-Winged Parrotlet, Greater Yellow-Headed Vulture, Least Sandpiper?, Lesser Seed-Finch?, Long-Tailed Tyrant, Masked Tityra, Magpie Tanager, Mottled-Backed Elaenia, Osprey, Russet-Backed Oropendola, Smooth-Billed Ani, Thick-Billed Euphonia, Tropical Kingbird, White-Throated Spadebill, Yellow-Browed Sparrow, Yellow-Tufted Woodpecker
We hurried back to the car and set out hoping to arrive in Quito that evening. An hour north of Tena we were stopped by some police who told us that a bridge was washed out on the road ahead. They said it wouldn’t be transitable for a week. The only way to Quito was back along the same road to Puyo and west to Baños. It was a long way back. We had a late supper in Shell then stopped in Baños at 10:00 that night. Needless to say, we were tired and couldn’t go on.
The next morning we made our way to Quito on the main highway. There we rested up during the afternoon and said goodbye to our daughter and Ecuador in the wee hours of the morning. It was a very special visit and one which will remain in our hearts and minds for a long time.