For those who have chosen to come to southern Ecuador in Loja province and want to have an birding experience, here you have an option which will allow you to visit the cloud forest in the Podocarpus National Park. First. Whether you decide to come from Quito to Loja by plane, you will arrive to the airport in the city of Catamayo, and from here you will reach to Loja city after driving 40 minutes, or if you come from Cuenca in a bus transportation, through a paved way you will arrive after 3:00 of trip, arriving to the terminal terrestre; from here you can go to the downtown to your hotel catching a taxi ($1). For your accommodation there are several confortable options.
I want to share with you a day of bird observation in one of the most important areas of cloud forest and closest from Loja city. My trip begins generally at 6:00 o clock, and sometimes earlier depending of the light day. After a trip of 10 minutes we will arrive to the main entrance (control point) of the Podocarpus National Park and from here 10 minutes to the visitor center. The road itself is a place to look at many birds, so that, we will have to walk for a couple hours. Whether we arrive still at darkness we will have the opportunity to see some nocturnal birds such as the White-winged Nightjar, Barn Owl, and if the luck is with us the Rufous-banded Owl.
While walking and enjoying the marvelous landscape at 2500 m.a.s.l. we will hear and already see some birds such as the Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch, or mixed flocks of tanagers as Lacrimose-mountain Tanager, Hooded-mountain Tanager or the beautiful Grass-green Tanager and other birds.
The cloud forest of Cajanuma is the place for birders to find sought after birds, endemic birds and in danger of extinction such as the Bearded Guan and Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan.
Already at the visitor center there are small paths where will be possible to see some other birds such as the Black-capped Hemispingus and some silent birds and inconspicuous as the Barred Fruiteater and Green and Black Fruiteater.
The paths are the perfect places to try to find Ondulated Antpitta, Chesnut- naped Antpitta or Roufous Antpitta but is required to arriving very early.
Among the hummingbirds, in Cajanuma, we might find Tyrian metal Tail, Glowing Puffleg, Flame-throated Sunangel.
We can choose to go to the paramo at 2 800 meter of elevation where if we have a good weather you will be astonished of the landscape offer us, and also we could find birds such as Glossy Flowerpiercer or the Great Saphirewing.
Join with us and enjoy an amazing day in the Cajanuma cloud forest in the Podocarpus National Park. Sincerely your friend Pablo Andrade.