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You are here:2.2.8 The Milpe Bird Sanctuary

2.2.8 The Milpe Bird Sanctuary

2.2.8 The Milpe Bird Sanctuary.

 

The 62-hectare Milpe Bird Sanctuary is owned and protected by the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation.   This sanctuary protects some important forest remnants between 1050 to 1150 meters.   The preserve contains mainly steep tall forest and in a smaller area some tall second-growth near the road.  Immediately adjacent to the Milpe Bird Sanctuary there is a private small, 12 hectare, protected area with more mature forest right by the road.   This section of forest is known as the MilpeGardens. One another protected section of forest can be found along the same road around the San Jorge de Milpe Bird and Orchide Lodges.

 Habitat.

Foothill Forest.

Logistics.

The Milpe Bird Sanctuary.

The site can be visited continuing along the Quito-Calacali-La   Independencia Highway from the MindoValley from the lodgings there or you could stay in the town of Los Bancos. I strongly recommend the Hostal Mirador del Rio Blanco in Los Bancos.  To make a reservation to stay in the Hostal Mirador del Rio Blanco in Los Bancos you can call to the Hostal phone number 2770 307 or the owner cell phone number. Patricio Espinel 099444665. The rooms are noisy because the highway runs right in front of the Hostal Mirador but is a clean charming place.

There are many buses running on the Quito-Calacali-La   Independencia Highway and you can easily walk the distance from the highway to the Sanctuary.   You could also take a bus ride to Los Bancos and from there hire a pickup truck or taxi to take you to the site.

The Milpe Bird Sanctuary is open to visitors 7 days a week and you can visit the site at any time of the day without time restrictions.  There is a small entrance fee of $7 US per birder.  If you are planning to visit the Silanche Bird Sanctuary, you can pay $10US to visit both sites.  This way you can visit the two sites on different days by paying this set price for both sanctuaries.   There are hummingbird feeders and several fruit feeders that are worth checking during your visit. Further information regarding the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation and the Milpe Bird Sanctuary can be obtained at www.mindocloudforest.org

The MilpeGarden can be birded from the public road.   It also has hummingbird feeders generally the same species of hummingbirds as those at the feeders at Milpe Bird Sanctuary. The Milpe gardens charges a $5 US a piece to visit their feeders and their trails.

Another lodging in the area is the San Jorge de Milpe Bird and Orchid Lodge.   This lodge and the surrounding forest basically share the same habitat and birds as the previous two places. They also have hummingbird feeders and an equally good system of trails.   For further information on the Milpe Lodge go to  www.hostsanjorge.com.ec/english/san_jorge_milpe.html

 

Birding.

The Milpe Bird Sanctuary

To access this site you can drive along the Quito-Calacali-La Independencia Highway and continuing from the The Mindo Valley, take as a reference the “MIndo turn off” 0.0 km.  From this turn off, drive for 12.9 km toward the lowlands.  At this point you will see a bus stop on the right hand side of the highway with a side road leading to Milpe Bird Sanctuary and the adjacent forest preserves. From the start of the side road there are only 600 meters to the Milpe Bird Sanctuary headquarters.

(Click here to download Map. Milpe Bird Sanctuary).

There are many trails worth exploring.  Once you enter the preserve the fruit and sugar feeders will draw your attention as you get over the overwhelming array of birds.  Walk toward the viewing point which is a big concrete bench with a roof.   The trail to your left will lead you to the Club-winged Manakin lek just a few meters after you enter the forest.  The right hand side trail will lead you to the Golden-winged Manakin lek.  You can ask for instructions from the park ranger for directions if needed.  It is always better to stay in the more even terrain, but the entire trail system is worth-while exploring, depending on your level of fitness.  This trail heading to the left from the viewing point is a good place to look for the Moss-backed Tanager. This species is turning rarer and harder to find in this site with no apparent reason.

You can also continue along the dirt road for 1.1 km more and at1.7 km from the highway you will reach the Milpe Garden Forest.   Along the road, look for the Moss-backed Tanager in the stretches of forest right at the beginning of the forest at 1.1 km from the highway.   This bird can be seen in the forest surrounding the MilpeGarden house itself.  Once you pass the 1.7 km from the highway the forest is much degraded until you reach the Milpe San Jorge Lodge property at 3.5 km from the highway.   The inside forest trails on the Milpe San Jorge lodge property are a great place to look for the localized and rare Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove.

From the entrance road to Milpe you can drive for 3.5 km. to the town of Los Bancos.  Here you can visit the Restaurant and Hostal Mirador del Rio Blanco.  This place is a fine place to stay and eat while you enjoy the view of hummingbird and fruit feeders.   One of the specialties visiting the fruit feeders is the seasonal (July-October) Emerald Tanager which will be hard to come by in any other site in this region.

Birds to look for

The Milpe Bird Sanctuary

Second-growth   (2G), Forest (F), Hummingbird feeders (hf), Grasslands (G), Forest Streams   (FS).

Common: Swallow-tailed Kite (2G, F), Maroon-tailed Parakeet (2G, F), Bronze-winged   Parrot (2G, F), White-whiskered Hermit (hf), Green-crowned Woodnymph (hf), Rufous-tailed   Hummingbird (hf), Green-crowned Brilliant (hf), Pale-mandibled Araçari (2G, F),   Chocó Toucan (2G, F), Golden-olive Woodpecker    (2G, F), Red-faced Spinetail (2G, F), Lineated Foliage-gleaner (2G, F),   Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (2G, F), Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner (2G, F),   Spotted Woodcreeper (2G, F), Chocó Tyrannulet (2G, F), Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant   (2G), Cinnamon Becard (2G, F), Club-winged Manakin (2G, F), Lesser Greenlet (2G,   F), Southern Rough-winged Swallow (2G), Tropical Parula (2G, F), Slate-throated   Whitestart (2G, F), Chocó Warbler (2G, F), Thick-billed Euphonia (2G, F), Ochre-breasted   Tanager (2G, F), Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager (2G, F), Yellow-bellied   Seedeater (G).

Uncommon: Double-toothed Kite (2G, F), Barred Hawk (2G, F), Barred Forest-Falcon (F), Green   Thorntail (hf), Purple-crowned Fairy (2G, F), Chocó Trogon (2G, F), Collared   Trogon (2G, F), Broad-billed Motmot (2G, F), Rufous Motmot (2G, F), Red-headed   Barbet (2G, F), Crimson-rumped Toucanet (2G, F), Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (2G,   F), Guayaquil Woodpecker (2G, F), Spotted Barbtail (2G, F), Western   Woodhaunter (2G, F), Russet Antshrike (2G, F), Slaty Antwren (2G, F), Immaculate   Antbird (2G, F), Esmeraldas Antbird (FS), Ashy-headed Tyrannulet (2G, F), White-throated   Spadebill (2G, F), Black-and-white Becard (2G, F), Golden-winged Manakin (2G,   F), Brown-capped Vireo (2G, F), Ecuadorian Thrush (2G, F), White-thighed   Swallow (2G, F), Bay Wren (2G), Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (G), Buff-rumped   Warbler (2G, F), Yellow-collared Chlorophonia (2G, F), Glistening-green   Tanager (2G, F), Rufous-throated Tanager (2G, F), Moss-backed Tanager (2G, F),   Swallow Tanager (2G, F), Black-striped Sparrow (2G).

Rare: Tiny Hawk (F), Plumbeous Hawk (2G, F), Plumbeous   Forest-Falcon (F), Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove (F), Pearly-breasted Cuckoo (2G),   Lanceolated Monklet (2G, F), Crimson-bellied Woodpecker (2G, F), Rufous-rumped   Antwren (2G, F), Long-wattled Umbrellabird (F).

Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.

 

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