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You are here:4.2.5 Baeza surroundings. San Borja side road

4.2.5 Baeza surroundings. San Borja side road

Baeza is a small town at the end of the E28 highway.  The economy of the town focuses on farming and ranching activities.  The Middle Montane forest of this site lacks any kind of conservation status, and there are no protected areas near Baeza.  A few forest patches remain in the vicinity, and if you do not plan to continue toward the eastern lowlands of Ecuador, and after visiting Cabañas San Isidro, this site is well worth visiting. The birding sites are located at an elevation between 1600 and 1800 m.  A handful of species can be seen here that do not occur at Cabañas San Isidro Reserve, or Guacamayos Ridge.



Lower Montane Forest.



Baeza surroundings. San Borja side road.

Most of the birding takes place along a short cut road connecting Baeza and San Francisco de Borja, also known as “San Borja”. The start of this side road is very close to Baeza just a little bit south along the E45 highway. You can visit the Baeza area on your way from Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest to Cabañas San Isidro. There is plenty of bus transportation running along the E28, or Interoceánica Highway, connecting to Baeza along the E45 highway.  You can easily get a bus from Quito heading to Baeza and beyond from the Cumandá Bus Terminal.  Ask for bus lines heading to Baeza and Tena.  Alternatively, you can also jump on one of these buses after your visit to Guango Lodge. Just make sure the bus is heading to Baeza.  A vehicle is not necessary to bird the side road from Baeza to San Borja, but hiring one in Baeza will improve logistics, and allow you more valuable birding time.  The birding site is a public road serving some small farms and there is no entrance fee or any special arrangements required for a visit.

You can stay in Baeza at the Hotel Bambus, and from here bird the surrounding areas, and even drive to visit the Cabañas San Isidro Forest.  The Hotel Bambus has no restaurant but there are several in town.  The rooms are basic, but clean and all have private bathrooms with hot water. You can call the hotel administration at this phone number:  (6) 232 0219.



Baeza surroundings. San Borja side road

If you are continuing from your visit to Guango Lodge and Cuyuja Alder forest and need information as to how to get to those sites please see the birding instructions on those locales in their respective chapter.  We will use the Guango Lodge gate along the E28 highway as our starting point of 0.0 km.  From the Guango Lodge entrance gate drive toward the lowlands for 4.8 km.  At this point you will drive by the Cuyuja Alder forest. Continue a further 17.1 km or 21.9 km from Guango Lodge.  Here you will cross a bridge over the Papallacta River.  Continue for another 2.4 km or 24.3 km from Guango lodge and you will reach a police check point.  The bridge just ahead of the check point provides a good opportunity to look for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.  

From the police check point go another 1.6 km or 25.9 km from Guango lodge.  Here you will be at a crossroad which is the end of the E28 Highway.  The left road goes north toward Lago Agrio, also known as Nueva Loja.  The right one goes south toward Baeza and Tena.  The road you are facing is the “Troncal Amazonica”, or E45 highway. After turning right on this road and driving 2.2 km, or 28.1 km from Guango Lodge, you will reach Baeza.

(Click here to download Map. San Borja side road).

Continuing to the south for only 3.4 km from Baeza, or 31.5 km from Guango Lodge, along the far side of a bend to the right, there is a side road on the left.    Be careful with the traffic in both directions when accessing this left side road, as it might be tricky.

Once you are on this side road, park after 200 m and look around the scattered tree tops around you.  Many of the treetops will be at eye level, and others will be down below you. This area is a great place to look for: Blue-necked, Beryl-spangled, Golden-naped, Flame-faced, Saffron-crowned, Golden, Black-capped and Orange-eared Tanagers, and the Golden-faced Tyrannulet which is very common here.

Continuing down the steep road you will get to a flat valley.   Once the roads starts descending one more time, you should park and start walking all the way down to the bridge over the QuijosRiver.  The habitat is altered, but the scattered trees and forest patches can be quite productive at times.  Look for Red-billed Parrot, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Marble-faced and Varigated Bristle-Tyrants, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Olive-chested Flycatcher, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Slate-throated Whitestart, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Subtropical Cacique, Russet-backed Oropendola and Olivaceous Siskin. The tanagers not only include the species mentioned before but also Bay-headed and Paradise Tanagers.  One winter record of the rare Cerulean Warbler was made along the forest edges here. 

Once you get to the bridge over the QuijosRiver ,which is 2.4 km from the E45 higway look again for: Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper and Fasciated Tiger-Heron.

At the vegetation along the river’s edge, right by the bridge, look for the Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager.

The area across the bridge is much more altered by farming activities, but continuing to bird along these more disturbed habitats might produce common birds that would only see if you visit the eastern lowlands.  Look there for: Grayish Saltator, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Black-and-white Seedeater and Yellow-browed Sparrow and Red-breasted Blackbird.  

During the austral migration months, the grassland across the bridge before getting to the highway heading to San Borja, are good for Southern Lapwing.

Once you return to the beginning of this side road near Baeza, and by continuing south along the E45 for only 2.0 km, or 44.3 km from Guango Lodge, you will arrive at an abandoned quarry. Stop here and look for the Lyre-tailed Nightjar at dusk.

The entrance road to Cabañas San Isidro will be only 12.8 km more along the E45 highway, or 46.3 km from Guango Lodge.

Remember to stop at any bridge, or any places where you can scan the rivers from the roadside, to look for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.


Birds to look for

Baeza surroundings San Borja side road.

Second Growth Forest (2GF), Forest (F), Rivers (R),   Grasslands (G).

Common:  Red-billed Parrot (2GF),   Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant (2GF,F), Golden-faced Tyrannulet (2GF,F),   Olive-chested Flycatcher (2GF),    Slate-throated Whitestart, (2GF,F), Inca Jay (2GF,F), Brown-capped   Vireo (2GF,F), Blue-necked Tanager (2GF,F), Beryl-Spangled Tanager (2GF,F),   Golden Tanager (2GF,F), Black-capped Tanager (2GF,F), Grayish Saltator   (2GF),  Subtropical Cacique (2GF,F),   Russet-backed Oropendola (2GF,F) Chestnut-bellied Seedeater (2GF,G),   Black-and-white Seedeater  (2GF,G),   Yellow-browed Sparrow (2GF,G), Olivaceous Siskin (2GF,F).

Uncommon: Torrent Duck (R), White-capped Dipper (R), Montane Foliage-gleaner   (2GF,F), White-tailed Tyrannulet (2GF,F), Lemon-browed Flycatcher   (2GF,F),      Golden-naped Tanager   (2GF,F), Bay-headed Tanager (2GF,F), Flame-faced Tanager (2GF,F), Paradise   Tanager (2GF,F), Orange-eared Tanager (2GF,F), Yellow-whiskered Bush-Tanager   (2GF along R), Red-breasted Blackbird (G), Olivaceous Siskin (2GF,F).

Rare: Fasciated Tiger-Heron (R), Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Orange-breasted Falcon, Golden-collared Honeycreeper (2GF, 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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