The Utuana Reserve is owned jointly by Jocotoco and Arco Iris Foundations and managed by Jocotoco Foundation. The reserve is close to 100 hectares in size, and there are plans to increase this protected area to 500 hectare. This reserve is located in Loja Province very close to the Peruvian border. The reserve lands are located at elevations between 2350 to 2600 meters. As of January, 2009, reserve staff and visitors have recorded 97 bird species, including several regional endemics only shared with adjacent northern Perú.
The Reserve is dedicated to the memory of the young Danish biologist Hanne Bloch who tragically died in an air crash while traveling to Ecuador in 1998. At the time of her death Hanne was working to aid in the conservation of several habitats in Southwestern Ecuador. Hanne´s parents honored her by donating Hanne´s life insurance to buy and protect some the habitat she loved so much. Bosque de Hanne is the story of a tragedy turned into a future of hope by means of wildlife protection.
Southwestern Middle Montane Forest
Utuana Reserve- Bosque de Hanne
Utuana can be easily accessed from the cities of Macará and Cariamanga.
To know about places to stay in Macará read the logistics in the Jorupe Reserve subchapter. If you are staying in Cariamanga you could stay at the San Francisco Hotel: phones (07) 2687268 and (07) 2687894. There are many buses running on the Loja-Cariamanga-Macará Highway that reach the entrance road to the Utuana Reserve. Should you take a bus to Utuana, you can drop off at the entrance and bird the reserve by foot. You can also hire a pickup truck from either Cariamanaga or Macará to easily explore de reserve and its surroundings. Visitors will be asked to pay the entrance ticket and registration fee of US $10 or $2 for Ecuadorians. The dirt road inside the reserve can be driven only with a high clearance vehicle. During the rainy season from December to April, a four wheel drive vehicle will be absolutely necessary. It is possible that an exceptionally strong rainy season may make the road impassable.
Due the area is very close to the Peruvian border and there are a couple of military check points that could request identifications at any moment. It is important to have your passport or identification card always handy in this region.
Utuana Reserve- Bosque de Hanne
Utuana Reserve can be visited after your trip to El Tundo Natural Reserve. If you are coming from El Tundo, please see the birding instruction in that respective subchapter on how to get to the entrance road to Utuana.
Utuana can also be visited after your trip to Loja Airport and Catamayo Valley. Starting at the junction of Loja airport driveway and the main highway turn right and head Southwest toward Cariamanga for 39.7 km. At this point, you get to a roundabout on the outskirts of Gonzanama. The first exit to the right goes to Gonzanama downtown. Continue on the road straight ahead and drive for 1.3, or 41.0 km from Catamayo. At this point you will arrive at the end of the Gonzanamá bypass.
Continue on the main road to your left and drive another 24.5 km, or 65.5 km from Catamayo. Here you will arrive at Cariamanga. Navigate your way across town heading west. The San Francisco Hotel is in the West end of the city, on the way to Utuana and Macará.
We will use this hotel as a new starting point of 0.0 km. Drive west toward Macará for 21.4 km. At this point you will pass Colaisaca. Drive on for 7.9 km, or 29.3 km from Cariamanga. At this point you will drive through the small town of Utuana. Continue ahead for 0.3 km, or 29.6 from Cariamanga. At this point you will see a dirt road on the left. This dirt road heads towards the Utuana Reserve.
Reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future references. The main highway descends to the right heading toward Sozoranga and Macará. There are a couple of forest patches that are worth visiting, just a short distance ahead down the highway. Drive for 1.4 km, and at this point just along the road you will see some forest patches dominated by Chusquea bamboo. The Piura Hemispingus has been seen, and Gray-headed Antbird and Leimebamba Antpitta had been heard singing from here. In January 2009 the Andean Bamboo was seedling and three singing males Maroon-chested Ground-Doves were seen here.
Continuing along the highway another 14.1 km, or 15.5 km from Utuana you will arrive at the small town of Sozoranga where you can visit the El Tundo Natural Reserve.
Returning to the dirt road to access Utuana Reserve, drive away from the highway for 0.7 km. Here you will find a divide in the road. The main road bears left and toward “Tacamoro” and to the Peruvian border. Take the road to the right heading to Utuana Reserve.
From this point onward the road is rough and high clearance is needed. Drive 1.0 km, or 1.7 km from Utuana. At this point you will get to a yet another divide. The main road goes to the left to a locked gate. The road beyond the gate climbs the mountain to the top where a military base guards some communication towers.
Take the very narrow road to the right. You must assess the driving conditions here before entering this road. If conditions aren’t right for your vehicle, you will have to continue on foot. Continue for 1.6 km, or 3.2 km from Utuana, and at this point you will see the start of the “Hemispingo de Piura” trail. Drive on for 0.2 km, or 3.4 km from Utuana. Here you will see a big sign announcing “Bosque de Hanne”.
On the left side you will see the start of a trail heading into the forest. Walking this trail you can explore forest in better condition where Gray-headed Antbird can be found along with several other forest interior birds that include: White-throated Quail-Dove, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Piura Hemispingus and Plushcap.
After exploring the forest you can loop out to the road along a trail where you can watch hummingbirds at some feeders before returning to the road.
From the big sign, the road goes through thick second growth for 0.2 km, or 3.6 km from Utuana. This spot is where the road ends. The trail to the left goes through Second-growth and takes you where several hummingbird feeders attract: Speckled Hummingbird, Rainbow Starfrontlet and Purple-throated Sunangel. The more open area along the “Tit-tyrant Trail” and the second-growth along the road are a good place to look for: Green-tailed Trainbearer, Chapman´s Antshrike, Black-crested Tit-Tyrant, Jelski´s Chat-Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Silver-backed Tanager and Black-cowled Saltator. From the end of the road, you can follow a trail descending steeply to the far side of the mountain the Leimebamba Antpitta can be heard with regularity.
Birds to look for
Utuana Reserve- Bosque de Hanne
Forest (F), Second-growth (2G).
Common: Speckled Hummingbird (F,2G), Rainbow Starfrontlet (F,2G), Purple-throated Sunangel (F,2G), Line-cheeked Spinetail (F,2G), Blackish Tapaculo (F,2G), Silver-backed Tanager (F,2G).
Uncommon: White-throated Quail-Dove (F), Green-tailed Trainbearer (2G), Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaner (F,2G), Chapman´s Antshrike (2G), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (2G), Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet (F,2G), Jelski´s Chat-Tyrant (2G), Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant (2G), Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (F), Plushcap (F,2G), Black-cowled Saltator (2G).
Rare: Maroon-chested Ground-Dove (2G), Gray-headed Antbird (F),Leimebamba Antpitta (F), Piura Hemispingus (2G).
For a complete Utuana Bird list visit www.fjocotoco.org Bird List-Utuana.