We continued our search of the northwest by visiting Mangaloma Reserve. This is a 200 ha (500 ac) forest located 7 km off the main highway north of Pedro Vicente Maldanado. Reservations are required prior to entry but it is worth the effort. Making a right hand turn a little south of Km 104 (there is a sign designating the reserve) you travel along dirt roads until you get to the main gate. After ringing a bell for entry the caretaker will come out to open the gate.
Mangaloma is a great place to find some difficult species such as the Orange-fronted Barbet, Rufous-crowned Antpitta, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, and the Banded-ground Cuckoo. Only one of these birds was on Pearl’s list but in addition to the Orange-fronted Barbet we encountered the Plumbeous Forest-Falcon. Another great sighting was the Black-throated Trogon.
If making a trip to Mangaloma Reserve, good boots are a must. Trails are quite muddy but passable. There are two side trails in addition to the main path. They recently opened a new route leading to additional areas of the property.
On the 8th day we went to Rio Silanche, about 20 km further west. This reserve is part of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation and a 3 day pass can be acquired at any of their four bird sanctuaries, which includes Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Milpe Gardens, Rio Silanche and their newest reserve near the Bellavista lodge. This pass provides entry to any and all of these locations.
There is a canopy tower a short distance from the entrance at Rio Silanche that provides a great place to view birds at their level. White-tailed Trogon, Lineated Woodpeckers and Choco Toucans were abundant this day. However, the Rufous-winged Tanager was probably the highlight of the morning. Although “The Birds of Ecuador” by Ridgely and Greenfield indicate that the Rufous-winged and the Bay-headed Tanagers have never been found together in Ecuador, I now have photographic proof that they do, as I was able to capture them both with a camera at Rio Silanche.
After spending most of the morning in the tower, we decided to walk the property to see what else may be present. We heard a Brown Wood-rail when we approached the creek but were unable to coax it into the open for a good look. We did run across a flock of Bronze-winged Parrots feeding about 2 meters above the ground in some small trees but they were too embedded in the growth to get any decent photos. The sun came out with a vengeance and the heat was overwhelming for us and the birds, as activity dropped off quickly. By the end of the day we had brought Pearls hit-list to 18 species. The next two days would be spent searching for some of the more illusive birds on the list.