Bird Watching in Loma Alta
Are you a bird watching enthusiast in search of a beautiful destination with an abundance of birdlife? Then be sure to book a trip to the community owned Loma Alta Ecological Reserve in Ecuador. Located 150 miles from Guayaquil in the Santa Elena Peninsula, the reserve encompasses approximately 6 000 hectares of land, of which a portion consists of endangered fog forest.
The Loma Alta Ecological Reserve was formed by villagers from Loma Alta, El Suspiro, La Union and La Ponga, which together form the Comuna of Loma Alta. Originally it consisted of some 1 500 acres of fog forest, home to endemic plants, kinkajous, howler monkeys, toucans and hummingbirds. Over time this was expanded to what it is today. Dr. Dusty Becker has become known for her research in the area, discovering the wide variety of amazing bird species that call the reserve home. Using the information obtained by Dr. Becker and with the help of Earthwatch volunteers, the community leaders contacted Birdlife International to request that the Loma Alta Ecological Reserve be named an Important Bird Area. With 300 bird species, 42 of which are endemic, 5 endangered and 9 vulnerable, the area qualified and is now considered an international site of importance for bird conservation. Further efforts are being made to expand the protected area within the Colonche Hills as the extremely endangered Esmeraldas Woodstar hummingbird can be found in the area.
With the abundance of research and discoveries made by individuals and wildlife organizations, comes the opportunity for the development of tourism in this vital bird sanctuary. Those interested in traveling here are encouraged to contact the Fundacion Aves del Ecuador. If you would like to visit the Loma Alta Ecological Reserve there are some points to take note of. The entrance fee is currently $3.00 (subject to change). Community members offer meals and lodging at good prices for those who may wish to spend some time in the region. The journey from Guayaquil to Loma Alta will take about 3 hours and may require taking more than one bus as well as taxi hire to reach the community house. Although the trip is long, it is well worth the effort and time taken as bird lovers will find Loma Alta Ecological Reserve to be a piece of paradise.