Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve - Ecuador

Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve is 25 miles from Guayaquil, Ecuador and covers 135 square miles. It preserves a rare mangrove forest along the Pacific coast of South America and is the only one open to the public. It gets its name from some coastal mountains called the Cordillera de Churute that reach a maximum elevation of 2,300 feet. It is part of the estuary of the Gulf of Guayaquil and the lower basin of the Guyas River. It is an area where the salty ocean water mixes with fresh water of the Taura, Churute, Canar and Naranjal rivers. The Taura River is the main source of fresh water for the mangroves. The Reserve is mostly mangrove and estuary, but it also has a series of small lakes and includes the Churute Mountain Range and Lake El Canclon. The mangrove area does not have high biodiversity, which surprised me, because only a few species can live under those brackish conditions.  
The bow of the canoe in the left foreground with the Churute Mountains in the background. 

Some kids in a canoe.

Just left of center is the dock for the canoe.

The trail from the canoe cut through a bank of mangroves. 
When we visited we first stopped at a local cacao farm, located on a small river, where we ate lunch and learned about the chocolate making business. I found greater bird diversity at the cacao farm than in the mangroves. 
A cacao pod from the cacao farm.

River through the cacao farm.
Then we drove to the mangroves and took a motorized canoe through the mangroves. After the huge variety of bird species I'd seen near Mindo, I was disappointed to find only familiar birds in the mangroves, except for one bird I thought I knew, the great blue heron, which turn out to be a new species for me, the cocoi heron. 
Blue-gray tanagers at the cacao farm. We also saw them near Mindo. 

A boat-billed flycatcher off the side of the road near the cacao farm. 

A rusty-margined flycatcher (not sure of this identification)?

A pale-legged hornero, in a tree next to the river at the cacao farm. 

A roadside hawk at the cacao farm.

Shiny cowbird at the cacao farm. 

Tropical kingbird at the cacao farm. 

White-tailed kite at the cacao farm. 

Pacific parrotlets on the way to the mangroves.

Cocoi herons that I originally thought were great blue herons. This is the great blue heron equivalent in South America.

Blurry photo of a Pacific mangrove ghost crab among the red mangroves near where we boarded our canoe. 

Roseate spoonbills among the mangroves.

Snowy egret

White ibis in the mangroves.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite birds were those roseate spoonbills. SO beautiful! You got some good pictures.