SANTA ELENA PENINSULA
ABOUT THE BIRDING
The Santa Elena peninsula is covered by semi-arid scrub, agricultural areas, and some tracts of dry forest preserved in Cerro Blanco Protected Area. Roadsides offer opportunities to find birds characteristic of southwestern Ecuador scrub. Some of the specialty birds found in this habitat are Short-tailed Woodstar, Necklaced Spinetail, Elegant Crescent-Chest, Short-tailed Field-Tyrant, Snowy-throated Kingbird (Present only in rainy season from December-May), White-tailed Jay, Collared Warbling-Finch, Parrot-billed Seedeater, Peruvian Meadowlark, and White-edged Oriole.
At the end of the road are the Ecuasal Salt Ponds operated by the Salinas Salt Plant. The ponds are fenced off but a variety of birds can be observed around the ponds. Notably specialty birds are Peruvian Pelican, Chilean Flamingo, Gray Gull, Kelp Gull, and Gray-headed Gull.
Cerro Blanco Protected Forest is located about 10 miles west of Guayaquil. It consists of a series of hills covered by Ecuadorian Dry Forest interspersed by ravines and permanent springs that attract a great variety of wildlife, especially during dry season from July-December. The hills extend in elevation from 150-1500 ft. and stretch from the outskirts of Guayaquil to the Machalilla National Park on the Pacific coast. The forests are dominated by Ceibo and Pigio trees reminiscent of Baobab trees in Africa. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in Cerro Blanco, among them 7 threatened species (including the highly endangered Great Green Macaw), 22 endemic species, and 30 range-restricted species. The macaws are carefully protected and are unlikely to be seen without special permission to gain access to the area where they're found.
LOCATION OF SITE
Santa Elena Peninsula is located west of Guayaquil in southern Ecuador. The road to the coast leads to the Ecuasal Salt Ponds, located near Salines about 100 miles from Guayaquil.