Posts from December 2014

Short but productive bird photo trip for family group from Canada and Colombia (December 16-20, 2014).

Dec 22, 2014
















The group at El Recinto del Pensamiento on the final day of a 5-day birdwatching and photography trip to Cameguadua marsh, Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco and El Recinto del Pensamiento ecopark in the Central Andes of Colombia.

The first day was used for road traveling from Medellin to Manizales in the morning, birding Cameguadua marsh in the afternoon. The second day was a highly enjoyable visit to Los Nevados National Park, with plenty of birds photographed and a short relaxing bath at the thermal springs. The third & fourth days we birded Río Blanco, and on the fifth day visited the hummingbird feeders & butterfly house at El Recinto del Pensamiento, with return trip to Medellin in the afternoon.

We registered 195 bird species (183 seen, 12 heard-only) and while doing so, had a great time photographing birds such as the endemic Grayish Piculet, Blackish Rail, Flame-rumped Tanager, Pied Water-Tyrant and many more at Cameguadua marsh.

In Río Blanco the group photographed the Sickle-winged Guan & Black-billed Mountain-Toucan feeding on small berries, the antpittas (Chestnut-capped, Brown-banded, Bicolored & Slate-crowned Antpitta) feeding on earthworms, great hummingbirds & flowerpiercers in the lodge gardens, and a large list of mixed-flock members. Most memorable was a close encounter with an Andean Coati in broad daylight, and close night-views of Crab-eating Fox. Luckily, we ran into a family group of White-capped Tanagers and a flock of Golden-plumed Parakeets that allowed dozens of close captions. We indulged photographing very colorful birds such as the Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Pearled Treerunner, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Highland Motmot and both male & female Masked Trogon.

At Los Nevados, we had the good fortune of locating and photographing at close range the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest, as well as a sizeable list of high-altitude hummingbirds including the scarce Black-thighed Hummingbird, Shining Sunbean, Great Sapphirewing, Viridian Metaltail, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbreast and Buff-tailed Coronet. We photographed 26 species of hummingbirds in just 5 days, including nice specialties such as Green-fronted Lancebill, Wedge-billed & Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Tourmaline Sunangel, Bronzy & Collared Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Andean Emerald and White-bellied Woodstar.

Left: White-capped Tanager at Río Blanco.  Right: Buffy Helmetcrest at Los Nevados. Photos by participant Denis Rivard.

Posts from November 2014

Andean Endemics tour for David & Nancy Massie from the UK (October 23-November 6, 2014).

Nov 07, 2014

















From left to right: Daniel Uribe, Nancy & David Massie, at Los Nevados National Park in the Central Andes of Colombia. November 01, 2014.

This was a highly enjoyable and productive birding tour for David & Nancy Massie from the UK, who had birded Ecuador in previous trips but wanted to see Colombian Andean endemics and while doing so, filling-in the gaps for shared near-endemics with Ecuador & Venezuela. David & Nancy landed in Bogotá, and the following days we birded Chingaza National Park, the Siecha wetlands and the Páramo de Guasca. Then, we traversed the mid-Magdalena Valley, birding first the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco de Sales & Tabacal Lagoon at La Vega soon after we left Bogotá. We visited the Bellavista forest at Victoria, the wetlands near “El Dosymedio” (Puerto Boyacá) and the Río Claro Canyon (lodging at El Refugio) in the mid-Magdalena Valley. After birding La Romera ecopark in Sabaneta, we went onward into the Western Andes visiting the semi-dry forests near Bolombolo along the way to Jardín, the Ventanas´s Pass above Jardín, Morro Amarillo and the Cock-of-the-Rock lek outside town. The following days rendered a productive sequence of birding days, visiting the best localities in the Central Andes: Río Blanco, Los Nevados National Park, the road to Neira, Cameguadua marsh and Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary. Outward flight was from Pereira to Bogotá, with connections back home.

In synthesis, we registered 439 species, with 406 species seen and 33 species heard only. David had 70 lifers during the trip, and Nancy was extremely lucky and hard-working in photographing a plethoric list of endemics & near-endemics. We drove 1,975 kilometers of Andean roads!

















Endemic Magdalena Antibird (Sipia palliata), photographed by Nancy Massie at Rio Claro Canyon in mid-Magdalena Valley.

Some highlights of the tour were: Northern Screamer, Cauca Guan (E&EN), Colombian Chachalaca (E&VU), Bogota Rail (E&EN), Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rufous-fronted Parakeet (E&VU), Rusty-faced Parrot, Yellow-eared Parrot (E&EN), Rufous-banded Owl, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s) Sunangel, Purple-backed & Rainbow-bearded Thornbills, Bronze-tailed Thornbill (NE), Buffy Helmetcrest (E), Black-thighed Puffleg (NE&NT), Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT), Golden-breasted Puffleg (NE), Blue-throated Starfrontlet (NE),  Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), White-mantled Barbet (E&VU), Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet (E), Beautiful Woodpecker (E), Sylvery-throated Spinetail (E), Bar-crested Antshrike (NE), Parker´s Antbird (E), Magdalena Antbird (E), Bicolored Antpitta (NE&VU), Brown-banded Antpitta (E), Stiles´s Tapaculo (E), Pale-bellied Tapaculo (NE), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (NE),  Apical Flycatcher (E), Yellow-headed Manakin (NE&NT), Antioquia Wren (E), Purplish-mantled Tanager (NE&NT), Scrub Tanager (NE), Rufous-browed Conebill (NE), Masked Saltator (NT), Yellow-headed Brush-Finch (E&EN), Cerulean Warbler (VU), Golden-fronted Whitestar (NE), Red-bellied Grackle (E&EN) and Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E).

Other significant birds were: Fulvous-whistling Duck, Andean Teal, Torrent & Andean (Ruddy) Ducks, Sickle-winged & Andean Guans,  Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Hook-billed Kite, Black-Hawk Eagle, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Barred Parakeet, Speckle-faced, Bronze-winged & Scaly-naped Parrots, White-lined Quail-Dove, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Pale-bellied & Tawny-bellied Hermits, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Gorgeted Woodstar, Barred & Moustached Puffbirds,  Channel-billed (Citron-throated) Toucan, Yellow-vented, Crimson-mantled, Cinnamon & Powerful Woodpeckers, White-chinned Thistletail, Striped, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunters, Tyrannine Woodcreeper,  Checkered-throated & Pacific Antwrens, Chestnut-naped & Slate-crowned Antpittas, Paramo Tapaculo, Black-capped, Plumbeous-crowned, White-tailed & White-banded Tyrannulets, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Olivaceous Flatbill, Yellow-bellied, Slaty-backed, Rufous-breasted & Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Wing-barred Piprites, Black-billed Peppershrike, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-collared & Black-chested Jays, Black-bellied & Chestnut-breasted Wrens, White-capped Dipper, Flame-rumped, Metallic-green & Red-hooded Tanagers, Plushcap, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Citrine Warbler and Fulvous-vented Euphonia.

Posts from May 2014

Medium length birding trip through the Western & Central Andes of Colombia with Bruce Webb, Jeanne Conry & Peter Gent from USA (May 18-27, 2014).

May 29, 2014

From left to right: Peter Gent, Jeanne Conry, Bruce Webb and Daniel Uribe, after enjoying the Buffy (Bearded) Helmetcrest at the Visitors Center of Los Nevados National Park at 4,000 meters.

Bruce Webb (Wildlife Optics of California) and Peter Gent (Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research – NCAR, Boulder, CO) arrived at Medellín airport in an American Airline flight from Miami on the night of May 18th (2014). The following day we birded La Romera Ecopark near Medellín and drove to ProAves´s Las Tangaras reserve in the Western Andes, lodging there for two nights. We then visited ProAves´s Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve at Ventanas´s Pass above Jardin, plus nearby Morro Amarillo and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek. On our way to Rio Blanco in Manizales we birded the semi-dry forests of the road to Concordia at Bolombolo in the Cauca Valley, finishing with extraordinary birding at Los Nevados National Park and Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary in the Central Andes. Bruce´s wife, Jeanne Conry, joined the group for the final two birding days.

We registered 333 bird species (with 26 species heard only), including 40 hummingbirds, 46 tanagers and 46 flycatchers, in just 8.5 birding days! Including 23 species of ovenbirds and woodcreepers, 7 species of tapaculos and 6 species of antpittas, all at very close range!

After finishing the tour, Bruce wrote us with the following note: “Daniel: Jeannie and I want to thank you for an extraordinary birding trip.  Every day was exciting and your amazing ability to identify birds by sound and show us the tough to see birds made it worth it. We quickly re-learned techniques for seeing tropical birds, as it is definitely different than birding back home.  We have recently been on birding trips to Peru and Chile, and we can honestly say our experience with you in Colombia tops all others. We look forward to go birding with you in another region of Colombia. Best, Bruce Webb and Jeanne Conry, Granite Bay, California.”

And Peter wrote: "I finally finished going through my Colombia bird list. I saw 287 species
and 77 of them were new.  This is a very high percentage for me on trips. Thanks again, Peter."

Short birding escapade for James Taylor & Christine Forster from Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) (May 8-11, 2014).

May 13, 2014

From left to right: Jamie (with a cup of very good Colombian coffee), Chrissie & Daniel at Rio Blanco lodge.

James Taylor (MD, Ophthalmologist) and Christine Forster (Instructor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Victoria) organized their adventurous trip to Colombia in such a way that a short birding escapade near Pereira and Manizales would be combined with visits to colonial towns such as Villa de Leyva, Mompox and Minca, and main cities such as Medellín, Bogotá, Santa Marta and Cartagena.

Daniel received Chrissie & Jamie in Pereira´s airport early afternoon on May 8th, driving immediately to La Suiza lodge at Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary. There, they enjoyed great views of the endemic Cauca Guan and rare Red-ruffed Fruitcrow as they moved through the Ash tree plantations. Also, very close views of the endemic Crested Ant-Tanager and the Chestnut-breasted Wren singing generously its wonderful melodic songs. Other highlights included close views of a pair of Streak-capped Treehunter, a male & female Torrent Duck diving in fast waters, and an  assortment of hummingbirds including Wedge-billed, Steely-vented, Speckled & Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean & Western Emerald, Bronzy Inca, Long-billed Starthroat, Greenish Puffleg,  and Green Hermit. Plus beautiful birds such as the Andean Motmot, Blue-necked & Flame-rumped Tanager, Collared Trogon, Green Jay, Tropical Parula and many others.

The following day (May 9th) we birded the Cameguadua marsh in Chinchiná, registering 110 species this day, including the endemic Grayish Piculet, near-endemic Bar-crested Antshrike, Spectacled Parrotlet, Least & Pied-billed Grebe, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Purple Gallinule, Slaty Spinetail,  Vermillion Flycatcher, Pied Water-Tyrant, Bay-headed Tanager and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, among many others.

At Los Nevados National Park (May 10th) we had astonishing views of the Bearded Helmetcrest and Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, plus a good mix of paramo & timberline species such as the Viridian Metaltail, near-endemic Golden-breasted Puffleg, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Paramo Tapaculo, Paramo Seedeater, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, White-throated Tyrannulet, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, near-endemic Golden-fronted Whitestar, Black-crested Warbler and Andean Siskin. In the afternoon we visited Recinto del Pensamiento in Manizales, enjoying 14 species of hummingbirds!

On final day (May 11th) we birded the Rio Blanco watershed, registering 85 species, including three antpittas (the endemic Brown-banded, plus Chestnut-crowned & Slate-crowned Antpitta), flocks of at least 50 Golden-plumed Parakeets, 40 Rusty-faced Parrots and over 90 Scaly-naped Parrots, and close views of big specialties such as Powerful Woodpecker, Dusky Piha, Slaty Finch, Sickle-winged Guan, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Tourmaline Sunangel, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Collared Inca, Long-tailed Sylph, Masked Trogon, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Spillman´s Tapaculo and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager.

Bird photography trip for Japanese photographers – Hisao komori & Yasunobu Shiga (April 26-May 4, 2014).

May 07, 2014

From April 26 to May 4 (2014), we photographed birds of the Central and Western Andes of Colombia for 9 full days with Hisao Komori & Yasunobu Shiga from Japan. Komori & Shiga arrived in Bogotá on April 25th, taking a domestic flight to Cali the morning of the following day. Taking advantage of their landing in Cali, we visited Juan José Arango´s hummingbird feeders in the city and birded the famous Kilómetro 18 & San Antonio road above Cali, lodging at Finca Alejandría. We then moved into the tropical dry forest of El Vínculo reserve and visited the Sonso marshes near Buga, Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary above the city of Pereira, Cameguadua marsh in Chinchiná, Los Nevados National Park and Río Blanco nature reserve near Manizales, finishing at Recinto del Pensamiento.

We photographed 175 species of birds, including 25 species of hummingbirds, 23 species of tanagers, 21 species of flycatchers, 8 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of woodcreepers, 5 species of Brush-Finches, 4 species of antpittas and 3 species of ibises, among other birds.

Some of the highlights included photographing male & female Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Sickle-winged Guan, Cauca Guan (endemic), Colombian Chachalaca (endemic), Buff-necked & Glossy Ibis, Blackish Rail, Purple Gallinule, Golden-plumed Parakeet (endangered), Spectacled Parrotlet, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Red-headed Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Grayish Piculet (endemic), Andean Tit-Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Bar-crested Antshrike (near-endemic), Paramo Tapaculo, Black-throated Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Pied Water-Tyrant, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Apical Flycatcher (endemic), Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Green Jay, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Plushcap, Slaty Finch and Golden-fronted Whitestart (near-endemic).

Among the tanagers, we photographed the Scarlet-bellied, Buff-breasted & Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Flame-rumped, Blue-capped, Fawn-breasted, Golden-naped, Blue-necked, Scrub, Blue-and-black, Beryl-spangled, Saffron-crowned, Golden and Guira Tanager.

Among the very nice hummingbirds, we photographed well the White-necked Jacobin, three species of Violetears (Sparkling, Brown & Green), Black-throated Mango, Tourmaline Sunangel, Wedge-billed &  Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Greenish Puffleg, Bronzy & Collared Inca, Booted Rackettail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-bellied & Purple-throated Woodstar (near-endemic), Green-crowned Woodnymph, Andean & Western Emerald, and the amazingly beautiful Bearded Helmetcrest (near-endemic) in the high mountains of the Central Andes.

At Río Blanco it was a joy to photograph up close the Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned and Slate-crowned Antpittas, and the Tawny Antpitta at Los Nevados National Park.

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