Posts from November 2015
Birding along the Western & Central Andes of Colombia with Bob & Katie Self from the UK.
A memorable 18-day birding trip along the Western & Central Andes of Colombia, starting in Cali and finishing in Medellin. From November 9 to 26 (2015) and from south to north, we birded the San Antonio cloud forest, Finca Alejandria, the road to Dapa, the forest at Santa Eulalia Lodge, Sonso Marsh, El Vinculo reserve, Mountain Choco at Cerro Montezuma, Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, timberline forests and paramo ecosystems at Los Nevados National Park, montane Rio Blanco, the Bolombolo dry forests, Ventanas´s Pass above Jardin, Las Tangaras reserve and La Romera Ecopark.
Moving from one great birding site to the other, we saw 441 species, of which 118 species were lifers for Bob & Katie. We had many close encounters with magnificent birds, including 44 species of hummingbirds, 55 species of flycatchers, 76 species of tanagers & allies, 12 species of woodpeckers, 19 endemics & 30 near-endemics. Bob & Katie wanted to improve their listings on hard-to-see species, and as an end result we managed to see well 9 species of antpittas, 7 tapaculos, 12 wrens, 21 warblers and 9 species of cotingas, among many others.
Photo: Bob & Katie at Cerro Montezuma, where we enjoyed tons of birds, including close views of Black Solitaire (NE), Yellow-breasted Antpitta (NE&VU) & Tanager Finch (NE&VU) following an ant swarm, and great views of Munchique Wood-Wren (E&CR), Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer (E&EN), Indigo Flower-Piercer (NE), Gold-ringed Tanager (E&EN), Black-and-Gold Tanager (E&VU), Glistening-green Tanager (NE), Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Beautiful Jay (NE&NT), Golden-collared Honeycreeper (NE), Yellow-collared (NE) & Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias, Alto de Pisones Tapaculo (E), Zeledon´s Antbird and many others.
Posts from October 2015
Birding in Colombia from the Western Andes to the Santa Marta Mountains & Guajira peninsula, with a recapitulation in the mid-Magdalena Valley & Eastern Andes: two subsequent birding trips for David & Nancy Massie (UK), and Bruce Webb & Peter Gent (USA).
This was the second birding trip to Colombia for David & Nancy Massie, with a challenging list of target endemics, near-endemics & specialties from the Western Andes, Cauca Valley, northern Central Andes, Santa Marta Mountains & Guajira peninsula. From October 1-14, we birded Kilometer 18 above Cali, Sonso Marsh, Cerro Montezuma, Las Tangaras Reserve, “La M” above Carmen de Atrato and Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve in the northern tip of the Central Andes. Followed with an extension of 5 nights/6 days to the Santa Marta Mountains & Guajira peninsula, from October 15-20.
Overall, David & Nancy were able to add 61 new species to their life list! At Kilometro 18 the top species included Multicolored Tanager (E&VU), Blue-headed Sapphire, Nariño Tapaculo (NE) and Metallic-green Tanager. Sonso Marsh provided close views of the Cocoa Woodcreeper, and visiting Cerro Montezuma allowed the addition of key lifers such as Fulvous-dotted Treerunner (NT), Olivaceous Piha, Munchique Wood-Wren (E&CR), Black Solitaire (NE), Gold-ringed Tanager (E&EN), Yellow-collared Chlorophonia (NE), Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Olive Finch, Alto Pisones Tapaculo (E) and Chestnut-bellied Flower-Piercer (E&EN). At Las Tangaras reserve we had great views of the Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl (VU), Rufous-rumped Antwren, Handsome Flycatcher, Sooty-headed Wren (NE), Black-and-gold Tanager (E&VU) and Indigo Flower-Piercer (NE). Visiting the Chestnut-capped Piha reserve allowed more lifers such as Chestnut-crowned Gnateater (with a great photo taken by Nancy), Northern White-crowned Tapaculo, Chestnut-capped Piha (E&EN), Scarlet-and-white Tanager (NE), Crested Ant-Tanager (E), Black-headed Brush-Finch (NE) and Large-billed Seed-Finch.
Our party of three met with Bruce Webb & Peter Gent at El Dorado airport in Bogota as we all flew into Santa Marta on October 15th, birding the high altitudinal gradient from Minca to El Dorado Lodge & Cuchilla de San Lorenzo in the Santa Marta Mountains. Here, we were challenged by a sudden and unexpected onset of rainy days for the region, with long and frequent showers in the afternoons, but clear skies in the mornings that lasted until noon. We had great birding in the mountains, seeing well the endemics - Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Blossomcrown, White-tailed Starfrontlet (male & female), Santa Marta Woodstar (male & female), Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Santa Marta Foliage-Gleaner, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Santa Marta Wood-Wren, Bang´s Wood-Wren, Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager, Colombian Brush-Finch, Santa Marta Brush-Finch, Santa Marta Warbler, White-lored Warbler and Yellow-crowned Whitestart, plus the near-endemics Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Coppery Emerald, White-tipped Quetzal, Streak-capped Spinetail and Golden-winged Sparrow. Besides, we saw well specialties such as the Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Band-tailed & Sickle-winged Guans, Lined Quail-Dove, Scaly-naped Parrot, Long-billed Hermit, Lazuline Sabrewing, Moustached Puffbird, Santa Marta (Emerald) Toucanet, Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Wren, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Veery, Black-hooded Thrush, Plushcap and Golden-bellied Grosbeak, among many others.
From left to right: Daniel Uribe, Peter Gent, David & Nancy Massie, Juan Uriana (local guide) & Bruce Webb.
Our visit to Camarones & Perico in the Guajira Peninsula was ruled by extreme sun & heat, and nice birds such as the Chestnut Piculet (NE), White-whiskered Spinetail (NE), Orinoco Saltator (NE), Vermilion Cardinal (NE), Slender-billed Inezia (NE), Buffy Hummingbird, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Scaled Dove, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Ferruginous Pymy-Owl, Russet-throated Puffbird, Black-crested Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Pale-legged (Caribbean) Hornero, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Glaucous Tanager and Pileated Finch, among many others.
On the last day for David & Nancy, we enjoyed seeing the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (E), Shinning-green Hummingbird and Lineated Woodpecker at El Vale near Santa Marta, and the Bicolored Conebill, Golden-green Woodpecker and Panama Flycatcher at Isla de Salamanca.
The second half of the trip for Bruce & Peter had a wonderful start at the Llanogrande gravel pits near Rionegro, where we enjoyed seeing at close distance and for a long time a male of Masked Duck with two females, a curious Blackish Rail, two Soras and an adult & juvenile Purple Gallinule.
Rio Claro in the mid-Magdalena Valley was very hot & humid (as always), presenting to us scope views of the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker and really close views of a party of Silvery-brown Bare-Face Tamarins, including a mom carrying a baby on her back. We enjoyed a diverse set of birds while birding along the inner road of the reserve and the Mulata trail, including the Magdalena Antbird (E), Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Stripe-throated & Rufous-breasted Hermits, Blue-chested Hummingbird (building a nest), Broad-billed Motmot, Barred Puffbird, White-whiskered Puffbird, Chestnut-mandibled & Channel-billed (Citron-throated) Toucans, Olivaceous Piculet, Black-crowned (Western Slaty) Antshrike, Pacific & SlatyAntwrens, Long-tailed, Wedge-billed & Plain-brown Woodcreepers, Olivaceous Flatbill, Long-tailed Tyrant, One-colored Becard and the Black-bellied, Bay & Band-backed Wrens, among many other birds.
A quick visit to the initial sections of the road to Puerto Pinzon also yielded a very nice set of birds, including Northern Screamer (NE&NT), Scrub Greenlet, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Laughing Falcon, White-winged Swallow, Spectacled Parrotlet, Striped Cuckoo, Pied Puffbird and Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher.
Bellavista Forest in Victoria presented us with splendid views of White-mantled Barbet (E&VU), Sooty Ant-Tanager (E&NT), Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E), Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Pale-bellied Hermit, Sooty-headed Wren (NE), White-breasted Wood-Wren, Purple-crowned Fairy, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Golden-headed Manakin, Black-chested Jay, Golden-hooded Tanager and Orange-billed Sparrow, among others.
At Laguna de Tabacal we saw the Blue-lored Antbird (E), Gray-throated Warbler (NE&NT), White-bellied Antbird, Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E), Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Plain Antvireo, Checker-throated Antwren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Scrub Tanager (NE) and Slate-colored Seedeater.
Our visit to the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco was also very productive, with great views of the dominant Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, Gorgeted Woodstar, Red-billed Emerald (NE) and Shinning-green Hummingbird, among others.
Laguna de Pedro Palo & Chicaque Ecopark provided great birding, with very nice mix flocks. We saw the Black Inca (E&VU), Moustached Brush-Finch (NE), Golden-bellied Starfrontlet (NE), Ash-browed & Stripe-breasted Spinetails, Thick-billed & Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finches, Mountain Velvetbreast, Cerulean Warbler, Fawn-breasted, Beryl-spangled & Metallic-green Tanagers, and many more.
Birding along the road to Chingaza National Park surprised us with close views of the Silvery-throated Spinetail (E), Bronze-tailed Thornbill (NE), Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo (NE), Golden-fronted Whitestart (NE), Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, White-chinned Thistletail, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Black-backed Grosbeak and Andean Siskin. One of the highlights for the day was the unexpected view of a splendid male Purple-backed Thornbill!
Birding the Siecha gravel pits was also very productive, with the presence of Bogota Rail (E&EN), Noble Snipe, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Andean Teal, Ruddy Duck and Grassland Yellow-Finch.
Visiting Paramo de Guasca was most rewarding, with nice views of the endemic & vulnerable Brown-breasted Parakeet, Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT), Speckle-faced Parrot, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s) Sunangel, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Pearled Treerunner, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Black-capped, Superciliaried & Black-headed Hemispingus, Scarlet-bellied & Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, Rufous-browed Conebill (NE) and Ochre-breasted Brush-Finch.
Our tour ended with a visit to the “Observatorio de colibríes” at La Calera, where we enjoyed the Black-tailed Trainbearer, Glowing Puffleg, Tyrian Metaltail, Sparkling & Green Violetears, quick views of Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT) and second views of female Blue-throated Starfrontlet (NE).
In total, we saw 436 species (plus 17 species heard only) and most importantly, had great fun while birding!
Posts from September 2015
Colombia: The Eastern Andes, mid-Magdalena Valley, Santa Marta Mountains & La Guajira Peninsula birding trip for Katy Krigbaum & Birgit Felser.
From September 2 – 21 (2015) we managed to visit most of the best birding sites from Bogotá to Soatá in the Eastern Andes of Colombia, the mid-Magdalena Valley continuing north into Ocaña, the Santa Marta Mountains & La Guajira peninsula.
Above, the splendid morning view of the Santa Marta Mountains as we arrived to the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo.
In the Eastern Andes we birded Laguna de Pedro Palo & Chicaque Ecopark, Chingaza National Park, Siecha & Guasca gravel pits, the Observatorio de Colibríes “Alarte” at La Calera, Páramo de Guasca & Pantano de Martos, Laguna de Fúquene, Rogitama Nature Reserve, Páramo de Onzaga and dry forests at Soatá. Some of the highlights for this section of the tour were: Bogota Rail (E&EN), Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Brown-breasted Parakeet (E&VU), Barred Parakeet, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Band-winged Nightjar, Andean Teal, Andean Guan, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s) Sunangel, Bronze-tailed Thornbill (NE), Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT), Black Inca (E&VU), Golden-bellied (NE) & Blue-throated (NE) Starfrontlets, Short-tailed Emerald (NE), Lazuline Sabrewing, Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird (E&EN), Bar-crested Antshrike (NE), Rufous Antpitta, Ocellated Tapaculo, Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo (NE), Black-banded Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, White-chinned Thistletail, Streak-backed Canastero, Ash-browed Spinetail, Silvery-throated Spinetail (E), Black-collared Jay, Apolinar´s Wren (E&EN), Whiskered & Rufous Wrens, Paramo Pipit, Scrub Tanager (NE), Rufous-browed Conebill (NE), Plushcap, Dull-colored Grassquit, Moustached Brush-Finch (NE), Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch, Golden-fronted Whitestart (NE) and Mountain Grackle (E&EN).
We then dropped into the mid-Magdalena Valley, birding Laguna de Tabacal & the Enchanted Gardens at San Francisco de Sales, Bellavista Forest at Victoria, the initial section of the road to Puerto Pinzón near “El 2.5”, Rio Claro Nature Reserve (visiting “El Cóndor” Oilbird cave), marshes near Río Lebrija and the Hormiguero de Torcoroma Nature Reserve in Ocaña. We had excellent views of Northern Screamer (NE&NT), Colombian Chachalaca (E), Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-hawk Eagle, Double-toothed Kite, White-rumped Hawk, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Dwarf Cuckoo, Oilbird, Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), Barred & Moustached Puffbirds, White-mantled Barbet (E&VU), Chestnut-mandibled & Channel-billed (Citron-throated) Toucans, Beautiful Woodpecker (E), Cinnamon Woodpecker, Recurve-billed Bushbird (NE&E), Klage´s Antbird, Magdalena Antbird (E), White-bellied, Bicolored & Jet Antbirds, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Apical Flycatcher (E), Striped, Golden-headed & White-bearded Manakins, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-chested Jay, White-thighed Swallow, Black-bellied Wren, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, Slate-colored Seedeater, Sooty Ant-Tanager (E&NT), Cerulean Warbler (VU), Gray-throated Warbler (NE&NT) and Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E).
Above: Birgit & Katy on their last day of tour, visiting Isla de Salamanca National Park near Santa Marta & Barranquilla.
The trip continued north into the Santa Marta Mountains, birding the high altitudinal gradient from Minca to El Dorado Nature Reserve & Cuchilla de San Lorenzo. Here, we enjoyed seeing the Santa Marta Parakeet (E&EN), Santa Marta Screech-Owl (E&CR), Sickle-winged & Band-tailed Guans, Santa Marta Blossomcrown (E&VU), White-tailed Starfrontlet (E), Santa Marta Woodstar (E), Santa Marta (Emerald) & Groove-billed Toucanets, Santa Marta Antbird (E), Santa Marta Tapaculo (E), Brown-rumped Tapaculo (E), Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner (E), Streak-capped Spinetail (NE), Rusty-headed Spinetail (E&VU), Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant (E&EN), Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Santa Marta (E) & Bang´s (E) Wood-Wrens, Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager (E), Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Colombian Brush-Finch (E), Golden-winged Sparrow (NE), Santa Marta Brush-Finch (E), Santa Marta Warbler (E&VU), White-lored Warbler (E&NT) and Yellow-crowned Whitestart (E), among many others.
The final leg of the trip included La Guajira Peninsula at Camarones & Perico, with a final visit to “El Vale” near Santa Marta and Isla de Salamanca National Park on the road to Barranquilla. We had great views of the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (E), Reddish Egret (NT), Crested Bobwhite, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Scaled Dove, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Red-billed Emerald (NE), Shinning-green Hummingbird, Pied & Russet-throated Puffbirds, Chestnut Piculet (NE), Golden-green Woodpecker, White-whiskered Spinetail (NE), Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Slender-billed Inezia (NE), Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Bicolored Conebill, Pileated Finch, Orinoco Saltator (NE), Tocuyo Sparrow (NE), Vermillion Cardinal (NE) and Trinidad Euphonia, among others.
The most popular sports in Colombia are soccer and cycling. During our tour, we enjoyed following the news of La Vuelta a España, where Colombian racer Nairo Quintana ended 4th after running sick for several days. We greatly enjoyed stopping at Nairo´s home between Arcabuco and Tunja, where we took this nice photo of the painted wall in the front porch of the house.
Posts from August 2015
Bird photo tour for photographers from Taiwan & China: The Western & Central Andes of Colombia.
From July 18 to August 8 (2015) we photographed birds in the best nature reserves of the Western & Central Andes of Colombia, starting in Cali and finishing in Medellin.
As soon as Chunhsien Huang, Chu Yuan Hsu & Yong Bao Sun landed in Cali´s airport, we visited Juan José Arango´s hummingbird feeders in the outskirts of the city, photographing for more than 3 hours the gorgeous Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, White-necked Jacobin & Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. In the garden, our lenses focused on the Spotted & Red-crowned Woodpeckers, Saffron Finch and Thick-billed Euphonia.
We visited for 3 days the forests at Kilometro 18 above Cali, where we enjoyed greatly the feeders at Finca Alejandria. Here, we photographed well the Multicolored Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Flame-rumped Tanager, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Golden-naped, Golden & Saffron-crowned Tanagers, Green Honeycreeper, Masked & Rusty Flowerpiercers, Blue-headed Sapphire, Green & Tawny-bellied Hermits, Brown Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet, Booted Racket-Tail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Crowned Woodnymph, Andean Emerald and Blue-headed Sapphire.
We than moved into the lowlands, photographing water birds in the Sonso & Cameguadua marshes in the Cauca Valley, including very nice birds such as Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Least & Pied-billed Grebes, Neotropical Cormorant, Striated Heron, Great, Snowy & Cattle Egrets, Cocoi Heron, Buff-necked Ibis, Limpkin, Purple & Common Gallinules, Southern Lapwing, Blackish Rail, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Wattled Jacana, Pied Water-Tyrant and Olive-crowned Yellowthroat.
Our trip continued with visits to the Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco, Ventanas Pass above Jardin, Morro Amarillo, Las Tangaras, La Romera Ecopark and Chestnut-capped Piha reserve.
And in doing so, many more beautiful birds were captured by our lenses, including the Spectacled Parrotlet, Blue-headed, Bronze-winged & Speckle-faced Parrots, Striped & Squirrel Cuckoos, Mottled Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, Common Potoo, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked & Collared Trogons, Highland (Andean) Motmot, Emerald Toucanet, Montane Woodcreeper, Road-side Hawk, Yellow-headed & Crested Caracaras, American Kestrel, Swallow-tailed Kite, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Red-faced, Slaty & Azara´s Spinetails, Black-crowned & Uniform Antshrikes, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Common & Slate-headed Tody-Flycatchers, Vermilion Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, White-breasted Wood-Wren, White-capped Dipper, Crimson-backed Tanager, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, and the Ruddy-breasted, Slate-colored & Yellow-bellied Seedeaters.
We photographed well 44 species of hummingbirds! Including the Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Green & Sparkling Violetears, Tourmaline Sunangel, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Tyrian & Viridian Metaltails, Greenish Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, Collared Inca, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, White-tailed Hillstar, Green-crowned Brilliant, White-bellied Woodstar and Western Emerald, among others.
The Tanager family did not came short, capturing pictures of 41 species! This included such great tanagers as the Hooded, Lacrimose, Scarlet-bellied & Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, Fawn-breasted, Black-capped, Blue-necked, Speckled, Blue-and-black, Beryl-spangled, Bay-headed and Silver-throated Tanagers, among others.
Some of our tour highlights was being able to photograph well the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at Jardin, the Highland Tinamou walking along a gravel road at Kilometro 18, the Dwarf Cuckoo in Cameguadua marsh, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Mountain Avocetbill, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan & Andean Tit-Spinetail in the buffer zone of Los Nevados National Park, the female Lyre-tailed Nightjar at Las Tangaras reserve, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow & Crimson-mantled Woodpecker at Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Jet Antbird at El Vinculo reserve and Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant at Recinto del Pensamiento. We photographed well three species of jays, including the Black-collared, Black-chested and Green Jays.
Our friends from Taiwan and China quickly fell in love with the Antpittas, photographing seven species! It was impossible to resist the temptation of these charming Andean birds, devoting ample time to picture the Chestnut-crowned, Bicolored, Chestnut-naped, Rufous, Tawny, Brown-banded & Slate-crowned Antpittas!
By the end of our trip we had photographed well 23 endemics & near-endemics, including the Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Yellow-eared Parrot, Violet-tailed Sylph, Buffy Helmetcrest, Black-thighed Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Toucan Barbet, Grayish Piculet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Bicolored Antpitta, Brown-banded Antpitta, Sooty-headed Wren, Black-and-gold Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Multicolored Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager and Golden-fronted Redstart.
In our last day at Chestnut-capped Piha reserve, Chu Huan Hsu alone took 10,000 photos of the hummingbirds in the feeders!! Tons of irresistible action from these little birds in flight!!!
Posts from December 2014
Short but productive bird photo trip for family group from Canada and Colombia (December 16-20, 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.