Posts from August 2013

Bird photography trip to the Eastern Andes of Colombia (July 31-August 04, 2013).

Aug 08, 2013

A customized tour to the Eastern Andes of Colombia for Juan José Arango (interventional cardiologist & passionate bird photographer) and Anabel Vanin (transplant surgeon & avid bird watcher).

With very limited time available away from work, we visited Chingaza National Park twice, Guasca paramo, Siechia wetlands, Rogitama Nature Reserve and Enchanted Gardens at San Francisco de Sales. We had much rain and cold weather on our first and second days and clear skies on the third and fourth days. 

Along the road to Chingaza, tour highlights included outstanding photo opportunities for Silvery-throated Spinetail (E), Rufous-browed Conebill (NE), Golden-fronted Whitestart (NE), Pearled Treerunner, Rufous Wren, Andean Siskin, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, White-throated Tyrannulet, Superciliaried Hemispingus, Glossy & Black Flowerpiercers, Pale-naped Brush-Finch and Eastern Meadowlark.

Our visit to the Siechia wetlands provided good photo opportunities for the Spot-flanked Gallinule (NE), Ruddy Duck, Andean Teal and American Coot. We had good views of the Bogota Rail (E) and Noble Snipe, albeit photographing them was difficult do to their cryptic behavior and high speed of their brief appearances. On our way to Rogitama, we stopped for nice birds along the road, making photos of Band-tailed Seedeater, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Black-crested Warbler and more of the Eastern Meadowlark.

Visiting Rogitama Nature Reserve was most rewarding, managing good images of the endemic Black Inca, Rogitama Sylph (possibly an un-described hybrid), Sparkling Violetear, Tyrian Metaltail, Sedge Wren, Brown-capped Vireo, Fawn-breasted Tanager and Black & White-sided Flowerpiercers, among others. We had good views of the very nice Lazuline Sabrewing, Short-tailed Emerald (NE), Golden-bellied Starfrontlet (NE) and Moustached Brush-Finch (NE).

On our last day we detoured towards the small town of San Francisco de Sales, visiting the Enchanted Gardens, where we managed to make good shots of a number of hummingbirds: Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, Gorgeted & White-bellied Woodstars, Sparkling & Brown Violetears, White-vented Plumeleteer and Violet-crowned Woodnymph, among other birds.

Overall, it was a highly successful bird-photo tour in spite of the difficult weather. Juan José´s images can be seen at his Flicker site:








Endemic Black Inca at Rogitama Nature Reserve by Juan José Arango.





















Juan José Arango & Anabel Vanin at Rogitama Nature Reserve.

Posts from July 2013

Guiding for a British crew traveling through Ecoturs (July 16-27, 2013).

Jul 30, 2013

From July 16 to 27 (2013), Daniel guided a British crew traveling through Ecoturs (ProAves), visiting wonderful birding sites in the Central & Western Andes, including Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Rio Blanco, Los Nevados National Park, three ProAves´s reserves (Las Tangaras at Carmen de Atrato, Yellow-eared Parrot at Ventanas´s Pass above Jardin and Chestnut-capped Piha at Anorí), Morro Amarillo (Jardin), and La Romera ecopark in the outskirts of Medellín. Short birding stops were done along rural roads, at Combia (outside city of Pereira), La Florida (as we drove out of Otún-Quimbaya), Peña Lisa near Bolombolo and water reservoirs at Porce hydroelectric dam (as we drove back to Medellín).

Many nice birds were seen and enjoyed throughout, with a wide array of endemics & near-endemics. At Otún-Quimbaya we saw the Cauca Guan (E), Stile’s Tapaculo (E), Greyish Piculet (E), Multicoloured Tanager (E), Chestnut-breasted Wren, Bar-crested Antshrike (NE) and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (NE), along with Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Streak-capped Treehunter, Black-billed Peppershrike, Ashy & Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulets, and a soaring Black-and-chestnut Eagle, among others.

Río Blanco provided nice views of magnificent antpittas, including Brown-banded (E), Chestnut-crowned and Slate-crowned Antpittas, along with flocks of endangered Golden-plumed Parakeet. Also, Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Long-tailed Antwren, Dusky Piha and Black-collared Jay. 

At Los Nevados we had very close views of a gorgeous male Bearded Helmetcrest (NE) and a feeding flock of Rufous-fronted Parakeet (E), as well as magnificent views of Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Many-striped Canastero, Paramo Tapaculo, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Golden-crowned Tanager, Black Flowerpiercer and Paramo Seedeater, among others.

Las Tangaras provided many good birding moments, including great views of Mountain Choco specialties such as the Beautiful Jay (E), Crested-Ant Tanager (E), Black-and-gold Tanager (E), Gold-ringed Tanager (E), Choco Vireo (E), Alto de Pisones Tapaculo (E), Nariño Tapaculo (NE), Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager (NE), Purplish-mantled Tanager (NE), Glistening-green Tanager (NE), Rufous-throated Tanager (NE), Indigo Flower-piercer (NE), Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Yellow-breasted & Rufous-rumped Antwrens, Yellow-breasted Antpitta (NE), Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Handsome & Ornate Flycatchers, Olivaceous Piha, Orange-breasted Fruiteater (NE) and Dusky Bush-Tanager (NE).

Munchique Wood-Wren (E) was well seen at “La M” above Carmen de Atrato, along with nice birds such as the Black-throated Tody-tyrant, White-browed Spinetail, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Blackish & Spillman´s Tapaculo, and Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant.

Yellow-eared Parrot flocks were well seen both at Ventana´s Pass and Morro Amarillo near Jardin. Parker´s Antbird (E) and Black-Chested Jay were seen at Morro Amarillo. Besides, Ventana´s Pass provided good views of the Golden-fronted Whitestart (NE), Streak-throated & Smoky Bush-Tyrants, Red-hooded Tanager, Citrine Warbler and Scarlet-rumped Cacique at low elevations.

At Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve we enjoyed close views of a group of seven Chestnut Wood-Quails (E) roosting early in the morning at a giant fern, Chestnut-capped Piha (E), Red-bellied Grackle (E), White-mantled Barbet (E), Colombian Chachalaca (E), Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Moustached Puffbird, Channel-billed Toucan, White-throated Spadebill, Golden-winged Manakin, Sooty-headed (NE) & Scaly-breasted Wren, and Black-headed Brush-Finch (NE).

At La Romera, Gavin managed to spot a splendorous male of the much desired Yellow-headed Manakin (E) which was well seen by all, along with more Red-bellied Grackles (E) and a pair of Spotted Barbtails.

We saw 39 species of hummingbirds, including the much desired Purple-backed & Rainbow-bearded (NE) Thornbills, Golden-breasted Puffleg (NE), Brown Inca (NE), Mountain Velvetbreast, Velvet-purple Coronet (NE), White-tailed Hillstar, Empress (NE) & Green-crowned Brilliants, Greenish Puffleg, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Tourmaline Sunangel, Violet-tailed (NE) & Long-tailed Sylphs, Purple-throated Woodstar (NE) and Western Emerald.

We missed some of the birds in the wish list, including the Masked Saltator & Bicolored Antpitta (Rio Blanco), Black-thighed Puffleg (Los Nevados), Black Solitaire (Las Tangaras), Chestnut-crested Cotinga (Jardin) and Antioquia Wren (Peña Lisa). Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer (E) was clearly heard but not seen at “La M”. However, we managed to register a respectable 372 species list with 19 species heard only.

From left to right, taking a break but still looking at the wish list: Francis Peplow, Daniel Uribe, Heather & Melvin Billington, Gavin Peplow.

Posts from April 2013

Short birding trip with Freddy & Adela Drews (March 31st – April 3rd, 2013).

Apr 05, 2013

In their recent visit to Colombia, Freddy & Adela Drews lingered for a short birding trip not far away from their family hometown in the city of Pereira (Central Andes). Thus, we agreed on visiting Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh & Rio Blanco. All three sites rendered us with incredible birds, including the endemic Cauca Guan, the rare Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Stile´s Tapaculo, Blackish Rail, Brown-banded Antpitta & Masked Saltator, among many others.

Above, from left to right: Freddy & Adela Drews, Albeiro Uribe & guide Daniel Uribe, at Río Blanco nature reserve.

Posts from March 2013

Back to Colombia for a second time (February 15 – March 03, 2013): Peter Hawrylyshyn & Bob Lewis search for more hummingbird species and bird specialties at new birding sites.

Mar 15, 2013

After a highly successful introductory birding tour last August 2012, Peter & Bob return to Colombia in 2013 searching for several specific endemic species, visiting two additional important birding areas (Santa Marta and Cerro Montezuma). As stated by Peter´s concluding remarks: “Another amazing trip – we saw about 435 species of which 55 were lifers for Bob. The 59 species of hummingbirds which we saw included all our “must-see” target species except for the Mountain Avocetbill. Our hosts couldn’t have been friendlier, especially at Finca Montezuma and Finca Alejandría. … Accommodations at all the lodges were more than adequate … Once again the food was excellent, and no one got sick. Lastly, very special thanks yet again to Daniel for helping organize this custom tour. As more areas of Colombia open up to birding, chances are we’ll return for a third trip.”

Download Trip Report in PDF format.


And a nice hummingbird video prepared by Peter can be seen at:


Above, from left to right: Peter Hawrylyshyn, Bob Lewis & Daniel Uribe, at Rio Blanco nature reserve.

Posts from February 2013

Central Andes short tour with birders from New York.

Feb 15, 2013

A short trip (February 5 – 13, 2013) organized for Joe Giunta´s Happy Warblers touring company from New York, attended by five birders. We saw very nice endemics & specialties such as the Cauca Guan, Sickle-winged Guan, Buff-necked Ibis, Hook-billed Kite, Blackish Rail, Yellow-eared Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rusty-faced Parrot, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Purple-backed & Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Bearded Helmetcrest, Glowing Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet, Crimson-mantled & Powerfull Woodpecker, Streaked Tuftetcheek, Flammulated Treehunter, Tyrannine & Black-banded Woodcreeper, Bar-crested Antshrike, Long-tailed & Jet Antbird, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Brown-banded & Slate-crowned Antpitta, Ocellated & Paramo Tapaculo, White-banded Tyrannulet, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Apical Flycatcher, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Dusky Piha, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-collared Jay, Whiskered & Chestnut-breasted Wren, White-capped Dipper, White-capped Tanager, Flame-rumped & Scrub Tanager, Scarlet-bellied & Blue-winged & Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Plushcap, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Slate-colored & Paramo Seedeater, Red-hooded Tanager, Golden-fronted Redstart and Yellow-billed Cacique, among others.

From left to right: Kathy Drake, Joe Giunta, Daniel Uribe, Alison Rea & Mary Miller, birding on a cold-morning day at Jardin.

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