Posts from March 2014

Birding for precious birds with Hans Jornvall from Sweden (February 24-March 8, 2014).

Mar 15, 2014

Having seen soon 9,000 bird species worldwide, Hans Jornvall had a relatively short target list for this trip. In a previous trip to Colombia, we visited the Chestnut-capped Piha reserve in the northern Central Andes. Now, a longer trip to the Western & Central Andes should give further elusive species. We visited La Romera Ecopark in Sabaneta, the semi-dry forests at Bolombolo in the Cauca Valley, Ventanas Pass & Morro Amarillo above Jardín, Las Tangaras & “La M” at Carmen de Atrato, Los Nevados National Park, Río Blanco, Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary and Km 18 above Cali (birding Finca Alejandría & Chicoral).

Successfully, this trip rendered many new encounters, including the following: Cauca Guan (E&EN), Yellow-eared Parrot (E&EN), Golden-plumed Parakeet (EN), Rusty-faced Parrot (VU), Purple-backed Thornbill, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Black-thighed Puffleg (NE&NT), Blue-headed Sapphire, Grayish Piculet (E), Rusty-winged Barbtail, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner (NT), Uniform Treehunter (NE), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Bicolored Antpitta (NE&VU), Brown-banded Antpitta (E), Slate-crowned Antpitta, “Alto de Pisones” Tapaculo (E), Choco Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (NE), Black-throated Pygmy-Tyrant, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Olivaceous Piha, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Yellow-headed Manakin (NE&NT), Choco Vireo (NE&EN), Antioquia Wren (E ), Munchique Wood-Wren (E&CR), Chestnut-breasted Wren & Gold-ringed Tanager (E&EN).

Posts from February 2014

Birding the Eastern, Central & Western Andes with Andy & Gill Swash, Debby Reynolds & David Copas from UK (January 15 – February 5, 2014).

Feb 10, 2014

From left to right: Leopoldina Tapasco, David Copas, Debby Reynolds, Andy & Gill Swash, at Cerro Montezuma in the Western Andes.

This was a 22-day birding trip (2,666 road kilometers) through the best localities in the Eastern, Central & Western Andes of Colombia. Starting in Bogotá, we birded Laguna de Pedro Palo, Chicaque, Chingaza National Park, Siecha gravel pits, Paramo de Guasca (La Guajira & Bioandina nature reserve) and La Florida marsh in the first 4 days. We then moved into the Magdalena Valley, visiting the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco de Sales, Laguna de Tabacal, Bellavista forest in Victoria and the Rio Claro canyon (El Refugio). From here we drove into the Northern Central Andes, visiting ProAves´s Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve for 3 days, before travelling south to Medellín and visiting La Romera ecopark and then on to ProAves´s Las Tangaras lodge in the Western Andes for 2 days. The next part of our itinerary was to visit Jardín, birding Ventanas´s Pass above town and Morro Amarillo, before moving into the Central Andes. From Manizales we birded Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco, Recinto del Pensamiento and Cameguadua marsh. Our tour finished with an overnight stay at Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary and a 3-night visit to Cerro Montezuma in the Western Andes (Leopoldina´s lodge). A domestic flight from Pereira to Bogotá preceded the international flight back home to the UK.

In total, we recorded 580 species, with 35 heard only.  Andy & Gill had 72 lifers, Debby & David had 146 lifers. After returning back to UK, Andy wrote: “The actual number of species photographed was 369, with just over 300 of publishable quality - an amazing figure, and significantly more than any other tour we’ve done!”.

We enjoyed many great birds, including the following:

ENDEMICS (29): Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Bogota Rail, Yellow-eared Parrot, Brown-banded Parakeet, Indigo-capped Hummingbird, Buffy (Bearded) Helmetcrest, White-mantled Barbet, Greyish Piculet, Beautiful Woodpecker, Silvery-throated Spinetail, Parker´s Antbird, Magdalena Antbird, Brown-banded Antpitta, Stiles´s Tapaculo, Alto de Pisones Tapaculo, Chestnut-capped Piha, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, Munchique Wood-Wren, Black-and-gold Tanager, Gold-ringed Tanager, Multicoloured Tanager, Turquoise Dacnis, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Sooty Ant-Tanager, Crested Ant-Tanager, Red-bellied Grackle and Antioquia Wren.

NEAR-ENDEMICS (40): Northern Screamer, Short-tailed Emerald, Empress Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown Inca, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Violet-tailed Sylph, Purple-throated Woodstar, Toucan Barbet, Uniform Treehunter, Bar-crested Antshrike, Bicoloured Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Yellow-headed Manakin, Choco Tyrannulet, Sooty-headed Wren, Beautiful Jay, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Golden-fronted Redstart, Rufous-browed Conebill, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Tanager Finch, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Black-headed Brush-Finch, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Choco Vireo, Flame-rumped Tanager and Rufous-throated Tanager.

OTHER SPECIALITIES (more than 70 species), including the following: Andean Teal, Noble Snipe, Spectacled Parrotlet, White-throated Screech-Owl, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Western Emerald, White-tailed Hillstar, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Gorgeted Woodstar, Golden-headed & Crested Quetzals, Barred Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Yellow-vented, Cinnamon & Powerful Woodpeckers, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunters, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-rumped & Yellow-breasted Antwrens, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo, Olivaceous Piha, Striped Manakin, Subtropical Doradito, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Southern Bentbill, White-headed & Chestnut-breasted Wrens, Black-billed Peppershrike, Fulvous-vented Euphonia, Rufous-crested Tanager, Masked Saltator and many others.

Posts from January 2014

Birding the Central Andes of Colombia with Steven Huggins & Glenn Giacinto from Chicago (USA) (January 3-13, 2014).

Jan 15, 2014















Photo: Steven Huggins (left) and Glenn Giacinto (right) under the giant Gunnera leaves in the Old Road to Los Nevados (Central Andes).





From January 3 - 13 (2014) we visited birding sites from Cali to Medellín, starting at the well-known Km18 above Cali and moving north through the foothills and high mountains of the Central Andes. In eleven days we birded at Finca Alejandría, El Vínculo nature reserve & Sonso marshes near Buga, Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary above Pereira, Cameguadua marsh, Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco, the Neira road near Manizales (for the endemic Yellow-headed Brush-Finch), the roads to Concordia & Puerto Salgar (for the endemics Antioquia Wren, Grayish Piculet & Apical Flycatcher), Ventanas´s Pass & Morro Amarillo in Jardín, and finally Parque La Romera & gravel pits at Llanogrande near the Medellín Airport in Rionegro.

We aimed at Steven´s and Glenn´s lifers, with a final count of 69 lifers for Steven and 75 lifers for Glenn. Trip total was 368 species seen plus 18 heard only. Some of the highlights included the Cauca Guan (E), Colombian Chachalaca (E), Chestnut Wood-Quail (E), White-rumped Hawk, Blackish Rail, Yellow-eared Parrot (E), Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rusty-faced Parrot, White-throated Screech-Owl, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Buffy (Bearded) Helmetcrest (E), Glowing, Black-thighed (NE) & Golden-breasted (NE) Pufflegs, Purple-throated Woodstar (NE), Blue-headed Sapphire, Moustached Puffbird, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet (E), Yellow-vented & Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Bar-crested Antshrike (NE), Parker´s (E) & Jet Antbirds, Slate-crowned, Brown-banded (E) & Bicolored (NE) Antpittas, Stiles´s (E) & Nariño (NE) Tapaculos, Rufous-breasted (NE) & Apical Flycatcher (E), Dusky Piha, Yellow-headed Manakin (NE), Black-billed Peppershrike, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Antioquia (E), Whiskered & Chestnut-breasted Wrens, Multicolored (E) & Metallic-green Tanagers, Plushcap, Black-backed Bush-Tanager (NE), Masked Saltator, Yellow-headed Brush-Finch (E), Crested Ant-Tanager (E),  Golden-fronted Redstar (NE) and Red-bellied Grackle (E), among many others.

Posts from December 2013

Andean Endemics with David Hartwell & Elizabeth de Baut (December 15-25, 2013).

Dec 28, 2013

A customized tour for David Hartwell (Treasurer, Audubon Society) and wife Elizabeth de Baut. Eleven full days allowed us to visit 13 of the best birding sites in the Eastern Andes, Magdalena Valley and Central Andes. We visited Chingaza National Park, Siecha gravel pits, Páramo de Guasca, Rogitama Nature Reserve, La Florida Park in Bogotá, Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco, road to Cambao, Bellavista forest in Victoria, Los Nevados National Park, hummingbirds at Recinto del Pensamiento in Manizales, Río Blanco, Cameguadua marsh and Otún-Quimbaya Sanctuary above Pereira.

David saw exactly 100 lifers in this trip! In total, we saw 375 species (with 23 species heard only). Some of the highlights included the endemics Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Bogotá Rail, Brown-breasted (Flame-winged) Parakeet, Black Inca, Indigo-capped Hummingbird, White-mantled Barbet, Grayish Piculet, Silvery-throated Spinetail, Brown-banded Antpitta, Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo, Multicolored Tanager, Velvet-fronted Euphonia, Sooty Ant-Tanager and Crested Ant-Tanager.

Also, the near-endemics Rusty-faced Parrot, Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Bearded Helmetcrest, Coppery-bellied & Golden-breasted Puffleg, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Red-billed & Short-tailed Emerald, Bar-crested Antshrike, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Scrub Tanager, Rufous-browed Conebill and Golden-fronted Whitestar.

Other neat birds included the endangered Golden-plumed Parakeet, Andean Teal, Torrent Duck, Capped Heron, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Spectacled Parrotlet, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s) & Tourmaline Sunangel, Purple-backed & Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Glowing Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Booted Racket-Tail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Gorgeted Woodstar, Western Emerald, Golden-headed Quetzal, Citron-throated Toucan, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Yellow-vented & Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunter, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Long-tailed Antbird, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Dusky Piha, Striped Manakin, Black-billed Peppershrike, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-collared & Black-chested Jay, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Plushcap and Masked Saltator, among many others.

The Santa Marta Mountains with Juan José Arango & Anabel Vanin (December 2-8, 2013).

Dec 15, 2013

This was the third bird photography trip for Juan José Arango & Anabel Vanin, in this case visiting the Santa Marta Mountains & Guajira lowlands for endemics & specialties. With seven days available, we stayed 4 days at ProAves´s El Dorado lodge in the San Lorenzo ridge, moving up and down the mountain in pursue of some of the best birds in range. After which we dropped to La Guajira lowlands, visiting Los Flamencos Wildlife Sanctuary for two days.

We had great fun photographing endemics and near-endemics, such as the gorgeous Santa Marta Parakeet (E&EN), Black-fronted Wood-Quail (NE&VU), Santa Marta Screech-Owl (E&CR), Blossomcrown (E&VU), Streak-capped Spinetail (NE), Santa Marta Tapaculo (E), Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant (E&EN), Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager (E), Santa Marta Brush-Finch (E), Yellow-fronted Whitestart (E), White-lored Warbler (E) and Santa Marta Warbler (E).

The Santa Marta Foliage-Gleaner (E), Rusty-headed Spinetail (E&VU), White-tailed Starfrontlet (E) and Brown-rumped Tapaculo (E) were elusive to our cameras, but we saw them all very well. We missed the Santa Marta Antpitta (E), Black-backed Thornbill (E) and Santa Marta Sabrewing (E).

At La Guajira lowlands we photographed the near-threatened Reddish Egret, Orinoco Saltator (NE), Chestnut Piculet (NE), White-whiskered Spinetail (NE), Vermilion Cardinal (NE), Russet-throated Puffbird (NE) and Slender-billed Inezia (NE), plus many other birds.

Juan José´s images can be seen at his Flickr site:


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