Posts from December 2011

Guiding and operating for Birding Adventures TV episodes in Colombia

Dec 19, 2011

By the request of Proexport (the governmental office for the promotion of Colombia’s exports) Birding Tours Colombia organized and guided Birding Adventures TV excursions for the production of three birding episodes in Colombia.

From November 27 through December 04 we traveled with James Currie (host and producer of BATV), Richard Crossley (bird photographer and author of The Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds of North America) and Jeff Aderman (Cameraman), visiting the best birding localities in the Central Andes, Cauca Valley and Western Andes.

Amazing footages of the Bearded Helmetcrest were taken at Los Nevados National Park, Long-tailed Antbird and Lyre-tailed Nightjar at the Old Road to Los Nevados, five species of Antpittas at Rio Blanco, endemic Cauca Guan, Torrent Duck and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow at Otun-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, endemic Gold-ringed and Black-and-Gold Tanagers at Montezuma, Comb Duck in wetlands nearby Cartago and many other birds, mammals and gorgeous landscapes in an adventurous and exciting trip to Andean Colombia.

In this photo: Richard Crossley (left) and James Currie (right) after a pleasant and productive photo session at a wetland near Cartago in the Cauca Valley.

Posts from August 2011

Marvelous Crescent-faced Antpitta (Grallaricula lineifrons) in Caldas

Aug 08, 2011

On July 23/2011, a pair of Crescent-faced Antpitta was sighted by a group of birders from the Caldas Ornithological Society on the Old Road to Los Nevados National Park. The sighting was published in the Society’s electronic bulletin (Merganetta No. 48, August 06, 2011 -

To achieve this sighting, Daniel Uribe used prospective playback of the bird’s song. The sighting is the first official record proving the presence of the species in the state of Caldas and is perhaps the most northern record for the species along the Central Andes of Colombia. When Hilty and Brown published their seminal book Birds of Colombia in 1986, there were only two reports for the species at the Puracé region (southern Andes) of Colombia and only one specimen for Ecuador. Later in 2005, Rivera and Ramírez published an article in the Journal Ornitología Colombiana (No. 3, pp. 81-83) with the report of two birds captured in midst nets at high Andean forests in the nearby state of Quindío. In 2010 a group of birders from Belgium sighted one bird at Los Nevados, but the site for that sighting was not released by the guide of that group nor identified with precision on the trip report published by birder Giles Delforges.

For its rarity and paucity of records, Crescent-faced Antpitta is regarded as a vulnerable species and is included in Colombia’s Red List of birds.

Posts from July 2011

Birding the Central Andes with Fred Ertl & Andrew Vallely from the American Museum of Natural History (New York).

Jul 31, 2011

For five days (July 26-30/2011) we had a very pleasurable birding tour with Fred Ertl and Andrew Vallely from the American Museum of Natural History (New York). With a comprehensive list of most wanted species, we visited Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, Los Alcázares Eco-Park, Río Blanco and Los Nevados.

In this short tour we managed to see most of the wanted species. In Otún-Quimbaya we saw very well the Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax), Chestnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) with chicks, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus), Stiles’s Tapaculo (Scytalopus stilesi) and Chestnut-breasted Wren (Cyphorhinus thoracicus). Unfortunately, we had no luck with the Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) and Moustached Antpitta (Grallaria alleni), but enjoyed good views of the Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata), Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus), Plumbeous-crowned and Ashy-headed Tyrannulets (Phyllomyias plumbeiceps, Ph. cinereiceps), Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (Leptopogon rufipectus), Rufous-napped Greenlet (Hylophilus semibrunneus), Whiskered Wren (Thryothorus mystacalis), Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus flammigerus), White-naped Brush-Finch (Atlapetes albinucha) and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus canigularis), among many others. At night we heard the nice calls of the Tropical Screech-Owl (Megascops choliba).

At Cameguadua marsh we had nice views of the Blackish Rail (Pardirallus nigricans), Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus), Slate-colored Seedeater (Sporophila schistacea) and Olive-crowned Yellow-Throat (Geothlypis semiflava), along with many aquatic and riparian species such as the Pied Water-Tyrant (Fluvicola pica), Common Moorhen (Gallinula galeata), Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica), American Coot (Fulica americana), Least Grebe (Tachibaptus dominicus) and Pied-billed Grebe (Podylimbus podiceps).

The Bar-crested Antshrike (Thamnophilus multistriatus), Red-faced Spinetail (Cranioleuca erythrops), Oleaginous Hemispingus (Hemispingus frontalis), Bay-headed and Golden Tanagers (Tangara gyrola, T. arthus), Blue-tailed and Andean Emeralds (Chlorostilbon mellisugus, Amazilia franciae) showed very well at a short but productive visit to Los Alcázares Eco-Park in Manizales.

As usual, Rio Blanco provided wonderful flocks and specialties, achieving excellent views of the Brown-banded and Bicolored Antpittas (Grallaria milleri, G. rufocinerea), Flammulated Treehunter (Thripadectes flammulatus), Rusty-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca amazonina), Masked Saltator (Saltator cinctus), Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx), Golden-fronted Whitestart (Myioborus ornatus) and Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (Colaptes rivolii). Also nice to see were the Pearled Treerunner (Margarornis squamiger), Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema), Slaty Finch (Haplospiza rustica), Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (Dubusia taeniata), Streak Tuftedcheek (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii) and Capped Conebill (Conirostrum albifrons). At night we heard clear calls from the White-throated Screech-Owl (Megascops albogularis).

At Los Nevados National Park we had a close encounter with a group of five Rufous-fronted Parakeets (Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons) at a cliff named Aguacerales. At this time of the year the most liked flowers by the Bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon guerinii) were scarce, and after much looking for it, Fred and Andrew had good views of a female, which are much less common than males.

And after much looking for it and in spite of persistent rain, we had a wonderful close encounter with a charismatic pair of Crescent-faced Antpittas (Grallaricula lineifrons) at the Old Road to Los Nevados. Here, we also had good views of a nice pair of Crowned Chat-Tyrant (Ochthoeca frontalis) and White-browed Spinetail (Hellmayrea gularis). All in all, a very productive trip looking for Andean endemics and specialties.


Posts from February 2011

Birding with Jonathan Levy and Mary Jane Thomas from Oregon, USA.

Feb 09, 2011

From January 31st to February 8th 2011, we birded the Coffee Region with Jon Levy and Janie, from Oregon (USA). Jon & Janie wanted to see as much birds as possible in a compact excursion with long to medium hikes enjoying birds and nature, and little time wasted driving the car. The excursion we envisioned visited the best forests in well protected watersheds of three provinces (Quindío, Risaralda and Caldas), covering an altitudinal gradient from 1,800 – 4,000 meters above sea level.

The first day we visited Bremen Nature Reserve and the premontane forest of Horizontes Nature Reserve. The second day we birded the Quindío Botanical Garden and Hacienda Bambusa in the Maravelez Valley of La Tebaida. The third day we had an early start and headed for Acaime & La Montaña Nature Reserves in the Quindío river canyon. Fourth day we hiked Camino de los Indios in the morning and visited Salento and El Cortijo Farm in the afternoon, enjoying for lunch a delicious trout with fried plantain. Days 5 through 8 saw us birding Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary in Pereira and Los Alcázares Ecopark and Río Blanco in Manizales, visiting on our final day the highlands of Los Nevados National Park and the hummingbirds at Recinto del Pensamiento.

Among the 72 species seen on our first day in Bremen, we had a memorable and close encounter with the Streak-capped Treehunter (Thripadectes virgaticeps) and very good views of several females of the Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii), the Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (Leptopogon rufipectus), Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus flammigerus), Blue-winged Mountain Tanager (Anisognathus somptuosus), Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas), Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris) and Moustached Puffbird (Malacoptila mystacalis). We heard clearly but did not see the Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus), the White-crowned Tapaculo (Scytalopus atratus) and the Plumbeous Pigeon (Patagioenas plumbea), with their calls coming from the forest interiors. In Horizontes we saw closely the male and female of the Bar-crested Antshrike (Thamnophilus multistriatus) and the male of Great Antshrike (Taraba major) responded nicely to play-back. We also enjoyed here the Red-headed Barbet (Eubucco bourcierii), Bronze-winged Parrots (Pionus chalcopterus) under great light and the Crimson-rumped Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus haematopigus).

At the Botanical Garden we saw closely Green Hermits (Phaethornis guy) at a singing lek and the Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) at the Bambu stands. At Hacienda Bambusa we had spectacular views of the Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) as it cruised the sky heading towards their roosting place, and we enjoyed the fast runs of the Crested Bobwhite (Colinus cristatus) and the nervous flattering of the Band-winged Nightjar (Caprimulgus longirostris). On grazing pastures we had a very nice view of a pair of Wedge-tailed Grass-Finches (Emberizoides herbicola), and enjoyed four species of hummingbirds at the hostal feeders. 

At Acaime we had glorious views of the Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan (Andigena hypoglauca), Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (Colaptes rivolii), Black-collared Jay (Cyanolyca armillata), Hooded Mountain-Tanagers (Buthraupis montana), Mountain Caciques (Cacicus chrysonotus) at their hanging nests, Golden-plumed Parakeets (Leptosittaca branickii) perched at Wax Palms and the beautiful Black-throated Tody-Tyrant (Hemitriccus granadensis) in the undergrowth. The Quindío river gave us splendid views of the White-capped Dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus) and no less than four pairs of Torrent Ducks (Merganetta armata), one pair performing a courtship display and another pair with a juvenile. At Otún-Quimbaya we saw the Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus) and Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax), the Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) and had good views of a second pair of Moustached Puffbirds (Malacoptila mystacalis). We had glimpses of the Chestnut Wood-quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) and stood just 3 meters away from a cryptic Moustached Antpitta (Grallaria alleni), missing its views. On another occasion, Janie managed to see the Chestnut-breasted Wren (Cyphorhinus thoracicus), but Daniel missed it! And in flowers near de Visitor’s Center, we had wonderful looks at the Wedge-billed Hummingbird (Schistes geoffroyi).

As usual, Rio Blanco gave us plenty of birds. Alveiro Uribe joined us as our local guide for 2 days and with his help we managed to see well the Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx), Masked Saltator (Saltator cinctus), Rusty-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca amazonina velezi), Rufous Spinetail (Synallaxis unirufa) and a family group of Rufous Wrens (Cynicerthia unirufa). Our final excursion to Los Nevados was full of magnificent birds, among them, the Golden-crowned Tanager (Iridosornis rufivertex), Black-backed Bush-Tanager (Urothraupis stolzmanni), Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus igniventris), Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis), Rainbow-bearded Thornbill (Chalchostigma herrani), Andean Tit-Spinetail (Leptasthenura andicola) and Many-striped Canastero (Asthenes flammulata). This time of the year there were very few flowers at the Bearded Helmetcrest’s favorite bush (in Spanish the plant is called Romero de Páramo - Diplostephium schultzii), thus, we only had a lightning view of a male in Brisas sector. But while we had lunch at Marleny’s restaurant, we were gladly surprised by a female Bearded Helmetcrest visiting multiple times the yellow flowers of Senecio plants right outside our window, getting good photos of it!  Finally, we closed this very successful excursion by stopping at the Recinto del Pensamiento, where we made our final checklist of birds for the day, while we enjoyed 12 species of hummingbirds!

Posts from December 2010

Birding with Phyllis Morris.

Dec 17, 2010

December 14-16 (2010) we did a short but very productive birding trip with Phyllis Morris (USA), visiting three great spots near Manizales: Los Yarumos Ecopark, Río Blanco and Los Nevados National Park.

At Los Yarumos Ecopark we were very successful, achieving great views of the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo (Scytalopus stilesi) on the second ravine.

In Rio Blanco we enjoyed plenty of nice birds, having a particularly productive experience with four species of Tapaculos on a single place: Blackish (Scytalopus latrans), Spillmann’s (Scytalopus spillmanni), Ash-coloured (Myornis senilis) and Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx), all of which we managed to see!
Birding Los Nevados was very successful too, having plenty of good looks of the Bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon guerinii).

After the excursion, Phyllis wrote:

“Dear Daniel, Birding with you was fantastic. The Tapaculo sweep starting with Stile's Tapaculo was unbelievable. The Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Rufous-crowned Tody-flycatcher and Brown-banded Antipitta were highlights at Rio Blanco. Finally the Tawny Antpittas, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanagers, and Bearded Helmetcrest were a sensational finale to two great days of birding. Feliz Navidad. Sincerely, Phyllis”.

Developed by: