Posts from August 2012
A report of an adventurous birding visit to Colombia, written by Dominic Mitchell and published in July 2012 issue of Birdwatch magazine.
This is an informative and fun to read article that includes Dominic´s sightings at Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco, Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary in the Central Andes, and Cerro Montezuma in the Western Andes.
Bearded Helmetcrest (male) at Los Nevados National Park. Photo by Daniel Uribe.
Birding Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary for some bird images
Birded Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary on August 3, 4 & 5 (2012) with Juan José Arango and wife Anabele, searching for some photo opportunities. Four months ago Juan José & Anabele birded Río Blanco with Daniel Uribe, managing to take nice photos of all five species of Antpittas. ¿Could a similar success be repeated in Otún-Quimbaya?
Not easily: first morning at Otún was rainy, non-stop! Thus, we decided to evacuate the area moving into the outskirts of Pereira city, visiting two sites with nice hummingbird feeders, one at William Peña’s house, and the other at Villa Martha Coffee Farm. Here, we had good photo opportunities, not only for hummingbirds (White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Steely-vented HB, Rufous-tailed HB), but for the very nice Bar-crested Antshrike, Spectacled Parrrotlet, Golden-faced Tyrannulet and Bay-headed Tanager, among others.
In the afternoon, we drove back to Otún-Quimbaya and in spite of intermittent showers, we enjoyed greatly stopping at a wooden bridge for photos of both male & female Torrent Ducks. Then, in the forest near the lodge we took good images of the endemic Grayish Piculet, Azara’s Spinetail, Slate-throated Whitestart, Blue-and White Swallow, Montane Woodcreeper, Black Phoebe and others. In the morning of our last day, we took good photos of the beautiful Tropical Parula, Fawn-breasted Tanager, near-endemic Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Common Bush-Tanager and Yellow-bellied Seedeater. We also had fair views of the Cauca Guan and splendorous Ref-ruffed Fruitcrow (but no good photo opportunity) and a blind encounter with the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo that never showed himself to our cameras!
Posts from July 2012
Enjoying the Rio Blanco antpittas and Central Andes endemics with Eugenia Carey from Dauphin Island
From July 5th through July 12th we birded with Eugenia Carey the Central Andes, placing great emphasis on the Rio Blanco antpittas. Eugenia chose our “Central Andes Endemics Short Tour” for her first birding visit to Colombia, attracted particularly by antpittas and the sizeable number of Colombian endemics that can be seen in this short but highly dynamic tour. We first visited Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, seeing well the endemic Cauca Guan, Styles’s Tapaculo, Grayish Piculet and many other specialties, including the beautiful Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, gorgeous White-capped Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-billed Peppershrike and Torrent Duck. We then birded the Cameguadua marsh en route to Manizales, enjoying greatly the Blackish Rail, Spectacled Parrotlet and a great variety of aquatic and riparian birds. At Río Blanco we saw the endemic Chestnut Wood-Quail and Brown-banded Antpitta, along with 4 other species of antpittas – including the near-endemic Bicolored Antpitta, the beautiful Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, the secretive Slate-crowned Antpitta under amazing views (Eugenia’s favorite antpitta for the trip!) and the Chestnut-naped Antpitta which has gradually developed a dominant posture over the other birds that visit the earthworm feeding stations. Many other nice birds were seen well at Rio Blanco, including the Masked Saltator, Dusky Piha, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Rusty-faced Parrot, Black-chested Jay, Golden-fronted Redstart and Red-hooded Tanager. We then scouted Los Nevados high-altitude ecosystems, having acceptable views of the Bearded Helmetcrest and astonishing views of the Many-striped Canastero and a very dedicated Shining Sunbeam mother feeding two chicks on a nest. On our last day of the tour, we visited the municipality of Neira searching for the endemic Yellow-headed Brush-Finch, which finally showed up with a glorious pair after much looking for it.
Posts from April 2012
Customized private tours for short birding escapades
On February, March & April we organized three short trips for birders from USA, based on their target lists and travel needs. February 13-18 we toured with Joe Giunta from New York (see: www.happywarblers.com) visiting Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, Rio Blanco, Los Nevados National Park and the hummingbirds at Recinto del Pensamiento.
March 18-22 we toured with Lowell & Robin Taubman, visiting Rio Blanco, Los Nevados, Cameguadua marsh, Otún-Quimbaya and Los Yarumos Ecopark. Birding moments at Rio Blanco & Los Nevados were great, and at Otún-Quimbaya all endemics displayed very well for us.
April 14-18 we hosted a short visit by Garrick Dutcher, birding Rio Blanco, Los Nevados and Otún-Quimbaya. Following Garrick’s most desired birds to see, we paid a short visit to the municipality of Apía (Western Andes) searching for two great birds: the near endemic Yellow-headed Manakin (Xenopipo flavicapilla –Near Threatened) and the endemic Turquoise Dacnis (Dacnis hartlaubi – Vulnerable). We saw both birds, thanks to the local expertise of Julián Zuleta (see: www.apiatierradeaves.jimdo.com). Not only is Julián an amenable birding companion, but he also immortalizes Apía´s colorful birds into beautiful drawings.
Posts from March 2012
Birding for endemics with Cagan Sekercioglu and Tanya Williams.
March 10th - 21st (2012) we had the pleasure to bird with Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu (Department of Biology, University of Utah at Salt Lake City) and Tanya Williams, covering the Eastern Andes, Magdalena Valley, Central Andes & Santa Marta Mountains, in search of endemics and specialties. We had great birding at Chingaza National Park and Siechia gravel pits, as well as in La Florida marsh and Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco. Amazing pictures of great endemics & near-endemics were taken at Victoria Forest, including the Velvet-fronted Euphonia, Sooty Ant-Tanager, Bar-crested Antshrike and White-mantled Barbet. As usual, Río Blanco & Los Nevados National Park offered amazing birding, with great photos of highly special birds such as the Brown-banded, Bicolored, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned and Chestnut-naped Antpittas. Birding route took us into splendorous Otún-Quimbaya Sanctuary, birding en route Cameguadua Marsh, with amazing views and pictures on the endemic Grayish Piculet, Cauca Guan and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, among many others. Departing from Pereira, Cagan and Tanya flew to Santa Marta, where Waly received them to bird the Santa Marta Mountains and La Guajira scrubland, having great success there with the endemics and specialties. Many endemics seen, including the endemic & critically endangered Blue-billed Curassow!