Posts from January 2014

Birding the Central Andes of Colombia with Steven Huggins & Glenn Giacinto from Chicago (USA).

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:


Posts from October 2013

Bird photo trip for Italian photographer – Francesco Veronesi (August 16 – September 01, 2013).

Oct 15, 2013

This report covers a 16-day bird photography trip organized for Italian photographer Francesco Veronesi, guided by Daniel Uribe. We covered nature reserves & birding localities from Cali to Medellín, along the Western and Central Andes.

  Download Trip Report in PDF format



Francesco´s images of the trip can be seen at his Flickr site:

Some of Daniel´s images can be seen on section “The Birds” at:

And at his Flickr site:

Tricolored Brush-Finch photographed at Paso Galápagos (Western Andes).

Posts from September 2013

Bird photography trip for Francesco Veronesi from Italy (August 16 – September 01, 2013).

Sep 05, 2013

A very productive bird photo trip visiting outstanding sites at the Western & Central Andes of Colombia. After landing in Cali, we visited Juan José Arango´s hummingbird feeders in Cali, Finca Alejandría at Kilometer 18 above Cali, El Vínculo tropical dry forest near Buga & Paso Galápagos near El Cairo in the Western Andes, obtaining photos of outstanding species such as Gold-ringed Tanager, Grayish Piculet, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Purple-throated Woodstar, Colombian Chachalaca, Spectacled Parrotlet, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Handsome Flycatcher, Flame-rumped Tanager & Rufous Spinetail, among many others. At this time of the year, the amount of tanagers visiting the feeders at Finca Alejandría was surprisingly low, but the hummingbirds were great!

We then move into the Central Andes, visiting Otún-Quimbaya Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, Rio Blanco and Los Nevados National Park, with wonderful photo opportunities for outstanding species such as Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Bearded Helmetcrest, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Bar-crested Antshrike, Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned & Slate-crowned Antpittas, Paramo Tapaculo, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Dusky Piha, Gray-browed & White-naped Brush-Finches, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Torrent Duck & White-capped Dipper, among many others.

Our very productive trip finished with visits to Morro Amarillo and ProAves´s Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve at Ventanas´s Pass above Jardín, Las Tangaras reserve at Carmen de Atrato (Western Andes foothills in Chocó) and La Romera Ecopark in Medellín, obtaining very nice images of species such as Chestnut Wood-Quail, Yellow-eared Parrot (perched and in flight at short distance), Black-and-gold Tanager, Crested Ant-Tanager, Red-bellied Grackle, Glistening-green Tanager, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Greenish Puffleg, Toucan Barbet, White-tailed Hillstar, Olivaceous Piha, Black-collared Jay and Olive Finch.

We even had time to visit “La M” above Carmen de Atrato, where Francesco managed to take amazing pictures of Munchique Wood-Wren & White-capped Tanager.

Francesco´s images for the trip can be seen at his Flickr site:

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