Medium length birding trip through the Western & Central Andes of Colombia with Bruce Webb, Jeanne Conry & Peter Gent from USA (May 18 – 27, 2014).

28 - 05 - 2014

Bruce Webb (Wildlife Optics of California) and Peter Gent (Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research – NCAR, Boulder, CO) arrived at Medellín airport in an American Airline flight from Miami on the night of May 18th (2014). The following day we birded La Romera Ecopark near Medellín and drove to ProAves´s Las Tangaras reserve in the Western Andes, lodging there for two nights. We then visited ProAves´s Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve at Ventanas´s Pass above Jardin, plus nearby Morro Amarillo and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek. On our way to Rio Blanco in Manizales we birded the semi-dry forests of the road to Concordia at Bolombolo in the Cauca Valley, finishing with extraordinary birding at Los Nevados National Park and Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary in the Central Andes. Bruce´s wife, Jeanne Conry, joined the group for the final two birding days.

We registered 333 bird species (with 26 species heard only), including 40 hummingbirds, 46 tanagers and 46 flycatchers, in just 8.5 birding days! Including 23 species of ovenbirds and woodcreepers, 7 species of tapaculos and 6 species of antpittas, all at very close range!

After finishing the tour, Bruce wrote us with the following note: “Daniel: Jeannie and I want to thank you for an extraordinary birding trip.  Every day was exciting and your amazing ability to identify birds by sound and show us the tough to see birds made it worth it. We quickly re-learned techniques for seeing tropical birds, as it is definitely different than birding back home.  We have recently been on birding trips to Peru and Chile, and we can honestly say our experience with you in Colombia tops all others. We look forward to go birding with you in another region of Colombia. Best, Bruce Webb and Jeanne Conry, Granite Bay, California.”

And Peter wrote: “I finally finished going through my Colombia bird list. I saw 287 species
and 77 of them were new.  This is a very high percentage for me on trips. Thanks again, Peter.”

Peter, Jeanne, Bruce and Daniel, at the Visitor´s Center of Los Nevados National Park.


Short birding escapade for James Taylor & Christine Forster from Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) (May 8-11, 2014).

12 - 05 - 2014

James Taylor (MD, Ophthalmologist) and Christine Forster (Instructor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Victoria) organized their adventurous trip to Colombia in such a way that a short birding escapade near Pereira and Manizales would be combined with visits to colonial towns such as Villa de Leyva, Mompox and Minca, and main cities such as Medellín, Bogotá, Santa Marta and Cartagena.

Daniel received Chrissie & Jamie in Pereira´s airport early afternoon on May 8th, driving immediately to La Suiza lodge at Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary. There, they enjoyed great views of the endemic Cauca Guan and rare Red-ruffed Fruitcrow as they moved through the Ash tree plantations. Also, very close views of the endemic Crested Ant-Tanager and the Chestnut-breasted Wren singing generously its wonderful melodic songs. Other highlights included close views of a pair of Streak-capped Treehunter, a male & female Torrent Duck diving in fast waters, and an  assortment of hummingbirds including Wedge-billed, Steely-vented, Speckled & Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Andean & Western Emerald, Bronzy Inca, Long-billed Starthroat, Greenish Puffleg,  and Green Hermit. Plus beautiful birds such as the Andean Motmot, Blue-necked & Flame-rumped Tanager, Collared Trogon, Green Jay, Tropical Parula and many others.

The following day (May 9th) we birded the Cameguadua marsh in Chinchiná, registering 110 species this day, including the endemic Grayish Piculet, near-endemic Bar-crested Antshrike, Spectacled Parrotlet, Least & Pied-billed Grebe, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Purple Gallinule, Slaty Spinetail,  Vermillion Flycatcher, Pied Water-Tyrant, Bay-headed Tanager and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, among many others.

At Los Nevados National Park (May 10th) we had astonishing views of the Bearded Helmetcrest and Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, plus a good mix of paramo & timberline species such as the Viridian Metaltail, near-endemic Golden-breasted Puffleg, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Paramo Tapaculo, Paramo Seedeater, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, White-throated Tyrannulet, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, near-endemic Golden-fronted Whitestar, Black-crested Warbler and Andean Siskin. In the afternoon we visited Recinto del Pensamiento in Manizales, enjoying 14 species of hummingbirds!

On final day (May 11th) we birded the Rio Blanco watershed, registering 85 species, including three antpittas (the endemic Brown-banded, plus Chestnut-crowned & Slate-crowned Antpitta), flocks of at least 50 Golden-plumed Parakeets, 40 Rusty-faced Parrots and over 90 Scaly-naped Parrots, and close views of big specialties such as Powerful Woodpecker, Dusky Piha, Slaty Finch, Sickle-winged Guan, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Tourmaline Sunangel, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Collared Inca, Long-tailed Sylph, Masked Trogon, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Spillman´s Tapaculo and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager.


Bird photography trip for Japanese photographers – Hisao komori & Yasunobu Shiga (April 26-May 4, 2014).

05 - 05 - 2014

From April 26 to May 4 (2014), we photographed birds of the Central and Western Andes of Colombia for 9 full days with Hisao Komori & Yasunobu Shiga from Japan. Komori & Shiga arrived in Bogotá on April 25th, taking a domestic flight to Cali the morning of the following day. Taking advantage of their landing in Cali, we visited Juan José Arango´s hummingbird feeders in the city and birded the famous Kilómetro 18 & San Antonio road above Cali, lodging at Finca Alejandría. We then moved into the tropical dry forest of El Vínculo reserve and visited the Sonso marshes near Buga, Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary above the city of Pereira, Cameguadua marsh in Chinchiná, Los Nevados National Park and Río Blanco nature reserve near Manizales, finishing at Recinto del Pensamiento.

We photographed 175 species of birds, including 25 species of hummingbirds, 23 species of tanagers, 21 species of flycatchers, 8 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of woodcreepers, 5 species of Brush-Finches, 4 species of antpittas and 3 species of ibises, among other birds.

Some of the highlights included photographing male & female Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Sickle-winged Guan, Cauca Guan (endemic), Colombian Chachalaca (endemic), Buff-necked & Glossy Ibis, Blackish Rail, Purple Gallinule, Golden-plumed Parakeet (endangered), Spectacled Parrotlet, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Red-headed Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Grayish Piculet (endemic), Andean Tit-Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner, Bar-crested Antshrike (near-endemic), Paramo Tapaculo, Black-throated Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Pied Water-Tyrant, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Apical Flycatcher (endemic), Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Green Jay, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Plushcap, Slaty Finch and Golden-fronted Whitestart (near-endemic).

Among the tanagers, we photographed the Scarlet-bellied, Buff-breasted & Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager, Flame-rumped, Blue-capped, Fawn-breasted, Golden-naped, Blue-necked, Scrub, Blue-and-black, Beryl-spangled, Saffron-crowned, Golden and Guira Tanager.

Among the very nice hummingbirds, we photographed well the White-necked Jacobin, three species of Violetears (Sparkling, Brown & Green), Black-throated Mango, Tourmaline Sunangel, Wedge-billed &  Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Greenish Puffleg, Bronzy & Collared Inca, Booted Rackettail, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, White-bellied & Purple-throated Woodstar (near-endemic), Green-crowned Woodnymph, Andean & Western Emerald, and the amazingly beautiful Bearded Helmetcrest (near-endemic) in the high mountains of the Central Andes.

At Río Blanco it was a joy to photograph up close the Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned and Slate-crowned Antpittas, and the Tawny Antpitta at Los Nevados National Park.

Komori, Daniel & Shiga visiting the hummingbird feedes at Recinto del Pensamiento in Manizales.