Andean Endemics tour for David & Nancy Massie from the UK (October 23-November 6, 2014).

07 - 11 - 2014

This was a highly enjoyable and productive birding tour for David & Nancy Massie from the UK, who had birded Ecuador in previous trips but wanted to see Colombian Andean endemics and while doing so, filling-in the gaps for shared near-endemics with Ecuador & Venezuela. David & Nancy landed in Bogotá, and the following days we birded Chingaza National Park, the Siecha wetlands and the Páramo de Guasca. Then, we traversed the mid-Magdalena Valley, birding first the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco de Sales & Tabacal Lagoon at La Vega soon after we left Bogotá. We visited the Bellavista forest at Victoria, the wetlands near “El Dosymedio” (Puerto Boyacá) and the Río Claro Canyon (lodging at El Refugio) in the mid-Magdalena Valley. After birding La Romera ecopark in Sabaneta, we went onward into the Western Andes visiting the semi-dry forests near Bolombolo along the way to Jardín, the Ventanas´s Pass above Jardín, Morro Amarillo and the Cock-of-the-Rock lek outside town. The following days rendered a productive sequence of birding days, visiting the best localities in the Central Andes: Río Blanco, Los Nevados National Park, the road to Neira, Cameguadua marsh and Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary. Outward flight was from Pereira to Bogotá, with connections back home.

In synthesis, we registered 439 species, with 406 species seen and 33 species heard only. David had 70 lifers during the trip, and Nancy was extremely lucky and hard-working in photographing a plethoric list of endemics & near-endemics. We drove 1,975 kilometers of Andean roads!

Some highlights of the tour were: Northern Screamer, Cauca Guan (E&EN), Colombian Chachalaca (E&VU), Bogota Rail (E&EN), Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rufous-fronted Parakeet (E&VU), Rusty-faced Parrot, Yellow-eared Parrot (E&EN), Rufous-banded Owl, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated (Longuemare´s) Sunangel, Purple-backed & Rainbow-bearded Thornbills, Bronze-tailed Thornbill (NE), Buffy Helmetcrest (E), Black-thighed Puffleg (NE&NT), Coppery-bellied Puffleg (NE&NT), Golden-breasted Puffleg (NE), Blue-throated Starfrontlet (NE),  Indigo-capped Hummingbird (E), White-mantled Barbet (E&VU), Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Grayish Piculet (E), Beautiful Woodpecker (E), Sylvery-throated Spinetail (E), Bar-crested Antshrike (NE), Parker´s Antbird (E), Magdalena Antbird (E), Bicolored Antpitta (NE&VU), Brown-banded Antpitta (E), Stiles´s Tapaculo (E), Pale-bellied Tapaculo (NE), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (NE),  Apical Flycatcher (E), Yellow-headed Manakin (NE&NT), Antioquia Wren (E), Purplish-mantled Tanager (NE&NT), Scrub Tanager (NE), Rufous-browed Conebill (NE), Masked Saltator (NT), Yellow-headed Brush-Finch (E&EN), Cerulean Warbler (VU), Golden-fronted Whitestar (NE), Red-bellied Grackle (E&EN) and Velvet-fronted Euphonia (E).

Other significant birds were: Fulvous-whistling Duck, Andean Teal, Torrent & Andean (Ruddy) Ducks, Sickle-winged & Andean Guans,  Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Hook-billed Kite, Black-Hawk Eagle, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Barred Parakeet, Speckle-faced, Bronze-winged & Scaly-naped Parrots, White-lined Quail-Dove, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk, Band-winged Nightjar, Pale-bellied & Tawny-bellied Hermits, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Tourmaline Sunangel, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Gorgeted Woodstar, Barred & Moustached Puffbirds,  Channel-billed (Citron-throated) Toucan, Yellow-vented, Crimson-mantled, Cinnamon & Powerful Woodpeckers, White-chinned Thistletail, Striped, Streak-capped & Flammulated Treehunters, Tyrannine Woodcreeper,  Checkered-throated & Pacific Antwrens, Chestnut-naped & Slate-crowned Antpittas, Paramo Tapaculo, Black-capped, Plumbeous-crowned, White-tailed & White-banded Tyrannulets, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Olivaceous Flatbill, Yellow-bellied, Slaty-backed, Rufous-breasted & Brown-backed Chat-Tyrants, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Wing-barred Piprites, Black-billed Peppershrike, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Black-collared & Black-chested Jays, Black-bellied & Chestnut-breasted Wrens, White-capped Dipper, Flame-rumped, Metallic-green & Red-hooded Tanagers, Plushcap, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Citrine Warbler and Fulvous-vented Euphonia.

Male Buffy Helmetcrest at Los Nevados National Park, photographed by Nancy Massie.

Daniel, Nancy & David Massie, at the Visitor´s Center of Los Nevados National Park.

The endemic Magdalena Antbird, photographed by Nancy Massie at Rio Claro Canyon (mid-Magdalena Valley).