Birding Hato La Aurora in the Eastern Llanos with Todd Pepper & Mark Eaton (December 1 – 4, 2017).

07 - 12 - 2017

This was a short visit to a wonderful birding paradise in the Orinoco region of Colombia, where savannas, gallery forests and wetlands form a prodigious landscape home to an amazing fauna.

First day of trip begun with an early morning (6:03 departure) domestic flight from Bogota to Yopal. Immediately after landing, the ranch´s driver picked us up and we drove to Paz de Ariporo, continuing to Montañas del Totumo & Lodge Juan Solito at Hato La Aurora. Birding this day was done along the road, and in the lodge´s gardens and nearby forests.

Second day was a full day trip from the lodge to the ranch´s main house, traversing open savannas and wetlands.

Third day was a shorter day trip, from the lodge to Mata de Palma, a wetland midways to the ranch´s main house. Fourth and last day was mostly rainy, driving back to Yopal´s airport for our 18:45 flight back to Bogota.

The trip was customized around Todd´s and Mark´s target birds, which were just a few: Orinoco Goose, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Crestless Curassow, Pale-headed Jacamar and White-bearded Flycatcher. The Amazonian Black-Tyrant & Pinnated Bittern apparently have been registered at this locality, but they are both extremely uncommon.

Special birds seen at Hato La Aurora and along the roads were: Horned Screamer, Orinoco Goose, Brazilian Teal, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Crested Bobwhite, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Anhinga, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Cocoi Heron, Striated & Whistling Heron, Capped Heron, Scarlet Ibis, Sharp-tailed & Bare-faced Ibis, Buff-necked Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Crane  & Savanna Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Black-necked Stilt, Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Wattled Jacana, Large-billed Tern, Pale-vented Pigeon, Scaled Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Striped & Little Cuckoo, Dwarf & Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-and-white Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Nacunda Nighthawk, Common Pauraque, White-tailed Nightjar, White-bearded Hermit, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Blue-tailed & Glittering-throated Emerald, Russet-throated Puffbird, Pale-headed & Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Scaled Piculet, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon, Yellow-crowned & Orange-winged Parrot, Spectacled Parrotlet, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Blue-crowned & Brown-throated Parakeet, Black-crested & Barred Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Rusty-backed & Pale-breasted Spinetail, Mouse-colored & Yellow Tyrannulet, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Short-crested & Brown-crested Flycatcher, Lesser Kiskadee, White-bearded Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Wire-tailed Manakin, Black-crowned Tityra, White-winged Becard, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Violaceous Jay, White-winged Swallow, Bicolored & Buff-breasted Wren, Black-capped Donacobius, Spectacled & White-necked Thrush, Cocoa Thrush, Yellowish Pipit, Masked Cardinal, Silver-beaked Tanager, Orange-fronted Yellow-Finch, Yellow-browed Sparrow, Eastern & Red-breasted Meadowlark, Oriole Blackbird, Venezuelan Troupial, Yellow Oriole, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola and Purple-throated Euphonia, among others.

In total, we registered 161 species, including a nice set of range-restricted species that were new to either Todd or Mark, including Orinoco Goose, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Pale-headed Jacamar, White-bearded Flycatcher & Purple-throated Euphonia. Sadly, we missed the Crestless Curassow this time.

Family group of Burrowing Owls at the Eastern Llanos of Colombia.