Birding the Central Andes with Fred Ertl & Andrew Vallely (July 26 – 30, 2011).

01 - 08 - 2011

For five days (July 26-30/2011) we had a very pleasurable birding tour with Fred Ertl and Andrew Vallely from the American Museum of Natural History of New York. With a comprehensive list of most wanted species, we visited Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameguadua marsh, Los Alcázares Eco-Park, Río Blanco and Los Nevados.

In this short tour we managed to see most of the wanted species. In Otún-Quimbaya we saw very well the Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax), Chestnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) with chicks, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus), Stiles’s Tapaculo (Scytalopus stilesi) and Chestnut-breasted Wren (Cyphorhinus thoracicus). Unfortunately, we had no luck with the Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus) and Moustached Antpitta (Grallaria alleni), but enjoyed good views of the Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata), Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus), Plumbeous-crowned and Ashy-headed Tyrannulets (Phyllomyias plumbeiceps, Ph. cinereiceps), Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant (Phylloscartes ophthalmicus), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (Leptopogon rufipectus), Rufous-napped Greenlet (Hylophilus semibrunneus), Whiskered Wren (Thryothorus mystacalis), Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus flammigerus), White-naped Brush-Finch (Atlapetes albinucha) and Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus canigularis), among many others. At night we heard the nice calls of the Tropical Screech-Owl (Megascops choliba).

At Cameguadua marsh we had nice views of the Blackish Rail (Pardirallus nigricans), Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus), Slate-colored Seedeater (Sporophila schistacea) and Olive-crowned Yellow-Throat (Geothlypis semiflava), along with many aquatic and riparian species such as the Pied Water-Tyrant (Fluvicola pica), Common Moorhen (Gallinula galeata), Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica), American Coot (Fulica americana), Least Grebe (Tachibaptus dominicus) and Pied-billed Grebe (Podylimbus podiceps).

The Bar-crested Antshrike (Thamnophilus multistriatus), Red-faced Spinetail (Cranioleuca erythrops), Oleaginous Hemispingus (Hemispingus frontalis), Bay-headed and Golden Tanagers (Tangara gyrola, T. arthus), Blue-tailed and Andean Emeralds (Chlorostilbon mellisugus, Amazilia franciae) showed very well at a short but productive visit to Los Alcázares Eco-Park in Manizales.

As usual, Rio Blanco provided wonderful flocks and specialties, achieving excellent views of the Brown-banded and Bicolored Antpittas (Grallaria milleri, G. rufocinerea), Flammulated Treehunter (Thripadectes flammulatus), Rusty-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca amazonina), Masked Saltator (Saltator cinctus), Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx), Golden-fronted Whitestart (Myioborus ornatus) and Crimson-mantled Woodpecker (Colaptes rivolii). Also nice to see were the Pearled Treerunner (Margarornis squamiger), Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema), Slaty Finch (Haplospiza rustica), Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (Dubusia taeniata), Streak Tuftedcheek (Pseudocolaptes boissonneautii) and Capped Conebill (Conirostrum albifrons). At night we heard clear calls from the White-throated Screech-Owl (Megascops albogularis).

At Los Nevados National Park we had a close encounter with a group of five Rufous-fronted Parakeets (Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons) at a cliff named Aguacerales. At this time of the year the most liked flowers by the Bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon guerinii) were scarce, and after much looking for it, Fred and Andrew had good views of a female, which are much less common than males.

And after much looking for it and in spite of persistent rain, we had a wonderful close encounter with a charismatic pair of Crescent-faced Antpittas (Grallaricula lineifrons) at the Old Road to Los Nevados. Here, we also had good views of a nice pair of Crowned Chat-Tyrant (Ochthoeca frontalis) and White-browed Spinetail (Hellmayrea gularis). All in all, a very productive trip looking for Andean endemics and specialties.