Enjoying the Rio Blanco antpittas and Central Andes endemics with Eugenia Carey from Dauphin Island (July 5 – 12, 2012).

14 - 07 - 2012

From July 5th through July 12th (2012) we birded with Eugenia Carey the Central Andes, placing great emphasis on the Rio Blanco antpittas. Eugenia chose our “Central Andes Endemics Short Tour” for her first birding visit to Colombia, attracted particularly by antpittas and the sizeable number of Colombian endemics that can be seen in this short but highly dynamic tour. We first visited Otún-Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary, seeing well the endemic Cauca Guan, Styles’s Tapaculo, Grayish Piculet and many other specialties, including the beautiful Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, gorgeous White-capped Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-billed Peppershrike and Torrent Duck. We then birded the Cameguadua marsh en route to Manizales, enjoying greatly the Blackish Rail, Spectacled Parrotlet and a great variety of aquatic and riparian birds. At Río Blanco we saw the endemic Chestnut Wood-Quail and Brown-banded Antpitta, along with 4 other species of antpittas – including the near-endemic Bicolored Antpitta, the beautiful Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, the secretive Slate-crowned Antpitta under amazing views (Eugenia’s favorite antpitta for the trip!) and the Chestnut-naped Antpitta which has gradually developed a dominant posture over the other birds that visit the earthworm feeding stations. Many other nice birds were seen well at Rio Blanco, including the Masked Saltator, Dusky Piha, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Rusty-faced Parrot, Black-chested Jay, Golden-fronted Redstart and Red-hooded Tanager. We then scouted Los Nevados high-altitude ecosystems, having acceptable views of the Bearded Helmetcrest and astonishing views of the Many-striped Canastero and a very dedicated Shining Sunbeam mother feeding two chicks on a nest. On our last day of the tour, we visited the municipality of Neira searching for the endemic Yellow-headed Brush-Finch, which finally showed up with a glorious pair after much looking for it.