From 2009 to 2011: Setting up birding tours for Field Guides & Rockjumper.

21 - 12 - 2012

We have completed three years of scouting and selecting the best birding sites in the Andes of Colombia and it is time to look in retrospective: marvelous traveling experiences, rewarding moments with most amazing birds and, above all, the joy that comes with new friendships.

It all began with Agroecotur’s work supporting ecotourism and agritourism initiatives by private nature reserves throughout Colombia. Learning about tourism and the traveling industry was possible thanks to high quality training provided by Professor Ricardo Anzola from the Instituto Interamericano de Turismo (IIT) with the support of World Wildlife for Nature (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Agroecotur’s founder organizations: CIPAV, Fundación Horizonte Verde, Resnatur, El Hatico Nature Reserve & the Molina family from the Cauca Valley. During those years (2004-2011), Daniel Uribe was Agroecotur’s Executive Director and much traveling was done visiting private nature reserves in the Amazon, Chocó, Andes & the Orinoco Region, working with landowners and local communities.

In February 2009, Proexport organized the first familiarization trip for representatives of birding companies from the USA & UK, in a successful effort to present Colombia as a hospitable birding destination. Trip was attended by guides & representatives from Birdseekers, Avian Adventures, Birdwatching Breaks, Bird Watching Magazine, About-U-Travel, Field Guides, Sunrise Birding and Detour Lic. Localities visited included La Florida marsh in Bogotá, Chicaque Nature Reserve (Cundinamarca), La Romera Park (Sabaneta), El Almejal at Bahía Solano (Chocó), Río Blanco & Los Nevados, Otún-Quimbaya, Salamanca National Park (Barranquilla), Minca & El Dorado (Santa Marta Mountains). Carl Downing (Birding Colombia), Sergio Ocampo (Fundegar) and Daniel Uribe (Agroecotur) served as Colombian guides for that excursion.

Since then, the following tours for Field Guides and Rockjumper have taken place, building our current expertise and knowledge at Birding Tours Colombia as in-bound operators for birding excursions to Colombia:

  • Field Guides scouting tour – October 17 to November 03, 2009. Visited La Romera Park (Sabaneta), Jardín (ProAves’s Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve & Morro Amarillo), Urrao (Proaves’s Colibrí del Sol), Anorí (ProAves’s Chestnut-capped Piha Reserve), Cañón de Río Claro (Puerto Berrío, Puerto Triunfo & Doradal area), Victoria Forest (Caldas), Río Blanco & Los Nevados, Los Alcázares Ecopark, Otún-Quimbaya, Cerro Montezuma, Paso Galápagos (El Cairo), Laguna de Sonso marsh (Buga) and montane forests at Chicoral, ending in Cali. Tour Leaders: Richard Webster and Rose Ann Rowlett (Field Guides), with Sergio Ocampo & Daniel Uribe as Colombian guides.
  • Rockjumper Colombia II Andean Endemics – November 29 to December 17, 2010 (19 days), plus Santa Marta Mountains & La Guajira extension from November 25 to November 29 (5 days). Visited Chingaza National Park, Laguna de Pedro Palo, Cañón de Río Claro, Anorí, Jardín, Río Blanco, Los Nevados, Los Alcázares Ecopark, Otún-Quimbaya, Montezuma, Sonso marsh, Km El 18 (Old Road to Buenaventura) & Anchicayá. Extension sites: El Dorado, Riohacha, Los Flamencos, Tayrona National Park, Isla Salamanca. Tour Leader: David Shackelford, with Sergio Ocampo (main tour), Diana Balcázar (Bogotá area), Waly Naranjo & Daniel Uribe (Santa Marta extension).
  • Field Guides tour “The Cauca Valley and the Western and Central Andes I” – January 15 to January 31, 2011. Tour Leader: Richard Webster, with Daniel Uribe.
  • Rockjumper scouting tour – January 10 to January 18, 2011. Visited Chingaza, La Florida marsh, Enchanted Gardens at San Francisco, Laguna de Tabacal, La Victoria, Los Nevados, Río Blanco, Los Alcázares Ecopark, Otún-Quimbaya. With Adam Riley, Daniel Uribe, Sergio Ocampo and Diana Balcázar (Bogotá área).
  • Rockjumper Colombia I Andean Endemics – January 18 to February 05, 2011 (19 days), plus Santa Marta Mountains & La Guajira extension from February 05 to February 09 (5 days). Tour Leader: Adam Riley, with Sergio Ocampo (main tour), Diana Balcázar (Bogotá area) & Waly Naranjo (extension).
  • Rockjumper Colombia II Andean Endemics – October 30 to November 17, 2011 (19 days), plus Santa Marta Mountains & La Guajira extension from November 17 to November 21 (5 days). Tour Leader: Forrest Rowland, with Sergio Ocampo (main tour), Diana Balcázar (Bogotá area) & Waly Naranjo (extension).

A great thanks goes to Richard Webster and Adam Riley for inviting us to work with them and learn from their expertise. Also, we appreciate the companionship of many great birders that have traveled through both of these companies and whose friendship is most appreciated.

A Field Guides group birding “La M” above Carmen de Atrato in the Western Andes.