Second birding trip to Colombia for Ernest Bradley & Dale Brinker (November 19 – December 03, 2018).

04 - 12 - 2018

Ernie & Dale had been lingering for a second birding trip to Colombia and this time they opted for the Eastern Andes, including the best birding sites near Bogota.  Birding Tours Colombia had been running Eastern Andes tours for years, and it was very easy to agree on a magnificent 15-day itinerary.

Near Bogota, we visited Laguna de Pedro Palo, Chicaque Nature Reserve, Chingaza National Park, the Hummingbird Observatory at La Calera and the Siecha gravel pits. Moving north, we birded Paramo Grande above Guasca and the colorful Vereda Concepción with La Guajira & Bioandina Nature Reserves. We kept traveling north, visiting Laguna de Fúquene, the gorgeous colonial town of Villa de Leyva and Rogitama Nature Reserve before reaching the dry Chicamocha Canyon in Soata. Naturally, we birded the scenic Paramo de La Rusia and the beautiful Oak forests along the road to Onzaga.

On our return to Bogota, we decided to visit the reservoir of La Copa near the town of Toca for one morning. We then dropped to the Magdalena Valley and enjoyed the hummingbirds at the Enchanted Gardens of San Francisco, and birded thoroughly the rich Tabacal Lagoon near La Vega and Bellavista Forest above Victoria before returning to Bogota.

As a result, Ernie obtained 67 lifers, and Dale had a slightly bigger figure. We saw well the endemics Bogota Rail, Brown-breasted (Flame-winged) Parakeet, White-mantled Barbet, Black Inca, Chestnut-bellied & Indigo-capped Hummingbirds, Beautiful Woodpecker, Silvery-throated Spinetail, Apical Flycatcher, Niceforo´s Wren, Sooty Ant-Tanager, Mountain Grackle and Velvet-fronted Euphonia. Also, the near-endemics Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Golden-bellied & Blue-fronted Starfrontlets, Red-billed & Short-tailed Emeralds, Bar-crested Antshrike, Pale-bellied (Matorral) Tapaculo, Scrub Tanager, Rufous-browed Conebill, Black-headed & Moustached Brush-Finches, and the Golden-fronted Whitestart.

We enjoyed hundreds of glamorous birds, such as the Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Black-hawk Eagle, White-rumped Hawk, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Noble Snipe, Spectacled Parrotlet and the Andean Pygmy-Owl. Among the hummingbirds, we had spectacular views of the Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Black-tailed & Green-tailed Trainbearers, Purple-backed Thornbill, Glowing Puffleg, Gorgeted Woodstar and Lazuline Sabrewing. Other great birds included the Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Red-rumped & Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers, Black-crowned Antshrike, Dusky, Jet & White-bellied Antbirds, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Ash-browed & Stripe-breasted Spinetails, Black-billed Peppershrike, White-bibbed Manakin, Black-faced & Metalic-green Tanagers, Band-tailed & Paramo Seedeaters, Black-backed Grosbeak and Andean Siskin, among many others.

From left to right: Dale Brinker, Ernest Bradley, Daniel Uribe & Roberto Chavarro. A retired MD (Anesthesiologist), Roberto is one of the most prominent conservation pioneers in Colombia. His commitment to conservation and his prodigious work restoring the barren land that he bought some 35 years ago is truly amazing. Today, the gardens & forests of Rogitama are home to hundreds of bird species, including the endemics Black Inca, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Silvery-throated Spinetail and Pale-bellied Tapaculo, and near-endemics Short-tailed Emerald, Moustached Brush-Finch, Scrub Tanager and Golden-fronted Whitestart.