Short but productive bird photo trip for family group from Canada and Colombia (December 16-20, 2014).

21 - 12 - 2014

This was a 5-day bird photo trip for the Rivard-Zuluaga family, visiting Cameguadua marsh, Los Nevados National Park, Río Blanco & El Recinto del Pensamiento ecopark in the Central Andes of Colombia. The first day was used for road traveling from Medellin to Manizales in the morning, birding Cameguadua marsh in the afternoon. The second day was a highly enjoyable visit to Los Nevados National Park, with plenty of birds photographed and a short relaxing bath at the thermal springs. The third & fourth days we birded Río Blanco, and on the fifth day visited the hummingbird feeders & butterfly house at El Recinto del Pensamiento, with return trip to Medellin in the afternoon.

We registered 195 species (183 seen, 12 heard-only) and while doing so, had a great time photographing birds such as the endemic Grayish Piculet, Blackish Rail, Flame-rumped Tanager, Pied Water-Tyrant and many more at Cameguadua marsh.

In Río Blanco the group photographed the Sickle-winged Guan & Black-billed Mountain-Toucan feeding on small berries, the antpittas (Chestnut-capped, Brown-banded, Bicolored & Slate-crowned Antpitta) feeding on earthworms, great hummingbirds & flowerpiercers in the lodge gardens, and a large list of mixed-flock members. Most memorable was a close encounter with an Andean Coati in broad daylight, and close night-views of Crab-eating Fox. Luckily, we ran into a family group of White-capped Tanagers and a flock of Golden-plumed Parakeets that allowed dozens of close captions. We indulged photographing very colorful birds such as the Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Pearled Treerunner, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Highland Motmot and both male & female Masked Trogon.

At Los Nevados, we had the good fortune of locating and photographing at close range the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest, as well as a sizeable list of high-altitude hummingbirds including the scarce Black-thighed Hummingbird, Shining Sunbean, Great Sapphirewing, Viridian Metaltail, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbreast and Buff-tailed Coronet. We photographed 26 species of hummingbirds in just 5 days, including nice specialties such as Green-fronted Lancebill, Wedge-billed & Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Tourmaline Sunangel, Bronzy & Collared Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Andean Emerald and White-bellied Woodstar.

The group at El Recinto del Pensamiento on the final day of a 5-day birdwatching and photography trip to Cameguadua marsh, Los Nevados National Park, Rio Blanco and El Recinto del Pensamiento ecopark in the Central Andes of Colombia.

The gorgeous White-capped Tanager at Rio Blanco, by Denis Rivard.

Endemic Buffy Helmetcrest at Los Nevados National Park, by Denis Rivard.