BIRDING AROUND THE WORLD

Subtitle

COLOMBIA: 7 Oct – 3 Nov 1997

Colombia is a key country for birding, holding 59+ endemics and more species than any other country in the world. It is potentially dangerous, with over 30 Westerners and hundreds of Colombians held in captivity for ransom, the highest homicide rate in the world and a third of the country controlled by guerillas – a news report said that of 1546 people abducted in 1997, 626 were freed after ransom, 208 rescued, 18 escaped and 148 were killed. However, it appears to be safe to visit the eastern lowlands, the excellent Ucumari and Munchique Parks, and almost certainly other good areas too.

I was invited to join a month long bird-tour of Colombia, “led” by Paul Salaman (discoverer of Choco Vireo), at a favourable rate. It was not a conventional tour as the emphasis was on seeing as many species as possible, to contribute to the NTT World Bird Count, in which Japan’s NTT donates $10 to BirdLife for every species seen during October. The group consisted of around 10 Americans of varying experience, plus Guy Kirwan (Oct 1- 17 only); the more experienced members tended to do their own thing, with guidance from Paul.

I was unable to leave until Oct 7 and arranged to meet the group that night at Pereira or the following morning at Ucumari. Due to a misunderstanding (not mine) on dates, I only caught up with them at Popayan on the night of Oct 10. From then on all went fairly smoothly, although we only narrowly avoided being robbed by 8 armed bandits on the Pasto road (40 vehicles were held up and occupants robbed!). I missed several sites within a day or two of Bogota, such as La Vitoria, the Ibaque Salento/ Toche road and the llanos, plus Bosque Yotoco and Laguna del Sonso, near Buga, and had too little time at Ucumari and Munchique.  

Over 1000 species were recorded by the group, my total being 764 (including 5 non-Clements splits and 40 heard only), with 103 “Clements” ticks and potentially 4 more if published splits are accepted. I missed the best day of the trip, when Chestnut Wood-Quail, Tolima Dove, Yellow-eared Parrot and Olive-headed Brush-Finch were observed, but did see some fine birds, most notably Plumbeous Forest-Falcon, Cauca Guan, Black Inca, 4 species of male cotinga in one fruiting tree (not simultaneously), Black Solitaire, White-capped and Multicoloured Tanagers, Tanager Finch and most of the Santa Marta endemics.

The weather was mainly hot and sunny, with only a few hours lost to rain. It was said to be unusually dry, probably due to El Nino, which may have been why birding was hard-going at times.

We used a minibus and pick-up for the first half. One of the drivers, Ollie, later collected us twice at Bogota airport in a minibus, and chauffered me the whole of the last day in a taxi for $50 – highly recommended (Oliveros Ruiz, Carrera 53A, Bogota 131A – 08, tel 253 4408). In the Santa Marta area we used Budget, who waited till quite late when our flight was delayed. We were just able to get up the mountain dirt road in the 2-wheel drive Renault 9 (which had good road clearance). Most other roads were sealed and pot-hole free. Road blocks were quite frequent and might be problematic without a good Spanish speaker.

I flew direct to and from Bogota with Avianca - reliable - and we used their Airpass for internal flights: $260 for 5 legs, up to 3 extra legs for $40 each, but must be purchased outside Colombia. For Mitu we had to pay $260 for the return trip on Satema, a small airline which proved difficult to deal with but the only one with scheduled services there. They only fly twice a week and it is essential to check times and reconfirm – we missed the flight from Bogota because it was rescheduled to depart 3 hours earlier, and were lucky to catch up with it at Villavicencio (by flying with Aires Colombia); Mark Pearman et al had to stay an extra 3 days in Mitu because their bookings were cancelled when they failed to reconfirm there.    

Prices are considerably higher than in Ecuador, especially for transport, but local food and accommodation is pretty cheap.

Many thanks to Mike, Todd, Paul, Louise and Liliana

Jon Hornbuckle     35 Grove Road, Sheffield  S7 2GY   email: Jon [email protected]

ITINERARY

Oct 7    Heathrow – Bogota – Pereira, 14.15 - 21.30. Night at Hotel Cataluna.       

Oct 8    Montane forest, Central Andes

05.30   taxi to Ucumari Provincial Park. Walk La Suiza - El Cedral road and back.

PM:     motorbike and bus to Pereira, bus to Cali, collectivo to Popayan, arriving 23.00.

Oct 9    Montane cloud forest, Western Andes.

06.25   first bus to El Tambo, jeep to Munchique National Park (Tambito N.R)

PM:      motorbike to Popayan. Night at Casa Familiar.

Oct 10   Duding in Popayan, walk to & in wooded valley by road to Purace NP. Casa Familiar.

Oct 11  Montane and elfin forest and paramo in southern Central Andes.

04.00  drive through Purace N.P. with stops to San Augustin, arriving just before dusk. Drive to Pitalito, Huila -Hotel              Timanoco.

Oct 12  Subtropical/ foothill forest in southern Eastern Andes.   

04.30    drive Pitalito - Mocoa road. PM birding around Mocoa. Night at Res. La Quinta, Mocoa.

Oct 13   Premontane and montane forest on Eastern slope of Andes      

04.30   drive km 125 - 100 along Mocoa to Pasto road. P.M.on to Pasto, then Ricaurte – Parador los Anturios. 

Oct14    Upper subtropical cloud and humid forest.                    

04.30   drive to La Planada Nature Reserve: Ridge Trail, Nature Trail and down road. Parador los Anturios, Ricaurte.

Oct 15   Foothill and subtropical rain forest.

04.15  drive to Rio Nambi Nature Reserve, near Junin. PM: road to and around Junin. Parador los Anturios, Ricaurte.

Oct 16 Lowland wet forest of Choco/ Pacific region      

04.30  drive to Pueblo Nuevo trail (1 hour), for full day. Parador los Anturios, Ricaurte.

Oct 17 04.45 to Rio Nambi till 09.00. Return to Pasto via Ricaurte (4 hours) for 15.25 flight to Bogota (delayed till 17:00 due to President’s visit to Pasto). Hotel El Virrey, Bogota.

Oct 18 05.00 Parque la Florida, Bogota. 09.15-45 flight to Villavicencio, 10.30- 12.00 flight to Mitu. 15.00-17.30 Urania trail. Hotel Mita-Sava, Mitu.   

Oct 19 Lowland white sand forest and gallery forest. Night in Mitu

05.00 minibus to km 7, forest trail till 12.00. PM on Urania trail. Hotel Mita-Sava.

Oct 20 Lowland white sand forest

04.30 Walk along airstrip to school, trails towards cerro till 13.15. 16.00-17.30 marsh & scrub beyond school across river. Hotel Mita-Sava.

Oct 21 04.00 walk to school, pipeline trail till 09.50. 12:40  flight to Bogota with plane change at Villavicencio. Hotel El Virrey.    

Oct 22  Montane humid forest and high Andean wetland.

04.30-05.45 drive to Pedro Palo, AM around laguna. PM coffee plantations and marsh near Bogota rubbish tip. 19.15 flight, delayed, to Barrenquilla (20.40-22.00). Hotel in Barrenquilla   

Oct 23 Mangroves and coastal wetlands of Guajira.      

04.30 drive to Isla de Salamanca NP, 05.45-09.30 there. Drive with stops to Minca, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, PM above Minca. Hosteria Catasona.

Oct 24 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta    

04.30 drive to San Lorenzo ridge, all day at 2500m & downwards. Hosteria Catasona.

Oct 25 Desert scrub and humid coastal forest

03.45 drive 160km on Riohacha road to Camerones, with stops. 12.00 drive back to Tayrona NP (east end). PM and night in NP.

Oct 26 Coastal forest  

05.15 – 10.00 main road Tayrona N.P, then Arricefes trail till 11.40; 13.30-16.00 Neguanje, western Tayrona N.P. Drive to Minca – Hosteria Catasona grounds till dark.

Oct 27 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and coastal wetlands

04.30-14.00 San Lorenzo road from cabanas down including Cincinati el Campano trails. PM drive to Isla de Salamanca N.P., arriving at dusk. 21.10-22.00 Barrenquilla – Bogota flight. Hotel El Virrey.

Oct 28 Eastern Cordillera above Bogota, Amazonian scrub

04.45-05.20 drive to Aloma la Aurora, trails till 11.00. 14.30-16.30 Bogota – Leticia flight. Road beyond airport till 17.30. Pizza! Residencias Marina.

Oct 29 Amazonian lowland forest. 04.30 taxi to km 7 Leticia road, trails till 11.00.  13.00-16.00 boat to Amacayacu National Park, then varveza forest around headquarters.

Oct 30 Amazonian terra firma and varveza forest

05.00-07.00 riverside trail, 07.00-13.00 San Martin trail, 15.00-17.30 hide and vicinity, Amacayacu N.P.

Oct 31 04.45-18.30 San Martin trail, Amacayacu N.P.

Nov 1   05.00-07.15 riverside trail, 08.00-09.15 public ferry to Leticia. Taxi to km 5 and walk back to airport. 13.00-14.35 flight to Bogota, La Florida marsh briefly. Hotel El Virrey.

Nov 2   06.00 abortive attempt to find Aloma la Aurora, walked hills above Bogota. PM in Bogota. Moved to cheaper Hotel Normandia.

Nov 3   05.00 drive to Meta, San Antonio road, then Pedro Palo till 12.30. Drive to Bogota airport, stopping for trail at km 28, arriving 15.10. 18.25 flight to Heathrow - $23 departure tax.

NOTES ON SITES

Paul Salaman and Mark Pearman have written a site-guide, which hopefully will be published in 1998, and Nigel Wheatley describes some of the sites in the useful Where to watch birtds in South America, so the following notes are not intended to be comprehensive.

Ucumari

An excellent, forested Provincial Park in the western part of Los Nevados N.P, easily accessed from Pereira by taxi, motorbike or occasional bus, and worth several days. The starting point is the headquarters at La Suiza where basic meals and accommodation are available – book through the helpful Tulia Rodriguez on email: [email protected]. Swallow-tailed Nightjars were seen by the group at night here.

Birding along the road to its end at El Cedral was good, with Cauca Guan, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Flammulated Treehunter, Bar-crested Antshrike, Cock-of-the-Rock, Plumbeous Tyrannulet, Apical Flycatcher and Multicoloured Tanager. You can go higher to La Pastora (2 hour walk) and overnight in the cabin to try for Brown-banded and Bicoloured Antpittas. Horses can be hired to go to the paramo around Laguna Otun, otherwise a long walk, for high altitude birds. 

Munchique N.P. and vicinity

Another large (44,000ha), well-forested area, perched above the Pacific coastal forests, near the attractive tourist city of Popayan, some 5 hours south of Pereira. I can recommend the cheap and friendly Casa Familiar, Kra 5N. 2-11, Popayan, Cauca; tel 244853.

There are three access points, the best being Tambito which can be reached by very occasional bus or vehicle going to 20 de Julio via the village of El Tambo. It may be possible to stay at the cabana a few km beyond the pass (bring your own food), where a couple of forest rangers are housed, headed by Gustavo Alfonso Lacera (tel 239932). A good nature trail has been constructed here, and birds include Western Antshrike, 3 species of fruiteater, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Tanager-Finch and possibly a new taxon of hummingbird.

Further north, the headquarters at La Romelia (2640m) is difficult to reach without a vehicle but further on along the La Gallera road is the only known locality for the striking Colourful Puffleg, although this is only likely to be seen if its favoured flowers are in bloom (which was not the case in October). The third, southern locality is at a lower elevation and again requires private transport. Inderena run the national parks and the local head office in Popayan is worth consulting, particularly if you want to stay in a cabana and if you speak Spanish.

A road to the south goes through the scenic Purace NP, at the southern end of the Central Cordillera; it is frequented by buses but has no food or accommodation. Purace NP is said to be good for specialist High Andean species, including Crescent-faced Antpitta, but few were in evidence on our brief visit. The road winds down to the head of the Rio Magdalena, where the endemic Dusky-headed Brush-Finch is present at San Agustin Archaeological Park, the end-point for many of the tourist buses. From Pitalito 30km away, a new road goes along the Amazonian foothills to Mocoa – the best forest is either side of the pass above Pitalito - and thence up steeply forested slopes on the notorious Eastern wall of the Andes in Putamuyo to Pasto (see Hilty & Brown, 1986). Much roadside birding can be profitably undertaken all along here, but only with your own vehicle, with tanagers particularly well-represented, eg White-capped, Yellow-throated and Blue-browed, and the rare Red-bellied Grackle and White-rimmed Brush-Finch possible.

The southwest

Across the Andes on the Pacific slope is the wet Choco region, accessed by air or bus from Pasto to the north or bus from Tulcan on the Ecuadorian border. Three sites near Junin at different elevations should hold all the specialities: the nature reserves of Rio Nambi and La Planada and the lowland forest trail to Pueblo Nuevo. There is simple accommodation at the reserves, but be warned that two British birders were robbed in 1997 at the Rio Nambi cabana. With a vehicle, the cheap parador we used at Ricaute might be the best bet. The avifauna is similar to that of NW Ecuador but many of the Choco endemics are easier to see here, possibly because the forest is more extensive at present.

Good birds we saw at La Planada included Andean Potoo, Star-chested Treerunner, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Black Solitaire and Broad-billed Sapoya, but no White-faced Nunbird. Rio Nambi is where Paul Salaman studied Plumbeous Forest-falcon and discovered Choco Vireo – which appears to be not uncommon, once you have identified it at the top of the high canopy in trees with small leaves, looking more like a Yellow-browed Warbler than a vireo. The unprotected and very muddy Pueblo Nuevo trail, below El Divisio, held the most species, starting with Stub-tailed Antbird and Five-coloured Barbet, followed by Tooth-billed and Purple-chested Humminbirds, Occellated and Bicoloured Antbirds, and Grey-and-Gold, Spectacled, Golden-chested and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers and Yellow-green Bush-Tanager. We missed Choco Poorwill, often by the main road at dawn and dusk; Banded Ground-Cuckoo must surely be in this area too. You can stay in a local house if you walk all the way to Pueblo Nuevo – be sure to take the right fork after a couple of km.  

Amazonia

Leticia, in the extreme southeast corner bordering Peru and Brazil, is on the Amazon. Trails lead off into the forest from the road going north beyond the airport, 7-11km from town – we saw Orange-cheeked Parrot, Riverside Tyrant, Dusky-chested Flycatcher and Band-tailed Oropendola. To the south, accessed by boat, is the superb Amacayacu N.P. where there is cabana accommodation and meals – permits and bookings from Bogota. Trails lead into the surrounding, little disturbed varzea and terra firme forest, and a local guide will ferry you across to the nearby large island, which holds Short-tailed Parrot, Lesser Hornero, Castenau’s Antshrike, Ash-breasted Antbird and Amazonian Umbrellabird. Sunbittern, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, White-eared and White-chinned Jacamars and Long-billed Woodcreeper frequent the vicinity of the cabanas, and birds on the main San Martin trail included White-chested Puffbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Banded and White-plumed Antbirds, Cinereous Mourner, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant and Fulvous Shrike-Tanager. An owl heard just after dusk sounded very much like Crested, which is well out of range according to Hilty but does occur in Amazonian Venezuela and Brazil.

600 miles to the north is the small frontier town of Mitu.  Situated on the Amazonian rim, it contains a variety of habitats, most notably “white sand forest”. Wet trails a few km the north of town lead into forest holding Fiery Topaz, Gould’s Jewelfront, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, Citron-bellied Attila and doubtless much more of interest. The trail to Urania south of town passes through good gallery forest, with Red-fan Parrot, Orinoco Piculet, White-browed Purpletuft, Short-billed Honeycreeper and Large-billed Seed-Finch. Extensive sand forest lies to the west and several trails go towards the large rocky outcrops (cerros) which characterize the region. Fruiting trees held Black-headed Parrot, Plum-throated, Purple-breasted, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas, Orange-crested Manakin and Azure-naped Jay; other birds included Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Sooty, Slate-coloured and Black-headed Antbirds, Collared Gnatwren and Plumbeous Euphonia, while Guanian Cock-of-the-Rock inhabits the cerros. On the opposite side of the river, just beyond the large school, is a marsh with Grey-breasted Crake and Green-tailed Sapphire, and White-naped Seedeater has been seen at the edge of the nearby forest.

Bogota

Parque La Florida near the airport is well-known for Bogota Rail, Noble Snipe, Apolinar’s Wren, and with luck Subtropical Doradito. The Rail is best seen at the reedy edges of the pond by the road beyond the park, while the other species are in the main marshland by the canal.

The mountains above the city hold the rare Eastern Cordillera endemic Rufous-browed Conebill and Silvery-throated Spinetail, and hummingbirds such as Blue-throated Starfrontlet and several pufflegs. The Choachi road mentioned in Hilty, which I visited in 89, is thought to be dangerous and the difficult to find Loma La Aurora a safer bet. Further afield, Laguna Pedro Palo, near Tena, is the site for Black Inca and Turquoise Dacnis-Tanager, not to mention Indigo-capped Hummingbird, Spectacled Prickletail and Yellow-headed Manakin – but try to avoid weekends, when it is crowded with noisy kids. 10km lower down the coffee plantations are good for hummers, while further still Rosy Thrush-tanager and Velvet-fronted Euphonia occur in the drier habitat. A track off the main road, above the turn to the laguna and near Km 28 below Santa Ana, goes up into montane primary forest – a large flock of at least 25 species here included Black Inca, Grey-throated Warbler and Moustached Brush-Finch.

Santa Marta

The dramatic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta rises to 5800m and holds 16 endemics, the highest concentration on the America's continent. There is one fairly safe road up the east side of the massif, to the San Lorenzo ridge, so it is straightforward to cover the major lifezones up to 3,000 meters, and possible to see all the endemics except the Sabrewing, Woodstar and Wren, which occur on the dangerous western side. The Antpitta and tapaculos can be typically discreet, but the main problem species are Black-fronted Wood-Quail (said to call like the Antpitta), Black-tailed Thornbill (very scarce), White-tailed Starfrontlet (varying numbers, often near the Inderena cabanas but rare this time) and the Bush-Tyrant – some of us saw one 2-3 km below the higher communication mast. The Parakeet is normally not difficult, eg from the cabanas, but was not seen at all this time  Blossomcrown leks by the east side of the road, 8.4km below the cabanas. Other good birds possible are Semicollared and White-rumped Hawks, Lined Quail-Dove (flushes from the roadside early and late), White-tipped Quezal and Golden-breasted Fruiteater (uncommon but not rare, in vicinity of cabanas) Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (easy to hear high up, impossible to see in thick undergrowth) and Slaty Finch – 1 in mixed flock. Hummers should be checked at lower elevations, eg hotel gardens in Minca, as could include the Woodstar or rare Coppery Emerald.

The Caribbean coastal lowlands hold a wealth of birds, the main areas of interest being Tayrona N.P. – good for Nearctic migrants, with dry tropical scrub in the west (Chestnut Piculet, Black Antshrike) and humid forest in the east (Solitary Eagle, Bare-crowned Antbird, Golden-winged Sparrow) – the mangroves of Isla de Salamanca NP (Mangrove Black-Hawk, Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird) and the Guajira desert, along the Riohacha road – Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Dwarf and Grey-capped Cuckoos, Russet-throated Puffbird, White-whiskered Spinetail, Black-backed Antshrike, Glaucous Tanager, Vermilion Cardinal, Bronze-brown Cowbird and if very lucky, Northern Screamer and Tocuyo Sparrow. 

SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS

Taxonomy and names follow Birds of the World: A Checklist by JF Clements (1991 + updates), with additional published splits asterisked. Numbers are the max daily count at the locality by JH,

with C =common, F =a few and H =heard only.

LOCALITY KEY                                         

Ucumari                   Oct 8 Ucumari RP                

Munchique               Oct 9 Munchique NP, Oct 10 Popayan     

Mocoa-Pasto           Oct 11-13 Purace NP, Pitalito – Macoa – Pasto road

La Plnda                  Oct 14 La Planada NR

Rio Nambi               Oct 15 &17 Rio Nambi NR

Pbo Nuevo              Oct 16 Pueblo Nuevo Trail below El Divisio

Bogota                    Oct 18 Parque La Florida, Oct 21 Aloma la Aurora, Nov 2 hills above Bogota

Pedro Palo              Oct 22 & Nov 3 Laguna Pedro Palo and vicinity

Mitu                         Oct 18-20 Mitu

Snta Mrta                 Oct 23, 24 & 27 Sierra de Santa Marta

Coast                      Oct 23 Isla de Salamanca & coastal road, Oct 25-26 Camerones road & Tayrona NP, Oct 27 coastal road

Leticia                     Oct 28- Nov 1 Leticia and Amacayacu N.P.

DIPS

Grey-breasted Crake Laterallus exilis                             Mitu

Chestnut  Wood-Quail Odontophorus hyperythrus       Toche road

Tolima Dove Leptotila conoveri                                       Toche road

Yellow-eared Parrot Ognorhynchus icterotis                 Toche road

Flame-winged Parakeet Pyrrhura calliptera                  Chingaza and Villavicenzio Road

Gray-capped Cuckoo Coccyzus lansbergi                     Camerones

Band-bellied Owl Pulsatrix melanota                              Pasto road

Green-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia viridigaster       Antpitta road

Purple-throated Woodstar Philodice mitchellii              Bosque Yotoco

Bronzy Jacamar Galbula leucogaster                             Mitu

Black-streaked Puffbird Malacoptila fulvogularis         Villavicenzio Road

White-mantled Barbet Capito hypoleucus                     La Victoria, Caldas

Lesser Hornero Furnarius minor                                      Amacayacu N.P.

Black-tailed Leaftosser Sclerurus caudacutus              Amacayacu N.P.

Banded Antbird Dichrozona cincta                                  Amacayacu N.P.

Slate-coloured Antbird Percnostola/ Schistocichla schistacea   Mitu

Chestnut-crowned Gnateater Conopophaga castaneiceps  Bosque Yotoco

Golden-breasted Fruiteater Pipreola aureopectus       Santa Marta mts

Antioquia Bristle-tyrant Phyllocartes lanyoni                 La Victoria and Rio Claro

Rufous-tailed Tyrant Knipolegus poecilurus                  La Planada

Sooty-headed Wren Thryothorus spadix                        La Victoria

Purplish-mantled Tanager Iridosornis porphyrocephala            Munchique NP

Red-hooded Tanager  Piranga rubriceps                       Rio Blanco

Crested Ant-tanager  Habia cristata                                                La Victoria road

Rosy Thrush-tanager  Rhodinocichla rosea                  La Vega

Olive-headed Brush-Finch Atlapetes flaviceps             Toche road

Bronze-brown Cowbird  Molothrus aeneus                   Camerones road

APPENDIX: First part of trip missed by JH

After meeting up in Bogota on the eve of October, we will immediately head eastwards out of the city and descend to a newly made track in the mountainous Eastern Cordillera, which is the only known site for the recently described Cundinamarca Antpitta.  Mid afternoon we continue our decent east to the foothill forest at the base of the Eastern Cordillera by Villavicencio.  Recent bird surveys have found a number of specialist and rare species in the Villavicencio area. 

After another morning near Villavicencio, we head out into the expansive Llanos region; a picturesque mosaic of savanna grasslands, gallery forest and wetlands, which hold an equally diverse bird community.  We will stay a further day in the Llanos at a private ranch, Laguna de Mozambique, that provides a safe haven for wetland and forest birds. 

After a night in Bogota, we head westwards to patches of subtropical and tropical forest, where several endangered and endemic species cling to survival.  Passing through the tropical dry forest of the Magdalena Valley on October 5, we visit the eastern foothills of the Central Cordillera and two important localities: La Vitoria, made famous by the rediscovery of the stunning endemic White mantled Barbet, and the Rio Claro Refuge, an incredibly beautiful forested limestone gorge complete with Oilbird caves and a cryptic new species of flycatcher.

On October 6th we will introduced you to the montane and premontane forests of the massive Central Cordillera, as we skirt around volcanoes 5,000 meter high.  Many Colombian endemics are restricted to this region, and the next three days will hopefully reveal them all.  After driving through several forest fragments we will arrive at Ucumari, in the western part of Los Nevados N.P.  Over 300 species have been recorded here, including many rare High Andean species and 11 Colombian endemics.  Between October 6th to 8th, we aim to cover many lifezones from 1,800 m up to over 4,000 m, where a lava flow has blocked a valley and formed a large lake, holding numerous paramo and wetland specialists, including Nearctic migrant shorebirds. 

The following day we head south along the Cauca Valley to the premontane forest reserve refuge of Bosque Yotoco and to the nearby Laguna del Sonso, a large ox bow lake of the Rio Cauca for Horned Screamers.  This evening we’ll meet up in the colonial city of Popayon, before heading to Munchique N.P., perched above the Pacific coastal forests, where the splendid Colorful Puffleg is completely restricted.

October 1               Humid subtropical and montane forest on east slope of Eastern Andes; road to Villavicencio.

4 am drive from Bogota

                AM  "Antpitta road", Noon; drive to Villavicencio (1 hour)

                PM: Villavicencio brewery.   Night in Villavicencio

Highlights: Cundinamarca Antpitta, Greater Scythebill, Ochre breasted, Brushfinch, Mountain Cacique, Black collared Jay, Black chested Mountain Tanager, Blue fronted Starfrontlet, Amethyst throated Sunangel, and many East Andean premontane specialists.

Oct 2       Humid foothill forest on west slope of Eastern Andes and Llanos

                AM  foothill forest around Villavicencio (around brewery and surrounding areas)

                Noon; drive (3 hours) thru Llanos (birding) to Laguna de Mozambique

PM  grassland, wetlands and gallery forest in private finca. Night at Laguna de Mozambiqu

Highlights:  250 species recorded in two weekends within a tight mosaic of great habitats

Oct 3       Llanos wetland, grassland and gallery forest

                AM   grassland, wetlands and gallery forest in Laguna de Mozambique

                PM   returning thru Llanos                    Drive (3 hrs) to Bogota for night

Oct 4       Upper subtropical to tropical forest on west slope of Eastern Andes. 4 am drive from Bogota

                AM   La Vega Rd. (out NW of Bogota)                 Noon; drive to Honda

                PM   La Victoria and area Caldas                         Night at La Victoria

 

Oct 5       Day at La Victoria                  Evening drive to Ibaque

 

Oct 6       Central Andes; subtropical to montane forest.   4.30 am drive

                AM   Ibaque Salento road via Toche

                Noon; drive on to Ucumari Regional National Park (4 hours)

                late PM   La Suiza, Ucumari Regional National Park.         Night at La Suiza

 

Oct 7       Central Andes; subtropical to montane forest.  

                AM   La Suiza El Cedral road and trails

                PM   Walk trail to and from La Pastora (2+ hrs).                 Night  outside Park

 

Oct 8       Central Andes; paramo, wetlands

                AM Laguna del Otun             PM  Drive to Buga, Valle

 

Oct 9       Dry forest on west slope of Western Andes and lowland wetlands. 5.00 am drive

                AM   Bosque Yotoco, CVC.   Noon; Laguna del Sonsa wetlands

                late PM   Bosque Yotoco again.           Drive to Popayan (3 hours)

 

Oct 10     Montane cloud forest on Western Andes                           Munchique NP all day

Short-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon poortmanni

Wedge-billed Hummingbird Schistes geoffroyi

Blackish-gray Antshrike Thamnophilus nigrocinereus  

Blackish  Tapaculo Scytalopus (unicolor) latrans

Rufous-vented Tapaculo Scytalopus ( femoralis) femoralis

Equatorial Rufous-vented Tapaculo Scytalopus (f.) micropterus

Dusky Piha Lipaugus fuscocinereus

Velvety Manakin                            Pipra (coronata) velutina

(pac.)

Striped Manakin                       Machaeropterus regulus

Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher          Todirostrum nigriceps

Bearded Flycatcher               Myiobius (barbatus) barbatus

  Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher             Myiobius (barbatus)

sulphureipygius  (pac.)

Song Wren                             Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus

Sooty Ant-Tanager                     Habia gutturalis

Hepatic Tanager                       Piranga flava

Orange-fronted Yellow-Finch           Sicalis columbiana

Lesson's Seedeater                    Sporophila bouvronides

Russet-backed Oropendola              Psarocolius angustifrons

Alfred's Oropendola                          Psarocolius (a.) alfredi

(montane) 

 

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