Sunday, 18 March 2012

Got here, Colombia

Arrived in Bogotá last night exhausted, after a flight sitting behind drunken Russians and Birdgirl refusing to sleep until a couple of hours before arrival at 7.30pm Bogotá time. It was pouring with rain on arrival so the first job was to empty suitcases and let everything dry out. We clearly are not the seasoned travellers that we thought, didn't think to put all our clothes in plastic bags. Our good friend Digby was waiting at the hotel (with dry clothes) when we arrive together with our bird guide, Avery, from Ecoturs.

Early start with a 4.45am departure. We spent the day birding at Chingaza National Park, in the Eastern Andes a couple of hours from Bogotá. At 3,300 meters we were all struggling for breath. Walking up the fairly steep path was not easy, though Birdgirl seemed to manage ok, virtually skipping ahead. We needed 4x4 jeeps today to cope with the tracks.

Birding highlights of the day were the endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet and Bogotá Rail. I missed the first group of Parakeets, with a few tense moments before they were relocated. The Bogotá Rail proved difficult at first (particularly for Digby who missed the first 4 birds!) but then seemed to be dancing about everywhere. Also had some amazing views of the near endemic Pale-bellied Tapaculo and a pair of Rufous Antpitta. We saw 66 birds for the day, seeing all our targets for the day. Let's hope we can keep it up.

We managed to get Birdgirl to bed by 8pm, so the 5.15am start should be ok. She says thanks to all her friends for her e-mails. If we have wifi tomorrow night, then she will try and post then. Otherwise, may be a few days before we are connected again.

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