Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Colombia - The second week

Wow, managed to find a little town in the hills with an internet cafe....

We are now on day 11 of the trip.

It worked out that we went to Chingaza National Park on day one and also to Guasca where we saw Bogotá Rail, near La Calera east of Bogotá.

Day 2, we started at Bogotá at 2600 m and with 5.30am start went to La Florida Golf Course. The 3 endemics that we saw were Silvery-Throated Spinetail, Apolinar's Wren and Bogotá Rail again. We had a local Guide Fernando from the Golf club whose job seemed to be to keep us off the greens. He had started by asking Avery whether we were going to the 9th hole, which Avery had thought was the reeds near the hole. After a couple of hours of searching with no wren, we finally looked from the actual 9th hole to see an Apolinar’s Wren jumping about on the reeds!

Then lunch at a steamy 200m and ended up unexpectedly seeing our next endemic, Velvet Fronted Euphonia, from our table. We then birded in the Magdalena Valley near Payende and saw Apical Flycatcher.

Digby's dip of the day was an attractive girl on a motorbike in hot pants and low cut top which had both Chris and Avery taking a third look!

We then went on to Ibague, which is I think where I last had internet.

Day 3 was a 3am start going up to 3200m to the Fuertes Parrot Reserve. Out trusty driver Lucas was 4 minutes later and had not been answering his phone. I imagined him fast asleep and 10 minutes of stress was had mainly it seems by me. We had a one hour car journey to meet up with a jeep to then go up to the reserve in a mountain track. Were making great time when we got to a landside and had to walk the last 2 miles. We managed to see the parrots (rare endemics only found here) after myself and Digby had views were rudely rubbished. Also saw Yellow-Headed Brush-Finch another endemic.

Day 4 we travelled to Claruto Botero and saw another endemic Tolima Dove. I missed the first view and had a tense few minutes before seeing it well myself.

We then drove over the Central Cordillera and then into the valley on the western slope of the Central Cordillera and on to the reserve of Otum Quinbaya which was at 1500m, near La Suiza village. Saw the endemic Wattled Guan which is near threatened.

Day 5 Saw Red-Ruffed Fruitcrow despite the pouring rain. Due to the rain, we decided to move on.  First though we met another group lead by a very good looking and charming guide Diego.  They were also going to be at our next lodge, which would be nice.

We then travelled back through Pereira and Manizales to Rio Blanca Lodge which is at 2,500m.

We have had a few tough days of birding but Birdgirl holding up well. We all caught up with some rest on our full day of travel today.

I am now being forced off computer to get to our next site before dark, so will update in a few days.

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