Tuesday, 3 April 2012

More than half way through Colombia trip


We are now on day 17 of our 5 and a half week birding trip to Colombia and are in Medellin.

After Ibague we drove over the central cordillera and then into valley on the western slope of the central cordillera and then to the reserve of Otum Quinbaya at 1500m, near La Suiza village. Then to Rio Blanca lodge at 2,500m. Then after two days, we went to Los Nevados National Park at 4050m on the western side of the central cordelleras.

We then drove of top of central cordelleras and winded down the eastern side heading north. We then drove into the Magdalena Valley, which was very wide.

We then spent the night at Rio Clara Lodge, which had a room with one side open to the elements and an interesting bug life. We then had a great walk along a stream the next morning and saw the endemic Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant and some Oilbirds in a cave.
We then travelled onto Paujil reserve on the eastern side of Magdalena Valley, west of Villa de Layva and a little north. Three hours in a jeep followed by a half hour boat ride with a groucho complete with gun sling and gun!

We then spent 2 days walking in a steep rain forest not finding the elusive Blue-Billed Curassow. 14 hours of searching in total… We saw the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker, Sooty Ant-Tanager and White-Mantled Barbet.  However, sadly no currasow.

Then we were off to the Cerulean Warbler Reserve, where I managed to log on last time. The lodge is at 1400m and we climbed up to 1950m after a hard walk up, missing many of our target birds. For one of the key endemics, we climbed off the track down a mountainside but was still only seen by Chris, causing much disappointment. Birdgirl did very well to keep up.

We had a better second day and met Trevor Ellery with a tour group of Scots arrived including Richard Schofield, ex Birdquest guide known by Digby. We had a good night celebrating Birdgirl’s 2000th bird species with them and she amazed us all with some brilliant poetry that she wrote that afternoon.

Next we went to the Piha Reserve for 2 days which was at 1450m on the eastern slope of the northern central Andes. The next day was Avery's 24th birthday, just a couple of years older than our oldest daughter!

Here we had 7 more endemics, as well as 1000 Mississippi Kites migrating north!

We are now travelling to Las Tangaras Reserve on the western slope of the western cordilleras of the Andes. We have said goodbye to Avery and hello to Miles McCullan, our new guide.

I am sure it will be another week before we have internet again. We have a day of travelling today, to rest those weary legs, and I have managed to have a café stop with wifi.


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