Saturday, 21 April 2012

Our last birding day in Colombia

Now in a hotel in Neiva, which is in the Upper Magdalena Valley (South) and at just under 500 metres. Just been for a Mexican meal and back to our city centre (and a little noisy as it is Saturday night) hotel.

We flew into Neiva yesterday morning and then had a beautiful drive south along the Magdalena Valley before driving up into the Central Cordilleras to San Agustin. We arrived at 3.30 pm in time to see the endemic Dusky-Headed Brush-Finch, our last target endemic of the trip! San Agustin is also a pre-Colombian archaeological site with amazing stone carvings dating back to 2000 BC. The whole site had been dug out and flattened before being used for burial chambers with the stones guarding them and is set in the mountains. More home education for Birdgirl.

Today was a travel day back to Neiva, with some birding before breakfast and a few short birding stops. Our first day of the trip with no trip tricks. Almost ran out of petrol on the top of the Eastern Cordilleras, which would have been interesting, but found a place to buy a gallon of petrol. Our drive north this afternoon was one of our most beautiful of the trip, surrounded by mountains with the most amazing light.

Our flight back to Bogotá is at lunchtime tomorrow, leaving time for our first proper lie-in of the trip – breakfast at 8.30 am! We are the squeezing in an afternoon site-seeing in Bogotá before catching our evening flight home.

Trevor has done well keeping us motivated today, as we are all a bit jaded and birded –out. It has been an amazing trip but we are ready to get home now and chill before our Bolivia trip. We will however be sad to say goodbye to Trevor, who has been a great guide as well as fun company.

Final bird numbers for our trip – 61 endemics seen and 1 heard only out of a possible 66. 766 birds seen (by at least one of us) and 26 more heard only. New birds for our world bird lists – Chris 192, me 260 and Birdgirl 382. Our trip was targeting endemic species rather than just a high trip list and so the number of species seen has far exceeded our expectations.

Birdgirl says “hi” to all her friends and says she is looking forward to coming into school on Tuesday at lunchtime to see them all. She also says “hi” to her big sister and little niece.

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