Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pacific Coast and the last leg of Colombia

Just arrived in another lovely hotel but this time in Bogotá. We have just returned via Medellin from Bahia Solano on the Pacific Coast, having had an amazing five days staying at an eco-resort on the beach called El Almejal. The forest reaches from the hills all the way to the beach, so the hotel had sandy beach at the front and forest leading from the garden. We flew in a small twin engine plane out of the airport right in the middle of Medellin, flying low over the city and the Andes. The airport at Bahia Solano is just an airstrip cut into the jungle, just a mile in from the sea.

The whole area is completely under developed with only a few lodges set back unobtrusively along the beach. The village looked like I imagine the poor south of America to have looked in the 40's, wooden houses in rows raised up in case of flooding.

The area is majority afro-Colombian with some indigenous people living remotely. The afro-Colombians are said to be descendents of slave boat shipwrecks all along the pacific coast, who came ashore and lived in remote freedom high in the hills along the western coast.

The area has not been birded by many people in recent years, but hopefully this is changing. For those interested, we saw the endemic Baudo Oropendola as well as Choco Tinanou (walking across a path -my first Tinamou!). Other good birds included Plumbeous Hawk, Tiny Hawk, Red-Capped Manakin, Golden-Collared Manakin, Lemon-Spectacled Tanager, Dusky-Faced Tanager, Scarlet and White Tanager, Scarlet-Thighed Dacnis, Rufous-Winged Tanager, Blue-Whiskered Tanager, Tawny-Crested Tanager, Slate-Throated Gnatcatcher, Tawny-Faced Gnatwren, Black-Tipped Cotinga, White-Ringed Flycatcher, Black-Headed Ant-Thrush, Ocellated Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren, Moustached Antwren, Pacifc Antwren, Spot-Crowned Antvireo, Russet Antshike, Choco Toucan, Spot-Crowned Barbet, Black-Breasted Puffbird, Tooth-Billed Hummingbird, Saffron-Headed Parrot, Dusky Pigeon and Stilt Sandpiper.

We had time for swimming in the very warm ocean with Birdgirl, who also spent time relaxing in the hammock on our veranda.

The last few days have been tiring but we have all come back to Bogotá feeling that we have had a relaxing break with sun, sand and sea.

We fly to Neiva in the morning and then travel to San Agustin, in the southern part of the Central Andes. This is an archaeological site with hundreds of ancient stone carvings as well as having our last target endemic species.

We will be back to Bogotá on Sunday for our flight back to Birmingham and will be home Monday night.

Birdgirl says “hi” to all her friends.

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