I just got back from 3 weeks with Birdquest in Colombia and 2 weeks in
Ecuador on a private tour, and thought birders would be interested on the
The dates of the trip were changed from April-May in 1998 to June-July in
199 because of heavy rain during the 1998 trip. We also had a fair bit of
rain - it should be pointed out that the months of highest rainfall vary
considerably in different parts of Colombia, so it's impossible to avoid
rain altogether. But it can be said that there was no bird that we would
have seen had it not been for rain.
We did less well on Antpittas than the 1998 group. With a few notable
exceptions (Brown-banded and Santa Marta Antpittas), the Antpittas tended
to answer the tape, but not to come in. On the other hand, we did
excellently with Tapaculos, which were very responsive, and had displaying
Blossomcrown, which was missed in 1998
We had no untoward events on the trip. The organisers were very careful to
stick to safe territory.
Highlight bird of the trip was Colorful Puffleg, discovered by John Dunning
in 1967, and since then probably seen by no more than have a dozen
individuals, almost all Colombian. All members of the group got excellent
views of the bird.
In what follows, I'll ignore very common birds like Blue-Gray and Palm
Tanager and Cattle Egret.
On Saturday 12/6, we headed to Loma L'Aurora, temperate shrubbery and
forest on the outskirts of Bogota and a few hundred metres higher. This is
an endangered habitat, almost entirely destroyed by human settlement.
Highlights included 4 Andean Guan, Green Violetear (3), Sparkling Violetear
(30+), Speckled Hummingbird (2), Blue-throated Starfrontlet (1), Glowing
Puffleg (6), Coppery-bellied Puffleg (missed by me), Bronze-tailed
Thornbill (1 a major surprise, seen by about half the group),White Bellied
Woodstar (2), Silvery-throated Spinetail (common), Rufous-rumped Tapaculo
(1S), Red-crested Cotinga (1) White-throated Tyrannulet
(20),Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant (1),Eastern Meadowlark (3), Rufous-browed
Conebill (2S, an endemic), Bluish (30), Masked (3), Black (16) and
White-sided (10) Flowerpiercers, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanger (6),
Superciliaried Hemispingus (12), Black-backed Grosbeak (3), Slaty
Brush-Finch(20), and Andean Siskin (12).
In the afternoon, we went to La Conejera, part of the small remaining
remnant of wetland in the Sabana de Bogota. We did very well. A very
responsive Apolinar's Marsh Wren came roaring in and displayed beautifully
and at length right in front of us. We had great views of Noble Snipe (5)
in display flights and perched. After some searching, we had scope views
of Bogota Rail (4). In the trees we had Spectacled Parrotlet (6 including
adults feeding young).
Day 2 13/6 we birded the West Slope of the Eastern Andes (1600-1100m),
first Laguna Pedro Paulo, then coffee country around La Mesa, finally
around the crest at 2900 m. Birds included Andean Duck (1,) Crested
Bobwhite (1), Gray-rumped Swift (2), Green Hermit (2), Black-throated Mango
(1), Red-billed Emerald (1), Violet-crowned Woodnymph (3),Rufous-tailed
Hummingbird and White-vented Plumleteer (both 3), Black Inca (1 -an
absolute stunner!), Booted Racket-tail (1), Emerald Toucanet (1),
Red-crowned Woodpecker (3), Streak-headed Woodcreeper (1), Azara's (1) and
Pale-breasted (1) Spinetails, Slaty Spinetail (3), Ash-browed Spinetail
(2,Montane Foliage-gleaner (1) Barred and Bar-crested Antshrike (1
each),Sooty-headed (1)and Golden-faced Tyrannulet (2), Speckle-breasted
Wren (1)Pale-breasted (1) and Black-billed (4) Thrush, Rufous-naped
Greenlet (1), the rare Turquoise Dacnis (Pseudodacnis hartlaubi)
(2),Velvet-fronted Euphonia (2. Tanagers included Fawn-breasted (2),
Flame-faced (2), Blue-necked (10), Scrub (6), Black-capped (3), Blue-capped
(1),Crimson-backed (12), White-lined (1), and memorably Rosy-Thrush-Tanager
(1). Grayish (1) and Streaked (2) Saltator, Moustached Brush Finch (1).
Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
Phone BH( 61 2) 6201 2346 AH (61 2) 62585428
FAX (61 2) 6258 0426
Snail Mail Faculty of Communication
University of Canberra,A.C.T.2601, AUSTRALIA
OR PO Box 3469, BMDC, BELCONNEN, ACT 2617, AUSTRALIA
"I'd rather be birding!"
"Vivat,crescat,floreat Ornithologia" Hartert,Vog.pal.Fauna,p.2016.
"The market where possible, the state where necessary"(?Margaret Thatcher?)
"Sunt lacrimae rerum." Virgil, Aeneid,i,462.
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