Yes, that too, and a few more now judging by the slides of new birds shown
at the Bird Festival.
On 23/12/13 3:30 PM, "Carl Clifford" <> wrote:
> Actually, Brazil has the highest number of endemic bird species (152 spp),
> followed by Peru.(128) and Indonesia (122), according to BirdLife
> International. See: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/112
> Carl Clifford
>> On 23 Dec 2013, at 15:20, Denise Goodfellow <>
>> Hi Mick
>> Good to hear from you. My understanding is that Colombia has more endemic
>> species (fauna and flora) than any other countryP.
>>> On 23/12/13 7:18 AM, "Mick Roderick" <> wrote:
>>> Hi Denise - a slight amendment to your second paragraph - remove the word
>>> "endemic" from the second sentence. I think Indonesia makes that claim, with
>>> Australia second.
>>> But then, maybe you're not talking about birds in that sentence??
>>> On Sunday, 22 December 2013 11:42 AM, Denise Goodfellow
>>> <> wrote:
>>> Recently I flew to Colombia as a guest of that government, to participate in
>>> the Colombian Bird Festival held at Manizales in the department of Caldas
>>> I was one of two intercontinental speakers. The invitation came from Sergio
>>> Ocampo-Tobòn, a past President of the Colombia Birding Network and founder
>>> of the Festival.
>>> It is most appropriate that Colombia has a Bird Festival - it has over 1870
>>> bird species; probably nearer 1880 now - photos of some newly discovered
>>> species were shown for the first time at the Festival . Indeed, Colombia is
>>> a megadiverse country and has more endemic species than any other,
>>> although by area it is only about 1/8th the size of Australia.
>>> Much has been written about Colombia that is negative. Much has also been
>>> written about the airline on which I travelled, Aerolineas Argentina, that
>>> was also negative. Armed with that knowledge and a travel itinerary I
>>> couldn’t interpret, I set out with some trepidation. The first November
>>> cyclone to hit the Top End in forty years delayed travel by a day, not an
>>> auspicious omen.
>>> But instead of an old aircraft with broken seats, dirty toilets, terrible
>>> food and disinterested cabin crew, I found a spanking new airbus, a spotless
>>> interior and crew that almost rivalled Qantas in their professionalism.
>>> Although I didn’t speak the language, and was unfamiliar with the culture I
>>> never felt isolated or unsafe. Some stranger always came forward to help
>>> a professional woman; a young man; a primary school student; and even when
>>> they didn't, somehow I could always make myself understood
>>> The hotel, Recinto del Pensamiento, where I was to stay, was the equal of a
>>> four-star hotel in Australia, and Manizales, far from being a hotbed of
>>> ongoing revolution or guerrillas, was a beautiful city that in many ways
>>> resembled Adelaide in appearance and pace, except it was perched on a ridge
>>> in the mountains, and had more universities (twelve in all)!
>>> Recinto was also the site of the Bird Festival. The launch began with the
>>> playing of the national, department and city anthems to which we all stood.
>>> Maria Claudia Garcia-Gomez , the President of COTELCO, the national hotel
>>> and tourism association, launched the Festival The next day, the Governor of
>>> the state of Caldas, Julian Gutierrez-Boter, came to speak. Both
>>> highlighted the importance of birdwatching tourism as did Felipe Rincon
>>> Cardenas, President of the chain of hotels of which Recinto de Pensamiento
>>> was one. Over lunch he told me of the involvement of coffee growers in
>>> supporting birdwatching.
>>> While some speakers highlighted the diversity of birds and other wildlife in
>>> their regions, others talked about conservation problems - including
>>> authorities such as Dr. Juan David Arango Gartner who addressed urban river
>>> issues, and Andrea Ferreira of Paraguay who spoke for the preservation of
>>> biodiversity of grasslands. Andrea is the Sustainable Tourism Coordinator
>>> for an NGO. She said that cattle are monitored on the pampas and are shifted
>>> around to allow grassland to recover for nesting and feeding birds. Her
>>> organization is also working with farmers to improve roads and vehicles so
>>> that they can have visitors on their country.
>>> Juan Paulo was a most inspirational speaker. Born blind in 1986 he taught
>>> himself to recognise thousands of different birds calls. Working with 25
>>> 000 bird records in a lab, he can recognize the bird, the time of day it is
>>> calling, the natural environment and “the sounds of the earth”. In
>>> grassland JP recorded 10-12 species singing all at once and could identify
>>> them all. Furthermore he could pick out 25 tones in one call.
>>> Uttej Rao, the only other intercontinental speaker, talked of birding in
>>> Gujarat, a state in India that shares a border with Pakistan. He said that
>>> locals considered it a sin to kill birds and so the birds were unafraid of
>>> humans and in large numbers.
>>> Guto Carvalho spoke about birding in Brazil. The population of that country
>>> is 250 million, of which about 30 000 are birders. But the interest is so
>>> great that Gutto estimates it will reach 1 million in a few years. He said
>>> that birdwatching tended to be internal with relatively few birders
>>> traveling to Brazil from other countries.
>>> I spoke on the threats to north Australian grasslands/floodplains and
>>> woodlands from weeds, destructive fires, cyclones and sea level rise.
>>> Several speakers mentioned the importance of working with communities, but
>>> because I didn't always have a translator I cannot comment on their
>>> particular approaches. However one, Luis Fernando Jaramillo, spoke of his
>>> work with Indigenous people and birds which included attempting to limit
>>> their attempts to force those people off their lands. Later, with Juan
>>> Paulo translating I told him of Top End Indigenous rangers allegedly forced
>>> to resign to the detriment of parks they'd once looked after, and of course
>>> visitors. I couldn’t help but compare the empathic reaction of Luis and
>>> others at the Festival to the response of some at the Wildlife Tourism
>>> Australia workshop where I first raised the issue.
>>> At morning tea I got my first look at the birds of Recinto Great and Snowy
>>> Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, American Vulture, Southern Lapwing, Eastern
>>> and Tropical Kingbird, White-collared Swift, Rufous-collared Sparrow and
>>> House Wren. Because I had no guide I mostly had to figure out what I was
>>> seeing myself, checking with Sergio whenever I could. Other birds I knew
>>> from the US. At other breaks I saw Cattle Egret, Black Phoebe, Bananaquit,
>>> Pale-edged Flycatcher, Palm Tanager, Great Thrush, Saffron Finch, Lesser
>>> Goldfinch and Yellow-bellied Siskin.
>>> On the last day I at last had the chance to climb the mountain behind
>>> Recintos to visit the hummingbird house. However I had to return early to
>>> sort out my itinerary, really the only low point of the whole trip. If I'd
>>> taken my scheduled flight back to Bogotá, I stood a good chance of missing
>>> my connecting flight to Buenos Aires. Sorting out the mess took hours and
>>> caused poor Natalia, the lass trying to fix it, much despair.
>>> Then I discovered that all the photos I’d taken of birds and the conference
>>> were missing. Others had scheduled a trip to see antipittas in the
>>> afternoon but I decided to return to at least try to record some of the
>>> hummingbirds again.
>>> Species at the hummingbird house included Sparkling and Green Violet-ear,
>>> Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Speckled Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet, Bronzy
>>> Inca, and White-bellied Woodstar. Hopping around the fuschias and other
>>> potted shrubs was a little black bird with an upturned beak White-sided
>>> A general article on my visit has already been published on the web
>>> <www.impress.com.au> and I'll be writing another in January (for The Weekend
>>> Australian) plus another more focused on the birds for a US birding journal.
>>> Lastly, I have no hesitation in recommending Manizales and its department of
>>> Caldas to birders and other wildlife enthusiasts. Indeed Colombia has much
>>> to offer all sorts of visitors. And incidentally I've felt far more unsafe
>>> walking the streets of Darwin than I ever felt in Colombia. If anyone would
>>> like more information please don't hesitate to contact me.
>>> My thanks to the Birding Aussers who kindly sent me information. I wish you
>>> all the happiest of New Years.
>>> Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
>>> PO Box 71, Darwin River,
>>> NT 0841
>>> 043 8650 835
>>> PhD candidate, SCU
>>> Vice-chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia