Colombia Bird Festival

To: Carl Clifford <>
Subject: Colombia Bird Festival
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:56:16 +0930
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:
> Cheers,
> Carl Clifford
>> On 23 Dec 2013, at 15:20, Denise Goodfellow <>
>> wrote:
>> Hi Mick
>> Good to hear from you. My understanding is that Colombia has more endemic
>> species (fauna and flora) than any other countryP.
>> Regards
>> Denise
>>> 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??
>>> Mick
>>>  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
>>> Flowerpiercer.
>>> A general article on my visit has already been published on the web
>>> <> 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.
>>> Regards
>>> Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
>>> PO Box 71,  Darwin River,
>>> NT 0841
>>> 043 8650 835
>>> PhD candidate, SCU
>>> Vice-chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU