Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
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12 June - 1 July 1999

by John Penhallurick

I just got back from 3 weeks in Colombia, and thought birders would be interested.  The dates of the trip were changed from April-May in 1998 to June-July in 1999 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.

Saturday 12 JUNE

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 JUNE

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).

Day 3, Monday 14 JUNE

The day was spend birding along the Autopista Medellin on the west slope of the Eastern Andes with stops in intermontane valleys.  More Spectacled Parrotlets (20), 50 Orange-chinned Parakeets, and nice views of Blue-headed Parrot (2).  2 Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (1) and White-vented Plumeleteeer (2).  Spot-breasted (1 male) and Red-rumped (1) Woodpeckers.  2 Stripe-breasted Spinetail were seen.  Barred Antshrike (5) abd Bar-crested Antshrike heard again.  A beautiful Jet Antbird with white wing margins and white tail tips was a lifer for me, and we had good looks at both sexes of White-bellied Antbird.  A female Cinereous Becard showed up, as did a Tawny-crowned Pygmy Tyrant.  The Colombian bird appears quite distinct from the form that I saw in Peru and is probably a good species.Quyite a few swallows: Brtown-bellied (5), Blue-and-white (10) and Southern Rough-winged (10).  3 Black-chested Jays were lifers for me, as were 2 Band-backed Wrens, 1 Speckle-breasted Wren (Thryothorus sclateri, called Spot-Breasted in Hilty).  Scrub Greenlet (4), a single Giant Cowbird, and good looks at a difficult and local species,Gray-throated Warbler.  2 Chestnut-capped Warblers were lifers for me as was Buff-rumped Warbler (1).  2 Thick-billed Euphonias (the first of many on succeeding days.) 12 Scrub Tangers, another Rosy-Thrush-Tanager, Black-striped Sparrow (1), 1 male Lesser Seed-Finch, 2 male Gray Seedeaters, Yellow-bellied (4) and Rusty-breasted (2) Seedeaters and 2 Blue-black Grassquits.

Day 4, Tuesday 15 JUNE

The day was spent in humid foothill forest at La Victoria (1000m) northwest of Honda.  In the afternoon we drove to Doradel, to the Hotel La Colina, which is opposite the former estate of the late Pablo Escobar.  In the afternoon we walked to the Oilbird cave (Gruta de Condor(!)).  Savanna Hawk (1), Roadside Hawk (5 including 1 chick on a nest), Yellow-headed Caracara (4) and Laughing Falcon (1) and Bat Falcon (1) both perched in the open.  Purple Gallinule (1) and 5 Wattled Jacanas of the all black race melanopygia.  I think this should be split!  First Pale-vented Pigeons (2) for the trip, more Ruddy Ground-Doves, Blue Ground-Dove and Ruddy Quail-Dove were only heard.  We had over 200 Oilbirds in the cave, a memorable experience.  Pauraque (1).and 1 Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris) was seen.  2 Blue-chested Hummingbirds were lifers.  Amazon Kingfisher (1).  A highlight of the day was good views of the endemic White-maintled Barbet at La Victoria.  We had 2 White-fronted Nunbirds at the Oildbird Cave, 1 Olivaceous Piculet, and Red-billed Scythebill was heard only.  2 Western Slaty-Antshrike were seen, as was 1 Dull-mantled Antbird and 1 Black-faced Antthrush.  Chestnut-backed Antbird and Immaculate Antbird were only heard this day, though both were seen on the next day.  1 female Golden-headed Manakin was seen, plus 3 Bearded Manakins, and Striped Manakin was heard.  Cinnamon Becard was a lifer for me, as were 2 Antioquia Bristle-Tyrants (endemic) at La Victoria.Southern bentbill was heard only.  2 Brownish Flycatchers were seen well near the cave.  Other flycatchers included Streaked (2) and Piratic (2).  The first White-winged Swallows (10) of the trip occurred, and 2 Gray-breasted Martins were seen perched on one of the roofs of the virtually derelict Moorish village that Escobar build for his employees.  Sooty-headed Wren (new for me) was unfortunately heard only, though 1 Bay Wren was seen.  Black-billed Peppershrike was a lifer, as was Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo.  This bird does a good imitation of a leaf as it sits motionless in a tree calling, and was not easy to find, but finally everyone had great scope views of the yellow eyebrows.5 Yellow-hooded Backbirds were seen in rushes near the hotel.  We had more Chestnut-capped and Buff-rumped Warblers, 2 Green Honeycreepers and 2 Swallow- Tanagers.  We had our first Golden-hooded Tanager (1), a lifer for me, 1 Bay-headed and 2 Scrub Tanagers.  4 Sooty Ant-Tanagers with their bubble-gum markings were delightful, and 2 Dusky-faced Tanagers were lifers too.  Black-faced Tanager (1) was a good bird.  2 Dull-colored Grassquits were finally seen.

Day 5 Wed 16 June Magdalena Valley.

Heavy Rain 9.30-1.30.  am Rio Claro area.  Early PM side road near Rio Claro.  Late pm Track to Oilbird Cave.

A good raptor day.  1 King Vulture perched near Gruta del Condor.  19 American Swallow-tailed Kite, Double-toothed Kite (2), Gray-lined Hawk (1) Roadside Hawk (1).  Large numbers of parrots: Spectacled Parrotlet 30+, Orange-chinned Parrot 50+, Saffron-headed Parrot heard only (alas!), and 10 Blue-headed Parrot.  Gray-rumped Swift (50), Rufous-breasted Hermit (3), Band-tailed Barbthroat (1),Blue-chested Hummingbird (1), White-tailed Trogon (1) to be split as Western White-tailed (chionurus); Violaceous Trogon (to be split as Northern Violaceous (concinnus)) (1).  Rufous and Broadbilled Motmots, both heard only.  Lovely views of 2 Gray=cheeked Nunlet, and great views of 4 White-mantled Barbets.12 Collared Aracari, plus Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (1).  2 Cinnamon Woodpeckers were lifers, as was Beautiful Woodpecker (Melanerpes pulcher, split from Golden-naped Woodpecker) 1 S , which I had missed the day before.  Cocoa Woodcreeper (2), Black Antshrike (1 male), 2 Pacific Streaked-Antwren.  1 Chestnut-backed Antbird (seen at last), and 1 Immaculate Antbird.  Black-faced Antthrush and Bicolored Antbird were heard only (no surprise in that!).  I was the only one in the group lucky enough to get a view of male Striped Manakin.  Cinnamon Becard (6), One-colored becard (1 female), 4 Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet and 1 Forest Elaenia.a single Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant wasa nice lifer,Black-headed Tody Flycatcher was seen as well.But Southern Bentbill heard only again.  1 Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher and 1 Yellow-Olive Flycatcher.  2 Long-tailed Tyrant.  2 Black-chested Jay, 20 Buff-rumped Warblers, Blue Dacnis (2), Thick-billed Euphonia (12), Golden-hooded Tanager (6), Plain-colored Tanager (4), Gray-headed Tanager (2) and Dusky-faced Tanager (3).  Slaty Grosbeak (3), Orange-billed Sparrow (2).  Write-ins included Tawny-crested Tanager 1 (I think I was the only one who saw it, while looking off to the side); Spectacled Owl (heard), Yellow-margined Flycatcher (1) Gray Elaenia (1), and a lifer for me, Fulvous-vented Euphonia (2).

Thursday 17 JUNE

Early birding around the Hotel la Colina in Magdalena Valley, then in Forest Patch opposite on what used to the grounds of Pablo Escobar's estate.  Then drove across Cumbre de la Letras (a pass across the central Andes at 3550m) and on to Pereira.  Cocoi heron(2), Whispering Ibis (5), Pearl Kite (1),Plumbeous Kite (1), Savanna Hawk (2), Short-tailed Hawk 1 (soaring with hundreds of vultures),Yellow-headed Caracara (2), Colombian Chachalaca (4)(Split from Little Chachalaca O.motmot.  This was a surprise in Escobar's forest.  We had not expected to see this bird until San Augustin late in the trip).  Andean Lapwing (1), Large-billed Tern (1), Pale-vented Pigeon (2), Blue-headed Parrot (2),Great Ani (6) on the hotel grounds.Black-throated Mango (1 male), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (1), Shining Sunbeam (1), Golden-breasted Puffleg (2) high up near the pass.  Ringed (2) and Amazon (1) Kingfishers.  Citron-throated Toucan (2), Beautiful Woodpecker (2), Straight-billed Woodcreeper (3), Streak-headed Woodcreeper (2), Stout-billed Cinclodes 1 (at the pass).  Yellow-chinned Spinetail (1), Plain Xenops (1), Black Antshrike (1 Male), White-fringed Antwren (1 female).Red-crested Cotinga (1),Sooty-headed Tyrannulet (2),Pied Water-Tyrant (2), White-headed Marsh-Tyrant (2), Cattle Tyrant (1), Fork-tailed Flycatcher (2), White-winged Swallow (5, )Black-capped Donacobius (1),Yellow-hooded Blackbird (2), Red-breasted Blackbird (3), Blue Dacnis (2), Thick-billed Euphonia (4), Plain-colored Tanager (3), Plain-colored Seedeater (1),Gray Seedeater (1) Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (10),with Short-tailed Swift (2) as a write-in.

Friday 18 JUNE

To Ucumari National Park.  Birded the lower sector, know as La Suiza, early at ca 1700m.  Walked to the cabins at La Pastora (2200m) starting at 1.30 pm, arriving 5.30 pm.  Some rain on walk up.

Cauca Guan (5) (This is the place to see this rare guan, which until recently was feared extinct.) Sickle-winged Guan (5), Chestnut Wood-Quail (heard only, as usual with Wood-Quails), Southern Lapwing (4), Rufous-bellied Nighthawk (2 in the dusk at La Pastora), Tawny-bellied hermit (1) and Green-fronted Lancebill (4), both lifers for me.Mountain Velvetbreast (12), Greenish Puffleg (1), Booted Racket-tail (2 Males).  Emerald Toucanet (3),Black-banded Woodcreeper (2), Montane Woodcreeper (1), Streak-capped Treehunter (1), Streaked Xenops (2), Scaled and Chestnut-crowned Antpittas (heard only, as usual.  Spillmann's Tapacula (heard only today), Dusky Piha (2), White-winged Becard (2, race dorsalis, a possible split).  Red-ruffed Fruit-crow (3,spectacular).  Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet (2, a good one), White-tailed Tyrannulet (2), Slaty-capped Flycatcher (6), Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (2),Marble-faced bristle-Tyrant (2), Handsome Flycatcher (2), Pale-edged Flycatcher (3), Inca Jay (6, split from Green Jay),White-capped Dipper (1, the race with white mantle).  Chestnut-breasted Wren (1 seen many heard), Orange-billed and Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrushes (both heard only today), Black-nbilled Pepershrike (1), Slate-throated Redstart (6), Golden-fronted Redstart (2, beautiful), Russet-crowned Warbler (2), Three-striped Warbler (3), Capped Conebill (3), Golden and Saffron-crowned Tanagers (2 each), Metallic-green Tanager (2), Blue-capped Tanager (2), Common Bush-Tanager (6).

Saturday 19 JUNE

Ucumari Nat Pk,walked from 2400m to ca 2800m.  Sunday 20 JUNE Mules from 2400m to 3400m.

I'll deal with both days together, since the same ground (to 2800m)was covered both days.  The mules were necessary to get us up above the treeline to the habitat of the rare and local Rufous-fronted Parakeet.  The mule ride was rather hair-raising, as the track was very steep and contained many large boulders, although the mules were extraordinarily sure-footed.  Fortunately, we had Spanish saddles with the high pommel and cantle.  If going up was bad, coming down was worse, and most of us got off as soon as we got the tree-line and walked the rest of the way down.  The big miss was Black-thighed Puffleg.  (I got a brief glimpse of a hummer which was all dark and could have been the bird, but it left so quickly that I didn't even see the puffs.) Sickle-winged Guan (2), Chestnut Wood-Quail (heard only, inevitably, yet again), Southern Lapwing (2)Band-tailed Pigeon (3), Rufous-fronted Parakeet (4.  Yippee!  Eventually, close views of birds in flight by all at 3400m).  Shining Sunbeam (2), Collared Inca (1) Buff-tailed Coronet (6), Tourmaline Sunangel (30+), Viridian Metaltail (2), Tyrian Metaltail (6) Highland Motmot (4 seen perched on the rails around the corral at La Pastora just after dawn).Montane Woordcreeper (2), Pearled Treerunner (6), Spotted Barbtail (heard only, both days) Streaked Tuftedcheek (4), Flammulated Treehunter (1; fantastic views of a very responsive bird for half the group), Streaked Xenops (2), Chestnut-crowned Antpitta (1), Bicolored and Chestnut-naped Antpittas (many heard, but glimpsed by only one or two lucky individuals).  Brown-banded Antpitta (- the same incredibly responsive individual both days.

On the first day, it marched around the group, and burrowed under my hat, which was on the ground.  On the second day, we went to the same spot to try again for the other antpittas, and even without a tape, the Brown-banded put on a similar display.  Its testosterone levels must have been sky-high!).  Slate-crowned Antpitta (heard only), Ash-colored and Unicolored Tapaculos (both heard only these days), Spillmann's Tapaculo (1 individual that wandered across an open patch while we were working on a typically uncooperative Antpitta.) Dusky Piha (2), Barred Becard (1 male).  Black-capped Tyrannulet (2), White-throated Tyrannulat (6), White-tailed Tyrannulet (6+ the first day), White-banded Tyrannulet (6 on 20 JUNE).Rufous-breasted Flycatcher (6 seen many heard), Handsome Flycatcher (2), Cinnamon Flycatcher (2), Black Phoebe (1), Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant (2), Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant (4), Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant (1s 19 JUNE, heard 20 JUNE).  Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant (1), Pale-edged Flycatcher (3), Golden-crowned Flycatcher (2), Brown-bellied Swallow (30+), Black-collared Jay (6 including 1 on nest),Sharpe's Wren (9, split from Sepia-brown Wren), Mountain Wren (3), Gray-breasted Woodwren (1s many H), Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush (1 seen this time), Great Thrush (30+), Mountain Cacique (4), Golden-fronted Redstart (40+), Black-crested Warbler (2), Russet-crowned Warbler (6), Capped Conebill (10+), Masked Florwer-Piercer (6), White-sided Flower-Piercer (2), Hooded Mountain-Tanager (3S, spectacular!), Buff-breasted M-T (heard only again),Red-hooded Tanager (2), White-capped Tanager (3S, a great-looking bird and very responsive), Common Bush-Tanager (16), Oleaginous Hemispingus (4), Slaty-Brush Finch 6.  Note this spcies was split in a recent issue of Auk!), Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch.  (I missed Stripe-headed Brush-Finch, but saw it later), Andean Siskin (common).

Monday 21 JUNE Ucumari.

We walked up from La Pastora at 2400m a short distance, then walked down to El Cedral, with a stop at La Suiza (which is as far as you can go with vehicles).  (Again, I'll skip comon stuff like Cattle Egrets, Black and Turkey Vultures,Anis and Blue-gray Tanagers).

Chestnut Wood-Quail (Heard only, as usual)
Limpkin 4 + chick
Southern Lapwing 2
Band-tailed Pigeon 2
Ruddy Ground-Dove 1
Chestnut-collared Swift 6
Gray-rumped Swift 2
Collared Inca 6 (I never got tired of looking at this beautiful hummer!)
Tourmaline Sunangel 1
Greenish Puffleg 1
Masked Trogon 1 female
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan 2 (whoopee!!! The f.first was seen in the
rain, at the eleventh hour!)
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker
Golden-olive Wodpecker
Strong-billed Woodcreeper race virgatus 2; possible split.
Montane Woodcreeper 3
Pearled Treerunner 1
The usual Heard only Antpittas- Chestnut-crowned, Bicolored and
plus a mist-netted Brown-banded.
Black-capped Tyrannulet 1
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 2
White-tailed Tyrannulet 1
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher 2
Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant 1(Great views of a beautiful bird)
Pale-edged Flycatcher 4
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 2
Brown-bellied Swallow 10
Blue-and-white Swallow 6
Inca Jay 8
Mountain Wren 2
Great Thrush 6
Black-billed Thrush 1
Black-billed Peppershrike 2
Mountain Cacique 2
Slate-throated Redstart 20+
Golden-fronted Redstart 10+
Russet-crowned Warbler 3
Capped Conebill 2
Metallic-green Tanager 1
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 1
Hepatic Tanager 1
Red-hooded Tanager 4
White-capped Tanager 3 (again great views of this classy bird!)


Early, we birded an area below Ucumari at 1700-1800m, then a long drive with a pm stop at the Laguna de Sonso, arrived at hotel in Cali at 7.45 pm

Pied-billed Grebe 6
Olivaceous Cormorant 50
Anhinga 1
Cocoi Heron 10
Black-crowned Night-Heron 20
Pinnated Bittern 1 (a lifer for me)
Whispering Ibis 50+
Glossy Ibis 4
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 20
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 6
Snail Kite 40+
Yellow-headed Caracara 2
Aplomado Falcon 1
Sickle-winged Guan 1
Blackish Rail (seen by a few but not by me)
Purple Gallinule 1
Wattled Jacana 20+
Black-necked Stilt 20+
Southern Lapwing 20+
Pale-vented Pigeon 1
Eared Dove 4
White-tipped Dove 2
Blue-headed Parrot 20+
Speckle-faced Parrot 12
Dwarf Cuckoo 2
Steely-vented Hummingbird 1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 2
Ringed Kingfisher 2
Highland Motmot 5s, many heard
Grayish Piculet (Heard only. Gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts)
Spot-breasted Woodpecker 2
Lineated Woodpecker 2
Streak-headed Woodcreeper 1
Slaty Spinetail (Heard)
Red-faced Spinetail 2
Scaled Antpitta Heard only
Northern White-crowned Tapaculo Heard only
Red-ruffed Fruitcrow 4
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 2
Yellow-olive Flycatcher 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 10
Golden-crowned Flycatcher 1
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 2
Southern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush 1(seen beautifully, at last)
Shiny Cowbird 12
Yellow Oriole 2
Bay-headed Tanager 2
Flame-rumped Tanager 2 Note; The Ecuadorian checklist has split off
R.icternotus,Lemon-rumped Tanager
Oleaginous Hemispingus 4 (who dreamed up that name?)
Black-winged Saltator 3 ( a lifer)
Yellow-throated Brush-Finch 4

Wed. June 23.

Early am Kilometer 18 on Cali-Buonaventura Rd, then visited private Hummingbird feeders and a nearby very good patch of forest (Multicolored Tanager!) until about 1 pm, then back to Cali and long drive to Popoyan.

Southern Lapwing 12
Ruddy Ground-Dove common
Squirrel Cuckoo 1
Smooth-billed Ani common
White-collared Swift 4
Chestnut-collared Swift 3
Green Hermit 1
White-necked Jacobin 20
Brown Violetear 5
Sparkling Violetear 1
Black-throated Mango 2
Green-crowned Woodnymph 1 (lifer)
Blue-headed Sapphire 2    (lifer)
Andean Emerald 6                (lifer)
Steely-vented Hummingbird 50+
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 12
Fawn-breasted Brilliant 2 (lifer)
Long-tailed Sylph (race emmae) 1
Long-billed Starthroat  1
Purple-throated Woodstar        2 (lifer)
Crimson-rumped Toucanet (lifer)
Golden-Olive Woodpecker 1
Azara's Spinetail 2
Red-faced Spinetail H only
Rusty-winged Barbtail 1 (a 3-star bird)
Lineated Foliage Gleaner        2 (lifer)
Uniform Antshrike 4 (lifer)
Plain Antvireo 1
Long-tailed Antbird 2
Narino Tapaculo H only (seen later!)
Green & Black Fruiteater 1
Ashy-headed Tyrannulet 2
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant H only.
Vermilion Flycatcher 1
Andean Solitaire 2
Brown-capped Vireo 2
Lesser Greenlet 1
Golden-fronted Redstart 10
Green Honeycreeper 2
Blue-naped Chlorophonia 1
Orange-bellied Euphonia 2
Fawn-breasted Tanager 2
Multicolored Tanager 1 (What a bird! After we had missed it at Km 18, we finally found it in the forst patch behind the hummingbird feeders.)
Golden Tanager 12
Metallic-green Tanager 6
Golden-naped Tanager 1
Scrub Tanager 1
Beryl-spangled Tanager 2
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 1
Flame-rumped Tanager 1 male
Ash-throated Bush-Tanager 10

24 JUNE Munchique Nat Pk.

Left Popoyan 3.45 am, arrived Munchique 6.45 am, birded until 17.30 at ca 2100-2600m. Fine & sunny in the morning.  Increasingly cloudy and heavy rain and hail late afternoon.

25 JUNE Munchique Nat Pk

Left lodge 4.30 am . Birded along road between 2600m  and 1900m on West Face (Pacific Slope). Fine early.Rain began 1.30pm, left at 2.50 to return to Popoyan, arrived 5.45 pm.

Chestnut Wood-Quail H only (what else?)
Band-tailed Pigeon 2 24, 1 25
Barred Parakeet H only 24, 29 25
Scaly-naped Parrot H only 25
Rufous-banded Owl 1 same bird 24 & 25
Chestnut-collared Swift 12 24, 5 25
Tawny-bellied Hermit 3 25
Collared Inca 6 24, 2 25
Tourmaline Sunangel 4 24, 1 25

Colorful Puffleg 1 male 24 @ 2200m . This was a great thrill, as this bird, discovered by John Dunning in only 1967, has been seen by very few ornithologists.  We went to the spot where Dunning had trapped the bird, and walked into the forest along a path.  The rest of the group had walked out again, but I and another birder saw some long tubular hummingbird flowers below the canopy of the cloud forest and decided to wait. A hummer came in very briefly after about five minutes, and perched for less than a second directly over my head, so all I could see was its cloacal region, which looked readdish. This was a good sign.  We told the rest of the group about this, and they all came back and settled down to wait by the flowers.  After about 40 minutes, the hummer came in and spent nearly five minutes in the vicinity of the flowers, allowing most people good looks at the chestnut at the rear of its thigh-puffs.  It was obvious why so few people have seen this bird.  Clearly it traplines within the cloud-forest, but stays entirely below the canopy of the cloud-forest.  So vitually the only way to see it is to do what we did. Go into the forest, find some suitable flowers, and wait.

Greenish Puffleg 4 25
Booted Racket-tail 1 25
Purple-backed Thornbill 1 25 (I think I was the only one to see this.  Not a great view, but I could make out the  purple and the jizz was distinctive)
Viridian Metaltail 3 24
Long-tailed Sylph (emmae) 1 25
Yellow-vented Woodpecker 2 25 (lifer)
Tyrannine Woodcreeper 2 24 (lifer)
Rufous Spinetail 1 24, 1 25
White-browed Spinetail H only 25
Fulvous-dotted Tree-runner 2 25 (lifer.  I missed the first bird seen, but later had first-class views further down the road.)
Yellow-breasted Antpitta H only 25 (tho 2 of our number went into the forest and glimpsed the bird)
Rufous Antpitta (Western Andes form) H only 24
Slate-crowned Antpitta H only 25
Unicolored Tapaculo H 24 & 25
Narino Tapaculo H only 24, 1 seen very well 25
Spillmann's Tapaculo H 24
Green-and-black Fruiteater 4 24, 6 25
Barred Fruiteater 1 24
Barred Becard 1 25
Streak-necked Flycatcher 1 25
Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant 1s 2H 24,h 25
Black-throated Tody-Tyrant 2s 24,H 25 (lifer)
Flavescent Flycatcher 3 25
Cinnamon Flycatcher 6 24, 20+ 25
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant 1 24 (a good view at last).
Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant 1 25
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 6 25
Brown-bellied Swallow common 24,2 25
Blue-and-white Swallow 6 25
Rufous Wren 3 24 H 25
Sharpe's Wren 6 24, H 25
Gray-breasted Woodwren 10 24, 9 25
Chestnut-breasted Wren H 24 & 25
Andean Solitaire 1 24
Great Thrush 20 24,10+ 25
Golden-fronted Redstart 10 24
Citrine Warbler 2 24
Capped Conebill 1 24 (blue-crowned race)
Bluish Flowerpiercer 10+ 24
Masked Flowerpiercer 1 24
White-sided Flowerpiercer 6 24
Indigo Flowerpiercer 3 25
Beryl-spangled Tanager 2 25
Purplish-mantled Tanager 2 25 (Wow!)
Golden-crowned Tanager 4 24,2,25 (also wow!)
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 6 24 & 25
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager 1 24 & 25
Hooded Mountain-Tanager 2 24, 4 25
Dusky-bellied Bush-Tanager 3 24,10 25
Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager 1 24,2 25
Grass-green Tanager 4 24,3 25. (Caramba!)
Glistening-green Tanager 1 26
Black-winged Saltator 1 25
Pileated Finch 2 24
Slaty Brush-Finch 6 24
Saffron Finch 10 24
Tanager-Finch 2 (Staggeringly good views of this rare and difficult bird)
Slaty Finch Most of us heard only the male song. 1 person on the extreme
left glimpsed the bird.

Sat 26 June.

Left Popoyan 3.15 am to Purace N.P. at 3300m. I think it is Hilty's notes on Purace that says that the National Park is usually, cold, wet and windy, and it lived up to its reputation.  We birded a path near the northern (?) entrance and along the road nearby.  We took the long
drive down to San Agustin, where we arrived about 6.15 pm.  Stops along the drive, with intermittent showers,

Andean Condor 2 After leaving the Purace HQ, where we had fortified ourselves with coffee and some sort of very nice fried sweet dough object, we found two Condors perched on a rocky prominence.  A 4 WD was parked nearby, and one of the occupants was feeding the Condors, which have been released into the wild. Let's hope they survive!  We had wonderful close-up
views of the birds perched and soaring.
Carunculated Caracara 4. 2 including an immature at the Condor spot, then scope views of two moving across a ploughed field.
Band-tailed Pigeon 40+
Eared Dove 5
Collared Inca 2
(Sword-billed Hummingbird leader only)
White-browed Spinetail 1
Streaked Tuftedcheek 2
Rufous Antpitta (Central Andes form) H only
Crescent-faced Antipitta H only
Ash-coloured Tapaculo 2 S 2 H
Unicolored Tapaculo H only
Paramo Tapaculo 1 S several H The little guy performed really well for us, moving back and forth just below us.
Ocellated Tapaculo H only
Barred Fruiteater H only
Black-capped Tyrannulet 3
Sierran Elaenia 3+
White-throated Tyrannulet 2
Agile Tit-Tyrant 10
Crowned Chat-Tyrant 1
Brown-bellied Swallow 50
Grass Wren 1
Whiskered Wren H
Southern House Wren 1
Mountain Wren H
Great Thrush 30
Tropical Parula 1 on nest with 2 chicks
Slate-throated Redstart 1
Golden-fronted Redstart 20+
Citrine Warbler 2
Blue-backed Conebill 6
Masked Flowerpiercer 2
Golden-crowned Tanager 6
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager 4 (not a lifer, but still breathtakingly beautiful)
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 12
Hooded Mountain-Tanager 1
Black-chested Mountain-Tanager 1
Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager2 (Good looks at last.  We had heard this on a number of occasions previously without seeing it)
Dusky-bellied Bush-Tanager 10
Black-capped Hemispingus 10
Grass-green Tanager 1
Plush-capped Finch 3 including 1 immature
Pale-naped Brush-Finch 10(Now split as Northern Pale-naped)
Dusky-headed Brush-Finch 2
Slaty Brush-Finch 12
Stripe-headed Brush-Finch 1
Yellow-faced Grassquit 1
Dull-colored Grassquit 2


early returned to the SE entrance of Purace at 1600m, then birded down the road with stop at bridge over Magdalena River. Birded Archeological Park in San Agustin, then long drive north to Neiva with stop south of Hobo.

Buff-necked Ibis 2
Roadside Hawk 4
Crested Caracara 2
Yellow-headed Caracara common on drive N
American kestrel 1
Wattled Jacana 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 10
Eared Dove common
Ruddy Ground-Dove common
Groove-billed Ani common
Chestnut-collared Swift 6
Steely-vented Hummingbird 1
Collared Inca 1
Tourmaline Sunangel 1
Black-billed Mountain-Toucan 1 ( a lovely extended view of a bird eating
the fruit of a palm-tree)
Olivaceous Piculet 1
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker 1
Lineated Woodpecker 2
Red-crowned Woodpecker 1 female
Azara's Spinetail H
Barred Antshirke h
Bicolored Antpitta 2H
Slate-crowned Antpitta H
Northern White-crowned Tapaculo H
Spillmann's Tapaculo H
Yellow-bellied Elaenia 1
Sierran Elaenia 2
Streak-necked Flycatcher 2
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant 1
Yellow-olive Flycatcher 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 10
Boat-billed Flycatcher 1
Social Flycatcher 2
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 1
Black-bellied Wren H
Buff-breasted Wren H
Tropical Mockingbird 2
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush H
Great Thrush 10
Black-billed Thrush  12
Tropical Gnatcatcher 5 (race caucae)
Rufous-naped Greenlet 2
Shiny Cowbird 2
Yellow-backed Oriole 1
Slate-throated Redstart 5
Goden-fronted Redstart 2
Chestnut-capped Warbler 2
Green Honeycreeper 1 female
Orange-bellied Euphonia 1
Blue-necked Tanager 2
Scrub Tanager 1
Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager 3
Crimson-backed Tanager 1
White-winged Tanager 1 female
White-capped Tanager 3
Streaked Saltator 2
Pileated Finch 2
Dusky-headed Brush-Finch 3
Slaty Brush-Finch 2
Black-striped Sparrow 2 (race inexpectata, has very different song!)
Black-faced Grassquit 20
Blue-black Grassquit 3 (isn't male's jumping display endearing?)
Grassland Sparrow 3

28 JUNE early Tatacoa Desert, then drive to Bogota and flew to Santa Marta

Capped Heron 1
White-tailed Kite 1
Crested Caracara 1
Yellow-headed Caracara 1
Crested Bob-white 17 (actually that was for stop near Hobo on 27 JUNE)
Southern Lapwing 4
Eared Dove common
Common Ground-Dove 50+
Ruddy Ground-Dove common
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet 26
Dwarf Cuckoo 2
Groove-billed Ani common
Striped Cuckoo 1 S 1 H
White-collared Swift 6
Shining-green Hummingbird 1
Rufous-tailed Jacamar 2
Barred Antshrike 1 female
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet 2
Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant 1
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 10
Apical Flycatcher 2 (Whoopee.  An endemic. Much darker than Hilty & Tudor's illustration suggests. And I found the first one!)
Social Flycatcher 4
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 1
Sthn House Wren 1
Tropical Mockingbird 3
Tropical Gnatcatcher 20
Bicolored Conebill 2
Orange-bellied Euphonia 1
Streaked Saltator 2
Pileated Finch 3
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet 2

Tueday 29 JUNE

A.M. birded semidesert scrub on Guajira Peninsula, late Tayrona Park and late pm boat ride on East side of Cienaga de Santa Marta and Rio Frio. I had previously birded the area around Coro on my own, so there were few lifers on the Guajira Peninsula.

Little Tinamou  H
Least Grebe     20
Brown Pelican   10
Olivaceous Cormorant    50+
Magnificant Frigatebird 100
Cocoi Heron     5
Great Egret 10
Striated Heron 5
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Wood Stork      1
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck    20
Pearl Kite      2
Snail Kite      4
Common Black-Hawk       3
Black-collared Hawk     2
Short-tailed Hawk       1
Crested Caracara        10
Yellow-headed Caracara 9
Chestnut-winged Chachalaca 2 (perched in foliage along the Rio Frio)
Crested Bobwhite H
Limpkin         5
Purple Gallinule        4
Common Gallinule        3
Wattled Jacana  20+
Black-necked Stilt      5
Black Tern      6
Large-billed Tern       3
Gull-billed tern        4
Common Tern     20+
Bare-eyed Pigeon        20+
Pale-vented Pigeon      12
Scaled Dove common
Brown-throated Parakeet 50
Green-rumped Parrotlet  20+
Greater Ani     20
Lesser Nighthawk        20
White-collared Swift    20
Red-billed Emerald      2
Buffy Hummingbird       2
Ringed Kingfisher       3
Russet-throated Puffbird        4
Chestnut Piculet 2 nicely seen.A lifer for me.
Red-crowned Woodpecker 2
Straightbilled Woodcreeper      1
Cocoa Woodcreeper H
White-whiskered Spinetail       18
Yellow-chinned Spinetail        2
Black-crested Antshrike 6
White-fringed Antwren   6
Lance-tailed Manakin            2
White-bearded Manakin   H
Northern Scrub-Flycatcher       3
Slender-billed Tyrannulet 3 (lifer)
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant       3
Yellow-olive Flycatcher 1
Pied Water-Tyrant       3
Brown-crested Flycatcher 2
Social Flycatcher       1
Black-capped Donacobius 1
Bicolored Wren  4
Buff-breasted Wren      2
Tropical Mockingbird    10

Wed.30 JUNE.

We drove from Santa Marta via Minca up to San lorenzo Road to the lodge, and then walked the ridge trail up to the antennas to 2500m.

Thurs 1 JULY

Walked the Ridge track above the lodge to ca 2600m, and drove back down to Santa Marta after a late lunch.  It poured with rain on the way down.

Bat Falcon 1
Band-tailed Guan Leader only
Black-fronted Wood-Quail H
Band-tailed Pigeon 50+
White-tipped Dove       2
Lined Quail-Dove H
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet 10
Santa Marta Parakeet H only both days.  A big disappointment.  Your only chance of seeing them is if they fly or perch near the ridge trail.  You cannot get down the steep slopes at all.  And though we heard them both days, they were some way off and not visible.
Barred Parakeet 10
Scaly-naped Parrot 50+ both days.
Brown Violetear         10
Blossomcrown 3  Awesome!  We had displaying males.  I remember one in particular with his crown raised, his wigs spread and his tail fanned.  One of my top birds for the whole trip!
Tyrian Metaltail        1
Blue-crowned Motmot     1
Groove-billed Toucanet 1
Emerald Toucanet 3
Golden-olive Woodpecker 2 (race alleni)
Red-crowned Woodpecker 5
Strong-billed Woodcreeper 2 (race sanctaemartae, a possible split)
Montane Woodcreeper 2 (race sanctaemartae, a possible split)
Caribbean Hornero 2 (at the hotel)
Rusty-headed Spinetail 2 (race fuscorufa)
Streak-capped Spinetail 1
Montane Foliage-gleaner 1
Black-backed Antshrike 2 (One I'd missed around Coro)
Santa Marta Antpitta 2 (Breathtakingly cooperative!)
Roufous Antpitta 1 (Santa Marta form - spatiator)
Rusty-breasted Antpitta H
Santa Marta Tapaculo 1 (very cooperative)
Brown-rumped Tapaculo 2
Masked Tityra 1
Golden-faced Tyrannulet 1 (the endemic subspecies)
White-throated Tyrannulet 3
Cinnamon Flycatcher 17
Black Phoebe    1
Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant 3
Bicolored Wren 2 (at hotel)
Stripe-backed Wren 2
Rufous-breasted Wren    1
Rufous-and-white Wren H
Gray-breasted Wren 7 (bangsi lower, and anachoreta up high)
Yellow-legged Thrush 1
Rufous-browed Peppershrike      1
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Golden-fronted Greenlet 1
Crested Oropendola      10+
Yellow-billed Cacique   1
Yellow-crowned Redstart 3
White-lored Warbler     2
Santa Marta Warbler     4
Black Flowerpiercer     2
White-sided Flowerpiercer       4
Rust Flowerpiercer      1
Bay-headed Tanager      4
Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager    6
Crimson-backed Tanager  2
Buff-throated Saltator  3
Southern Yellow-Grosbeak        1
Santa Marta brush-Finch 18
Paramo Seedeater 1 male (oreophila)

That's it.  I ended up with 181 lifers, plus many more from likely future splits.

John Penhallurick
Canberra, Australia
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