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9 - 15 November 1998

by Ottavio Janni

On Nov. 8-15 I traveled to Bogotà, Colombia for work. I did not have much time to bird during the week but managed quick visits to Parque la Florida and Quinta de Bolivar. I had Saturday off and used it to go birding with two local young birders, Juan David Amaya and Jairo Montes. I had some bird-finding information courtesy of Paul Salaman. Here's a quick trip report:

Quinta de Bolivar:

I had a bit of free time Thrusday afternoon and decided to spend it here (about an hour between 2 and 3 PM). This is a historical house with a small flower garden in eastern Bogotà (Calle 20, No. 3-23 este), easily accessible by cab as it is close to the center. Bird activity was low in the mid afternoon and I was a bit disappointed at dipping on Blue-throated Starfrontlet and Coppery Puffleg (though I later found out they have not been seen here recently), but I enjoyed the place and saw a few neat birds:
Andean Siskin  (Carduelis spinescens)
Yellow-backed Oriole  (Icterus chrysata)
Black/Glossy Flowerpiercer  (Diglossa humeralis/lafresnayi) 
Rufous-collared Sparrow  (Zonotrichia capensis)
Great Thrush  (Turdus fuscater)
White-throated Tyrannulet  (Mecocerculus leucophrys)
Bay-breasted Warbler  (Dendroica castanea)
Blackburnian Warbler  (D. fusca)
House Wren  (Troglodytes aedon)
Eared Dove  (Zenaida auriculata)
Green-tailed Trainbearer  (Lesbia nuna)
Sparkling Violet-ear  (Colibri coruscans)
Red-eyed Vireo  (Vireo olivaceus)

Parque La Florida

This small marsh on the outskirts of Bogotà (near the airport) is known as a site for the endemic Bogotà Rail and Apolinar's Wren. I had originally tried to take a cab there early Wednesday morning, but underestimated how bad the traffic would be , and as one road to get there was blocked I headed back as I would have been late for work. On Friday some of the people I was working with were kind enough to give me a ride in mid-morning, so I managed to spend about an hour here 10 to 11 AM. I spent most of the time past the entrance to the park, after coming to a T-junction making a left (following the sign for the golf course). Dipped on the wren (supposed to be very hard to find unless one visits the site at dawn) but managed good looks at Bogota Rail. According to Juan David and Jairo, there is a nearby wetland area known as La Conejera which is better than La Florida for both the wren and the rail. I don't have directions, but the cab driver I was with knew of it, so I don't think it would be too hard to access.

List for La Florida:
Andean Duck  (Oxyura ferruginea)
Blue-winged Teal  (Anas discors)
Cattle Egret  (Bubulcus ibis)
Bogota Rail  (Rallus semiplumbeus)
Common Moorhen  (Gallinula cholopus)
Am. Coot  (Fulica americana)
Eared Dove  (Zenaida auriculata)
Tropical Kingbird  (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Brown-bellied Swallow  (Notiochelidon murina)
Barn Swallow  (Hirundo rustica)
Yellow Warbler  (Dendroica petechia)
Northern Waterthrush  (Seirus novaborescenis)
Mourning Warbler  (Oporornis philadelphia)
Rufous-collared Sparrow  (Zonotrichia capensis)
Yellow-hooded Blackbird  (Agelaius icterocephalus)
Band-tailed Seedeater  (Cataemia analis)

Reserva Chicaque:

Saturday I had planned to go to Laguna de Pedropalo. Through Mauricio Alvarez (an ornithologist with Von Humboldt) I had gotten in touch with some young Bogota birders. One of them, Daniel Cadena, was not able to go out Saturday, but I went with two other birders, Juan David Amaya and Jairo Montes, who were really nice and a lot of fun to be in the field with. Unfortunately, it now seems that a permit is needed to visit Pedropalo (apparently a recent development, as Daniel Cadena had been turned away on a visit in October), and it was too late to ask for one. Instead, we went to a reserve nearby called Chicaque, which is supposed to have Black Inca but not (at least not yet) Turqouise Dacnis. I did not see Black Inca there which was disappointing, but the birding was very good nevertheless. The area is quite close to Bogota: one could take the road to La Mesa, exit at the turnoff for Soacha, and after a few km (if you get to Soacha you've come too far) there will be a big sign on the right for Chicaque, turn right on the dirt road and follow a km or two to the reserve entrace.

To head back to Bogota we drove to Soacha and drove into Bogota from there, so an alternative way to get to Chicaque would be to get to Soacha from Bogota then drive towards the La Mesa road until one saw the sign from Chicaque (1-2 km from Soacha) on the left. There is a 4.000 peso entance fee. The reserve had some very nice cloud forest, about 2600m elevation at the entrance and going down to about 2100m. The vegetation chancges very noticeably from the top to the bottom, and there is a small oak forest near the refugio (at the lower el.). Unfortunately I was in the lower elevations in late AM- early PM so activity was quite low (in contrast to the higher elevations), but most of the tangaras were seen in the oak forest. There is a refuge/restaurant there, charging 33.000 pesos for a room and three meals. On Saturday the area was crowded with high school/college kids and quite noisy, but the birding was very good and the area seems to have excellent potential, especially as the accomodations would put on directly in very good birding habitat. I am sure that is this reserve was an hour's drive from Quito instead of Bogotà it would be very popular with foreign birders. Here is my species list from birding there on Saturday 6:45 AM -2:30 PM (highlights in CAPS):
ANDEAN GUAN  (Penelope montagnii)
Squirrel Cuckoo  (Piaya cayana)
Ani sp.  (Crotophagus sp.)
Green Violet-ear  (Colibri thalassinus)
Sparkling Violet-ear  (C. coruscans)
Speckled Hummingbird  (Adeleomyia melanogenis)
Collared Inca  (Coeligena torquata)
Booted Rackettail  (Ocreatus underwoodii)
Green-tailed Trainbearer  (Lesbia nuna)
Crimson-backed Woodpecker  (Piculus rivolii)
Smoky-brown Woodpecker  (Venilornis fumigatus)
Montane Woodcreeper  (Lepidocolaptes affinus)
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL  (Campylorhynchus pusillus)
Azara's Spinetail  (Synallaxis azarae)
Rufous Spinetail  (S. unirufa)
Streaked Tuftedcheek  (Pseudocolaptes boissoneautii)
Montane Foliage-Gleaner  (Anabecerthia striaticollis)
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta  (Grallaria ruficapilla)
Green-and-black Fruiteater  (Pipreola riefferii)
Slaty-capped Flycatcher  (Leptopogon superciliaris)
Mountain Elaenia  (Elaenia frantzii)
White-throated Tyrannulet  (Mecocerculus leucophrys)
HANDSOME FLYCATCHER  (Myiphobus pulcher)
Cinnamon Flycatcher  (Pyrrhomyras cinnamomea)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher  (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
BLACK-COLLARED JAY  (Cyanolica armillata)
Brown-capped Vireo  (Vireo leucophrys)
Swainson's Thrush  (Catharus ustulatus)
Black-billed Thrush  (Turdus ignobilis)
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren  (Henicorhina leucophrys)
House Wren  (Troglodites aedon)
Blue-and-white Swallow  (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca)
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER  (Vermivora chrysoptera)
Blackburnian Warbler  (Dendroica fusca)
Canada Warbler  (Wilsonia canadensis)
Slate-throated Redstart  (Myiborus miniatus)
Citrine Warbler  (Basileuterus luteovirirdis)
Black-crested Warbler  (B. nigrocristatus)
Russet-crowned Warbler  (B. coronatus)
Three-striped Warbler  (B. tristriatus)
Rufous-collared Sparrow  (Zonotrichia capensis)
MOUSTACHED BRUSH-FINCH  (Atlapetes albofrenatus)
Stripe-headed Brush-Finch  (A. torquatus)
Common Bush-Tanager  (Chlorospingus ophtalmicus)
Blue-capped Tanager  (Thraupis cyanocephala)
Fawn-breasted Tanager  (Pipraedea melanota)
Summer Tanager  (Piranga rubra)
Blue-winged Mountain Tanager  (Anisognathus sumptuosus)
Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager  (Dubusia taeniata)
Scrub Tanager  (Tangara vitriolina) 
Blue-necked Tanager  (T. cyanicollis)
Golden-naped Tanager  (T. ruficervix)
Beryl-spangled Tanager  (T. nigroviridis)
Blue-and-black Tanager  (T. vassori)
Black-capped Tanager  (T. heinei)
White-sided Flowerpiercer  (Diglossa albilatera)
Black/Glossy Flowerpiercer  (D. humeralis/lafresnayii)
Masked Flowerpiercer  (D. cyanea)

In addition to the sightings above, I had a Peregrine over downtown Bogota (Carrera 13 and Calle 41) on Monday, and Rose-breasted Grosebeak outside my hotel Thursday.