Whos keeping an eye on me....

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Colombia 2015 - Pt 2 Western Andes Lower Elevations

Not quite the early start that we endured the previous day as we only had half the mountain to drive this morning. We would then walk down the Montezuma road from mid to lower elevations.
On a warm and dry morning the first bird located on the way up was a White Throated Quail-Dove on the track. We stopped at a clearing where we picked up some of the more common species, White sided Flowerpiecer, Violet Tailed Sylph, Empress Brilliant, Handsome Flycatchers and Slate Throated Redstarts., as well as Endemics such as this Gold Ringed Tanager.
Gold Ringed Tanager

I caught sight of a Black and Gold Tanager sat out in the open, I called everyone back but unfortunately it flew before anyone could get on it. Walking down the hill for the next 500 mtrs the others had put doubt in my mind, I started to think maybe it wasn't as we had seen plenty of the Lachrymose Mountain-Tanagers, I was convinced that I didn't see the yellow cheek markings, anyway no need to ponder as I picked up another pair of the Black & Gold Tanagers that everyone got onto and re assured myself of what I had actually seen  ten minutes before.

A stop for breakfast in the shade re charged the batteries before we set off on a day where I ended up with dozens of lifers with some incredible birds.
 Breakfast on the Montezuma Road (Chris, Robin, Jose and Fernando)

Yellow Rumped Woodpecker (this was the first of the day for Noah's big year total)
a whole host of species were seen, Glistening Green , Purplish Mantled, Golden, Beryl Spangled Tanagers, Blackburnian, Three Striped Warblers, Handsome Flycatcher, Black Chinned Mountain-Tanager, the incredibly beautiful Chestnut Breasted Chlorophonia again! and this target that we had missed the day before....
 Black Solitaire

A we walked down we passed dozens of Columbian Squaddies as they yomped the 14 kilometres up the mountain with 80 kgs on the back.... glad I was walking down hill.
One squaddie takes an interest in the birds, "good on yer fella!"

Birds from every angle - Empress Brilliant, White Bellied Woodstar, Greenish Puffleg, Brown Inca, Velvet Purple Coronet, Violet Tailed Sylph, Dusky Bush-Tanager and although fairly common this Cinnamon Flycatcher, its still one of my favourites..... as well as plenty of others.

Cinnamon Flycatcher

Orange Breasted Fruiteater

Rufous Throated Tanager

Fernando logs this Lizard species

The flora wasn't to bad either with this incredible Dracula Orchid

this is a bird world - Spanish message on the Montezuma Road

We were still missing a few target species and we were fortunate enough to have what turned out to be an incredible ten minutes of birding.
First Fernando found us an Olivaceous Piha (Noah's Target bird for the day), then add Toucan Barbet (which gave us the run around for a while), Tricolored Brush-Finch, Scaly Throated Foliage-Gleaner, Uniform Treerunner, Lineated Foliage Gleaner, Scale crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and the as yet un-described Alto Pistone Tapaculo..... I am reading my notes now  as I type this up and am thinking that was a memorable moment of the trip. I walked down the hill with more than a handful of lifers and a beaming big grin..... happy days.

Things had to calm down a touch so Noah takes time out to do some photography

After lunch we went in search of the Creasted Ant-Tanager.  It responded to the tape but wouldn't come in, Noah went after it  and his perseverance paid off as ten minutes later he came out of the darkness with a smile and record shot. He was happy for now.

Noah in search of the Crested Ant-Tanager

A short while later we stumbled across a small waterfall and Fernando noticed a nest hanging in front of the waterfall attached to a single Vine. In the distance we then heard and saw movement of a Crested Ant-Tanager..... then 2,3,4....... eventually 7 came out and flew across our path and away. So glad I didn't follow Noah up that hill a short while before.
I still had a target to get and Jose made sure we got it. We stopped at the river for about 15 minutes and waited for a White Capped Dipper.

Eighty Eight butterfly takes a drink near the river

As we neared the Lodge we bumped into this Field Research team. 

during the day they had ringed a Pavonine Cuckoo, unfortunately for us it wasn't still in the area as it didn't respond to tape but we were able to get close to this Tawny Throated Leaf-Tosser

We managed plenty of other "wild" birds before we got back to the lodge, Parkers Antbird, Ochre Breasted Tanager, White Winged Becard, Slaty Antwren, Red-faced Spinetail, Buff fronted Foliage-gleaner, Plain Xenops, Yellow Breasted Antwren, Lemon Browed Flycatcher, Red headed Barbet, Slaty Capped Shrike-vireo, a flock of Bronze-Winged Parrots and this Ornate Flycatcher amongst many others.
Back at the lodge we had time to watch the array of Hummingbirds at the feeders, as well as Euphonias, Seedeaers, Tanagers a Green Honeycreeper and yet still had time to look for and find a Blackish Rail.......
A great end to a fantastic days birding.
Tomorrow we leave the Western Andes and head for the Central Andes and the Lodge at Rio Blanco.
The view of the Western Andes as we left and headed to Rio Blanco


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

House sparrow, blackbird and small white on my list today. Think I'll give up now, in the face of such wonderful content!

Dave said...

Simon, Kind words indeed and much appreciated, however after a trip like this my beloved back garden hasn't reignited the appetite yet.... too much to take in and catch up on. Wait for part 3 - it was truly one of the the best experiences I have ever had while watching birds.....


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

What an amazing trip and you saw so many outstanding bird species. Thanks for sharing.

Stuart Oswald said...

Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing.