Monday, 23 November 2009

Birding Bogota - Day One

Bogota from the Northern Hills

Our first full day birding, starting at 05-30, could be described as a little like the Curate's Egg - good in parts. Bogota is built in a natural bowl surrounded on all side by big hills and our first destination,Cerro Guadalupe, was to the west. Here at some altitude the low cloud was dropping moisture and there wasn't a bird to be heard, let alone seen. Our guides, Steve Bird, Gina Nichol and local expert Carl Downing described the early situation as unheard of. It was a full 2 hours before we even identified a bird, even the so called ever present Great Thrush were nowhere to be seen. By now the light rain had ceased and the sun was trying to get through as we looked on our first 'lifer' a Glowing Puffleg. Photographing was tried but everything was against this, so we waited and soon were blessed by Coppery Puffleg and Sparkling Violetear. Next came the tiny and none to common Tyrian Metaltail making it 4 Hummingbirds in a row. Next we managed to find a Black-crested Warbler that was not very obliging, but we were able to redress this later with some good views. A most striking Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager showed next along with Ash-coloured Tapaculo and as we made our way back down the hill we found the elusive and endemic Mattoral Tapaculo said to be showing well for this 'mouse like' little bird.

Keeping in with the Local Police

Next we hit the Tomine Gravel Pit some 30 minutes down the road, in search of our next endemic, we didn't have to wait long. As we headed to the watercourse several Eastern Meadow Larks, mostly in song, were seen, followed by Merida and Blue-winged Teal, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe and White-tailed Kite, recently split from Black-shouldered. We then picked up the first of what was to be about a dozen Spot-flanked Gallinule and then the subject of our quest. Bogota Rail is considered rare and declining in numbers but we probably saw 6 at rthis site. Before leaving we put up 4 Noble Snipe a welcome addition to the list. It was then a 11/2 hour drive to the next destination, Lake Fuquene where almost immediately we picked up Apolinar's Marsh Wren, another endemic and the Bogota sub-species of Least Bittern.

Spot-flanked Gallinule
Bogota Rail
Apolinar's Marsh Wren
Least Bittern

1 comment:

  1. Really glad you arrived OK Dad. You've only been gone 2 minutes and you appear to have done loads already - in typical daddykins fashion! I'm now a follower so hope to pop in it every day to keep up with your adventure. Spoke to Lisa for quite a while last night. They're getting Fred christened on Sun 6th Dec. They're all well, and Bern returns home today after his week away, so Lisa & Fred are really thrilled. Love you loads, have fun LisJu xxxx