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...back to our trip reports

 
C O L O M B I A
 
     
18 December 2012 - 07 January 2013
 

   

Introduction:

Making the decision to go birding in Colombia is easy for any birder – with the highest bird species count of any country on the planet, it is an absolute necessity for any keen world birder to visit there. Although it had been off limits for international travellers for a number of decades, it had recently opened up and many areas were now considered safe to travel in again. Once again, we travelled with our friends, Alvin and Flick Cope, to this wonderful country for 3 weeks of amazing biodiversity exploration.

Overview:

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is situated in the north-west corner of South America, bordered to the north-west by Panama, to the east by Venezuela and Brazil and to the south by Ecuador and Peru and it also shares maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti. With a population of just over 46 million people, 7,5 million of these live in the country’s capital, Bogota. At just over 1,14 million km2, it is the only South American country with coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Three mighty north-south Andean cordilleras separate the western coastal lowlands from the almost empty eastern jungles, with 54% of Colombia's land but only 3% of the people. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, lagging only after Brazil which is approximately 7 times bigger. It also has the highest rate of species by area unit worldwide as well as the largest number of endemism (species that are not found naturally anywhere else) of any country in the world.

Our trip at a glance:

Tour organisers: Rockjumper Birding Tours (www.rockjumperbirding.com)
Participants: Trevor and Margaret Hardaker and Alvin and Flick Cope
Local guides: Trevor Ellery and Avery Bartels

   
Our group from left to right: Margaret, Trevor, Alvin, Flick and Avery Bartels Our guides, Avery Bartels and Trevor Ellery
   

Daily outlines:

18 December 2012

Flight from Cape Town via Johannesburg and Sao Paulo to Bogota. Birding pm at Chicaque. Overnight in Bogota at Hotel Chico.

19 December 2012

Full day birding at Chingaza National Park and some local wetlands. Overnight in Bogota at Hotel Chico.

20 December 2012

Morning birding at La Florida golf course. Mid morning flight from Bogota to Riohacha. Afternoon birding at Los Flamencos National Park. Overnight in Riohacha at Hotel Majayura.

21 December 2012

Birding until after lunch at various sites in Los Flamencos National Park. Drive through to El Valle for late afternoon birding. After dark, drive to Minca and overnight at Hotel Minca.

   
Birding at Chicaque Birding at Chingaza National Park
   
Birding at La Florida Golf Course Birding at Los Flamencos National Park
   

22 December 2012

Morning birding around the foothills of Minca. Back to Hotel Minca for lunch and to spend some time around the hummingbird feeders. Afternoon drive up to Eldorado Reserve birding en route and late afternoon birding at the feeders at Eldorado Lodge. Overnight at Eldorado Lodge.

23 December 2012

Full day birding in Eldorado Reserve in Santa Marta Mountains. Overnight at Eldorado Lodge.

24 December 2012

Full day birding in Eldorado Reserve in Santa Marta Mountains. Overnight at Eldorado Lodge.

25 December 2012

Morning birding in Eldorado Reserve in Santa Marta Mountains. After lunch, drive down to Minca birding en route. Overnight at Hotel Minca.

     
Birding around Minca Birding around Eldorado Lodge
   
Birding in the Santa Marta Mountains Getting up close and personal with hummingbirds at Eldorado Lodge
   

26 December 2012

Morning birding at Salamanca. Drive to Santa Marta. Early afternoon flight from Santa Marta to Medellin. Drive to Arrierito Reserve and overnight at reserve lodge.

27 December 2012

Full day birding in Arrierito Reserve. Overnight at reserve lodge.

28 December 2012

Full day birding in Arrierito Reserve. Overnight at reserve lodge.

29 December 2012

Morning birding in foothills below Arrierito Reserve. Drive through Cauca Valley with birding en route to Medellin with late afternoon birding at La Romera Ecopark. Overnight at Hotel Extramadura in Medellin.

     
Birding at Salamanca Birding at Arrierito Reserve
   
Birding at Arrierito Reserve Birding at La Romera Ecopark
   

30 December 2012

Morning birding at La Romera Ecopark. Drive to Las Tangaras Reserve birding en route and late afternoon birding around lodge feeders. Overnight at reserve lodge.

31 December 2012

Full day birding in Las Tangaras Reserve. Overnight at reserve lodge.

01 January 2013

Full day birding in Las Tangaras Reserve. Overnight at reserve lodge.

02 January 2013

Morning birding at La Em. Drive to Colibri del Sol Reserve and then 2 hour horse ride up to lodge. Late afternoon birding around lodge feeders. Overnight at reserve lodge.

     
Enjoying the feeders at Las Tangaras Lodge Birding at Las Tangaras Reserve
   
Birding at Las Tangaras Reserve Horse ride up to Colibri del Sol Lodge
   

03 January 2013

Full day birding at Colibri del Sol Reserve including more horse rides. Overnight at reserve lodge.

04 January 2013

Morning birding at Colibri del Sol Reserve and then horse ride down to meet vehicles. Drive to Jardin and late afternoon birding at Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek. Overnight at Hotel Balandu in Jardin.

05 January 2013

Full day birding at Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve in Jardin. Overnight at Hotel Balandu.

06 January 2013

Morning birding around Jardin. Drive back via Cauca Valley birding en route to Medellin. Afternoon flight from Medellin to Bogota. Overnight at Hotel Santafe Real.

07 January 2013

International flight from Bogota via Sao Paulo and Johannesburg back to Cape Town.

     
Birding at Colibri del Sol Reserve Birding from horseback at Colibri del Sol Reserve
   
Birding at the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve Birding around Jardin
   

Conclusion:

Although we recorded over 560 bird species in the 20 days that we spent birding in the country, we really only touched on a very small portion of the available birds. We just never had enough time to cover all the habitats and spent virtually no time in lowland forests, so there is still plenty left to see and we almost certainly will be back to take in more of the awesome biodiversity destination...

Link to full list of species recorded on the trip