Day 1: Arrive in Bogota. Night in Bogota
Guests will arrive in Bogota and be transferred to the hotel. Your tour leader will meet you at the airport and begin talking about the birding adventure you are about to embark on
Lodging Le Manoir
Day 2: Chicaque Reserve. Night in Bogota
Only thirty minutes from Bogota, Chicaque Natural Park is a privately owned reserve that boasts 19 km (12 miles) of trails that wind through vast and gorgeous cloud forest habitat. Crystalline creeks and pristine habitats are impressive considering the reserve’s proximity to one of the busiest cities in South America. With more than 250 species of birds, some of the endemic targets of the area are Black Inca and the beautiful Turquoise Dacnis. Andean Guan are easy to spot along the trail and Tanagers abound in the area, including Grass-green, Flame-faced, and Metallic-green.
Lodging Le Manoir
Day 3: Chingaza National Park. Night in Bogota
We will rise early and make our way to the high elevation Chingaza National Park, passing through the town of La Calera. Birding within the park will surely yield many endemics and specialties, and this is our chance to experience the unique Colombian Paramo. Some of our targets will be the rare Blackheaded Hemispingus, Rufous and Undulated Antpitta, and the near endemic Rufous-browed Conebill. For those that have an affinity for hummingbirds, there will be chances to view the dazzling Bearded Helmetcrest, Coppery-bellied and Glowing Puffleg, Amethyst-throated Sunangel and the near endemic Blue-throated Starfrontlet.
Two other endemics on our target list include Silver-throated Spinetail and Pale-bellied Tapaculo. An encounter with a mixed flock could yield Buffbreasted Mountain-Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Plushcap and the noisy Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager. The uncommon and endemic Brown-breasted Parakeet is also a possibility as next boxes have been set up within the park. Lodging Le Manoir
Day 4: Jardin Encantado, La Florida Wetlands
and flight to Barranquilla. Night in Barranquilla
Enchanted Gardens is a private residence with an impressive feeder setup. The main target is the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird, as they visit the feeders regularly. More than 25 species may use these feeders, some only briefly, others nearly year-round. Possible species include White-bellied Woodstar, Green Hermit, Black-throated Mango, White-necked Jacobin, White-vented Plumeteer, Andean Emerald, and with good luck Gorgeted Woodstar.
After lunch we will head on a mission to find waterfowl in La Florida Wetlands, including the endemic Bogotá Rail, the rare Noble Snipe, Andean Teal, Masked and Ruddy Duck and the localized Spot-flanked Gallinule. We will the take a short drive to the airport to catch flights to Barranquilla.
Hampton by Hilton
Day 5: Isla Salamanca and travel to Minca. Night
We will rise early and spend the morning birding at Isla Salamanca National Park, 15 minutes from Barranquilla, where we will bird the newly rebuilt walkways through the mangroves in search of the endemic saphire-bellied hummingbird, the common brown-throated parakeet, green-and-rufous kingfisher, and yellow-chinned spinetail among many others. After a morning of birding we will embark on a 2-hour drive to Minca, a quaint little town with nice lodging along the river. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca is a great location to bird for lower elevation species. We will arrive in town and visit some hummingbird feeders for lunch where Rufous-breasted Hermit, Black-throated Mango, Long-billed starthroat, Santa Marta Woodstar, Red-billed emerald and violet-crowned woodnymph can be found. We will also have time to explore the surroundings in search of birds such as Black-backed Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Keel-billed Toucan, Masked Tityra, and Whooping Motmot.
Lodging Sierras Sound
Day 6: Minca to El Dorado Lodge. Night at El Dorado Lodge
This day will have us birding through a big altitudinal gradient, starting from the foothills around the town of Minca, and moving into the intermediate levels around El Dorado Lodge. Birding across a vast altitudinal gradient will surely yield a large number of species, including Golden-winged Sparrow, Rosy Thrush-tanager, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, the recently described Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Black-backed Antshrike, the magnificently colored Blue-naped Chlorophonia, and the attractive Rufouscapped Warbler. We will have a picnic on the way up the hill and arrive at the lodge in time for dinner.
El Dorado Lodge
Day 7: El Dorado to Cerro Kennedy. Night at El
We will rise early and head up to higher elevations towards Cerro Kennedy, in search of these endemics: Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, Santa Marta Bush-tyrant and Brown-rumped Tapaculo, among many others. We will have a picnic at high elevation with great views of the Sierra Nevada, and bird along the road on our way down, hoping to run into awe inspiring species such as Swallow Tanager, Grovebilled and Santa Marta Toucanet, Black-chested Jay, White-bellied Antbird and the near endemic Whitetipped quetzal. After dinner we will certainly scout for the endemic and recently described Santa Marta Screech-owl.
El Dorado Lodge
Day 8: Birding in the vicinity of El Dorado. Night
at El Dorado Lodge
We will spend the morning birding above the lodge in search of any targets we may have missed, and will do the same on the road down to Minca. We will arrive in time to relax at our creek side hotel.
El Dorado Lodge
Day 9: El Dorado to Minca. Night in Minca
Two full days at the reserve will allow us to enjoy the well-maintained feeders that attract a myriad of fruit-eating species, a true festival of Tanagers. Species we will spend the day looking for include Pavonine Cuckoo, Blackish Rail, Russet-crowned Crake, Lyre-tailed Nightjar. For the hummingbird lovers Green-fronted Lancebill and Greenish Puffleg will be a pleasure to find.
The possibilities for great birds are countless, so we will also hope to see Lanceolated Monklet, Brown-billed Scythebill, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Golden-winged Manakin, Moustached Puffbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Northern White-crowned Tapaculo, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater.
Lodging Sierras Sound
Day 10: Minca to Riohacha. Night in Riohacha
This day we will head northeast along the Caribbean coast and into La Guajira Peninsula, birding the foothills of the Santa Marta Mountains, lush forests of Tayrona National Park, and dry forests and scrubland just before reaching the city of Riohacha at the end of the day. The Peninsula will surely yield great species, and is incredibly bird-rich area in spite of the limited annual precipitation. The many nice birds, combined with plenty of sunlight and rather open views even within the dense thickets and shrubs, will provide with excellent photo opportunities and surely great birding.
In Colombia, lowlands are certainly not as diverse as mountains, but in this case we will be dealing with species that live “isolated” in the dry peninsula, many of them shared only with neighboring Venezuela. Near-endemics that we will look for include the beautiful white-whiskered Spinetail, Buffy Hummingbird, the scarce Chestnut Piculet, the rather uncommon Black-billed Flycatcher and the abundant Slender-billed Inezia.
Most certainly we will enjoy the beautiful vermillion cardinal and we will be very attentive for a good view of the astonishing Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. Also nice to see are Bare-eyed Pigeon and Pale-legged Hornero.
Day 11: Los Flamencos National Park. Flight to
Bogota. Night in Bogota
We will leave Riohacha with our luggage packed and head to Los Flamencos, which is approximmately 15 minutes from Riohacha. We will have an early start in order to be there right after sunrise to beat the heat. The park has a large wetland with great variety of aquatic and riparian habitats, so we will explore these in search of American Famingo, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill and the mindboggling Scarlet Ibis. Along the shores we will look for Capped Heron, Magnificent Frigatebird, Tricolored Heron and Semipalmated & Wilson’s plover.
We will then bird the most interesting habitat of the area, our targets being Green-rumped Parrotlet, Vermilion Cardinal, Tocuyo Sparrow, Glaucous Tanager, White-fringed Antwren, Trinidad Euphonia, Yellow Oriole and Grayish Saltator among many others. With luck we will get closeup views of Doublestriped Thick-knee and Blue-crowned Parakeets. After a long morning of birding we will drive to Santa Marta for our flights to Bogota.
Hotel Le Manoir
Day 12: Flights Home
Guests will be taken to the airport to catch flights home.