Central and Eastern Andes – a jewel for biodiversity
By Daniel Fernando López Martínez
The Colombian Andes is home to a diverse range of bird species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Paramo, subparamo, Andean Forest (Cloud Forest) and Humid Tropical Forest,a small portion of Colombia with amazing landscapes and beautiful colorfully birds. This short tour had its development in two branches of the Colombian Andes, Central and Eastern Andes, which were exactly what our clients; Cheryl and Bruce wanted. They wanted to see some particular families of birds while they enjoyed the landscape and walk among nature.
Cheryl and Bruce arrived on January 16 around 2:00 am, so This first day we were traveling, with our driver Fredy, at 7:00 am to Chingaza, located in the Eastern Mountain Range, more than 3000 meters above the sea level, a Natural Park located at the North East of Bogotá, just a couple of hours from this city we found a beautiful Sub-paramo and paramo ecosystem, different types of Ericaceas, Asteraceas, Orquids, Espeletias, etc., were surrouding us all the morning, while we were looking for some special birds.
So, we started our Birding activity watching beautiful Muisca Antpitta and then an amazing Mixing Flock with Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Golden-fronted Redstart, Rufous-browed Conebill, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-headed Hemispingus and some other birds. Was a really good Beginning. It was a nice day, and we could find some other interesting birds during the day as: Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, etc. Then after the lunch we went to the Hummingbirds observatory looking for its specialties, for instance: Black-tailed Trainbearer, Tyrian Metaltail, Glowing Puffleg, Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, etc. Around 7:00 pm Cheryl and Bruce were relaxing in them hotel.
On this day we were on the road at 5:00 am, our first place to visit was La Florida Park, mainly looking for the Bogota Rail, but that doesn’t mean there aren´t more birds in the place,we could find some other birds, for instance: Yellow-hooded Balckbird, among other birds. Then we arrived at the Tabacal Laggon, located at La Vega/Cundinamarca, nearby Bogotá at 9:00 am, a beautiful humid tropical Forest where we could enjoy watching different animals, as: Colombian Slider, Yellow-spotted River Turtle, White-bearded Manakin, Bay-headed Tanager, Crimson-rumped Tanager, Rufous.Capped Warbler, etc.
The Enchanted Garden was our last place in this day, we enjoyed around one hour watching the jewels into this place, Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Gorgeted Woodstar were some of the stars in that show. Then we started our trip to El Dorado Airport in Bogotá, we traveled to Pereira to the Hotel Sonesta. We suffered some delay in our flight, then we had a good dinner in the Airport with a nice talk about the day, the birds we saw and other subjects. Finally we were lying in bed at 11:00 pm.
On this day we went to Otún Quimbaya Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, at 8:30 am we were looking for the first bird, Torrent Duck then we were doing birding until 1:00 pm and we could find nice birds, for instance: Wattle Guan, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Green Jay, Cauca Guan, Moustached Puffbird, etc. Then after Lunch we traveled to Manizales, in this city, at the country side, we stayed in a place called Hacienda el Bosque, Dinner at 6:30 pm, then we were resting at 7:30 pm.
Dawn at Hacienda el Bosque and we were having breakfast at 7:00 pm; a group of 8 people joined to us in this morning of birding. So the first appointment was at 7:45 am in the Equatorial Antpitta Feeder, while we waited for this species, White-browed Spinetail, Pearled Treerunner and Gray-browed Brushfinch made their appearance, then we continued with the Crescent-faced Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, Slaty Brushfinch, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Collared Inca, Tyrian Metaltail, Mountain Velvet-Breast, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, etc., succesfully. We had lunch at the same place, then we went to Termales el Ruiz, but a strong rain started and it went until 5:00 pm, at that time was to dark for our birders, so they decided to rest until dinner.
We were having breakfast at Termales el Ruiz at 6:30 am, and our birding day began. Looking for the Paramo Birds we could find: Buffy Helmetcrest, Viridian Metaltail, White-chinned Thistletail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Pale-naped Brushfinch, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, etc. After lunch we did some birding around the Hotel and we could see: Shinning Hummingbird, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Balck-crested Warbler. Lacrymose Mountain-Tanager, Golden-fronted Redstart, etc.
This day we got up early at Termales el Ruiz, but this time we had to be at El Color de mi Rêves, we had to meet another driver at 6:30 am, 40 minutes away the lodge, because the car to go there has to be taller with bigger wheels, since the begining is an adventure to go there. Then, we had breakfast and lunch at these place and we enjoyed seeing: Bicolored Antpitta, Blue-and-Black Tanager, Green-And-Black Fruiteater, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Powerful Woodpecker, Masked trogon, Long-tailed Sylph, etc. In the afternoon, we left the clients in Pereira in the Sazagua Hotel.