19 Feb 2018

19 Feb 18 - Colombia: Bogota Park Birding

After a couple of dull hours of driving across Bogota from Cerro Guadalupe, we arrived at our afternoon Birding spot: Parque La Florida. This area has a decent-sized lake with good marshy edges. There was a good selection of species breeding on reedy islands in the lake to keep us interested. None were Ticks, but several were species I hadn't seen for around fifteen years, as my last visits to South America had been back in 2002 (when I visited Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru & a brief visit to Chile) and 2004 (Eastern Brazil).
Eared Dove: This common South American Dove greeted our arrival
We reached the lake's shoreline after a few minutes of walking.
American Coot: This is the columbiana subspecies of American Coot which occurs in Colombia & Northern Ecuador
American Coot: Unlike, its Northern relative it has this distinctive coloured bill & red-coloured shield
American Coot: This is what the Northern americana subspecies which occurs from Canada & America down to Costa Rica & the Caribbean (Andree Clark bird Refuge, California 20 Nov 14)
Spot-flanked Gallinule: There were also a couple of shy Spot-flanked Gallinules around the reed edge, but they quickly disappeared as soon as they realised they had been seen
Bare-faced Ibis: This widespread South American species occurs from Colombia as far South as Bolivia & NE Argentina
Southern Lapwing: This is another common South America species
Southern Lapwing: They were fairly common at Parque La Florida
There were several large islands of reeds close to the shore on our side of the lake, protected by watery ditches, with a few Yellow-hooded Blackbirds holding territory.
Yellow-hooded Blackbird: This isn't a Thrush, but an Icterid: one of the New World Oriole family
We ended up at the left-hand end of the lake, where we could watch over a large area of marsh with a small channel running through it. There was a good selection of species including Blue-winged Teals, American Coots, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers.
The channel at the left-hand end of the lake
Blue-winged Teal: Female (left) and two males with an American Coot
Solitary Sandpiper
As we waited, we had the occasional views of a couple of Bogota Rails: our main target species for the afternoon. They looked similar to my local Water Rails, but they have a very different call. They have a limited range in the Eastern Andes of Central Colombia.
Bogota Rail: One occasionally appeared out of the reeds along the channel near these Blue-winged Teals and American Coot, but quickly disappeared back into the reeds again
Bogota Rail: They also act like Water Rails (which are not found in the New World)
We got caught in a massive traffic jam as we returned to the hotel in Bogota. Just as it looked like we might arrive at a reasonable time, the minibus broke down on bridged section of three lane dual carriageway. There was nowhere for us to stand safely & it was far from a safe place to have broken down. The driver asked us to get off the minibus as he tried to change the tyre next to lane of traffic. As it was even more dangerous for him, I ended up walking back about 50 metres along the road and started directing traffic out of our lane, as cars were trying to race up our lane as other cars were moving into the central lane. A combination of mad gringo, with a few international-recognised hand signs for those behaving or misbehaving. We were all relieved to hear the minibus driver had managed to change the tyre & we could get going again.
Brian: Taking the advantage of the hotel menu that evening to give us an ad-hoc Mark Knopfler impression