19 Feb 2018

19 Feb 18 - Colombia: A Morning At Cerro Guadalupe

The alarms were set fractionally later on our second morning of Birding in Colombia, but still well before what any sane person would consider to be dawn. There was chance for a quick coffee in the hotel reception, as they had remembered to provide some this morning, before we jumped into the minibus for the forty five minute drive to Cerro Guadalupe. This is a windy road on the edge of Bogota & where we were to spend the morning Birding along the forested road edges. The Birding was from the road, but fortunately, there was little traffic along the road, as it's a dead-end road. Soon after first light, we saw some Guans sitting in the trees. They were Andean Guans, but the light wasn't great for photos. As the light improved, we saw more Andean Guans & they were closer for photos.
Andean Guan: These were the first of several parties of Andean Guans we were to see over the next week
As we walked along the road, we encountered a few Coppery-bellied Pufflegs: this was the only site we saw this near endemic which is restricted to the Colombian Eastern Andes & neighbouring Venezuela.
Coppery-bellied Puffleg: A cracking Hummer
As we continued Birding, we ran into a few small parties of Birds, including a couple of large & bulky Rufous Wrens. The road was a bit frustrating, as often there were banks on either side of the road above head height, so we were seeing some of the typically skulking species sitting partially concealed above our heads, before disappearing far too quickly. The views were fine, but it was a morning of struggling to get photos. But then I was also spending more time Birding & not worrying too much about using the camera.
It was tough habitat to see into & it was relatively quiet
Another scenery shot
After some time, some police showed up on motorbikes. They stopped close to us, before slowing following us at a distance. Brian walked over to have a chat them as he & Janos were our best Spanish speakers. I was expecting to be told that we weren't allowed to be Birding along the road and we had to leave. But the coppers kept their distance. Later, Brian said, they explained they would hang around as there had been problems with robberies along the road in the past, so they were going to keep an eye on us for our own good. They were friendly & quiet and it was reassuring having them around. It was nice to have my suspicions proved wrong.
Our guardians for the morning: While Brian & a couple of others were having a chat with the coppers, Welsh Birder Rob Hunt was leaving them to catch up with the rest of us
As we walked along the road, there were a few Band-tailed Pigeons flying around. Additionally, a smaller, medium-sized Bird flew over & perched on a distant tree. The scopes were brought into use, to confirm it was a Red-crested Cotinga. Like, the Andean Guan, it was a species I had seen before in Ecuador, but not for 18 & 20 years, respectively.
Red-crested Cotinga
We walked down to a nearby road junction, before exploring along that side road. There were one or two small trails into the forest & we managed to see a few other species in the bamboo thickets under the trees including a couple of Rufous Antpittas, a couple of White-browed Spinetails and an Agile Tit-tyrant. Back on the road, I saw my first Golden-fronted Whitestarts & a family party of Black-crested Warblers.
White-browed Spinetail: Bamboo can be really hard to photograph Birds in
 Agile Tit-tyrant
Agile Tit-tyrant
Golden-fronted Whitestart: This is the nominate ornatus subspecies. It was the only occasion we saw this subspecies, all the rest were the yellow-faced chrysops subspecies
Plushcap: This is a widespread South American species that I've only ever seen skulking in or near to Bamboo
Plushcap: I've rarely had clear views of Plushcaps, which is a pity as they look great
Black-crested Warbler: Adult
Black-crested Warbler: Juvenile. This juvenile was more of an identification challenge, until mum & dad appeared
A mixed flock produced my first Black-capped Hemispingus & Superciliared Hemispingus: both members of the large & colourful Tanager family.
Black-capped Hemispingus: This species occurs from Colombia & Western Venezuela and further South through Ecuador to Peru
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager: They have a similar range to the Black-capped Hemispingus
Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager: This is a large good-looking Tanager
Pale-naped Brush-finch
Butterfly sp.
By late morning, I had managed to see six Ticks, despite it seeming a fairly quiet morning. It was now very quiet & we returned to the minibus to head off to the afternoon destination of Parque la Florida (Florida Park). Another long, cross Bogota journey of around two hours.
Bogota: Looks like Health and Safety laws have made it to this suburb of Bogota