21 Feb 2018

21 Feb 18 - Colombia: Colour At The Canon Combeima River

The following morning saw a slightly longer lie-in, but we were still leaving the hotel around an hour before dawn for the nearby Canon Combeima River. We parked near to a bridge over the fast-flowing river & had a quick snack for breakfast as it was getting light.
The view over the fields from the main track
Looking towards the river
Bare-faced Ibis: This individual was showing off how it could sit on this narrow cable
One of the locals
Our main target species at this site was Tolima Blossomcrown, one of the endemic Hummingbirds. Initially, there was no Hummingbird activity. After a while the Hummingbirds started to appear, but after an hour of Hummingbird activity, there had been no sign of any Tolima Blossomcrowns.
Bronzy Inca: At least this Hummer came into the red flowers used on previous trips by Tolima Blossomcrowns
Some of us spread out along the road to check other patches of flowers, but to be honest there were other temptations.
Highland Motmot: This is a species I've missed on my three trips to Ecuador, so I was pleased to have finally seen it, especially as, Motmots are one of my favourite Neotropical families
Highland Motmot: They are also known as Andean Motmot & occur from on the Eastern & Central Andes of Colombia to Eastern Ecuador & Peru
Highland Motmot
Highland Motmot: It's fairly obvious why I think Motmots are gorgeous
Green Jay: Green Jays occur from the Southern Texan borders to Guatemala & Honduras. There is a second population range from Colombia to Venezuela, through to Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia which is sometimes split as Inca Jay (albeit the Clements checklist hasn't split it yet). This is a fairly common, but great looking species
I wasn't straying too far from the group in case a Tolima Blossomcrown appeared, but every time I returned, the news was still negative. I was returning from another wander towards the river, when I picked up a Hummingbird feeding on small blue flowers in the middle of the field: Tolima Blossomcrown. Unfortunately, by the time I had returned to the group to tell Janos, it had disappeared. But at least, we had figured out why it wasn't coming to the large patches of red flowers it had been feeding on in previous years. Over the next hour, we saw it return to the blue flowers in the field on several occasions. The problem was these flowers were scattered throughout two fields and the Tolima Blossomcrown, was only spending short periods of time with a group of flowers, before flying 20 metres to check out another group, before rapidly disappearing for long periods. With this behaviour, it is not surprising that none of us managed to get any photos. Having had better views than most, I wandered back to have a look along the river, while some of the group were still trying to get views of the Tolima Blossomcrown.
The river looked good
Another shot of the river
There were a pair of White-capped Dippers on the river. Initially, they were tricky to get close to them, but eventually one became a bit more cooperative.
White-capped Dipper: They occur from Colombia to Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia
White-capped Dipper: Like all Dipper species, they were great to watch
White-capped Dipper: The second Family Photo Tick of the day
Torrent Tyrannulet: Not everything was brightly coloured
The next stop was further up the river valley where we spent a couple of hours walking back along the track through great forest back towards the river bridge.
Looking back down the valley
We had another two key target species here: Tolima Dove & Yellow-headed Brush-finch. The former species proved uncooperative & most of us who saw it, only had brief views. The latter species showed better, albeit never particularly close.
Yellow-headed Brush-finch: Another Colombian endemic seen
Booted Racket-tail: female
Montane Foliage-gleaner
Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant: Tody-tyrants are one of my favourite groups of Tyrant-flycatchers. They all have great character & once located, will remain stationary for some time, whilst looking around their next meal
Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrant: They occur from Colombia & Venezuela to Ecuador & Northern Peru
It was finally time to get back in the minibus as we were driving for most of the rest of the day. But we had a short & hot stop at a nearby farm en route, Finca El Palmar. This was a dry & arid site where we were hoping to connect with Velvet-fronted Euphonia. We didn't see it. While it is an endemic, it doesn't look a massively different to most of the other blue & yellow-coloured Euphonias.
This local showed that there were cheaper ways to get around the country
Scrub Greenlet: This was the final Tick of the day for me & my third Family Photo Tick for the day
Lizard sp.
The rest of the day & the early evening was spent driving to the Otun-Quinbaya reserve. It was raining when we arrived in the dark.