25 Feb 2018

25 Feb 18 - Colombia: Punks On The Paramo

It was a very early pre-dawn alarm call as we had to up at the paramo at first light: we only just made it. The plan was to be at some roadside cliffs looking for the endemic Rufous-fronted Parakeets. We had only just got out of the minibus when four flew out of their roost on the cliffs. Fortunately, we saw another thirteen in flight towards the end of the morning, but I didn't manage to get any worthwhile photos.
Rufous-fronted Parakeet: The light was too poor for any photos, so here is a photo from the park sign board
With the endemic high altitude Rufous-fronted Parakeet seen, we were back in the minibus to continue to the park entrance gate at over 4000 metres. It was a cold, overcast & misty morning, but the heavy duty down jacket I had bought for the initial part of the Atlantic Odyssey proved perfect.
The Nevado del Ruiz park entrance
The park entrance
There was a nice flowery garden outside the main office: Unfortunately, there was also an awkward jobsworth who was just as annoying to his colleagues as he was to us & who objected to us looking at the Hummers using these flowers
One of these would have been very nice: We did spend some time looking on hillsides, but with no success
It didn't take long to find a male Buffy Helmetcrest. But it did take some time to get some good photos, but it was worth the effort.
Buffy Helmetcrest: This must be one of the best looking of the Central Andean Colombian endemics
Buffy Helmetcrest
Buffy Helmetcrest
Buffy Helmetcrest: Superb
Brown-backed Chat-tyrant: Another Andean species which occurs from Colombia & Venezuela to Peru & Bolivia
Stout-billed Cinclodes: This species occurs in the Andes of Colombia & Ecuador
Stout-billed Cinclodes: There were a few around
Stout-billed Cinclodes: Most of the Cinclodes species have wing bars
Plumbeous Sierra-finch: Male. They occur from Colombia & West Venezuela along the full length of the Andes to Chile & Argentina
Glossy Flower-piercer
Rufous-collared Sparrow: A very widespread Neotropical species. But looks like somebody is studying this local population, given the rings
Paramo lake: We had a quick look on this Paramo lake before we left. There were a few Andean Teal & Andean Ducks, but not much else
Finally, we had had our fill of the Buffy Helmetcrest & it was time to drop down in elevation. We had time for a final walk along the road, where the highlight was good views of a Red-crested Cotinga. We had seen a couple of distant individuals at Cerro Guadalupe, so, it was good to get better views.
Red-crested Cotinga: No prizes for guessing how it gets its name
Viridian Metaltail
Plain-coloured Seedeater: This species occurs from Colombia & Venezuela along the full length of the Andes to Chile & Argentina
It was time to move on for lunch & early afternoon treats at our next hotel: the excellent Hotel Termales del Ruiz.