14 Aug 2019

8 Mar 18 - Colombia: Yellow Is Today's Colour

On the final morning in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, Janos decided we would head back to the top of the ridge. This time I was in the front 4WD & had the camera primed in case we saw any Owls. We were successful with a second Santa Marta Screech-owl & I had a quick opportunity for one photo. Not the best of photos, but it was the only photo of this individual & it was only the group in the first 4WD that managed to see it.
Santa Marta Screech-owl
We reached the ridge line just before first light. Another cold morning with clear skies, but it warmed up fairly quickly once the sun appeared.
Early morning views
Early morning views
It was pretty dry up at the top: The pool looked to be only half full at best
There were a number of the same species around the track as on the first morning, but also some of the expected species that we had missed on the first visit, showed up. There was a strong yellow theme to the morning.
Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant
Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant
Santa Marta Warbler: The first endemic Tick of the day
Yellow-crowned Whitestart
Myrtle Warbler: We weren't the only tourists, as this Myrtle Warbler (AKA Yellow-rumped Warbler) was here for the Winter
Santa Marta Mountain-tanager: Not being particularly photogenic this morning
Santa Marta Brush-finch: We has seen around ten on the first morning at the ridge, but they had been camera shy
Southern Yellow Grosbeak: They occur from Colombia & Northern Venezuela to Ecuador & Peru
There were a few other new species for the trip.
Scarlet-fronted Parakeet: Another species that occurs from Colombia & Northern Venezuela to Ecuador & Peru
Black-backed Thornbill: One of only two that we saw on the tour. A pity it didn't turn its head as they have a bright lime-green throat
Tyrian Metaltail: A female all puffed up after a preening session
Rusty-headed Spinetail: That's another Santa Marta endemic seen
One of the Birds we had missed on the first visit was Rufous Antpitta. We had seen it earlier in the trip at Cerro Guadalupe, but this was the Santa Marta subspecies which is a potential split. It was skulking in the Bamboo & there were a couple of small gaps where if you knelt down, it was possible to see into the Bamboo. Brian & I had already seen it close, by kneeling down, but the rest of the group then tried to get views. Given it was sitting low down, I wonder how many, other than the other Brit Rob, saw it.
Looking for the Rufous Antpitta
The late Brian Field & myself on the track: The photos copyright remains with Judy Spisak who took the photo & kindly allowed me to include it on the Blog
It was time for a late breakfast before we started on the long journey back to the El Dorado Lodge.
At the breakfast stop, Brian found a fitness regime that he approved off
Rufous-collared Sparrow: Coming in to look for some free breakfast
Rufous-collared Sparrow: One of the most ubiquitous of Latin American species
American Painted Lady: This Northern American species has its Southern limit in Colombia
Back at the lodge, there was time for a quick check of the feeders & rubbish tip. The highlight was a Crab-eating Fox: although this one wasn't living up to its name.
Crab-eating Fox: This one has gone vegie
Waiting for the stragglers to bring their bags so we could leave
We had enjoyed a great time at the El Dorado Lodge & the staff had been very friendly. But now it was time to start the long bumpy ride down the mountain & stop for some lower elevation Birding.

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