31 Aug 2019

9 Mar 18 - Colombia: Old Cotton-top

Around mid afternoon, we arrived at the entrance to the Tayrona National Park. It took a few minutes to locate a guide, which we apparently needed, despite most visitors not needing one. However, most of the visitors were heading to the beach or the campsite just behind the beach & we had other reasons to visit. Actually, the local ranger was knowledgeable & although we lost a few minutes, waiting for him, he was a benefit. We hadn't driven far into the Park, before we were stopping for one of the first goodies: a Lance-tailed Manakin lek. Not a Tick, but I'm always happy to see Manakins, especially at a lek.
Lance-tailed Manakin: They occur from Costa Rica to North Colombia & Venezuela
Lance-tailed Manakin
Lance-tailed Manakin: As part of the display, they flicked one or both wings out & quickly in again. They also spread their red crest
We carried on towards the camp ground as this was one of the potential sites for the other main species we were looking for. Unfortunately, no luck, but there were a few other open country species in the area.
Yellow-headed Caracara: This is a widespread Latin American species. We had seen a few, but generally whilst travelling, so it was the first one I photographed
Carib Grackle: As its name suggests, this is one of the standard Caribbean Grackles, but it also occurs along the coast of Colombia, Venezuela & NE Brazil
As we were close to the sea, a few of us walked the extra hundred metres to the beach. The water was rough & didn't look like it was particularly safe for swimming. However, we did get to see the first Magnificent Frigatebirds of the trip.
Magnificent Frigatebird: A record shot of one of the individuals
Just after we rejoined the main group, I found this White-necked Puffbird in the campsite trees.
White-necked Puffbird: This species occurs from Mexico to Northern South America
White-necked Puffbird
It was time to keep looking for the main target species for the Park. They were clearly mobile & we needed to find some fruiting trees. After a bit more looking, we got lucky & saw the main target species for the afternoon: Cotton-headed Tamarins. This is the third species of Tamarin that I've seen in South America. I've also seen a few species in the better of the UK zoos. All the Tamarins have all been full of character.
Cotton-headed Tamarin: when we first found them, they were quite skittish
Cotton-headed Tamarin: They settled down a bit & then started to watch us
Cotton-headed Tamarin: Perhaps some of the locals are not as quiet & well behaved as we were
 Cotton-headed Tamarin: This one even started to forage for some food
Cotton-headed Tamarin: Unfortunately, they are critically endangered & are only found in this small corner of Colombia. This look went out of fashion after Tina Turner appeared in Mad Max 3
We were running out of time, but the guide had one more treat for us. The next photo is a clue.
Owl: Not an Owl, but it was a Nightbird
Great Potoo: Usually, there is a location on a Latin American trip where a there is a showy roosting Potoo, as Potoos sit still trying to pretend they are dead branches. The strategy must work well & it helps many a local guide
Great Potoo: They occur from Southern Mexico to Bolivia, Paraguay & Brazil
It was time to leave, but the park guide had one final surprise: a nesting Pale-bellied Hermit. Hummingbirds must build the most delicate of all nests.
Pale-bellied Hermit: Another Hummingbird for the trip list
One of the apparent downsides of the Tayrona National Park was it shut well before dark. Perhaps a good thing for the wildlife, given the numbers of non-wildlife visitors: but we would have happily carried on for a bit longer. We then had a slow journey along the coast road to our hotel for the last two nights of the trip: the Hotel La Jorara, which was a nice eco-lodge with very friendly staff. Well worth a visit.

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