28 Feb 2018

28 Feb 18 - Colombia: The Final Afternoon At Montezuma

The final afternoon at Montezuma was spent walking down the lower parts of the Montezuma trail after a good morning in the mid section of the track. The first highlight of the afternoon was a Choco Vireo that was singing near the track. Fortunately, we found a small track where we could walk in & within a few minutes, found it singing in the trees. Choco Vireo was only described in the mid 1990s & in a progressive approach to conservation, the scientific name was put up for auction. The result was it was named after Dr Bernard Master who donated over US $100,000 in the auction to set up the Rio Nambi Community National Reserve, the first ProAves Bird Reserve in Colombia.
Choco Vireo: This was thought to be a Colombian Choco endemic, but more recently it has been found in NW Ecuador
Choco Vireo
Nearby a small family party of Olive Finches were hanging around. One of the local guides put down some food & they immediately came down to feed. It looks like this was something the guides had done before.
Olive Finch: The occur in the Andes from Colombia to Peru
Olive Finch: Given their wide range, I was surprised this was a Tick
Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant: This is another of those widespread South American species which is worth learning as they occur from Colombia & Venezuela to Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia
Ornate Flycatcher: This is a West Andes specialist of Colombia & Ecuador
Another species I hadn't since trips to Ecuador & Peru in the early 2000s was Russet-backed Oropendola. We saw a small group of at least ten individuals. However, none were particularly photogenic.
Russet-backed Oropendola: They occur from Colombia & Venezuela to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia & Amazonian Brazil
Oropendola nest: These nests were nearby & presumably were Russet-backed Oropendola nests
Rich, Sally, Janos & Rob
To prove the Montezuma track is in the Tatama National Park: A pity we didn't see an Oso
At one point, the track passed over a small bridge. Looking down from the bridge, we found a Green-fronted Lancebill. It wasn't particularly close, but it kept returning to the same perch after feeding.
Green-fronted Lancebill: This was only my second Green-fronted Lancebill, with the first at Mindo, Ecuador
The Birding slowed down in the warmth of the early afternoon. This gave a few opportunities to photo some of the other wildlife along the track. We saw a good selection of Butterflies during the afternoon, especially when we found an area where there must have been a build up of salt.
Colombian Butterfly sp.
Colombian Butterfly sp.
Colombian Butterfly sp.
Colombian Butterfly sp.
Colombian Butterfly sp.
Colombian Butterfly sp.: I've not got a Colombian Butterfly guide, so all these species will remain unnamed, except this stunning Butterfly which I will call the 89
Colombian Butterfly sp.: The upperwing of the 89 was not what I was expecting
The Grasshoppers were pretty amazing to look as well.
Opaon varicolor: This is an endemic wingless Grasshopper which is restricted to the Chaco parts of Colombia
Colombian Grasshopper sp.
Colombian Grasshopper sp.
Centipede sp.: It looks like it has survived a nasty injury
Colombia Orchid sp.
After another long day in the field, we walked around a bend & could see the Ecolodge at the bottom of the slope. We had just about left the forest & were in more secondary habitat. So, it was no surprise to see this Black Phoebe.
Black Phoebe: A sign that the habitat was getting more secondary
However, I was more surprised when somebody found this endemic Greyish Piculet next to the trail: the last Tick at Montezuma.
Greyish Piculet: Not as sharp as I would like, but I'm always pleased to see Piculets. These small Woodpeckers are often tricky to see & I wonder how many I've walked past & missed in my many foreign trips
We had a brief opportunity to look for Nightbirds the following morning before it got light, but only ended with a Paraque on the track. There was also a few of the local Hummingbirds & Tanagers as it was getting light as we walked back to the Ecolodge. We then loaded everything into the jeeps to take us back to the nearest village, where our driver had spent the last two days. It would be a long drive to our next hotel in the picturesque town of Jardin.