Whos keeping an eye on me....

Monday, 29 June 2015

Colombia 2015 - Pt 10 Los Flamencos NP

We arrived at Los Flamencos and immediately went in search for one of our targets which was the Carib Hornero (which is split from the Pale Legged) in an incredibly dry scrubby and almost baron landscape. Its been months since the last rain.
Jeff and Jose watch the Chestnut Piculet
We soon picked up the Hornero but it stayed in the thorny patches of gorse bushes not allowing any photographs, but we got crippling views this time around of a Chestnut Piculet. This near endemic species is limited to this very northern part of Colombia.

Out of the blue we heard Jose shout out, it startled us for a second then we suddenly realised as out of the tangled scrub bushes came running a Crab Eating Racoon. It was being chased by one of the goat herders dogs......Waving one arm frantically at the dog white trying to take picture of the Racoon isnt easy... The Racoon got away! and I got a ropey image of the Racoon.
the herd come to drink
We went in search of another target bird, this time it was the Buffy Hummingbird. We found the dry scrubby area but immediately Jose realised that the birds favoured plants were not in flower, he wasn't hopeful and his fear was right. Gutted about this as it would have been a super bird to see. We picked up some lovely shots of a very handsome Venezuelan Flycatcher, another species that I didnt see in Venezuela.
while Cattle Tyrants adorned the trees and the lakeside water margins.
Smooth Billed Ani, White Tipped Doves, Pale Tipped Tyranulets, Rufous Tailed Jacamar, Black Crested Antshrike, Great Kiskadee, Straight Billed Woodcreper, Buff Breasted Wren and a Short Tailed Hawk were all seen as we made our way back to the car but this large flock of Green Rumped Parrotlets was certainly a highlight and in some way made up for missing the Hummingbird.
Green Rumped Parrotlets fly in for a drink
then perch for some incredible views

We headed into the park proper at Los Flamencos
Not surprisingly the American Flamingo are in good numbers in Los Flamencos as we parked the car they were in large numbers, but mainly in the distance but a small population were on the water directly in front of us. A Harris Hawk sat on the sand pretty much minding its own business, well as much as a Hawk can before it was mobbed by a Smooth Billed Ani, it took off straight at us....

There wasn't masses of water in the lagoons as it has been a very dry season with no rain since December but what little water there was held a few Least Sandpipers, Reddish Egrets, including a juvenile and mostly Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets ..... its a shame about the rubbish strewn across the lagoon.

and a juvenile Reddish Egret
Snowy Egrets
on bended knee..... Snowy Egrets and a Common Tern
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
A single American Oystercatcher caught was new for the trip list and a lifer for myself
Neotropic Cormorants, Yellow Billed Tern, 3 Royal Tern, a few  Common Tern and a single Magnificant Frigatbird were the only Seafaring birds
Royal Terns

Common Tern
Neotropic Cormorants

 Then this happened
out of nowhere a Black Skimmer came to the lagoon, just a single Black Skimmer came in close and ended up sat just opposite us on a Sandbank.... what a bird.




Gabo, Jose and a wind wept Jeff at Los Flamencos
and of course the American Flamingos.....


This was our last stop in northern Colombia, This afternoon we travel back to Santa Marta for an afternoon flight back to Bogota where we stay another night and then fly to Amazonian Colombia....
Gabo dropped us off at the airport, it had been a pleasure birding with him for the past 5 days, we will meet up again with Jose Luna Solarte this evening and fly out to the Amazon with him in the morning..... Mitu here we come.
Beach at Los Flamencos

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Figure of Eighty

a new moth for the garden caught yesterday morning, and a belter too

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Colombia 2015 - Pt 9 Tayrona NP and Guajira Road

Tayrona NP is only a ten minute drive fom our Ecohotel so we didn't need an early start, also the park doesn't open until 8am so we had a leisurely walk along the river opposite the hotel. We didn't expect to see anything new for the trip but more of an opportunity to see what's about.  As it happens there were 33 species. Carib Grackle, Vultures being mobbed by Carib Grackles, Little Blue Heron, Solitary Sanpiper, Orange Chinned Parakeets, Ringed and Amazon Kingfishers, plenty of  Yellow Warblers and Flycatchers and yes we even managed a single new trip bird with a Cinereous Becard.

male Green Iguana takes in the early sunshine beside the river

We returned to the hotel for breakfast and drove to the park gates. At the time it was a little frustrating as we wanted to get into the park to bird but every visitor has to sit and watch a15 minute video. Its actually a great idea,  it tells the visitors what they are seeing and explains about the history of the Indigenous people and geology of the park as well as the flora and fauna.

Once inside the park we started to pick up some new trip birds. Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Crane Hawk, Panama Flycatchers and a family party of three Cocoa Woodcreepers.

A wonderful pair of Black Crowned Antshrikes greeted us as we parked up and set off on a trail. Plenty of Buff Breasted Wrens teased me for a photograph but made sure I never got one.... and we got a White Chinned Sapphire hummingbird even though the image only just about makes a record shot.

Black Crowned Antshrike - male

White Chinned Sapphire
Grey Headed Tanagers, White Bearded Manikins, Brown Capped Tyranulets, Stripe Throated Hermit, Tropical Peewee, Crimson Crested Woodpeckers were as about as good as it got although Red Howler Monkeys' were prevelant here as were the Indiginous people who were freindly and just to make us feel at home they joined in and attempted to sight the birds in the canopy.
Red Howler Monkey

Green Iguana


Some of the indigenous people of Tayrona NP.

A short walk though the mangroves and onto the beach gave us a little midday rest bite from the heat  and to be honest the rest of the time in the park didn't produce anything new so we made our way to Riohacha for our overnight stay nr Los Flamencos.
Jeff and Gabo lead the way through the mangrove Board walk

the ssea was a little choppy

Gabo chilling 

Spotted Sandpiper, the only bird on the beach

On the way to Riohacha Gabo stopped at yet another of his "secret" spots on the Guajira Road nr El Ebanal. This spot was nothing more than a 100 yard dirt road just next to a pay toll booth, but what a spot it turned out to be. We had a few target species that Gabo was confident he could get us, Trinidad Euphonia and Glaucous Tanager and they both duly obliged as did a very smart Black Headed Tody flycatcher. Jeff was particularly pleased to finally get the Glaucous Tanager (a pair of them) after missing this speies in various other countries.
Again loads more species here, in actual fact we picked up 41 species in a little over an hour, including Harris Hawk, Vermillion Flycatcher, Brown Throated Parakeets, Blue Crowned Parakeets, Red Crowned Woodpecker, Green Rumped Parrotlets, Tropical Pewee, Grey Kingbird, Rufous Vented Chachalaca, Green Rumped Parrotlets, Red Billed Emerald, Russet Throated Puffbird, Scrub Greenlet, Yellow Oriole and Yellow Breasted Flycatcher.
Glaucous Tanager
Red Billed Emerald
Back Headed Tody-Flycatcher (What a stunner, I think it deserves 3 images)

Tropical Pewee

Boat Billed Flycatcher
Blue Crowned Parakeets in silhouette

Red Crowned Woodpecker

Russet Throated Puffbird

Just to cap things off Gabo knew a guaranteed place for Double stripped Thicknee.... We neednt have got out of the car for these apart from the urge to take far too many photos...  three birds sat out in the open

The following day we would be visiting a few more sites before heading to the airport back to Bogota for an overnight stay. First thing in the morning we met a local guide Jose Luis Pushaina Epiayu who would show us around a dry scrubby area before we headed to LosFlamencos, he dualy obliged by quickly getting us onto some lovely birds.
First up was a scrubby patch of land just off the main Guajira Road twenty minutes outside Riohacha. Three smart Orinoco Saltators were the first birds we saw quickly followed by Straight Billed Woodcreeper, Tropical Gnatcatcher, White Fringed Antbird, Slender billed Inezia, Pilated Finch, Red Billed Emerald and White Whiskerd Spinetails. As good as all these were we were really after the Vermilion Cardinal, and we got at least 5 individuals, 1 female and 4 males. They were all a little flighty but gave some stunning views nonetheless. White Tipped Inezia, Vermilion Flycatcher, Chestnut Piculet and Brown Crested Flycatchers made it a brilliant spot to watch birds at 07.00am in the morning.
Orinoco Saltator - a smart bird looking very scruffy....
Tropical Gnatcatcher
White whiskered Spinetail..... trust me it has white whiskers
blurred but showing the White Whiskers
Vermilion Flycatcher - female
Trinidad Euphonia female
Vermilion Cardinal - female
Vermilion Cardinal - male

No hiding place when your all red.....


We moved on to a spot to look for Tocuyo sparrow which eventually gave the briefest but good views before flying off not to be seen again, we made up for it with a gathering of no less than 8 Crested Bobwhites. a Wood Stork flew overhead and we picked up a few Yellow Warblers and an American Redstart, next stop Los Flamencos.