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COLOMBIA December 2009

From Dec 06 to 19, 2009, Sheridan Coffey and myself birded the eastern Andes, north coast, and Santa Marta Mtns of Colombia (for the first leg in the Andes, Dan Peak joined us); click on the links below to see some of the great birds we saw - many of them endemic/near-endemic/range-restricted species - thanks to the skills and knowledge of Medellin-based birding guide Pablo Flores Valencia (click here to email Pablo), plus his able colleague in the Eastern Andes, Oswaldo Cortes. I'll be compiling a trip report - email me if you want a copy.

NOTE: I was birding first, photographing second (as usual) on this trip, thus the quality of the photos below varies greatly from "very good" to "pretty crappy". In most cases our views of a bird were much better than the photos obtained of it; part of the purpose of this gallery is to show just how many good birds can be seen by any competent birder in Colombia - if you use a good local guide!:

El Cocuy N.P. from the Soata - Onzaga road:

fresh footprint of Mountain Tapir, Cundinamarca trail east of Bogota:

Merida (Andean) Teal northeast of Bogota.
Bogota Rail northeast of Bogota.
Noble Snipe northeast of Bogota.
Flame-winged Parakeet east of Bogota.
Lazuline Sabrewing near Soata.
Black Inca north of Bogota.
Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird near Soata.
Green-bellied Hummingbird east of Bogota.
Short-tailed Emerald near Soata.
mystery hummingbird - probably Glittering-throated Emerald - east of Bogota.
East Andean Emerald Toucanet east of Bogota.
Apolinar's Wren north of Bogota.
Yariguies Brush-Finch north of Bogota.
Moustached Brush-Finch near Soata.
Ochre-breasted Brush-Finch east of Bogota.
Three-striped Warbler east of Bogota.
Mountain Grackle near Soata.

dry thorn forest with the Santa Marta peaks in the background:

Caribbean coast with the Santa Marta peaks in the background:

Chestnut-winged Chachalaca west of Santa Marta.
Scarlet Ibis west of Riohacha.
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture west of Riohacha.
Limpkin west of Riohacha.
Lesser Black-backed Gull west of Riohacha - now including a nearby Merlin.
Bare-eyed Pigeon west of Riohacha.
Brown-throated Parakeet near Barranquilla.
Green-rumped Parrotlet west of Riohacha.
Buffy Hummingbird west of Riohacha.
Red-billed Emerald west of Riohacha.
Shining-green Hummingbird west of Riohacha.
Lepidopyga Hummingbird - thought to be an immature male Sapphire-throated Hummingbird - from west of Riohacha.
Russet-throated Puffbird west of Riohacha.
Chestnut Piculet west of Riohacha.
Red-crowned Woodpecker west of Riohacha.
White-whiskered Spinetail west of Riohacha.
Black-crested Antshrike west of Riohacha.
Northern White-fringed Antwren west of Riohacha.
Slender-billed Inezia (including nest) west of Riohacha.
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant west of Riohacha.
Northern Scrub-Flycatcher west of Riohacha.
Pied Water-Tyrant Isla de Salamanca NP.
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Isla de Salmanca NP.
Panama Flycatcher Isla de Salamanca NP.
Scrub Greenlet west of Riohacha.
Bicolored Wren west of Riohacha and from the eastern Andes.
Orinocan Saltator west of Riohacha.
Yellow Oriole west of Riohacha.
Carib Grackle west of Riohacha.

view of Santa Marta from above Minca:

view of Kennedy Peak (highest point of the Cuchillo de San Lorenzo, c.2,800m) from above Minca:

Band-tailed Guan next to the Lodge.
Black-fronted Wood-Quail next to the lodge.
Lined Quail-Dove near the Lodge and also much lower down, above Minca (?).
Santa Marta Parakeet near the antennae.
Santa Marta Tyrian Metaltail at the lodge.
Violet-crowned Woodnymph at the Lodge.
White-vented Plumeleteer above Minca.
Steely-vented Hummingbird above Minca.
Blossomcrown an instructive female in the Lodge gardens.
White-tailed Starfrontlet at and near the Lodge.
Santa Marta Woodstar at the Lodge.
White-tipped Quetzal near the Lodge.
Masked Trogon below the lodge.
Santa Marta Emerald Toucanet near the Research Station.
Yellow-billed Toucanet above the Lodge.
Scaled Piculet above Minca.
Rusty-headed Spinetail near the antennae.
Streak-capped Spinetail near the antennae.
Black-backed Antshrike above Minca (and near the coast).
Santa Marta Rusty-breasted Antpitta below the Lodge.
Santa Marta Tapaculo below the Lodge.
Brown-rumped Tapaculo near the antennae.
Golden-breasted Fruiteater below the Lodge.
White-throated Tyrannulet near the antennae.
Black-throated Tody-Tyrant near the antennae.
Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant below the antennae.
Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant near the top of the ridge.
Santa Marta Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant near the top of the ridge.
Black-capped Tanager in the Lodge gardens.
Bay-headed Tanager - the green-bodied form, below the Lodge.
Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager near the antennae.
Sierra Nevada (was ssp. of Stripe-headed) Brush-Finch at the Lodge.
Santa Marta Brush-Finch near the Lodge.
Golden-winged Sparrow above Minca.
Santa Marta Warbler near the antennae.
White-lored Warbler below the Lodge.
Yellow-crowned Whitestart near the Research Station.
Thick-billed Seed-Finch above Minca.
Blue-naped Chlorophonia in the Lodge Gardens.

A page of various subspecies/forms from Santa Marta: White-rumped Hawk; record shot of Black-and-chestnut Eagle; Plain-brown Woodcreeper; Strong-billed Woodcreeper; Mountain Elaenia; Cinnamon Becard; White-bearded Manakin; Black-chested Jay; Brown-capped Vireo; Pale-breasted Thrush; Rusty Flowerpiercer.

view of the Rio Magdalena delta from the El Dorado Lodge main building:

the barrier island between Cienega Grande and Barranquilla:

the same view from our cabin balcony at El Dorado Lodge:

forest below El Dorado Lodge:

Sheridan at the Santa Marta overlook at the Research Station:

a grove of endemic wax palms below the summit of Kennedy Peak:

from left to right: Pico Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Pico Cristobal Colon, Pico Simon Bolivar (c.5,700m) - from near the top of the Cuchillo de San Lorenzo: