Birding In Beautiful Columbia — Itinerary Details
THE CAUCA VALLEY AND COFFEE REGION
The Cauca Valley is one of the important eco-regions in Colombia. This valley is home to a handful of endemic species not occurring anywhere else in the country. The Western and Central Cordilleras on both flanks of the valley harbor many species with ranges restricted to the cloud forests, grassland and Paramos in high elevations. Some of these species are shared with bordering Ecuador but most of them are more easily seen in Colombia, where the populations of such species are either better represented or found in areas of easier access. This trip will allow us to look for 21 Colombian endemic species. The coffee region also has beautiful landscapes for birdwatching. A big advantage for birding here is the short distances between birding sites.
Day 0 - November 7
Arrival to Cali airport and transfer to the hotel - approximately 90 minutes.
Day 1 - November 8
Visit to Cali (3,000’ elevation, warm weather) then a 12 mile drive to the Cloud forest at 5-7,000’ elevation and cold weather.) This day we will visit 18 Kilometer Forest at an altitude between 5,600-7,000’ elevation. We have access to wonderful forest feeders for hummingbirds and beautiful tanagers. Several groups of birds are common to see there, including Endemic Multicolored Tanager, Golden Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, White-necked Jacobin, Andean Emerald, blue-headed Sapphire, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Long –tailed Sylph, Purple-Throated Woodstar, Brown Violetear to name a few. We will also be looking for other species along a road that borders the forest and is free of traffic. In the afternoon we will transfer to Araucana Lodge or Natural Luxury Hotel.
Day 1 - November 8
Visit to Cali (3,000’ elevation, warm weather) then a 12 mile drive to the Cloud forest at 5-7,000’ elevation and cold weather). We will visit 18 Kilometer Forest at an altitude between 5,600-7,000’ elevation. We have access to wonderful forest feeders for hummingbirds and beautiful tanagers. Several groups of birds are common to see there, including Endemic Multicolored Tanager, Golden Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, White-necked Jacobin, Andean Emerald, blue-headed Sapphire, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Long –tailed Sylph, Purple-Throated Woodstar, Brown Violetear to name a few. We will also be looking for other species along a road that borders the forest and is free of traffic. In the afternoon we will transfer to Araucana Lodge or Natural Luxury Hotel.
Day 2- Novovember 9
Full day at Queremal (5,000’ above sea level, warm weather) and drive to Buga. The Queremal is located in the old way to Buenaventura. Driving down on Highway 55 is Doña Dora feeders in Anchicayá. This is one of the favorite places to observe endemic and rare birds of the Chocó region: Black-chested Mountain Tanager, Toucan Barbet, Empress Brilliant, Club-winged Manakin, Golden-Chested Tanager, Yellow-green Bush-Tanager, Gray-and-Gold Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager. In the afternoon, we will head back to the hotel.
Day 3 - November 10
La Florida Farm and Sonso Lagoon (2-3,000’ elevation) We will try for the endemic Chestnut Wood Quail, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager and others. After lunch we will have two hours driving to our next destination, The Sonso Lagoon to see some aquatics, then overnight at The Guadalajara Hotel.
Day 4 - November 11
Drive 3 hours to Pereira and visit Otun Quimbaya Reserve (6,500’ elevation and rainy). This reserve is the best place to look for the local and endemic Cauca Guan (long thought to be extinct until a healthy population was rediscovered in 1989 near Pereira at the actual location of the Otun-Quimbaya Reserve). We will also be looking for the endemics Chestnut Wood-Quail and Stiles´s Tapaculo, Sickle-winged Guan, Greenish Puffleg, Highland Motmot, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Streak-capped Treehunter, Moustached Antpitta, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, both Variegated and Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrants, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Pale-eyed and Glossy-black Thrushes and White-capped Tanagers, among many others. Here we will see the enigmatic Red-ruffed Fruitcrow which is better seen in this location than anywhere else in its range, also is the perfect place for Torrent Duck. Overnight at Cumanday Hotel.
Day 5 - November 12
Drive two hours to Tinamú Bird Lodge (4,500’ elevation and warm). Tinamou Reserve is a private project that protects 13 acres of the lowlands of the Andes in the middle of the Coffe (Coffee) or Coffe plantations. Tinamou is the perfect place to try to find the elusive Golden-collared Manakin and Gray-headed Dove, and other interesting species. We will stay overnight at Tinamou Bird Lodge.
Day 6 - November 13
Drive - Birding to Nevado del Ruiz (13,000+ and Very Cold). Overnight in Manizales (7,300’ elevation.) We will drive two hours to Nevado del Ruiz National Park. While there our main target will be Buffy Helmetcrest, rare and endemic. Other birds here are White-chinned Thistletail, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Tawny Antpitta, Plain coloured Seedeater, Paramo Seedeater -Plumbeus Sierra-Finch, and it is also possible to see Andean Condor. In the afternoon we visit Termales del Ruiz, there you have an opportunity to observe Shining Sunbeam, Black-thighed and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Great Sapphirewing, Viridian and Tyrian Metaltail, Rainbow Bearded Thornbill, Buff-wing Starfontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Mountain Velvetbeast, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager Paramo Tapaculo. Other possibilities are rare Ocelated Tapaculo and the rare Black-backed Bush Tanager. Overnight at Termales (At this moment, the Nevados area is restricted for visitors due to volcanic activity. We are planning to visit another area and have another lodge for this night just in case the area continues with restrictions during our travel period.
Scarlet Bellied Mountain Tanager
Day 7 - November 14
Full day Rio Blanco (8,300’ elevation with fresh air). The Rio Blanco reserve is such a bird rich place that we need a full day of birding to cover the reserve properly. The bird life here is so diverse and spectacular that we stand a chance of seeing over 360 species. There are feeders for Hummingbirds and also for Antpittas who come to eat fresh worms, Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned and Bicoloured with very quick movements; others are Rusty-faced Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Spillman's Tapaculo, Barred Becard, Green-and-black, Golden-fronted Whitestar, White-capped Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Plushcap, Slaty and Chestnut-capped Brushfinches, the rare Masked Saltator among others. Overnight in the city of Manizales.
Day 8 - Novovember 15
We will visit Camegudua marsh for other aquatics and some rarities of this elevation, then in the afternoon, drive 90 minutes to the Pereira Airport, flight to Bogotá and then back home.
Chestnut Crowned Antipitta