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WINGS Birding Tours – Narrative


2018 Narrative

In Summary: Another fantastic tour to Colombia! Visiting the three cordilleras, crossing both the Magdalena and Cauca valleys, birding from sea level to 15,000 feet elevation, and even adding a few days in the isolated Santa Marta and Guajira Peninsula, we had an amazing overview of the Colombian avifauna. It’s hard to pick the best birds of the trip amongst hundreds of wonderful species, but here are the top ten as voted by the group: Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Ocellated Tapaculo, Yellow-eared Parrot, Brown-banded Antpitta, White-tipped Quetzal, Tanager Finch, Great Sapphirewing, Many-striped Canastero, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow and Scarlet-and-white Tanager. We also visited more than 10 different hummingbird feeding stations and saw no less than 61 species of these fascinating birds! Obviously, besides the incredible diversity of birds, we were amazed by the incredible diversity of flowers, orchids, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, etc. Colombia is definitely THE biodiversity country!

In Detail: We spent our first day at Chingaza National Park near Bogota. Located to the northeast of the Colombian capital, the park’s 75,000+ hectares protect several glacier lakes and provide more than 80% of Bogota’s potable water. The park also protects extensive and pristine cloud forest and paramo habitat, home to a wonderful bird community! We left the hotel very early (and this was the rule for most of the tour) to reach the park just after dawn for a field breakfast. Birding the cloud forest along one of the access roads, we enjoyed some mixed species flocks that included White-banded Tyrannulet, Rufous-browed Conebill, Yellow-fronted (Golden-fronted) Redstart (of the ‘white-faced’ ornatus subspecies), Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, and Masked Flowerpiercer. A male Blue-throated Starfrontlet also perched very close to the group, offering fantastic views! In the understory of the forest, a very responsive pair of Rufous Antpitta (subspecies rufula; several splits to be expected in that species) came to the tape and even stayed in the middle of the road, giving us amazing looks. We also saw well a Pale-bellied Tapaculo who decided to stay inside the dense bamboo. But the most amazing sight of the morning was an Ocellated Tapaculo, singing for 15 minutes in the open – what a beautiful bird!

Continuing towards higher elevation, we reached the paramo, a unique and impressive habitat. Among the majestic Espeletia, we found a pair of White-chinned Thistletail, a beautiful Many-striped Canastero, and the very specialized Bronze-tailed Thornbill even briefly showing his sparkling pink gorget! On the way back towards La Calera where we had lunch, we also found a pair of cooperative Silvery-throated Spinetails, and a few bright Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanagers. On the way back to Bogota, we stopped at a hummingbird garden where we found a pair of the near-endemic Blue-throated Starfrontlets, an amazing Sword-billed Hummingbird, a few Glowing Pufflegs (really glowing!) and the spectacular Great Sapphirewing (second largest hummingbird in the World!). What a fantastic way to end that first day!

After leaving early to avoid the Bogota traffic jam, we birded La Florida Park the next morning. On the main pond, we found a few dozen Bare-faced Ibis, American Coots, Andean (Ruddy) Duck, two Striated Herons, a few Pied-billed Grebes, and a Spot-flanked Gallinule. A few male Yellow-hooded Blackbirds were singing and displaying on the top of the reeds, and we even found the rare and local Subtropical Doradito. We also had good views of a pair of the threatened Bogota Rail, and heard a few more who stayed hidden in the dense vegetation. We also heard a pair of the rare and endangered Apolinar’s Wren, and some of us even had a quick view. After a short drive we arrived at Tabacal Lake where we rapidly found plenty of new birds: Streaked Saltator, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, a few Red-crowned Woodpeckers, and even a few Plain-colored Tanagers. The best surprise of the day was probably finding a pair of Rosy-Thrush Tanagers showing well for those of us who had the right angle! Just after that sighting, we all had excellent and close views of a pair of the lovely White-bellied Antbird. Following our way to the Tabacal Lake, we also found a pair of Band-backed Wrens high in the trees canopy, a Red-rumped Woodpecker, a pair of the lovely Chestnut-capped (Rufous-capped) Warbler, and a stunning Olivaceous Piculet foraging just a few meters from us.

After lunch we visited el ‘Jardin Encantado’, an unbelievable garden full of hummingbird feeders. No less than 34 feeders attracting hundreds of hummingbirds. We saw 10 species in a bit more than one hour, including Indigo-capped Hummingbird, White-bellied and Gorgeted Woodstar, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, White-vented Plumeleteer, Black-throated Mango, and even a splendid male Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. After that amazing visit, we drove to La Victoria for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

We spent most of the next morning at La Victoria. Arriving there for dawn, we enjoyed the morning song of Little Tinamou, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Black-crowned Antshrike, and Golden-faced Tyrannulet. We found a group of five White-mantled Barbets foraging atop a near tree. And soon after that we had great views of a few Ochre-bellied Flycatchers feeding on small berries. In the forest, after spotting a pair of Black-crowned Antshrikes, we had amazing views of a pair of Sooty Ant-tanagers (whose beautiful song is the best ringtone ever!). What a show! We also found a Plain-brown and a Northern Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, as well as a very close view of 3 Plain Xenops, and a family of the stunning Grey-headed Tanager.

In more open habitat, we found a few Golden-hooded and Blue-necked Tanagers, Red-crowned and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, a cooperative pair of Pale-breasted Spinetails, and a beautiful male Velvet-fronted Euphonia. We then drove to Mariquita for lunch, and after a meal of grilled meat and local fish, we headed towards El Hato road. While it was very hot during the afternoon, the bird activity was very good and we had great views of Velvet-fronted Euphonia, Common Tody-flycatcher, Pearl Kite, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Cinnamon Becard and many more. A Barred Antshrike gave us a great show singing in the open, and in the same family, we also had a great view of a lovely pair of Jet Antbirds. A stunning Grey-lined Hawk was seen well atop a tree and migrating flocks of Cliff Swallows were continuously flying overhead. We also had a stunning look at a Russet-throated Puffbird, and a Barred Puffbird came close to the tape; two great puffbirds in a row! We then headed towards El Libano for our comfortable accommodation and a nice dinner.

The surrounding area is heavily deforested for coffee plantations, but some patches of forest remain, and we spent most of our morning birding these remnants. We quickly had great views of Black-headed and Yellow-headed Brushfinches, two Colombian endemics, followed by flocks containing Bay-and-blue (Bay-headed) and Black-capped Tanagers, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Rufous-naped Greenlet, and Golden-faced Tyrannulet. We also had a wonderful encounter with no less than three Crested Ant-Tanagers, perched in the open at the edge of a coffee plantation. A Tolima Dove was seen briefly by two of us crossing the road, but we all had great views of Lineated and Golden-olive Woodpeckers, as well as a group of four Grey-throated Emerald Toucanets. In the dense vegetation we had great looks at Slaty Spinetail and Whiskered Wren, and even a pair of Bar-crested Antshrike showed very well. We also found a few of the smart Black-winged Saltator, and a Squirrel Cuckoo stayed for a while atop a tree in perfect light! But the most surprising find of the morning was a very responsive Rosy Thrush-Tanager, showing well and staying in the open long enough to let the all group have perfect views and pictures.

After birding most of the morning near El Libano, we had a long drive to reach Pereira and the Otun Quimbaya reserve on the other slope of the Central Cordillera. On the way, we stopped for a White-tailed Kite and at the same stop found an Aplomado Falcon hunting insects over a rice field. On the access road of the reserve our driver Jovani spotted a wonderful pair of Torrent Ducks with two tiny chicks, all jumping happily in the turbulent water! We arrived at Otun Quimbaya right on time for a bit of owling near our accommodations and easily found a Colombian Screech-Owl and a singing Common Potoo.

After our early breakfast, we drove all the way up above the reserve in the dark. During the drive, we found a Moustached Antpitta foraging the roadside and we took the opportunity to enjoy an extended easy view of what is usually a difficult antpitta! Once at the end of the road, we just walked back all the way down to the lodge, finding regular flocks that included Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Variegated Bristle-tyrant, Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Slate-throated Redstart, Ashy-throated Chlorospingus, a melodious Black-billed Peppershrike, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Golden Tanager and Montane Woodcreeper. We also had excellent looks at a few Cauca Guans and several Red-ruffed Fruitcrows. A pair of Spotted Barbtails also showed well, as did two very responsive Red-headed Spinetails. After our lunch, we birded the reserve access road, finding a nice perched flock of White-capped (Speckle-faced) Parrots. In the village at the entrance of the reserve we also stopped to taste a local delicacy: avocado juice! Unforgettable! And then it was time to begin our drive towards Manizales.

We departed by night to Rio Blanco Reserve, where we had our breakfast within view of several feeders attracting Buff-tailed Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph, Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Collared and Bronzy Inca. In the garden, we had great views of Blue-winged Mountain-tanager (coming to the feeders) and White-sided Flowerpiercer. The activity at the Antpitta feeding station was fantastic as we had stunning looks at Bicolored, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned and Brown-banded Antpittas. What a show to see these elusive birds coming out into the open to get their worms! Arturo, our local guide and antpitta trainer, even fed the Brown-banded Antpitta by hand!

Our birding day at Rio Blanco will be remembered as one of the best birding days of the trip. We had amazing flocks that included Blue-and-black Tanager, Golden-fronted Redstart (the ‘yellow-faced’ chrysops subspecies), Barred Becard, Pearled Treerunner, Steaked Tuftedcheek, Black-capped and Northern Black-eared Hemispingus, Montane Woodcreeper, Masked Trogon, Sharpe’s Wren, Russet-crowned Warbler, Grey-hooded Bush-tanager, and Grass-green Tanager. Between the flocks, we also found an incredible list of rare and stunning species such as Sickle-winged and Andean Guans, Crimson-mantled and Yellow-vented Woodpeckers, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Black-collared Jay, a White-rumped Hawk flying through the forest, Black-billed Mountain-toucan, a beautiful Slaty-backed Chat-tyrant, Plushcap, and even a beautiful Masked Saltator perched in the open! Our local guide also took us to a known day roost of Stygian Owl. Arturo even knew of an active nest of White-capped Dipper where we had excellent and close views of that smart bird. And to end this fantastic day we had a great sighting of a Dusky Piha, a lifer for the whole group including the leader! Hard to choose the ‘best bird of the day’ with such an impressive list!

We spent the morning at high elevation, birding the paramo of Nevado del Ruiz. We had our breakfast at a small restaurant with a view of the snowcapped volcano culminating at 5,311 m elevation (17,425 feet). We then made our way to our highest point of the day, at 4,400 m elevation (14,500 feet), making some nice stops in the paramo and finding a few Andean Tit-spinetails, several Paramo (Sedge) Wrens, a few Stout-billed Cinclodes, Brown-backed Chat-tyrant, and a few Northern Plumbeous Sierra-finches. A Western Tawny Antpitta and a pair of Many-striped Canastero of the distinctive quindiana subspecies also gave us some excellent looks! We also found a few Viridian Metaltails and no less than six Buffy Helmecrests were foraging on some Espeletia flowers. We even had a flew flocks of the very rare and local Rufous-fronted Parakeets! And in some high-altitude shrubs, we even had amazing views of a Paramo Tapaculo, and found a nice flock including six Black-backed Bush-Tanagers, Golden-fronted Redstart, Blue-backed Conebill and White-throated Tyrannulet. But the main attraction of the morning was surely the hummingbird feeders, attracting an incredible variety of usually ‘hard to see’ species: Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Black-thighed and Golden-breasted Puffleg, Great Sapphirewing, Shining Sunbeam, and Buff-winged Starfrontlet! It was hard to leave such a wonderful place, but we had to move on to our next destination, Las Tangaras Reserve, arriving there after a long afternoon drive.

After a night at our comfortable lodge, we began our birding day with a beautiful view of the forested slope of the western cordillera. We found several flocks, including Black-chinned and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, the sparkling Glistening-green Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-rumped and Yellow-breasted Antwrens, Red-faced Spinetail, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Black-and-gold Tanager, Choco (Tricolored) Brushfinch, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Central American (Striped) Woodhaunter, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Sharpe’s Wren and so many more! We also had excellent views of a close Olivaceous Piha, a large group of 10 White-headed Wrens, and even a rare Barred Hawk was soaring overhead.

We spent part of the morning on a nice trail through the pristine forest protected by ProAves (Colombian NGO leader in bird and nature conservation), along which we found a fantastic flock with Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Choco Vireo, and numerous tanagers. We had a fantastic picnic sitting in front of several feeders attracting Empress Brilliant, Violet-tailed Sylph, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Greenish Puffleg, Brown Inca, Purple-throated Woodstar, and perhaps the most beautiful hummingbird in the world: the stunning Velvet-purple Coronet! After lunch, we walked back along the road, finding a few new birds as well as several kinds of orchids, amazing butterflies, and unique grasshoppers. Back at the lodge at the end of the afternoon, we enjoyed a beer/juice watching hummingbirds and Red-crowned Woodpecker coming to the feeders.

We spent the following morning visiting ‘La M’, another site protected by ProAves. The first bird we found was a very cooperative Munchique Wood-Wren, interested in the tape and coming in close – just one meter from us – to sing on exposed branches. What a loud song for such a small bird! We walked down the road through beautiful forest, almost untouched as far as one can see, finding several great birds such as Yellow-bellied Chat-tyrant, Richardson’s (Citrine) Warbler, numerous Tourmaline Sunangels, the cute Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Black-capped Hemispingus, Grass-green Tanager, the colorful Colombian (Rufous) Antpitta and even a flock of Pale-footed Swallow. We even had an incredible and prolonged view of a pair of the sought-after Tanager Finch, star species of the reserve.

After a very enjoyable morning, we returned to the lodge for a nice lunch in front of the feeders attracting Steely-vented Hummingbird, Andean Emerald, and Crowned Woodnymph as well as Bay-and-blue (Bay-headed) and Scrub Tanagers, Yellow-backed Oriole and Red-crowned Woodpecker. We arrived in Jardin in the afternoon, in time to visit a nearby Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek. 15+ males were displaying and fighting actively. For sure if a female came, she could not resist such beautiful birds and colorful display!

We had an early drive to Las Ventanas above Jardin. We did not have to wait very long to see our first flock of Yellow-eared Parrots, the key species of the local ProAves Reserve. In the same family, we had fly-by of a few White-capped (Speckle-faced) Parrots, and no less than 21 Barred Parakeets high in the sky. While having our field breakfast, we also had a wonderful view of four Black-billed Mountain-Toucans. After breakfast, we met an extremely confident pair of Chestnut-naped Antpittas that we watched for 15 minutes foraging on the forest floor just a few meters from us! After that enjoyable start, we spent the rest of the morning walking down the road, finding some more great birds such as Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Golden-fronted Redstart, Lacrimose Mountain-tanager, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Colombian Rufous Spinetail and Golden-shouldered (Mountain) Cacique. We even found a flock of 10 Yellow-eared Parrots feeding on some fruiting trees just by the roadside, giving us amazing views of that Endangered species, whose world population is estimated at fewer than 1,500 individuals. But the most surprising sight of the morning was probably the rare and local Chestnut-crested Cotinga, found perched atop a tree! Fantastic! After such a successful morning we had our lunch at the hotel, and after a mid-day break we birded some secondary habitat at Morro Amarillo. Unfortunately, some heavy rain disturbed our birding, but we still managed to find some good birds including White-naped Brushfinch, Red-headed Barbet, White-winged Becard, Black-chested and Green Jays seen together, Flame-rumped Tanager and Yellow-backed Oriole. To end that great day, we enjoyed a short visit of the beautiful village of Jardin to buy some excellent Colombian coffee.

We left Jardin by night, and after a breakfast on the way, we reached Bolombolo in the early-morning. We quickly saw two Apical Flycatchers, a cooperative Antioquia Wren and two Grayish Piculets, all endemic to Colombia, as well as a few Streaked Flycatchers, a group of Golden-crowned Warblers and even a Black-striped Sparrow. We continued onward to Medellín, and briefly stopped at La Romera where we quickly found a small group of Red-bellied Grackles. We spent the rest of the day driving towards the Chestnut-capped Piha reserve, making a few stops along the way for lunch and stretching. We arrived at our charming lodge in the evening, enjoying a nice dinner and a quiet night.

We started the next day birding the trail at the Arrierito or ‘Chestnut-capped Piha’ reserve, another area protected by the Colombian NGO ProAves. We had heavy rain most of the night, and it was still rainy after breakfast, slowing down the bird activity. We still managed to find a nice flock including numerous Yellow-throated Chlorospingus, a few Speckled and Silver-throated Tanagers, two pairs of the stunning Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, and even a pair of the lovely Rufous-browed Tyrannulet! A White-crowned Tapaculo and a Chestnut-capped Brushfinch also gave us wonderful shows, presenting themselves on open branches just a few meters from us. And Sandra even spotted an Ochre-breasted Antpitta in the dark understory! We also had a group of five Red-bellied Grackles along the trail, and back to the lodge we enjoyed the feeders attracting Green-crowned Brilliant, Green Hermit, Purple-throated Woodstar and Andean Emerald, as well as Black-winged Saltator, Golden Tanager, and even a group of ten Colombian Chachalacas!

Fortunately, for our second morning at the reserve a blue sky replaced the dark clouds and we had some great birding on the trail. We rapidly found some great flocks that included Olive-backed Woodcreeper, a Streak-capped Treehunter, Three-striped Warbler, and heard a Black-tailed (Ruddy) Foliage-gleaner. In the understory, a male Uniform Antshrike showed well, as did a Central American (Striped) Woodhaunter. And high in the canopy, a pair of Wing-barred Piprites performed well, coming to the tape and staying for a while on open branches. But the star of the morning was without a doubt a very cooperative Chestnut-capped Piha, emblem of the reserve, coming in and singing close to us, offering fantastic views. Mission accomplished! And just after finding the Piha, we had amazing close views of a group of Blue-fronted Parrotlets feeding on a fruiting bush just a few meters from the trail, and then spotted a lovely Moustached Puffbird! To conclude the morning, we found a group of the Endangered and local White-footed Tamarin. It was now time to head back to the lodge for an early lunch. On our drive back towards Medellin we did several stops at known stake-out finding a few more interesting species such as Magdalena Antbird, Bay Wren, Black-headed Brushfinch, and even a lovely pair of Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireos singing in good light! At a marsh on the roadside we even heard a very rare (here) Ash-throated Crake.

We had another travel day, flying in the morning from Medellin to Riohacha in the far north of the country. After an excellent lunch of local fish and seafood, and checking in to our hotel, we headed towards the village of Camarones and the nearby Los Flamencos National Park. We first birded some dry scrubland, and even though it was really hot in the middle of the afternoon, the birding was absolutely excellent! We soon found some great ‘Guajira specialties’ such as Chestnut Piculet, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Bare-eyed Pigeon, White-whiskered Spinetail (definitely the most beautiful spinetail!), a few Northern White-fringed Antwrens and Streak-fronted (Black-crested) Antshrike, a pair of Trinidad Euphonias, one Buffy Hummingbird, three singing Orinocan Saltators, and Straight-billed Woodcreeper. In a nearby field we also found no less than 11 Double-striped Thick-knees and three Buff-necked Ibises! Then our local guide José took us to his family property where we found a large group of Green-rumped Parrotlets and five Glaucous Tanagers. To end the day we went to a coastal lagoon, almost completely dry but attracting hundreds of Semipalmated Sandpipers, Willets, two American Oystercatchers, Wilson’s, Semipalmated, Collared and Snowy Plovers, but also a few American Flamingoes, one Reddish Egret, two Roseate Spoonbills, 20+ Black, Royal, Common and two Sandwich Terns, a dozen of Amazonian (Black) Skimmers and a few White Ibises. We even spotted two lifers to our local guide: a White-rumped Sandpiper and three Stilt Sandpipers! At dusk a Lesser Nighthawk flew by; it was now time to head back to our hotel for an excellent diner of local cuisine.

We had a long journey to reach our next destination, El Dorado in the Santa Marta Mountains, but we found plenty of time for some excellent birding. We first birded another scrubland area near Camarones to look for the last local specialties. One of the first birds of the day was a singing Tocuyo Sparrow coming close to us and giving great views. That very local bird was followed by a pair of the stunning Vermilion Cardinal, two Pale-tipped Tyrannulets, two Northern Scrub-Flycatchers, a Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, and more views of the splendid White-whiskered Spinetail and Northern White-fringed Antwren. On the way to Minca we stopped near a banana plantation where we saw a pair of Caribbean (Pale-legged) Horneros, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Ochre-lored (Yellow-breasted) Flycatcher, our first Bicolored Wrens, a Long-billed Gnatwren, and a lovely Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl came to the tape. We reached Minca in time for lunch, which we enjoyed in front of plenty of hummingbird feeders. This time the White-necked Jacobin and Steely-vented Hummingbird were the more numerous, and between those we found a few White-vented Plumeleteers and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, and even two Pale-bellied Hermits. Because of heavy rains, the very bad road up to El Dorado was in even worse shape than usual (hard to believe!), and it took us more than two hours to reach the lodge. As soon as we arrived, we enjoyed the stunning surroundings and all the birds coming to the garden: Santa Marta and Sierra-Nevada Brushfinches, a dozen Band-tailed Guans, a male White-tailed Starfrontlet, Lazuline Sabrewing, and even a few Black-fronted Wood-quail coming to the feeders!

With two full days at El Dorado Lodge, we had plenty of time to explore the various elevations of the ProAves reserve, and to find most of the local endemics. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain both afternoons, limiting our birding to the mornings, but even then, we found most of the local specialties! We spent our first morning at higher elevation, finding a whole new set of species. Before having our field breakfast with amazing views of the Sierra Nevada cordillera, we found Santa Marta and Yellow-crowned Warblers, Santa Marta Brushfinch, a few Santa Marta (Tyrian) Metaltails, and heard a Flammulated Treehunter! Birding the San Lorenzo ridge, we encountered a group of at least a few White-throated Tyrannulets, Black-cheeked Mountain-tanager, Hermit Wood-Wren, a quick view of the rare Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, and a very cooperative pair of Santa Marta Warblers! A Rufous Antpitta of the endemic spatiator (sub)species also showed well, leaving the dense chusquea understory for a few seconds. On our way back to the lodge, we stopped at a Santa Marta Antpitta feeding station, where a hungry bird gave us excellent views! And to finish a wonderful morning, we even had a fantastic view of a male White-tipped Quetzal! We spent the afternoon at the lodge, watching the feeders and reading (bird) books.

We spent our second morning mostly below and around the lodge, finding plenty of fantastic birds such as White-lored Warbler, a nice pair of Golden-breasted Fruiteaters, Montane and Santa-Marta Foliage-gleaners, a pair of Grey-throated Leaftossers, a Rusty-breasted Antpitta, both Santa Marta (Southern) Emerald- and Groove-billed (Yellow-billed) Toucanets, Black-hooded Thrush and the lovely Santa Marta Antbird. We also saw a beautiful male Santa Marta Woodstar perched and showing off his gorget. And a Santa Marta Tapaculo gave us an amazing show, coming in just a meter away, in the open!

On the way back down to Minca, we made a few stops to bird the shade-grown coffee plantation, where we saw a few Chestnut-capped (Rufous-capped) Warblers, Slate-throated Whitestarts, Bay-and-green (Bay-headed), Swallow, Black-headed and Black-capped Tanagers and Yellow Orioles. A Rusty-breasted Antpitta also showed very well. We also had great views of both Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-white Wrens. Two pairs of Scaled Piculet also showed well, and one of the most beautiful species of the morning was probably the stunning Golden-winged Sparrows seen on the roadside.

After our lunch in Minca, we made our way towards Barranquilla with a few quick and rainy stops to scan the coastal mudflats. Lots of North American migrants where already there, and hundreds of Least Terns and Laughing Gulls were seen together with less numerous Caspian, Sandwich and even one Yellow-billed Terns. We made one last stop at the Isla Salamanca NP to bird the mangroves and found a few Bicolored Conebills, two Panama Flycatchers, three Black-whiskered Vireos and no less than five Pied Puffbirds! In no time we reached our comfortable hotel in Barranquilla for a succulent farewell dinner.

On the last morning around Barranquilla, our first stop was to bird the grounds of the Universidad del Norte where we found a nice group of Chestnut-winged Chachalacas, our last Colombian endemic! We then drove to a nearby wetland for two hours of relaxed birding, adding Black-bellied Whistling-duck, Snail Kite, Stripe-backed Wren, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Pied Water-Tyrant and White-headed Marsh-Tyrant to our already impressive trip list. It was finally time to return to our hotel to finish packing and head for the airport for our flights home, with the hope of coming back to Colombia someday soon!

-        Fabrice Schmitt

Created: 24 September 2018