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“For our Caribbean Extension: 253 Species, 20 Endemics, 18 Near Endemics in 5 DAYS! ”

“Our expectations for this trip were very high, but they were not met. They were exceeded. By a lot. I cannot recommend Ernest (Colombia Wild Ecotours) high enough

24-Days Western, Central and Eastern Andes, Choco and Caribbean Endemics and Specialties Tour, January 2018"


Pieter Vrey
South Africa

COLOMBIA ENDEMICS AND SPECIALTIES TOUR WITH PUTUMAYO AND ANDES (15 DAYS)

Birding destinations in the Western Andes and Choco Lowlands and high elevation areas in the Pasto Massif and the largely-unexplored region of Putumayo's Trampoline of Diversity. We will also be birding in San Agustin Archaelogical Park among megalithic sculptures of Pre-Columbian times.

Day 1 : Day 1 Arrival in Bogota

We will be waiting for you at the gate after baggage pick-up. From there we will transfer to the hotel and depending on arrival times we will opt to visit Monserrate to find our first birds of the trip. We will look for Black trainbearer and Lancebill feeding on the Datura flowers. Other species we will encounter include Black and Masked Flowerpiercer, Pale-naped Brushfinch, and Rufous-browed Conebill. We will have a great dinner at a well known restaurant that specializes in grilled meats. Definitely a creat place to start our Tour and to answer any questions you may have. Meals: D ; Lodging: Marriott Hotel

Day 2: Parque La Florida, Flight Bogota - Pitalito

In the morning we will head out to Parque la Florida, a park adjacent to the airport. Here we will look for the two endemics: Bogota Rail, and Apolinar’s Marsh Wren. Other species we may encounter include: White-tailed kite, Yellow-hooded blackbird, Noble snipe, Spot-flanked gallinule, Eastern meadowlark, Silvery-throated Spinetail and Grassland yellow-finch. We will bird for a here until 11:00 am and head back to the hotel to gather our bags before lunch and then head to the airport for our 3:00 pm flight to Pitalito, Huila. When we arrive, we will take our transport and head to our accommodations near the San Agustin Archaeological Park. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Hotel Monasterio (HW, WIFI)

Day 3: San Agustin

Today we rise early and head to one of the most important archaeological sites in Colombia. San Agustin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in Latin America. Here we will spend the day birding among these amazing ruins looking for the endemic Dusky-headed Brush-finch and Colombian Chachalaca, as well as the near endemics Spectacled Parrotlet and Bar-crested Antshrike. Other specialties we will seek out include Blue-browed Tanager, Olivaceous Piculet, Yellow-breasted Antwren, and Olivaceous Piha after a full day of Birding, we will return to our Lodgings and relax for the remainder of the day. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Hotel Monasterio (HW, WIFI)

Day 4: Pitalito-Mocoa Road

After an early breakfast, we will begin or drive south towards Mocoa. This road provides some excellent birding opportunities. The Pitalito-Mocoa Road is a 130 km stretch along the Andes/Amazon Foothills that provides habitat characteristics for both Amazonian and Andean bird communities and will likely result in great birdwatching. Starting about 50 km (30 mi) south from Pitalito, we will look for Orange-eared, Magpie and Paradise Tanager, Ecuadorian Tyrannulet, and Piedtail, Wire-crested Thorntail, Yellow-throated Toucan, Chestnut-eared Aracari, and Lined Antshrike. With luck, we will see Plum-throated Cotinga and perhaps a Vermillion Tanager. We will overnight in a small hotel just outside the busy town of Mocoa. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Suma Wasi Hotel (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 5: Finca Dantayaco

Today after a good breakfast we head out to Finca Dantayaco. We will about 6 km south from Mocoa before crossing the Mocoa River where we begin our Birding. Birding will be along a long trail which will likely yield many specialties including Red-stained Woodpecker, striped and blue-crowned Manakin, Blue-crowned Trogon and Gilded Barbet. We will stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant there. Before continuing our ascent looking for Fiery-throated fruiteater, Short-billed Bush Tanager, Yellow-throated Toucan, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher and more. We will continue on looking for other species further up including Dwarf Tyrant-manakin, Lemon-throated Barbet, Fulvous breasted Flatbill and Amazonian Umbrellabird. When we reach a farm, the open views will provide excellent opportunities for Aracari, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker and a host of Tanagers, including Masked, Turquoise, Paradise, Opal-crowned, Green-and-gold, and Scarlet Tanager. After a full day of great birding we return to our hotel for a good dinner and relaxation. B,L,D ; Lodging: Suma Wasi Hotel (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 6: Lower Trampolin of Diversity

Today, we bird along a 1400 metre elevational gradient which will likely produce many interesting sightings. We begin our day very early for about an hour’s drive to El Mirador. This is a narrow winding road that connects Mocoa to Sibundoy and Pasto. When we arrive to the highland of El Mirador ("The Lookout", we will be able to appreciate the gorgeous “llanero” sunrise. We will bird a patch of Forest near El Mirador and then begin our slow descent, birding at selected areas along the road back towards Mocoa. We will need to bear in mind that this is a mayor route and traffic may be heavy at times, so caution while birding must be exercised. However, rest assured that the birding here will be worthwhile, Specialties include: Dusky Piha, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager. Other goodies include Yellow-throated Bush-tanager, Long-tailed, Spillman’s and Ocellated Tapaculo, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Green-fronted Lancebill, White-tailed Hillstar, Chestnut-bellied Thrush, and Handsome Flycatcher. After a full day of Birding, we will return to our hotel have dinner and relax. Meals: B,L (Packed),D ; Lodging: Lodging: Suma Wasi Hotel (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 7: Upper Trampoline of Diversity and transfer to La Cocha

Today we wake up and begin our second stretch of the Trampoline of Diversity. We will bird the upper portion of the road lined with good forests. As with our previous day, we will have to exercise caution while birding along the road. We will look for our targets White-rimmed Brush-Finch, Whitefronted-Nunbird, Paradise Tanager, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, and Golden-eared and Opal-crowned Tanager. Other species to keep an eye out for are Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Green-and- black Fruiteater, Saffron-crowned and Flame-faced Tanager and Short-billed Bush-tanager. We will conclude our day and drive to our cozy lodgings at La Cocha Lagoon near the City of Pasto. Meals: B,L (Packed),D ; Lodging: Chalet Guamuez (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 8: El Encanto Andino

We rise early and take a boat for a cruise in the lagoon. We will look for our main aquatic targets that include Andean Gull, Yellow-billed Pintail, Slate-colored Coot, and Silvery Grebe. Along the marshes, we may even spot a Subtropical Doradito, Sedge Wren or a Virginia Rail. We will stop at El Encanto Andino Reserve. Birding here can produce Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Cinereus Conebill, Bronze-winged and Speckle-faced Parrots, Spectacled Whitestart, and Sword-billed Hummingbird among many other species. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Chalet Guamuez (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 9: Paramo de Bordoncillo

Today we will head to the Paramo de Bordoncillo at 3000 m asl. to look for high elevation specialists we will look for our target species that include: Masked Mountain Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch and with some luck and energy, the rare Chestnut-bellied Cotinga. Other species to look for include Black Flowerpiercer, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Barred Fruiteater, Agile Tit-Tyrant, and Grass-green Tanager and both rufous and Tawny Antpittas. We will return to our lakeside lodging by mid-afternoon for some well-deserved rest. B,L,D Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Chalet Guamuez (HW, AC, WIFI)

Day 10: Morning Birding-Old Buesaco Road and Flight to Cali

On our last day of this Southern Colombia tour, we will wake up early and bring our bags with us for our last birding stretch along the old Besuaco Road. Here we will look for Carrunculated Caracara, White-tipped Swift flying above, Black Thighed Puffleg and Viridian Metaltail, White-crested Elenia, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and Red-hooded Tanager. We will stop briefly for lunch before goind to the airport for our flight to Cali. We will then drive to KM 18 for the night. Meals: B,L,D; Lodging: Hotel El Faro

Day 11: KM 18

Today we spend the morning in El 18, which is located on km 18 of the road that connects Cali to the port of Buenaventura. We will begin our birding just outside our Lodgings and span a 4 km stretch. Birding at Km 18 can be very productive, and we will look for four endemics – Chestnut Wood-Quail, Colombian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet and Multicolored Tanager. Besides the four endemics, we can be treated to a very colorful experience. Purplish-mantled, Summer, Beryl-spangled, Flame-rumped, Golden, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, and Golden-naped tanagers as well as Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager. We will also stop at Finca Alejandria, a private home with multiple hummingbird feeders that are visited by hundreds of Hummers. Species include Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail, Blue-headed Sapphire, Green Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear and Tawny-bellied Hermit. Birding the forest can also produce many near-endemics such as Scrub Tanager, Purple-throated Woodstar, Nariño Tapaculo, Purplish- mantled Tanager and Yellow-headed Manakin. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: Hotel El Faro (HW

Day 12: Doña Dora, Upper Anchicaya

We will make up early and begin our trip towards the Lower Anchicaya. But just before getting there, we will stop at El Descanso, a small, very rustic roadside restaurant that will provide us excellent views of Toucan Barbet, Black Solitaire, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Crowned Woodnymph and more. Birding at Km 18 can be very productive, and we will look for four endemics – Chestnut Wood-Quail, Colombian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet and Multicolored Tanager. Besides the four endemics, we can be treated to a very colorful experience. Purplish-mantled, Summer, Beryl-spangled, Flame-rumped, Golden, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, and Golden-naped tanagers as well as Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager. We will also stop at Finca Alejandria, a private home with multiple hummingbird feeders that are visited by hundreds of Hummers. Species include Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-tail, Blue-headed Sapphire, Green Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin. Brown Violetear and Tawny-bellied Hermit. Birding the forest can also produce many near-endemics such as Scrub Tanager, Purple-throated Woodstar, Nariño Tapaculo, Purplish- mantled Tanager and Yellow-headed Manakin. Meals: B,L,D ; Lodging: El Campanario

Day 13: Upper- Middle Anchicaya

Colombia's most famous birding location is within minutes after we depart the hotel. Over 300 species have been recorded along the old Cali to Buenaventura Road. We will begin or birding along a narrow dirt road surrounded by lush vegetation and gorgeous waterfalls. As we descend, possibilities include the near endemic Lemon-rumped Tanager, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Summer Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Bright-rumped Atilla, Golden-collared Manakin, White-headed Wrens, and Chestnut-headed Oropendola. We will stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant before descending further into the lower Anchicaya where we will have opportunity to search for Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Collared Araçari, White-tipped and Blue Cotinga, Rose-faced and Blue-headed Parrot, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-chested Puffbird, and Purple-throated Fruitcrow. Other possibilities include Blue-whiskered, Emerald, Palm, Dusky-faced, Tawny-crested and Rufous-winged Tanager, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Ruffous-tailed Jacamar, Ocellated, Jet, Stub-tailed and Bicolored Antbird, and Long-tailed Tyrant Meals: B, L, D ; Lodging: Hotel El Campanario

Day 14: Middle-Lower Anchicaya

We will focus today on the Middle and Lower Anchicaya Valley, beginning at 1,600 m (5,250 ft) and ending in humid tropical forests at 400m (1,300 ft) in the Pacific Lowlands. Besides the impressive landscape, we will look for (E) Tatamá Tapaculo, (E) Grayish Piculet, (E) Crested Ant-tanager, (E) Parker’s Antbird, (NE) Toucan Barbet, (NE) Rufous-throated tanager, Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Black Solitaire. Other possibilities that we will surely look for include (NE) Chocó tapaculo, (NE) Uniform Treehunter, (NE) Orange-breasted fruiteater, (NE) Club-winged Manakin, (NE) Sooty-headed Wren, (NE) Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, (NE) Ochre-breasted tanager, Torrent Duck, (NE) Glistening-green Tanager, (NE) White-whiskered Hermit, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Black-headed Brush-finch, Green Thorntail, Olive Finch, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Russet Antshrike, White-headed Wren, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, (NE) Yellow-collared Chlorophonia and many others. After a full day of Birding, we will continue on to our comfortable hotel in the port of Buenaventura. Meals: B, L, D ; Lodging: Hotel El Campanario (WIFI-weak)

Day 15: San Cipriano

San Cipriano is a small town located approximately 10 minutes inland from the port of Buenaventura. We arrive at the town of Cordoba in the early morning. From there on we will take a unique mode of transportation known as "the Brujitas", homemade train carts powered by motorcycles to travel on the railroad tracks to the town of San Cipriano. Upon arrival, we will then cross the picturesque town and see a nesting colony of Chestnut Oropendolas and the conspicuous and near-endemic Lemon-rumped Tanager. Upon entering the Natural Reserve possibilities include Rose-faced Parrot, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Golden-collared Manakin, Chestnut- mandibled and Chocó Toucans, and Stripe-billed Araçari. Other specialties of the area include Masked Tityra, and Cinnamon and Crimson-bellied Woodpeckers. Towards the end of the morning, we will have the opportunity to bathe in the crystal clear waters of the San Cipriano River and relax before returning to the town for a typical Fish Sancocho. In the afternoon, we will head towards Cali to our hotel. We will have a great farewell dinner. Meals: B, L, D ; Lodging: Hotel Dann (HW, WIFI, AC)

Day 16: Transfer to Airport for connecting flights to extension tours or home

Today we say our good byes or continue on to our next birdwatching location or homeward. Meals: B ; Lodging: N/A

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