Colombia: Magdalena River Valley & Western Andes: Jul 13—21, 2019
A Relaxed & Easy Tour
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Excellent introduction to Neotropical birding with exposure to feeding flocks and numerous hummingbirds and tanagers; visits two contrasting areas of Colombia at a relaxed and easy pace.
Colombia’s great avifauna, the largest in the world, offers amazing biodiversity and incredible richness. An enormous wealth of birds entices birders to begin each day in the field at dawn and continue birding until dusk. But what if you prefer birding at a slower pace with a rest after lunch? The answer is our new Relaxed & Easy tour that will focus on two areas, allowing participants to enjoy views of some of Colombia’s endemic or hard-to-see birds at a slower and easier pace.
Our nine-day itinerary will focus on two major areas: the Magdalena River Valley and the Jardín cloud forest and subparamo habitats. In the Magdalena River Valley, we will have an opportunity to look for the recently split Colombian Chachalaca, as well as the distinctive Beautiful Woodpecker. Other possible birds include White-mantled Barbet, Saffron-headed Parrot, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, and Sooty Ant-Tanager. There will be an optional walk of about 30 minutes to look for the unique Oilbird. In addition to the forest birding, we will visit marshes that will provide opportunities for open country species including Northern Screamer, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and a variety of waterfowl.
The tour will continue on the west side of Medellín with a morning of birding in Bolombolo, ending in the town of Jardín. Both areas are located in the west branch of the Colombian Andes and are home to two habitats: cloud forest and the subparamo (a habitat located above treeline). In the subparamo we will spend time looking for the rare and astonishingly beautiful Yellow-eared Parrot. We will also look for Barred Fruiteater, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Dusky Starfrontlet (endemic), Citrine Warbler, and feeding flocks containing the endemic Red-bellied Grackle. Below the subparamo we will explore the cloud forest where the birdlife is usually richer and the bird density is higher. We will dedicate time to look for Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-fronted Redstart (Whitestart), the unequalled Crested and Golden-headed quetzals, and mixed species flocks containing tanagers, tyrant-flycatchers, and flower-piercers. In addition to this amazing richness of birds with endless combinations of plumages, we will offer an optional visit to an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek to enjoy the courtship display and bizarre voice of this spectacular bird.
During our tour, we plan to have breakfast between 6:00 and 6:30 am, followed by birding sessions at feeding stations, forest edges, roadsides, and wetlands. When not moving between locations, we will enjoy resting time after lunch and will resume our birding in the afternoon. There will be no strenuous walks, steep trails, or long-day rides. We will, however, enjoy beautiful scenery, great culture, and wonderful food!
VENT has offered tours to various locations in Colombia since 2009. A booming economy and well-established peaceful culture will reshape your view of this country and its efforts towards long-lasting peace.
Good accommodations and good food throughout; two afternoon-long drives, but bus transportation comfortable and air-conditioned; most birding along roads or feeding stations; highest elevation on road 2,800 meters (9,200 feet); highest accommodation at 1,750 meters (5,740 feet); two optional walks on trails; walking sticks needed for short walks; warm and humid in lowlands, cool and pleasant in mountains.