Showing posts from 2023

Colombia - Western Andes (Cordillera Central & Tatama) - February 4-12, 2023

Colombia, the most bird diverse country on earth, is in the midst of a major ecotourism growth phase. This northern South American country was on my short list of new places to visit, so I was thrilled to join four friends for a full week birding Colombia's western Andes. A full TRIP REPORT by organizer Julian Hough has all the details you'd need to put together one of your own. Here I'll keep it simple and share a few images from our time there! Per usual, click an image for full resolution. As a group we tallied 324 species including 42 hummingbirds and 8 antpittas (6 seen, though only one was seen without a feeding station). Ten out of 10 would recommend :) Collared Inca Buff-tailed Coronet Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer Collared Inca Greenish Puffleg Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Velvet-purple Coronet Violet-tailed Sylph Gold-ringed Tanager Gold-ringed Tanager Ornate Hawk-Eagle Chestnut-crowned Antpitta looking down on Manizales Buff

Argentina: Pampas to Patagonia (Part 8: Final Thoughts)

Before officially signing off re: Argentina, I thought I might comment more on the logistics for anyone out there considering a similar trip. I mentioned this in the Intro, but right now Argentina is quite cheap due to a healthy exchange rate, at least for North American and European travelers. On-the-ground costs were quite cheap. For instance, we got a great little Airbnb with four separate single beds and a small kitchen setup for USD $247 for five nights. As there were three of us to split the cost, it came to less than $17/person/night. That was generally the going rate throughout the trip, though some places were marginally more expensive. Most deals were found via Airbnb, though we did stay at one or two hotels booked through more traditional means. As per usual in South Ameria, WhatsApp is the messaging service of choice and was used by all the Airbnb hosts and local businesses we dealt with, including the rental cars. Speaking of rental cars, this is the domestic expense that

Argentina: Pampas to Patagonia (Part 7: Ushuaia cleanup, Ceibas)

Nov 6 Our final day in Ushuaia left us with only longshot species in play. Aerolineas Argentinas had moved our departing flight up a couple hours, so we had only a half-day to work with. We knew that we wanted to owl in the park predawn, but had to choose between Garibaldi Pass for seedsnipe or the park for Spectacled Duck, Magellanic Tapaculo, and Patagonian Tyrant (all three of which are super tough here). Though we realized that the seedsnipe was the real prize, our lack of familiarity with Garibaldi plus the earlier flight made the decision for us. We will just have to return for an Antarctic cruise and prioritize the seedsnipe then! We began owling in the valley just outside the park entrance at 3:45am, and to our disappointment, the eastern sky was already beginning to glow! The spring days are really long here, which is wonderful except when you're searching for nocturnal creatures. Time was short and we had two targets: Rufous-legged Owl and Lesser Horned Owl (AKA Magellani

Argentina: Pampas to Patagonia (Part 6: Rio Grande)

Nov 4 Road trip! Though we had an Airbnb in Ushuaia for five nights, we wanted to take an overnight to the Patagonian Steppe around the town of Rio Grande. As you can probably infer from the topo map below, the habitat there is quite different from that of Ushuaia and brings a different selection of birds to the table, including one of the most sought-after Southern Cone species of all. Departure from Ushuaia was in the pitch black, which is quite early at this latitude in November! We began in Rio Grande itself at some salinas on the west side of town in search of Magellanic Plover. We put in a focused couple hours of checking all the stony edges and mixed shorebird flocks for this odd-looking shorebird, but there was no sign of our quarry. Satisfied with our efforts, we shifted focus to other species and moved onto a cool little wetland called Laguna de Los Patos . Right away we noticed a couple MAGELLANIC SNIPE, which we later realized was a common species around town with birds dis