Saturday, September 12, 2009
Colombia Day 6 Aug. 28 Farwell Edwin
We got up early in El Cairo, because we had to pack up everything for our trip up to Bogota that evening. But first we got another shot at the birds of Galapagos Road. Edwin did a great repeat performance on the horrid roads. There had been some rain, so I was a bit nervous about landslides, which are a frequent occurrence in the Andes. We arrived at the bridge where we had heard Beautiful Jays the day before and stopped. Edwin then alerted us to a red and black bird shaped like a football sitting near by in a tree. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock! Pablo had told us they were present in that area, but they are very shy and usually difficult to see. I even managed a very poor photo before it flew down into the creek bed and out of sight. It wasn’t a life bird, but still a bit of a thrill. Unfortunately the Beautiful Jays didn’t respond.
We had limited time to spend because we had to get to Pereira for an evening flight to Bogota. We decided to head over the pass and try for some of the lower elevation birds. We again saw many Purplish-mantled and Gold-ringed Tanagers. One of my favorite birds was a repeat from the day before, Glistening Green Tanager. We also added Rufous-throated Tanager, which is a real looker. The best tanager though was one we had held little hope for, Black-and-Gold. It’s another difficult bird to get. Jhonier had seen one earlier at the spot where we found it a few days earlier. It made the day!
The Munchique Wren serenaded us again. We had two different fruit-eaters, Orange-breasted and Black-and-green. Pablo played the Tanager Finch and Olive Finch tape at the stream crossings. We were on a small bridge and he caught a glimpse of a bird that might have been an Olive Finch, but it never responded further. It was a really good spot for butterflies, though. I think I was driving everyone crazy with my photographing them.
We stopped at the spot where we had the Barred Hawk and Ornate Hawk-eagles the day before. They didn’t show up again, but we did have a large flight of Swallow-tailed Kites. Jhonier knew I was in butterfly mode and he was kind enough to point out a gorgeous clear-winged Satyr. Flycatchers were putting on a good show, with Cinnamon and Ornate being extremely cooperative. We had a long drive to the airport so we reluctantly left.
We made our way back, dropping quite low in the Cauca River valley. We had a little time so we stopped at a fish hatchery. A Gray Seedeater was perched on the chain link fence, very close. A dark raptor was perched on a pole overlooking the ponds. It was a Snail Kite. There were Wattled Jacanas, Purple Gallinules and a Black-necked Stilt working the water. Dan spotted a beautiful male Masked Duck. We walked along the road and found a Common Tody-flycatcher, which I have seen many times, but I just like them! Red-breasted Blackbirds were in the surrounding fields.
We arrived in Pereira with plenty of time to spare for our flight to Bogota, where we were to spend our last day. We bid Edwin a found farewell. He was such a pleasure to be around. I don't think anyone laughed more on the trip than Edwin. I was really sorry that we would not have his company in Bogota.
The airport was rather small, but with modern shops and facilities. What was really odd were the security procedures. There were no x-ray machines before you went into the waiting area. We asked about boarding and got a rather vague answer and were told to listen for our flight. We had some juice and I did some brief souvenir shopping. Finally our flight was called and we looked up to see a huge line at the gate. We jumped up and waited, and waited, and waited. The line was barely moving and it was almost time for the flight to leave. We realized that there was no way that all of these people could be for one flight. When we finally got close enough to see what was going on, they were doing the security check as people entered the gate and it was much slower than any check I had ever been through. Sure enough there were two flights. We got through and got on the plane. Our flight was delayed, but eventually we took off and made the short hop to Bogota.
We had a great dinner at place called Waffles and Crepes. It’s a chain and is not typical Colombian food, but it was so good! One of the things I appreciated about all the food in Colombia is the quality and freshness. This was no exception. Pablo wanted to discuss our last day birding. We had originally planned to go to a lower elevation, but he had visited the spot recently and didn’t think it was worth our time. He suggested another option, the paramo. Sigh.
Glistening Green Tanager