Day 1

This was a self organised 12 day trip for Phil, Martin Bell and Peter Morgan to the central area of Colombia, visiting a number of key RNA reserves, looking for the local endemics as well as more common species. Ground arrangements in Colombia were handled by our guide, Alejandro Solano, and ProAves, and proved to be excellent

After an uneventful flight, arriving at 03:30, an hour ahead of schedule, the trip almost stopped at passport control as the officer checking's Phil's passport became suspicious when Phil couldn't remember were we were staying on our first night in Bogota. We eventually managed to convince him to let Phil in, though he did pass us a couple of times after we had picked up our baggage and met our driver, Erney.

Erney safely negotiated the early mprning Bogota traffic to deposit us at out first accommodation the small, but excellent hotel, Casona del Patio, were we grabbed some sleep, and freshened up before meeting  Alejandro. After a late breakfast, we headed out for some easy birding at Parc Florida. Bare-faced Ibis's and Cattle Egrets were the dominant species, with Yellow-hooded Blackbirds adding a splash of colour. A bit of playback coaxed a response from a Bogota Rail, but only Martin managed to get a quick view as it slipped between the reeds. Despite trying at several other spots we couldn't cox any other individual to show.

On the main lake American Coots were the most obvious birds, but a scan located several Ruddy/Andean Ducks - some with the familiar white cheeks but other with completely black heads - Lesser Scaup, Andean Teal, and Blue-winged Teal. A Spot-flanked Gallinule was soon picked up, whilst a couple of Black Pheobe sallied back and forth. Some Lesser Yellowlegs were distant but a single Spotted Sandpiper and a group of 20+ Solitary (Social?) Sandpipers were much closer. Like the rail, the endemic Apolinar's Wren failed to show.

We then cross the city to climb into the Eastern Andies to visit the Observatorio de Colibres lodge, were we were entertained by numerous hummingbirds, including the stunning Blue-throated Starfrontlet and the outlandish Sword-billed hummingbird. Non hummingbird interest included a quite showy Red-crested Cotinga, a single Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, and a pair of  Rufous-browed Conebill.

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