Day 2

 An early start, to try to beat the early morning Bogota traffic, saw us on our way to Laguna de Tabical where we eat breakfast in the car park picking up our first birds of the day, Yellow-bellied Eleanea, Saffron Finch's Black-billed Thrush and Rufous-capped Warbler. A Rosy Thrush-Tanager called from the undergrowth, but despit much trying wouldn't show.

Entering the park, Martin spotted a Ruddy Quail-Dove wandering up a side path. Unfortunately it, and a couple of others managed to stay just that bit too far ahead for photographing. The Thrush-Tanager continued to give us the run around, although Peter did manage to get a brief view of one perched. A Rusty-breasted Antpitta proved much more co-operative and showed well, perching out in the open on a few occasions. Phil found a Grayish Piculet, somewhat distant, through a tangle as we continued to try for the Thrush-Tanager.

Arriving at the lake, Least and Pied-billed Grebes were on the water along with a presumable, domestic Muscovy Duck. Southern Rough-winged Swallows hawked over the lake and Peter uncovered their nest in a bank. A White-throated Crake called from the margins but only Alejandro and Martin were looking in the right spot when it made a brief dash across an open patch.

Walking back to the main entrance a wood pecker called and while looking for that our first Woodcreeper was found - a Streak-headed. The pecker was soon found, a nice Red-crowned Woodpecker. Whilst trying to get a good angle on this an Olivaceous Piculet was found close that pleased the photographers. Outside the park, a pair of Bar-crested Antshirkes called and we were soon watching these as the flitted about the tops of trees above us.

From Luganua to Tabical we headed back towards Bogota, for lunch with the hummingbird feeders at Jardin Encantado. The feeders didn't dissapoint with scores of hummers coming and going. The star of the show, however, was keeping a low profile - there was no sign of the Ruby Topaz. After a slightly later than planned lunch we were getting ready to leave when the Ruby Topaz showed briefly.

After lunch it was the long drive to El Paujil, some 5 hrs away. Dropping down into the Magdalena Valley the temperature rose and the bird life changed. The first Turkey Vultures appeared to join the much comoner Black Vultures and Roadside Hawks appeared. A stop for our first Savannah Hawk also produced Orange-chinned Parakeets, Yellow-headed and Northern Crested Caracaraa and Cattle Tyrants. A further stop for road works produced our first, if somewhat distant, Chested-fronted Macaws.

Turning off the main road it was clear we were not going to arrive into El Paujil in daylight, but that didn't stop further roadside stops. The first produced a single Northern Screamer, our first Wattled Jacana's and Red-breased Blackbirds. not long after we turned of the tarmaced road onto the dirt track that leads to the reserve. Thanks to the recent rains, the gowing was slow and it was with some relief we stopped in the nearest village to the reserve. That relief was short lived as we found out that due to the poor road conditions we would be doing the rest of the journey by boat. Our luggage was passed down a steep and slippy muddy bank and we quickly followed. Fortunately no one slipped. The boat trip was quite an adventure as we motored upstream in the pitch dark with Greater Bulldog Bats skimming through the torch beam as they hunted fish, and the night sky was lit by occasional lightning flashes. Fortunately the rain held off until we had disembarked, and fed.   

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