Santa Marta endemics & Northern Colombia

(7 Nights / 8days) Caribbean Coast / Perijá and Santa Marta Mountains.
2019 November 19 – 26 Tour Leader: Iván A. Lau.
2020 March 2 – 9. Tour Leader: Miles McMullan. November 20 – 27. Tour Leader: Iván A. Lau.

USD$ 2.650 Length: 8 days. Starting city: Valledupar. Ending city: Barranquilla. Pace: Moderate-Fast. Physical difficulty: Moderate. Focus: Birding Max. Group Size: 8 people in double accommodation (2 persons per room). Single supplement: USD$400. Perfect For: Keen Birders – Enthusiastic birders. USD$50 from each registration for this tour will go to Eagles Of The Andes Foundation (FADA).

This is a compact and rewarding tour, which will be conducted in the following EBAs (Endemic Bird Areas by Birdlife International): Santa Marta Mountains, Nechí Lowlands, Caribbean Colombia and Venezuela and Colombian East Andes. The famous Santa Marta Mountains have the biggest concentration of endemics and most of them are easily seen. This trip offers birders the chance to get to the core of Colombian endemism mixed with a taste of Caribbean, Venezuelan near endemics and remarkable scenery.


Piculet Birding Tours Colombia: San Lorenzo’s Ridge.

 

Bear in Mind

 

Early starts are necessary on most days since the best birding is in the early morning. Start times will usually be from 5:30-6:00am, with one 4:30am start on day 6. We will have at least one field breakfast, while other meals will be in the lodges/hotels or nearby restaurants. Meals consist of a main dish with drink (water/soda/juice/beer). No appetizers, desserts, or bottles of wine are included. The drives are not too long (2 to 2.5 hours), with the lengthiest being about four hours on day 3. We will use comfortable, air conditioned 4×4 vehicles for land transportation. We will have mild walks, even in the mountains, nearly all the birding will be from a dirt road where we will be mostly walking downhill. There will be some short hikes on moderately difficult trails where a walking stick could come in handy. You can expect to walk around 5 Km (3 miles) per day on average. Access to Perijá and Santa Marta mountains is by an extremely rough 4×4 road, which could be an issue for people with serious back problems (check with us if you are unsure). The highest elevation reached is about 2,600 meters (8,500 ft) but the lodge is much lower at 2000 meters (6,500 ft). Weather will be warm to hot in the lowlands and cool to pleasant in the highlands. The coldest temperature is normally 7°C (44°F) on one or two mornings (Perijá and SanLorenzo´s Ridge), where a couple of layers and a pair of gloves would be nice for an hour or two before it warms up. The tour is run in the dry season, but it is not unusual to get a bit of rain in the mountains, though it is usually not much. Hotels and Lodges all have private bathrooms and electricity. In higher elevations all have hot water; only one night is in the hot coastal plain where the lack of hot water is usually tolerable and staying close to the birding site makes it worthwhile. Wi-fi is usually available in all the hotels, although it may only be available in public areas and is sometimes very slow. Perijá lodge doesn´t have Wi-fi. Imagen:Carpeta Imágenes Tours/ Santa Marta Endemics/ Piculet Birding Tours Colombia_Mapa Santa Marta

 Day 1

 

Arrival Valledupar / Transfer Perijá NR – We will pick you up at Valledupar Airport around noon and drive to Proaves Perija’s Natural Reserve. The lodge is basic but very clean; we will have hot water and excellent food. At the reserve we will find Hummingbird feeders with very good chances for specialties like the near endemic Perijá Metaltail and gorgeous Amethyst-throated Sunangel. The Chamicero del Perijá Bird Reserve was created in 2014, in order to preserve one of the most fragile and important sites of Colombia.The Sierra de Perijá is an isolated offshoot of the Eastern Andes and forms the border with Venezuela. Is one of the least explored areas in Colombia, the ability to move from Montane Forest to Páramo and then down to foothill dry subtropical areas allows for ample bird diversity.

 

 Day 2

Perijá – We will drive early to the upper part Chamicero del Perija Natural Reserve where we can see amazing birds like: Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Amethist-throated Sunangel, near endemic Perija Metaltail, near endemic Perija Tapaculo, near endemic Perija Brush Finch, near endemic Perija Thistletail, Andean Guan, the vulnerable and rare Black and Chestnut Eagle, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Streak-backed Canastero, Rufous Spinetail, White-throated Tyrannulet, Scaly-naped Parrot, , Paltry Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Klage’s Antbird, Mountain Elaenia, Crested Quetzal, Black-crested Warbler, the rare Fulvous-headed Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Black Flowerpiercer, Paramo Seedeater, Slaty Brush-finch, and Andean Siskin among others. On our way back to Valledupar we will stop at Tananeos Natural Reserve where we may find Scaled Piculet, Military Macaw, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Rufous and White Wren, Pale-breasted Thrush, Blue-black Grosbeak, and many more. This Private Reserve is named after the endangered Purple Heart Tree, or Tananeos, known and appreciated for its hardness and the intense purple color of it’s wood. We will stay in Valledupar at hotel Sonesta.

Day 3

Besotes Ecopark / Transfer to Camarones – Los Besotes Eco Park is a natural reserve located 9 km from Valledupar. The Reserve is actually pretty large and covers an extensive portion of the dry forest along the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, where we will have chances to observe birds like: Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Crested Bobwhite, (near endemic) Red-legged Tinamou, Scaled Dove, Chestnut Piculet, Collared Forest Falcon, Military Macaw, Brown Throated Parakeet, White-fringed Antwren, Black-backed Antshrike, Plain Brown Woodcreeper, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Pale legged Hornero, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Yellow Breasted Flycatcher, Pale–tipped Tyrannulet, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Lance Tailed Manakin, Scrub Greenlet, Golden fronted Greenlet, Rufous Breasted Wren, Bicolored Wren, Buff-breasted Wren, Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow Oriole, Trinidad Euphonia among others. We will transfer at 11 a.m. to Camarones where we will stay at Hotel Jiisot. In the afternoon we will go to the beaches of Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. This is an important coastal wetland and dry forest reserve created to protect a large population of the American Flamingo, where we may observe shorebirds like: American Flamingo, Yellow-crowned Night-heron, White and Scarlet Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, American Oystercatcher, Wattled Jacana, Whimbrel, Spotted Sandpiper, Willet, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer and many more.

Day 4

Flamencos – We will spend the Morning at Flamencos Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, located in the town of Camarones, 15 minutes south of Riohacha. This 17,000+ acre reserve of marshes, lagoons, and dry forest is also habitat to 185 other bird species  There arid, xerophytic scrub hosts many birds like Pearl Kite, Savanna Hawk, Double-striped Thick-knee, Bare eyed Pigeon, Common Ground Dove, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Ruby Topaz, (near endemic) Red-billed emerald, Buffy Hummingbird, Russet Throated Puffbird, (near endemic) Chestnut Piculet, (near endemic) Tocuyo Sparrow, (near endemic) Slender-billed Tyrannulet, (near endemic) White-whiskered Spinetail, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Black-crested Antshrike, Straight-billed woodcreeper, Pale-legged Hornero, Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Pale-tipped Tyrannulet, Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, Pied Water-tyrant, Brown Crested Flycatcher, Gray Kingbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Prothonotary Warbler, Glaucos Tanager, Pileated Finch, Orinocan Saltator, Vermilion Cardinal, and many more. After Lunch we will transfer to Hotel Colores de la Sierra, close to Minca. Hotel Colores de la Sierra is Basic but clean and friendly, with amazing birds for the next Morning.

Day 5

Colores de La Sierra / Transfer El Dorado- This will be our first taste of the great birding the Santa Marta range has to offer. In the morning we will be looking for birds at the hotel, which lies in the foothills of Santa Marta Mountains, where several good dry forest species can be seen in the patches of forest and coffee plantations close to the pleasant town of Minca. Species like Plumbeous Kite, Gray-lined Hawk, White-vented Plumeleteer, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Whooping Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Scaled Piculet, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Barred Antshrike, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Ochre Bellied Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, White-bearded Manakin, Masked Tityra, Cinnamon Becard, Golden fronted Greenlet, Black Chested Jay, Rufous-breasted wren, Bicolored Wren, Rufous and white Wren, Pale-breasted Thrush, Rosy Thrush Tanager, Tennessee Warbler, American Redstart, Rufous-capped Warbler, Gray-headed Tanager, White lined Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager (toddy), Swallow Tanager, Purple Honeycreeper, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Thick-billed Seed-finch, Yellow bellied seedeater, Buff-throated Saltator, Golden-winged sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Crested Oropendola, Orange-crowned Oriole, Thick billed euphonia, among others. In the afternoon we will transfer to El Dorado lodge and on the way up we will make a few stops looking for (endemic) Santa Marta Foliage gleaner, Rusty breasted Antpitta, (endemic) Santa Marta Antbird, (endemic) White-lored Warbler, (endemic) Sierra Nevada Brush Finch, (endemic) Santa Marta Tapaculo, (endemic) Bang’s Wood-wren,Yellow-legged Thrush, Gartered Trogon, Black-headed Tanager and more amazing birds.

Day 6

San Lorenzo’s Ridge – We will be Birding all day at San Lorenzo’s Ridge, a mountain ridge located in the northwest slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, accessible via a boulder-strewn dirt road that slowly zig-zags its way up the side of the mountain. The elevation along the top of the ridge is approximately 2,800 m (9,000 ft). San Lorenzo is a bit of a mecca for bird-lovers: it’s probably one of the best places in the world to see endemic bird species, with at least 10 seen regularly, and many more possible like: Santa Marta Parakeet, Southern Emerald (Santa Marta) Toucanet, Santa Marta Screech-Owl, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar; Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Santa Marta (Hermit) Wood-wren, White-lored Warbler, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta (Black-cheeked) Mountain-Tanager, Black-backed Thornbill, Sierra Nevada Brush-Finch, Santa Marta Brush-finch. Other birds we might see are: (near endemic) Black-fronted Wood-Quail, (near endemic) White-tipped Quetzal, (near endemic) Streak-capped Spinetail, White-rumped Hawk, Band-tailed Guan, Sickle-winged Guan, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Masked Trogon, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Groove-billed Toucanet, Emerald Toucanet, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Spotted Barbtail, Streaked Xenops, Gray-throated Leaftosser, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Mountain Elaenia, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Venezuelan and White-throated Tyrannulet, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Orange-billed and Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush, Great Thrush, Black-hooded Thrush, Slate-throated Redstart, Three-striped Warbler, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Blue-naped Chlorophonia and others. We will spend the night at El Dorado Lodge.

Day 7

El Dorado / Transfer to Barranquilla – We will search for more birds around El Dorado lodge and its way back to Minca. In the afternoon we will transfer to Barranquilla where we will stay at the very nice and comfortable Washington Plaza Hotel. Barranquilla is a cosmopolitan and primarily industrial city, often visited by businessmen of all nationalities. Barranquilla is also called by its residents and Colombians in general “Curramba” (Curramba is a reference to “party”) and the Golden Gate to Colombia (Puerta de Oro de Colombia), this is due to its location on the delta of the Magdalena river, making it the most important commercial sailing port to the Atlantic Ocean for the nation.

Day 8

Barranquilla Km4 – We will leave early To Km4 Road which bisects a series of pastures and inundated fields that are superb for birding.  There we might see birds like: Northern Screamer, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Glossy Ibis, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Dwarf Cuckoo, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Stripe-backed Wren, (endemic) Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Bicoloured Conebill, Pied Puffbird, and Many More. After Lunch we will drive you to Barranquilla International Airport where we will say goodbye looking forward to have you back for another Birding Adventure in magical Colombia!