Thursday, 18 December 2014

Guajira Peninsula.

We left the Santa Marta Mountains after lunch & drove along the coast, stopping at likely looking lagoons. It was nice to be out of the forest for a change & do European style birding!

Long-billed Dowitcher among the abundant
Short-billed Dowitchers.

It was at one of these stops that I spotted a Dowitcher, which to my eyes didn't look like a Short-billed Dowitcher. I believe this is the first documented record of an adult Long-billed Dowitcher for Colombia!

Dry country, but punctuated by coastal wetlands.

Coast was excellent for waterbirds.

The far north Guarija Peninsula is very different from the rest of Colombia. The people are different too, being of Caribbean descent. This dry, semi-desert landscape is home to several endemic species and a host of new birds for me on this trip.

 Very dry, scrubby vegetation.

 Double - striped Thick-knee.

Brown throated Parakeets
 Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.

American Black Vulture
 Common Ground Dove
 Chestnut Piculet.
Orinocan Saltator.
 Northern Scrub Flycatcher
 Vermillion Flycatcher
 Tropical Gnatcatcher
Northern White-fringed Antwren
We arrived in the afternoon & immediately began birding from the roadside. The habitat was mainly dry, scrubby woodland, interspersed with pans which were full at the time of our visit. Recent rains had made the entire landscape quite green.

 Brown Pelican.

 American Wood Stork

 Snowy Egret
 Reddish Egret

 Roseate Spoonbill

 Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpipers

We eventually moved on to the coastal lagoons, seeing a host of waterbirds & quite a few species of waders.
Just before darkness descended we spent the last light birding the scrubby woodland, which was very productive, netting us White whiskered Spinetail; Northern Scrub Flycatcher; Slender billed Inezia & Tropical Gnatcatcher.
The next mornnig (our last of the trip) saw us back in the scrubby woodland again. It was quite windy & birds were hard to find but we did see Chestnut Piculet; Orinocan Salator; Glaucous Tanager & Grey Pileated Finch.  
It was then time for us to get to the airport & fly to Bogota. There was the inevitable two hour delay so we arrived in the capital city in late afternoon in the pouring rain! What a contrast from the north!
After a pleasant evening meal it was time to say our goodbyes & people started leaving for the journey home.
It had been a mammoth & incredible tour, encompassing a wide variety of hábitats and netting a combined total of 986 species in twenty eight days birding! Whow! I enjoyed Colombia immensely & I know I will be back to see yet more species in this mega-diverse country.

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