In two days, I will finally be getting to the legendary continent, and what better introduction than to visit the most bird-diverse country on Earth? What started as sort of a joke among coworkers last summer has turned into a reality, and I am headed to Colombia for the next 2 months! Over that time I'll be travelling with a number of friends on-and-off, and doing a few parts on my own. For the first week or so, I'll be joining my Panama partners-in-crime, Steve Pike and Josh Vandermeulen, along with fellow UofGuelph alumni Dan Riley (who actually has the same birthday as me - weird) as we work our way through the three Colombian Andean ranges (East, Central and West). They have already been down there for a while so should have a pretty good handle on the birds, hopefully I won't be long in catching up! Afterward I am meeting up with Adam Timpf, who was in Colombia last winter and is actually down there already, having left yesterday, as we do more Central and West Andes birding. In mid-Feb, Avery Bartels and Jeremy Gatten will be meeting us for nearly a month of birding some of the least-visited (but still relatively safe) birding spots in Colombia, scattered from the Panama border across to the Venezuela border. Avery has done quite a bit of guiding in the country and Jeremy is no novice to tropical birding either, so my hopes are high that we will see a fair bit! After their departure, Adam and I will continue on to visit the north coast and another East Andes site before his departure, at which point I'll be on my own for a few days of birding around Bogota. Here's a link to a map of planned sites that we will be visiting - note most of them are rough placements, not precise locations.
As far as goals for the trip go, I am looking forward to having a great time on a new continent! Seeing a good chunk of the Colombian specialties and cracking 1000 species for a country are things I definitely wouldn't complain about either.
Pic taken from Steve's facebook - sunrise on the San Lorenzo Ridge a few days ago - I am very much looking forward to getting away from winter and into the land of birds!