Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Ever since I started birding and learning about geography, South America has been #1 on my list of places to go. Last winter I did a bit of a warmup, making my way through 5 countries in Central America over 7 weeks, seeing 845 species of birds. The trip report for that is still in the works, photo editing is taking much longer than I thought and I have been spending all of my time planning for Colombia or just relaxing and enjoying not having to be on the move. One of these days I'll sit down and get all this finished, but not today!

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!


Josh Vandermeulen said...

Get your ass down here already!!!

David Bell said...

Workin' on it! What are you doing reading blogs when you should be birding? haha

Josh Vandermeulen said...

Haha drinking beers and watching 7 species of hummers at the feeders at the Minca hotel during the heat of the day!

ljb said...

Hope you enjoy your adventure, get your 1000 species, increase your fluency in Spanish, and have a great time exploring new territory with your buddies. Keep out of trouble and I'll look forward to seeing some of your photos on FB or when you return. Hugs.