When a day you have looked forward to for so long finally arrives, you do wonder if it will live up to expectations. Well, I needn’t have worried on that front as this turned out to be the best day of the tour so far. So we began at the main house, which is surrounded by great forest and has hummer feeders that attracted Long-tailed Sylph, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet and Bronzy Inca. More birds kept appearing and before we’d eaten our breakfast we’d seen Grey-browed Brushfinch, Mountain Wren, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager,Capped Conebill, Black-eared Hemispingus, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, a pair of Barred Becards all passing through the bushes and trees at the edge of the garden and seen from the veranda. There were even some Scaly-naped Amazonsflying over as well. After a great breakfast it was time for the first feeding station, which was just adjacent to the garden. Here we sat on a bench and waited while our local guide, John, threw some worms down and whistled. We waited and waited. And waited some more. Stomachs tightening all the while. Would the bird show? Well, yes it did. An absolutely fantastic Bicoloured Antpitta suddenly emerged from the dense undergrowth and just stood there a few seconds before eating the worms. Wow! It remained on view for several minutes before returning to the gloom. Smiles all round after antpitta no 1.
We then birded around the gardens for a little while longer before heading uphill to the next feeding station. A row of seats confronted us and no sooner had we sat down and the worms thrown onto the ground than a Green-and-black Fruiteater appeared and promptly began eating all the worms. It flew onto the handrail next to us and even fed from the group’s hand. Outrageous!
But just then a Brown-banded Antpitta appeared right beside us, no more than 3 feet away. OMG! And it just stood there, fed a bit, hopped around, fed some more… And just stood there, way too close to get a decent photo.
This was utterly mind-blowing. As if that wasn’t enough a Chestnut-crowned Antpitta appeared on the other side, and although a little shy it too eventually gave crippling views out in the open some 10 feet away from us.
And then a male Golden-headed Quetzal put in an appearance in the nearby trees. This was all getting utterly surreal.
We then followed the road along for a bit and bumped into numerous flocks. This was far and away the ‘birdiest’ site we had visited in Colombia so far. We saw a lot of birds very quickly as we jammed into these mixed feeding flocks with species such as the very common Blue-and-black Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Hooded Siskin, a group of Sharpe’s Wrens, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Montane Woodcreeper,Lacrimose and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, Pearled Treerunner, Streaked Xenops, and even the rare Slaty Finch. Another male Golden-headed Quetzal was seen, before reaching the next and final feeding station. From a wooden bench we could look down the slope and this time a cool looking Slate-crowned Antpitta was the star of the show, along with another Brown-banded Antpitta. Words fail me!
Continuing along the track we had more flocks with Masked Trogon, stunning Powerful and Crimson-mantled Woodpeckers, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Black-eared and Black-capped Hemispingus, and a Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant amongst others. But our local guide had one more trick up his sleeve as we returned to the first feeding station and took positions along the trail nearby. After what seemed like an eternity a huge Undulated Antpitta appeared and I cannot express the feeling of awe I felt. This bird has only been seen at this site for a couple of weeks here but it was extremely bold and I even went back for seconds over lunch.
|It needed great fieldcraft skills to catch a glimpse of this antpitta!|
After that we returned to the main house for lunch and to watch the hummer feeders where Bronzy Inca showed well. A quick check of the trail led us to a pair of Rufous-crowned Tody-tyrants that performed outrageously.
After lunch we saw Grey-headed Bush-Tanager, Slaty Brushfinch, Andean Motmot, Oleaginous and Superciliaried Hemispingus, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Blackish Tapaculo, Glossy-black Thrush, Metallic-green Tanager, Black-banded Woodcreeper, White-capped Dipper, Choco Daggerbill (split from Wedge-billed Hummer), and a Speckled Hummingbird.
|Wedge-billed Hummingbird now split as White-throated Wedgebill|
We had dinner back at the main house but before that we saw a Band-winged Nightjar, but failed at owling with White-throated Screech-Owl and Rufous-banded Owl heard. What an amazing day.