TRANSFER FROM JARDIN TO MANIZARES AND ONTO RIO BLANCO LODGE
It was another early start, we met at 5:30am with our luggage which was quickly loaded onto the bus for our long journey of 6 hours. We planned to be at the Rio Blanco Lodge by 2pm with one scheduled birding stop and a couple of stops for breakfast and snacks.
At 7:00 am we arrived in the Cauca Valley and parked on the side of the road at a site where Johnnier had seen some very nice sought-after species recently. Our main target was the Antioquia Wren (named after the local region) and within 5 minutes we watched one delivering its simple but very melodic song, a great result.
on the 'hunt' for the Antioquia Wren
Other birds seen over the next half-an-hour were: Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Scrub Tanager, Black-striped Sparrow, Greyish Piculet, Golden-crowned Warbler, Streaked Flycatcher and then our second target species appeared, it was an Apical Flycatcher, it showed well and everyone got to see it. A Yellow-bellied Eleania, Blue-headed Parrot, Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler and a Mourning Warbler also went on the list before we moved on.
a Great Thrush - makes you feel at home when you see birds like this
Breakfast was taken 8am in a roadside café, the café had a feeding station and a nice pond in the garden where a good number of species was visiting to drink or bathe. We watched Thick-billed Euphonia, Red-headed Woodpecker, Clay-colored and Black-billed Thrushes, a Bicolored Wren and lots of common tanagers.
After breakfast we said goodbye to Johnnier our guide who was off to guide another group, he will be sadly missed. We continued with the bus and driver to Manizares and then onto the Rio Blanco Lodge, we arrived exactly at 2pm.
Clockwise Left to right; Gill, John, Johnnier, Rick and Penny
After checking into our rooms we had a late lunch but not before we checked out the feeders in the garden. The usual mayhem ensued as many new hummers appeared at the same time. Luckily for us our new guide, Araufo, arrived on time and was there to name all the birds. The Buff-tailed Coronet has an unusual habit of extended its wing slowly just after it perches, the male Long-tailed Sylph is amazing. We also saw Bronze Inca, Lesser Violetear, Collared Inca, Tyrian Metal-tail, White-bellied Woodstar and a couple of species of Flowerpiercers, Masked and White-lined.
The Buff-tailed Coronet a very common hummingbird at Rio Blanco Lodge
We then went for a short walk noting Sickle-winged Guan, Blue and Black Tanager and a couple other species before the sky darkened and the rain came down. We beat a hasty retreat back to lodge without getting too wet. That ended our birding for the day, we have now around 280 species on the list and still have a week to go and tomorrow is ‘Antpitta day’ because here at Rio Blanco they two feeding stations that attract up to five species of Antpitta.
The 'new' accommodation block at Rio Blanco Lodge