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Colombia Workshop Trip Report

Cock Of The Rock

The avifauna of Colombia has 1851 confirmed species, of which 81 are endemic. This beautiful country has become one of the hottest birding destinations in the world. From stunning hummingbirds to the vibrant tanagers along with the active Antpittas that inhabit the forests, the guests were able to capture these and many more species during our workshop. During our Colombia bird photo tour, our guests shot at the feeders, created setups and did on-field or opportunistic shoots deep in the forest and at the lodges where we stayed.

Our Colombia workshop began in the city of Cali. You will need an entire day to yourself to explore the city, and if you want to do that it is advisable that you land in Cali a day before the photo trip starts.

Amazing Facts About Blue Naped Chlorophonia! The Blue-naped Chlorophonia can be found extensively in the rainforests of Colombia. The males have a bright green head, throat and breast, bright blue rump and central back, bright yellow breast and belly and green wings and tail. The females have a lighter shade of green head, chest, and throat, a blue ocular area and collar, dull greenish-yellow underparts.

On the first morning of our workshop, we drove to the airport for a short flight to the city of Manizales for the first leg of our journey. The secluded lodges offered a panoramic view of the Central Andes range and thermal baths here are a chief attraction here apart from its thriving bird population. After a day of a fruitful photoshoot at the Hummingbird Observatory and hourlong travel to Manizales, we soaked in the natural thermal baths to soothe our tired nerves and mind and brace ourselves for more photo adventures that awaited. We spent three days shooting at Manizales as there are several spots for creating both multi-flash setups and for opportunistic shooting.

The Los Nevados National Natural Park at Manizales not only hosts at least 12 rare species of Hummingbirds and other endemic birds, but also stunning landscape dotted by snow-capped volcanoes, glaciers, lakes, and forests. Los Nevados National Natural Park is where you will find one of the most important biodiversity hot spots of the Andes, called Páramo. Which is home to more than 69 bird species, 1200 different varieties of plants which include the endemic species like the tall Wax palms and the Espeletia flowers that resemble tiny sunflowers which are also known as the frailejón or fraylejón and big mammals like the Mountain Tapirs, Puma, and the Spectacled Bear.
Whether you are a bird, wildlife, landscape, and nature photographer there is something for everyone here.

The active volcano Nevado del Ruiz is in the North, in the south, there is the Emerald Lake Verde and the Trout filled lake Otún and snowy peaked Nevado del Tolima.

We stayed at Los Nevados and the guests took advantage of the multi-flash setups here to capture the- Buffy Helmet crest, an endemic Hummingbird which lives in the higher altitudes, Golden-breasted and Black-thighed Puff legs, Buff-winged Star frontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Great Sapphire wing, Tourmaline Sun angel, Mountain Velvet-breast, Viridian Metal-tail, Tyrian Metal-tail, and Sparkling Violetear. The other birds we spotted here are Lacrimose and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanagers, Pale-naped and Gray-browed Brush-Finches, Glossy Flower-piercer, Brown-bellied Swallow, Andean Siskin, Tawny Antpitta, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Andean Tit-Spine tail, Sedge Wren, White-chinned Thistle tail to just name a few.

After a fruitful hike and photo workshop at Los Nevados National Natural Park and around Termales del Ruiz it was time to shift to the misty and lush cloud forests of Rio Blanco Natural Reserve, which is home to the rare Antpittas and the feeders here will ensure that you spot at least five types of this endangered species. We clicked the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Bicolored Antpitta, duller but endemic Brown-Banded Antpitta and occasional and elusive visitors like the Slate-crowned Antpitta and Chestnut-naped Antpitta. The other birds that we spotted around the Antpitta habitat were the Green-and-black Fruiteater and Gray-browed Brush finch. At the fruit or banana feeders, we were lucky to spot the Blue-winged Mountain Tanagers and Slaty Brush-Finch. The activity at fruit-feeders is always unpredictable. During our afternoon bird walk in the forest, guests captured more birds like the Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Masked Trogon, various tanagers, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Black-collared Jay among others. There are several Hummingbird feeders around the lodge at Rio Blanco where we got superb images of rare Hummingbirds like Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy, and Collared Incas, Tourmaline Sun angel, Lesser (Green) Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, White-bellied Woodstar, and Booted Racket-tail. We spent two full days at Rio Blanco to click all these species since one day would not be enough to justify the diverse species found in this region.

Crescent faced antpitta

Facts About Cresent Faced Antpitta: The Crescent-faced Antpitta is well known for its striking plumage and belongs to the Grallariidae family. The adults have a slaty-gray crown and nape, a bold white crescent in front of the eye from where it gets its name and a densely streaked buff and whitish underparts. This bird falls under the endangered list due to a constant threat to its habitat.

From Rio Blanco, we moved to Hotel Tinamú. We created multi-flash setups around the feeders at the lodge to click the Hummingbirds and went for regular jungle trails every morning and afternoon. At the feeders, we spotted the Steely-vented Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Rufus-tailed Hummer, Long-billed Starthroat, and White-vented Plumeleteer. The fruit feeders were frequented by the Green Honey-creeper, Bay-headed Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Thick-billed Euphonia, Scrub Tanager, Streaked Saltator, Common Palm and Blue-gray Tanagers, Clay-colored Thrush and Great Kiskadee. The short trails around the forest and lodge premises yielded great results as we got glimpses of the Bar-crested Antshrike, Buff-rumped Warbler, and Spectacled Parrotlet.

Torrent Duck

The next morning, we spent capturing more images at the lodge before we finally left for Bogotá. The guests departed to their destinations from Bogota and we were thrilled to see them go back with a memorable experience and a vast portfolio of birds that Colombia had to offer.

See more details about our Colombia bird photo tour. Click here.

Have any questions or concerns? Email us an info@tropicalphototours.com!

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