Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Bogotá - Medellín - Jardín

Although there are a great many good things to say about Colombia, if there is a downside it’s the time it takes to get there. I started my journey from Stafford and it ended at the Hotel Habitel in Bogotá; from door to door it took something like 22 hours! I reached the hotel at about 8.30pm.

The following morning, it would have been nice to have a long lie-in to recover from the travelling and the jetlag but instead we left the hotel at 4.30am to go birding at La Florida, a park located quite close to the airport which is a well-known site for the endemic Bogotá Rail, classified as Endangered by Birdlife International. By the time we had eaten our snack breakfast on the car park it was light enough to start looking for birds. Already, Great Thrushes were singing.

Great Thrush - rather like a Blackbird but bigger

Because of its convenient location, the park is well-visited by birders and it seems that the Bogotá Rails are no longer responsive to playback - “taped out” in the current jargon. We actually had better views than I have managed previously but later in the week at another site we had much better success and even watched a pair copulating! As that site becomes better known, probably the birds there will also learn to ignore the repeated and largely unnecessary playing of recordings.

Bogotá Rail - looks much like a Water Rail

Other species at La Florida included Subtropical Doradito, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Southern Lapwing, American Coot, Bare-faced Ibis, Andean Siskin, Brown-bellied Swallow, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and the ubiquitous Rufous-collared Sparrow.

Yellow-hooded Blackbird

Our time in the park was limited because of the need to catch a late morning flight to Medellín, the country’s second largest city, situated in the Aburrá Valley, just 50 minutes away by air.

From Medellín, we travelled by road to the attractive little town of Jardín. Here we stayed at the Hotel La Casona, located close to the town centre which is dominated by the distinctive neo-gothic styled Basilica Menor de la Inmaculada Concepción.

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