The Proaves Reserves Tour
The leading conservationist group in Colombia PROAVES had purchased and protected nearly 20,000 hectares (nearly 45,600 acres) saving and restoring habitat for some of the most endangered bird species throughout Colombia The 16 protected areas represent the only alternative for the survival of many range restricted species. Most of the reserves are far apart from each other and long and strenuous traveling hours will be needed to visit them. All this effort will be rewarded by giving us the chance to see and enjoy some of the most endangered Colombia's bird species while supporting their conservation.
Recurve-billed Bushbird Reserve (Reserva Hormiguero de Torcorama) Pre Trip
After a late afternoon arrival in Bogotá we will be transferred to our Hotel in Bogotá.
Day 2. Early morning birding La Florida marshes near Bogota to catch our morning flight to Bucaramanaga and transferring to the small city of Ocaña.
After an early morning and before our flight to the city of Bucaramanga we will take a short drive to the La Florida marshes in route to the airport where we will have a great opportunity to look for Noble Snipe, the endemics Bogota Rail and Silvery-throated Spinetail and the nearly endemic Rufous-browed Conebill. Once we arrive to Bucaramanga we will drive to Ocaña to check in at our hotel. This afternoon we will have our first visit to the Hormiguero de Torcorama Reserve. Night in Ocaña.
Day 3. Early morning drive north of Ocaña to search for the Perijá Parakeet and birding return to Ocaña for the night.
Weather and road conditions permitting we will take a four wheel drive vehicle drive northwest of Ocaña in search for the endemic and rare Perijá Parakeet Pyrrhura caeruleiceps. The Perija Parakeet population is estimated to be between 30 to 50 individual birds. It will take us almost 3 hours to get to the site in order to be able to look for the bird therefore this day will be only included in the Pre Trip for people that is particularly king on seeing this species. The ProAves reserve staff discovered the site of a roost for a group of six individuals of the Perija Parakeet and accounting with the fact that we get to the site and a proper time during the day will warrant we will find this species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Night in Ocaña.
Day 4. Early morning drive to the Reserva Hormiguero de Torcoroma (Recurve-billed Bushbird Reserve) for the morning and afternoon drive to Reinita Cielo Azul.
A mere 20minutes drive will have us in the small 80 hectare reserve where we will be looking for the ultra rare Recurve-billed Bushbird, other birds might include Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Short-tailed Emerald, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Speckled Tanager, Bare-eyed and Chestnut-bellied Thrushes, Gray-throated Warbler and Moustached Brush-Finch. The Bushbird prefers the dense Bamboo stands and we will be looking for it mainly inside forest; after lunch we will head to the city of Bucaramanaga for the night. END OF THE PRETRIP.
Morning pick up for participants of the main trip and drive to San Vicente de Chuqurí and Reinita Cielo Azul Reserve (Cerulean Warbler Reserve). Night Reinita Cielo Azul Lodge.
The ProAves Reserves Main Trip
After a late afternoon arrival in Bogotá we will be transferred to our Hotel in Bogotá.
Day 2. Early morning birding La Florida marshes near Bogota to catch our morning flight to Bucaramanaga and transferring to the small city of San Vicente de Chuqurí and onward to the Pauxi pauxi Reserve (Helmeted Curassow Reserve).
After an early morning and before our flight to the city of Bucaramanga we will take a short drive to the La Florida marshes in route to the airport where we will have a great opportunity to look for Noble Snipe, the endemics Bogota Rail and Silvery-throated Spinetail and the nearly endemic Rufous-browed Conebill. Once we arrive to Bucaramanga we will be joined by the participants that took the Hormiguero de Torcorama Pre Trip and we will drive to San Vicente de Chuqurí and Pauxi pauxi Reserve. The afternoon will be dedicated to explore the vicinity of the lodge specially looking for the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker and the rare Saffron-headed Parrot. Night Pauxi pauxi Lodge.
Day 3. Morning birding the Pauxi pauxi Reserve and afternoon drive to San Vicente de Chuqurí and onward to the Reinita Cielo Azul Reserve.
The early morning will have us walking up the hill to look for the roosting site where Saffron-headed Parrots roost during the night. This will warrant wonderful views of this range restricted and endangered species. Still before lunch we will explore some of the trails near the lodge looking for Citron-throated and Black-mandibled Toucans, the endemics White-mantled Barbet and Beautiful Woodpecker and also Rufous-crested Coquette, Green Thorntail, Double-banded Graytail, Dull-mantled Antbird, Striped and White-bibbed Manakins, Rufous-naped Greenlet and Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo. After lunch we will start our way back to San Vicente de Chuqurí and to the Reinita Cielo Azul Reserve (Cerulean Warbler Reserve). The afternoon will be dedicated to explore the vicinity of the lodge specially looking for Cerulean Warbler and the endemic Turquoise Dacnis. Night Reinita Cielo Azul Lodge.
Day 4. Full day birding the Reinita Cielo Azul Reserve. Night Reinita Cielo Azul Reserve.
We will have the entire day to leisurely explore the many different habitats in within the reserve. To get access to the primary forest preserve we will have to take a 2 miles walk up the mountain through pasture land. The hike roughly takes more than an hour until reaching the forest entrance. The possibility of horseback riding the vegetation denuded slop will be offered for those willing to do it. Immediately after arriving to the forest edge our search for specialties will start. A very short walk into a side forest trail will take us to an area with inside forest hummingbird feeders and a feeding station for understory birds. This site will provide excellent views of the endemics Gorgeted Wood-Quail and Black Inca and Lined Quail-Dove. The main trail into the reserve is part of a 150 year-old cobblestone path climbing through primary forest that is moderately strenuous but the wet surface might be slippery and you constantly have to be looking your feet; nevertheless the primary forest is home of several range restricted species including the endemics Parker's Antbird, Upper Magdalena Tapaculo and Colombian Mountain Grackle. Some of the other specialties of the reserve include Highland Tinamou, Moustached Puffbird, Brown-billed Scythebill, Uniform Antshrike, Chestnut-crowned Gnateater, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet and Yellow-throated Spadebill. The higher stretches of forest are home to the newly described Yarigues subspecies of Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch and Colombian Mountain Grackle. Night Reinita Cielo Azul Lodge.
Day 5. Early morning birding the Cerulean Warbler Reserve and afternoon drive to EL Paujil Bird Reserve (Blue-billed Curassow Reserve). Night Paujil Lodge.
Today depending on our interests we might return back to the forest and search for any of the species that might have eluded us or search for birds in the area neighboring the lodge. The lodge itself has some hummingbird feeders and flowers that attract the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird. The reserve cabins are located in a pasture with scattered trees and scrub where we can also find Spectacled Parrotlet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Scrub Tanager, Yellow-tufted Dacnis, the endemic Turquoise Dacnis, Rufous-naped Greenlet and Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers (October to March). In our way out of the reserve we will have a short detour to look for the endemic and critically endangered Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird. The rest of the day will be dedicated to the long drive transfer to reach the Paujil Reserve. We will try to arrive in the late afternoon so we can bird our way along the last part of the road to access the reserve. Night Paujil lodge.
Day 6. Full day birding the grounds of the El Paujil Reserve. Night El Paujil Reserve.
We will spend two days in the reserve looking for the extremely shy and endemic Blue-billed Curassow, one of the great news is that there are motion sensitive cameras set up near the lodge. These cameras are recording what approaches the lodge and to the surprise and pleasure of the visitors and managers the Curassows do get close to the lodge! We certainly will try to match the Curassows daily pattern to be able to see it. The best area to look for the Curassows is located across the river following a fairly steep trail throughout forest. This trail well maintained trail is also a good place to look for endemics White-mantled Barbet, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant, White-bibbed Manakin and Sooty Ant-Tanager along with Saffron-headed Parrot, Dull-mantled Antbird Bare-crowned Antbird, Southern Bentbill, Yellow-browed Shrike-Vireo, and Fulvous-vented Euphonia. If our visits takes place during the nesting season for the Blue-billed Curassow we certainly will take advantage of the stake out nest that might be already founded by the park rangers greatly enhancing our chances to see this very much sought after bird. Night Paujil lodge.
Day 7. Full day birding the grounds of the El Paujil Reserve. Night El Paujil Lodge.
While the Curassows can be difficult to find, other species such as Pale-bellied and Stripe-throated Hermits, Violet-bellied and Shining-green Hummingbirds, Citron-throated Toucan, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Black Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, Southern Bentbill, Black-billed Flycatcher, Black-chested Jay, Slate-colored Grosbeak and Fulvous-vented Euphonia can be seen by walking the inside forest trails near the lodge. This day could be also used as buffer day as for to have one more chance to look for the much advertised Curassow. Some marshy areas close to the lodge are home to White-throated and Russet-crowned Crakes, Greater Ani and waterbirds including Rufescent Tiger-Heron. The clearings around the cabin and the adjacent river edge forest are a good place to look for the endemic Colombian Chachalaca. Night Paujil lodge.
Day 8. Morning birding the Paujil Reserve and transfer to the Arrierito Antioqueño Reserve.
After a last morning birding in the El Paujil Reserve Grounds we will start our drive to Some of the birds we will looking for during the morning included Northern Screamer, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Black-breasted and Barred Puffbirds, Slate-headed Tody-Tyrant, Panama Flycatcher, and Orange-crowned Oriole. The rest of the morning will be dedicated to our LONG drive to the Arrierito Antioqueño Reserve.
Day 9. Full day birding the Arrierito Antioqueño Reserve.
Today we will explore the forest trails inside Arrierito Antioqueño Reserve. The long but rewarding inside forest walks cut through wonderful forest. Certainly the target for the day will be the Arrierito itself, the endemic Chestnut-capped Piha , along with Sickle-winged Guan, Moustached Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Pavonine Cuckoo, Brown-billed Scythebill, the endemics Chestnut Wood-Quail and Parker's Antbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, endemics Stile's Tapaculo, Black-and-gold Tanager, Multicolored Tanager, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Indigo Flowerpiercer and Purplish-mantled Tanager.
Day 10. Early mornig birding the Arrierito Antioqueño Reserve and afternoon transfer to Jardín.
During the early morning we will bird the areas close to the lodge and along the road in serch for the endemics Colombian Chachalaca and Sooty-headed Wren and the endemics Yellow-throated Brush-Finch and Red-bellied Grackle. Still during the morning we will start heading towards one of the prettiest villages in all South America, the small town of El Jardin. Night In Jardin. Night Hotel in Jardín.
Day 11. Full day birding the El Loro Orejiamarillo Reserve (Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve) .
Today we will start very early in the morning to drive to the El Loro Orejiamarillo Reserve (Yellow eared Parrot Reserve), we will spend the entire day looking for the Parrots (which are not that difficult to find). Jardín is the best place to find the Critically Endangered and spectacular Colombian species, the Yellow-eared Parrot. A growing population of 350 of these large parrots inhabits the steep hillsides above Jardin, dependent on the endangered wax palm for nesting and roosting sites. Other species include the rare and habitat restricted Tanager Finch along with the endemic Munchique Wood-Wren, White-capped Parrot, Andean Toucanet, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, White-browed Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Striped Treehunter, Spillmann's Tapaculo, Red-crested Cotinga, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Barred Fruiteater, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Handsome Flycatcher, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Subtropical Cacique, Northern Mountain Cacique, Citrine Warbler, Capped Conebill, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Blue-and-black Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Golden-crowned Tanager, Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager, White-capped Tanager, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, Black-capped Hemispingus, Plushcap and Slaty Brush-Finch. Night in Jardín.
Day 12. Early morning birding the El Jardín area and afternoon transfer to Carmen de Atrato.
This day we will have a last morning birding in the El Jardin area then we will start our drive to Carmen de Atrato. Near Jardín we can also find the endemic Red-bellied Grackle. Time permitting we will visit the Tangaras Reserve this very afternoon. Night Carmen de Atrato.
Day 13. Full day birding the Tangaras Reserve. Night Carmen de Atrato.
The Tangaras Reserve is located 1 ½ hours away from Carmen de Atrato. By spending an entire day at the reserve we will be visiting the home of several range restricted species including Toucan Barbet, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Pacific Tuftedcheek, the very rare Bicolored Antvireo, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Narino Tapaculo, Bonze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Handsome Flycatcher,Olivaceous Piha, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, the endemic Gold-ringed Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Black Solitaire, the endemic Munchique Wood-Wren, Choco Brush-Finch and Olive Finches. The reserve also has a convenient set of hummingbird feeders where several hummingbird species are easily seen. Some of the common visitors at the feeders are Tawny-bellied Hermit, Empress Brilliant, Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Greenish Puffleg and Violet-tailed Sylph. Night in Carmen the Atrato.
Day 14. Full day birding the Tangaras Reserve and afternoon transfer to Medellin. Night Medellín.
This day we will have a last morning birding in the Tangaras Reserve then we will start our drive back to Medellin for the night. For those taking the Post Trip extension we will continue our trip to Urrao. From Urrao we will be transfer to La Pinera where we will start a horseback ride to climb to the Páramo de Frontino to get access to the Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve. We might even arrive early enough as for to watch hummingbirds at the feeders close to the cabin where Tourmaline Sunangel, Mountain Velvetbreast and White-bellied Woodstars occur. . Night Colibrí del Sol dormitory.
Morning transfer for international flights back home.
The El Mirador Reserve Extension
Day 15. Morning birding Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve and afternoon return to Urrao and transfer to Medellín.
The first light of the day will find us looking at the Antpitta feeding station near the cabin where the newly described and endemic Urrao Antpitta can be seeing attending the earthworm feeding technique. Later in the morning we will jump on our horses climb to the Páramo. As we ascend to the Páramo we will stop to look at some convenient hummingbird feeders to wait for the recently re-discovered and endemic Dusky Starfrontlet. Then we will complete our climb to get right to the tree line and look for the rarer and endemic Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer. Here also at the tree line could also find Purple-backed Thornbill, Ash-coloured Tapaculo, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager and the range restricted endemic Paramillo Tapaculo. The area neighboring the cabin might also produce White-rumped Hawk, Rusty-faced Parrot, Golden-breasted and Glowing Pufflegs, Long-tailed Antbird, Dusky Piha, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager and White-capped Tanager. During the afternoon we will start our descend to Urrao and continue with our drive to Medellin for the Night.
Morning transfer for international flights back home.