Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Memories of a great trip

Click here to enlarge into an interactive map
In retrospective, the experiences during my last birding trip to northern South America were simply overwhelming! It is not everyday that you have the chance to visit THREE different birds-rich countries... and with friends! My great friend and birding companion for ALL the trip was Rafael Cortes, who organized most of it. Above is a map with some of the sites that I visited in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador during my three-weeks trip... click on it in order to open an interactive map with Google Earth, where each site have one or more links to a specific post in this blog. Lets talk about some numbers: 18 days of pure birding, nine flights in total (including the 15-minutes flight connecting Maturín and Puerto Ordaz in Venezuela), many different type of habitats, ranging from savanna to paramos, wetlands to lush cloud forests, llanos to amazonia... and more than 500 birds species!
Scarlet Ibis in the colombian llanos
We saw such emblematic birds like Bogotá Rail, Harpy Eagle, both Guianan and Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks, both White and Bearded Bellbirds, Andean Condor, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Toucan-Barbet, Cream-colored Woodpecker and many more!
Harpy Eagle
But one group of birds deserves a special mention... we saw in total 63 different hummingbirds species! Some of the gems included in our lists were Racket-tailed and Festive Coquettes, Black-bellied and Green Thorntails, Crimson Topaz, Rufous-breasted Sabrewing, Purple-throated, White-bellied and Gorgeted Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird, mind-blowing Velvet-purple Coronet and Giant Hummingbird.
Velvet-Purple Coronet
Not only birds... the trip was also rich in mammals, including four monkeys species, two agoutis, Boto (Amazonian River Dolphin), Prehensile-tailed Porcupine, Tayras, Báquiros (Peccaries), many tracks of big cats, and so on...
Common Squirrel Monkey
(Playa Guio, Guaviare, Colombia)
And all sort of critters, ranging from poison dart-frogs, to tarantulas and even giant earthworms!
Do Giant Antpittas eat giant earthworms?
(BellaVista, Ecuador)
I'm pretty sure that time will pass before I have the opportunity to make such a big trip again... what a memorable experience!

Rafael and Jan Axel with the Antisana Volcano as background


  1. Exciting accounts of your trip. Thanks for taking the time to relate everything...

    But, your map doesn't show on my monitor. Could it be a missing plug-in on my computer?

  2. I couldn't make it work, so now you can click the photo of the map in order to open the actual interactive map