As I mentioned in a previous post, Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) was the center of the Gastroenterology and Digestive System Endoscopy of the Americas last month, gathering health professionals, professors and Nobel Prize winners as well. Despite the intense academic schedule, I was able to escape for a couple of hours to enjoy the nature and wildlife offered by the Colombian Caribbean coast.
I hired a taxi and went to the Guillermo Piñeres Botanical Garden, less than a hour to the south of the city, in Turbaco. The nine hectares property protect part of the native vegetation and wildlife of the region. I did some search in advance because, as you know, I was interested in birds, and the site didn't disappoint... I saw and/or heard 45 different species, including three lifers (Glaucous Tanager, Stripe-backed Wren and the endemic Chestnut-winged Chachalaca.
|Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (Endemic to Colombia)|
I published more photos in my eBird checklist and invite you to check them. Besides the birds, the place was really good for herps. I know nothing about reptiles, but at least some common ones are easy to ID. The place was moist enough to sustain a healthy population of iguanas, frogs and other reptiles.
|Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)|
|Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus|
|Rainbow Whiptail (Cnemidophorus lemniscatus)|
|Yellow-striped Poison Frog (Dendrobates truncatus)|
The mammals were well represented too, with agoutis and Northern Amazon Red Squirrels as common sights in the forest, but more impressive, I was fortunate enough to cross a troop of Red Howler Monkeys that were quite curious.
|Northern Amazon Red Squirrel (Sciurus igniventris)|
|Red Howler Monkey (Alouatta seniculus)|
The taxonomy of the Red Howler Monkey is vexed. Some authorities split the different populations into different species and call this form the Colombian (or Venezuelan) Red Howler Monkey (ssp. seniculus). Full species or not, it was nice to find this peaceful inhabitant of the forest and to have a little taste of the rich wildlife and biodiversity that Colombia has to offer!