Birder's Guide

AUG 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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mended) may be in the cards, or this may be just a quick trip on the way to yet another ProAves reserve which protects a recently discovered species, Chestnut-capped Piha. The piha reserve, locally known as Reserva Arrierito Antioqueño, is also home to Whitemanted Barbet, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Stiles's Tapaculo, and Chestnut-crowned Gnateater. From the piha reserve, most agencies take their guests to another spectacular location, La Reserva Natural Cañón del Río Claro. Nestled within a steep limestone canyon, the river itself is quite a sight, and the lodge has many adventure activities besides birdwatching. A stop at Río Claro gives an opportunity to visit one of South America's largest Oilbird colonies. A short drive and hike takes birders to La Cueva de los Guácharos (the Cave of the Oilbirds), where hundreds of these strange birds can be found in their pitch-black abode. Birders with fashlights are rewarded with fantastic views coupled with a cacophony of these birds' screeches, growls, and clicks. A truly unique experience, it is well worth the hike for a chance to observe these peculiar birds in their natural setting. For many tours, Río Claro is one of the last stops before heading back to Bogotá. On the way, however, a visit to La Victoria, a small town north of Bogotá situated in the massive Magdalena River valley, may be in order. Even more endemic species can be seen here, among them Beautiful Woodpecker and a few hummers. Most Andean tours end in Bogotá, where birders begrudgingly board their planes to return to their points of origin. For others, the return to the capital may just be one leg of the trip before visiting another intriguing part of Colombia. An Andes tour provides birders with an astonishing number of endemics and mindblowing abundance of other species, many of which are much more diffcult to see in other, more heavily-trampled countries, where excessive playback has reduced response rates from q Top: Over seven million people live in Bogotá, but there are still great birds in the forested hills right alongside the city. Photo © Raphael Chay. q Bottom left: Vermilion Cardinal is one of the dry-forest specialties of the Guajira Peninsula. Photo © Nick Athanas. q Bottom right: Golden-fronted Whitestarts feeding on the road near Jardín. Photo © Tim Mitzen. 36 Birder's Guide to Travel | August 2013

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