Birding Without Borders

Day 100: The First Hundred Days

Noah reaches Colombia’s central Andes.

April 10, 2015, Rio Blanco, Colombia — Wow, it’s already Day 100! My hourglass is running low in South America, and I’m running out of birds here. I did so well in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes last month that the list of possibilities in Colombia has drawn very thin, and I underestimated how many of Colombia’s birds overlap with countries to the south, especially with Ecuador. In my last three days in South America, I’ll do well to add a dozen more species—kind of a slow denouement to the birdiest country on the birdiest continent.

Even so, every day of birding in Colombia is awesome—if I’d visited this country before the others, I’d have added massive numbers of new birds here. In the past three weeks, I’ve seen more birds in Colombia than I have in my entire life in the U.S.! This morning Chris bid adieu at Montezuma and headed back home to Cali, and Jose Luna, Dave, Jeff and I continued to a place called Rio Blanco at a slightly higher elevation in the central Andes. With a couple of traffic delays and snack stops in small towns, it took more than five hours to get there, and we arrived in early afternoon.

Albeiro, Dave, Jeff, and Jose look for birds at Rio Blanco. Photo: Noah Strycker

We spent the rest of the day dodging thunderstorms with a guy named Albeiro, introduced as “The Famous Albeiro,” who lives at Rio Blanco. One might say that Albeiro is the Angel Paz of Colombia (I asked him if he’d ever met Angel and Albeiro said no, with an expression maybe suggesting some competition, but indicated that he was planning to visit Angel’s place in Ecuador for the first time this June). Like Angel Paz, Albeiro has turned his house into a mecca for birders by feeding antpittas. The birds eat their worms at 7:00 each morning, so we’ll see the show tomorrow. Meanwhile, it was nice to spotlight a Rufous-banded Owl and a crab-eating fox in Albeiro’s yard this evening after dinner.

New birds today: 3

Year list: 1964

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