Birding Without Borders

Day 80: Reserve Exchange

Noah and company trade in the Pauxi Pauxi reserve for one that hosts Cerulean Warblers.

March 21, 2015, Cerulean Warbler Reserve, Colombia — Late yesterday afternoon, a 4x4 arrived at Pauxi Pauxi to transport Jim, Bruce, Ryan and me to another, nearby reserve called Reinita Cielo Azul (or, in English, the Cerulean Warbler Reserve). This one is in the same region of northeast Colombia, in the mountains close to the Venezuelan border, but is a bit higher than Pauxi Pauxi and has a cooler and wetter climate.

Birders visit this place relatively often. In fact, an acquaintance of mine, who I will be birding with later this year in Los Angeles, was just here two days ago! (When he left, he took a motorcycle taxi, which crashed, and he ended up in the San Vicente hospital with six stitches in one hand—hope my ride out goes a bit smoother.)

The main birding transect at Reinita Cielo Azul follows a trail uphill into the cloud forest. The path is paved with stones worn slippery-smooth by years of foot traffic; it was the first route into San Vicente, constructed in the mid-1800s. Now there are asphalt highways all around, and the stone path is used only by locals and visiting birders.

We hiked this trail from just after dawn until just before dusk today, accompanied by an amiable park guide named Jose. It was fun to spend the whole day in the cloud forest without interruption. The forest here is dominated by oak trees (which look much different than the ones back home in Oregon, but do have lots of acorns), and bromeliads and orchids cling to every vertical surface like an endless hanging garden. But, really, the simile should be the other way round—because no garden could compare to a real cloud forest!

New birds today: 10

Year list: 1772

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