Day 85: A Break From Birds

A group of moth scientists show off their subjects.

March 26, 2015, Bogota, Colombia — Juan Diego, Juan Pablo, Giovanni and I visited a place called Bosque Guajira, a private reserve alongside Chingaza National Park outside of Bogota, where we spent most of the day birding the upper edges of the cloud forest. We were accompanied by a local guide named Adin, who is an expert on the birds of the property. Bosque Guajira is yet another example of individual-level conservation: A few years ago, a farmer decided that, instead of cutting down all the trees on his land to run a few cows (like most of the rest of the holdings in that area), he’d keep the forest and show it off to visitors. He’s now working on a cabin so that tourists can stay over, and there are Golden-headed Quetzals, Black-billed Mountain-Toucans, Glowing Pufflegs, and Chestnut-bellied Chlorophonias right outside!

A couple of people were setting up what looked like a bed sheet on a frame outside, and it turned out that they were hardcore moth scientists visiting from Russia and Honduras, working through a German university. The sheet would be lit all night to attract moths. They told me that they expected to find a few undescribed moth species at Bosque Guajira and were prepared to formally add them to the scientific record. I pointed to a gigantic beetle, and one of the researchers smiled. “Yeah, I guess we don’t really pay attention to those,” she said. “Kind of like you birders usually skip over the common stuff.”

New birds today: 7

Year list: 1806

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