Birding Without Borders

Day 90: Santa Marta This-and-That

The year’s first quarter ends with a flurry of endemics.

March 31, 2015, Sierra Santa Marta, Colombia — At 4:30 this morning, Lorenzo, Anival and I were grinding up the 4x4 road to San Lorenzo Ridge, atop the Santa Marta Mountains, when Anival spotted a Stygian Owl perched by the side of the track. We watched it for a minute in the truck’s headlights before it took off. A nice way to start the day! (And a hard-earned bird for me: I’ve chased Stygian Owls around Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador this year and struck out until now.)

We took in sunrise on top of the ridge with an expansive view of the surrounding mountain range, but birds kept distracting us from the scenery. As dawn settled in, a Santa Marta Brush-Finch literally sat on my foot, a Santa Marta Antpitta hopped across the road, Santa Marta Warblers sang nearby, a Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant perched in a tree, and Santa Marta Parakeets flew overhead. Later in the day, we saw a Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Foliage-Gleaner, and Santa Marta Woodstar. What a load of endemics!

It was a nice way to finish the first quarter of 2015. During the month of March, I traveled through parts of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia and saw 965 species of birds, 482 of which were new additions this year. The days are flying by! Only nine more months to go…

New birds today: 10

Year list: 1871

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