El Dorado is a large preserve ranging from 2,000 to 7,700 ft in altitude and you get there from Minca. This destination came toward the end of the 18-day trip. The lodge at the top was in the Santa Marta mountains, up another very rough road, described by almost everyone we met as "the worst road in Colombia". It was steep, rocky, washed out in some areas, with standing water in some areas and really big boulders in others..Oh My. We were again in two four-wheel drive vehicles and our innards will never be the same. What an adventure! On the way we saw Lineated Woodpecker,
Around sixish arrival we finally pulled into the lodge/dining room with garden feeders.
The garden was gorgeous and the Crowned Woodnymph displayed beautifully.
Blue-naped Chlorophonia was a favorite also, and spent most of its time on the banana feeder.
At first we didn't quite understand that our lodging was not to be in the dining room area, but instead up the hill about 25 minutes. The poor drivers and guides that had to haul our luggage up the hill, over hanging bridges, etc. For us, it was a kick to be wandering around in the dark, (thank goodness for headlamps) over hanging bridges, stumbling over rocks, slipping on mud after dinner at night. We giggled and one couple found themselves going in a circle over the bridge, then around the bridge, then over the bridge again. OK, that was funny.
The Kogihabs where each couple stayed were styled after local indigenous round homes, but equipped with luxury conveniences and gave us a very special privacy and matchless views of the valleys, the Caribbean and another Santa Marta range, snow-covered.
Sunsets were magical.
The high point (literally) of this part of the trip was the San Lorenzo ridge where many endemics live. Serious tickers HAVE to go here because there are so many birds you simply cannot find anywhere else. They were not very amenable to photographic capture. The road to that summit was even worse than the road to the lodge, if that is possible and it is.
At the top way up there in the sky at 5:30 am, we ran into a manned paramilitary installation, actively guarded by armed personnel, there to ensure that the drug trade experts did not return to their old stomping grounds.
Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager
Santa Marta Antpitta - this little fellow is being fed by a research facility at about nine every morning and we were fortunate to be there when the caregiver called him in from the forest for his worms.
This is a Santa Marta Brushfinch.
There were several Red-billed Parrots hanging around, too.
On the way back down we ran into this White-lined Tanager, male
and his female.
Also a great catch, but very difficult to get a photographic angle on, was the White-tipped Quetzal, not nearly as cooperative as the other Quetzals we had at Perijá, at least from a photographic perspective.
On the way back down the mountain we ran into Red Howlers. I'd been hearing them in the distance from the Kogihab, kind of like low thunder rolling, so it was good to get a sighting of them. They are big guys and indeed, they are red.
Also this Groove-billed Toucanet
and this Keel-billed Toucan.
but my best chance was this female Masked Trogon. If you squint you can see the red on her belly.
Thank you all so much for following my trips. Colombia was super memorable, but now my mind is zooming ahead to our next trip...Panama.
If you have friends or relatives who might enjoy these escapades, feel free to sign up their emails on the home page at the bottom. Thank you for that.
Mary Lou Metzger says...
Can’t believe the variety and colors of the birds. Thanks for sharing.
October 30, 2019
Carol Blackard says...
Thank you so much, Kathy and Karen. I absolutely love to share with you.
October 27, 2019
Karen Palmunen says...
What an adventure! And how absolutely gorgeous! I am so glad we can go on these trips vicariously with you.
October 26, 2019