It was a dark and rainy October morning amidst the very rainy season in the city of Medellín. Regardless of the wet weather we took our way very early in the morning. We headed to the village of Santa Elena. This corregimiento of the northeaster of the city is the largest of its five corregimientos and is widely known for being the one that houses the Arví park, a place of immense natural wealth and also for being the place where the silletera tradition is preserved and promoted, which is proudly exhibited at the annual flower fair.
When arriving at our destination in the half moon trail, a few kilometers from Medellin and after 20 minutes of travel, we got to colossal estate. A construction almost 150 years old; 1000 meters of construction divided into 2 levels. This unique place, which in the past was a coffee production farm, is a place surrounded by many trees, shrubs, grass and small lakes of fish breeding that made us feel a good sighting.
Upon arrival we were greeted by a large number of noisy guacharacas (Ortalis columbiana) that fed on the fruits of the coffee trees on the farm. It was still raining a bit and the sky was cloudy, so we sat down to flavor some of the spectacular coffee produced there while we organized our sighting equipment. While we were accommodating, we saw some small mud nests exposed in the walls of the house, these were the home of the guardapuentes traps (Sayornis nigricans) that are also very common in this place. When we saw the first “little black friend” coming out of his mud house in search of food, we knew it was time to start birding. Most of our sighting was going to take place at the place where we had our first cup of coffee. The house of the farm where we were had a balcony with a 360 ° view, which would allow us to make a good sighting from there.
Little by little, we began to see the first birds of the day. They all went in search of their first morning meal. The climate was gradually improving, which favored a greater movement of the birds of the farm. Initially we began to see some common birds of Medellin such as hummingbirds, among which the most abundant were black-breasted mangoes (Anthracothorax nigricollis) that fed on the numerous floral trees that adorned the gardens of the farm. In the distance we saw an imposing bird that landed alone in the branch of a tree, it was an Andean barranquero (Momotus aequatorialis) that moved its long tail like the pendulum of a wall clock. At a great speed, two large gray birds flew by. They landed for a moment in a guava tree; it was two skates (Turdus fuscater) with their characteristic yellow eyes and orange beak. Jumping between the branches of the fruit trees and the lawn of the place we saw some small birds with face of tigrillos that posed before our lenses, they were two pairs of pinches (Zonotrichia capensis) with its characteristic stop crest. Suddenly, a very particular sound made us direct our eyes to the opposite side of the balcony where we were; now we observed two pairs of an endemic bird of the region, there were four candelas caciques (Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster) that fed on some fruits. Among other common species of the place we could see several budgie or spectacled parakeets (Forpus conspicillatus), a yellow-browed tiranuelo (Zimmerius chrysops), several common grubs (Troglodytes aedon), a pair of capuchin spikes (Sporophilia nigricollis) and several kinds of common seedbeds.
As always, the best was reserved for the end; the birds of the area gave us several surprises at the end of the already sunny morning. Among the birds that we want to highlight we have the appearance of a pair of enjalmados toches (Ramphocelus flammigerus), it is another species endemic to the region. This couple stood out in a very particular way because of their colorful plumage that contrasted in a special way with the green foliage that they had in the background. Among the many species of the place, we had the pleasant experience of seeing many tanagers. These small birds are very popular with birders because of their colorful bodies. Among the species of tanagers that we could see among the trees of the farm we have the capillarized tanager (Stilpnia heinei), the stubble tanager (Stilpnia vitriolina), the royal tanagra (Stilpnia cyanicollis), the tanager verdiplata (Tangara labrodorides), the tangara cabecirrufa (Tanager girola).
Among the biggest surprises that we took that day was the sighting of two rare birds to observe. On the one hand, we spotted a Black-necked Goldfinch (Spinus xanthrogastrus) that foraged for several minutes near our position. On the other hand, we had the opportunity to observe an elusive jumper algae (Saltator atripennis) while feeding on an egg of yarumo (Cecropia peltata).
At the end of the morning we managed to observe more than 30 species, most of them different from those that can be observed normally in the urban area of Medellin, all this thanks to the altitude of the place, a rural area a bit far from the city . If you want to know more about bird watching in Colombia and especially the city of Medellín, do not hesitate to contact us.