We birded two sites in the Barranquilla region. Our first stop, the 4km road outside Palermo, was a location that I saw listed in eBird, with many nice species consistently reported. Its a dirt road that extends straight into a marsh with small fincas scattered on both sides. Our hotel arranged for a driver to bring us from Barranquilla and stay with us while we birded along the road for ~3 hrs. It was a mid-afternoon excursion due to our arrival time in Barranquilla, so it wasn’t optimal for birding, but we were anxious to get into the field. This road doesn’t get much use, and I’m not sure what the locals think of visitors, although we didn’t have any problems. As we soon found out, a smile, a wave, and an energetic “Buenos dias! Como esta?” goes a long way to break down barriers anywhere in Colombia. Because it was dry season (and by ‘dry’ I mean ‘dry’…no rain for nearly three months), it wasn’t so easy to find nearby water in the marsh. We did see a few nice species here, like Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh-tyrant, Limpkin, Striated Heron, and many Snail Kites, and lifers like Scaled Dove, Cattle Tyrant, Russet-throated Puffbird, Bicolored Wren, and lots of distant Bare-faced Ibis. We missed hoped-for Northern Screamer, White-cheeked Pintail, and White-faced Whistling-duck. A scope would have been very useful here, but we didn’t bring one on this trip. Still, it was a nice beginning for our adventure.
The next morning we were picked up by Sebastian and brought to Parque Isla Salamanca, a coastal salt water mangrove wetland with a fairly long boardwalk. Our highlights here were a pair of Chestnut Piculets, Pied Puffbird, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Black-crested Antshrike, Red-rumped Woopecker, close views of perched Brown-throated Parakeets, Black-crested Antshrike, the drab Bicolored Conebills, and Straight-billed Woodcreeper. On the non-feathered front we saw a pair of caimans and our first iguana of the trip. We didn’t find the endemic Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (perhaps due to the lack of many flowering plants) or Chestnut-winged Chachalaca that are often reported here.
In the afternoon we continue our drive about two hours further, past Santa Marta and up towards Minca, where we will spend the next six days exploring locations along the road up to the San Lorenzo Ridge.
The next entry: from Minca to El Dorado