Welcome to the Colombia Birdwatch Blog, hosted by Owner/Operator Christopher Calonje. I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia, and have been leading birding and nature tours throughout all regions of Colombia since 2008. I have always carried a camera on my travels, becoming an enthusiast of bird and lanscape photography. This blog is intended to be a showcase of the spectacular birds and scenery that one can experience in the five major regions of Colombia: Andean, Pacific, Caribbean, Amazon, and Orinoco. Subscribers will be able to keep track of my travels throughout Colombia,and view the birds and scenery I photograph during these amazing trips. The idea is that folks will learn about the plethora of birding localities that can be visited in Colombia, in hopes of encouraging birders to visit a country that holds 20% of the world's species of birds in less than 1% of the world's landmass.
I pride myself in knowing the ins and outs of Colombia, its mind-boggling avian diversity, diverse geography, amazing people, delicious food and interesting culture. I find extreme joy in showing off my country to birders and naturalists from around the globe, and want to extend an invitation to all of you to come visit the most avian-rich country on the planet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Birding and Environmental Education in the Anchicaya Region of Colombia. Western Andes and Choco Bioregion

I have dedicated my first official blog to the Alto and Bajo Anchicaya region, a birding locality in southwestern Colombia. The area is easily accessed from the city of Cali, in the Cauca Valley Department, and is perhaps one of the best birding destinations in Colombia. I also chose this area for my first blog because I am very proud of the work we are doing there with Mapalina Birding Trails  and the students of El Cauchal and Bajo Anchicaya schools.  
The Anchicaya birding route begins in the town of El Queremal, situated on a plateau in the Western Andes Mountains. The recently paved and very lightly traveled road descends towards the port town of Buenaventura, offering birding opportunities along a large altitudinal gradient that includes cloud forests, subtropical foothill forests and Pacific lowland ecosystems. Over 350 species have been registered in the Alto and Bajo Anchicaya, and it is normal to see 100+ species in a day.  Two of the main target species are in the Cotinga family, Black-tipped Cotinga and Long-wattled Umbrellabird, of which males have an inflatable wattle with scaly feathers that they inflate during courtship. Anchicaya is also a true gem for beautiful Tanagers, including Scarlet-and-white, Lemon-rumped, Scarlet-browed, and Blue-whiskered.
Colombia Birdwatch is collaborating with Mapalina Birding Trails to support environmental education projects in the Anchicaya region. Educating the children in the communities that we visit on bird identification, conservation, craftsmanship, English,  and bird guiding, helps promote conservation of the forests, a love of the natural environment, and economic opportunities for the locals in a region where no such opportunities exist.
This year we started a project with Farallones National Park and the El Cauchal and Bajo Anchicaya schools and we have made several visits to the school to start with English, Art and Bird Identification classes. The classes have been an incredible success and we hope to be increasing the frequency of the classes to get our future birders hooked on birding. With a donation of binoculars from The Birders Exchange Program of the American Birding Association, we have been able to equip the kids with their first pairs of binoculars. Some noteworthy species  we encountered on our last trip include Lita Woodpecker, Blue-tailed Trogon, Violet-bellied and Tooth-billed Hummingbirds, Pallid Dove and Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Club-winged and White-crowned Manakins, Pale-eyed Thrush and Rufous-brown Solitaire. Please click on the flickr link below the pictures to view the entire album. Enjoy the pictures, and please comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment