Colombia: searching for endemic species in the Santa Marta Mountains  -  Alan Peters

With around 1900 bird species and almost 90 endemics, Colombia has always been an exciting destination for travelling birders.  Whilst the countries on its borders - Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and Peru - were welcoming birders and eco-tourists, Colombia throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s was pretty much off-limits due to the continuing violence between the Government and guerrilla groups and then the ongoing struggle with powerful and ruthless drug cartels.

In the last decade, especially since the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace accord, the country has got safer and tourism has begun to open up.

Alan visited in the spring of 2018, looking for an array of exciting species from the capital Bogota, the humid Caribbean coastline, arid Guajira Peninsula then gaining height to stay on the San Lorenzo ridge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the loftiest coastal mountain range on earth.

Great coffee, stunning forests, challenging roads and a wonderful range of colourful endemic species made for a great experience.

In March 2020 the BTO launched their Chaffinch Appeal to raise funds to help them research why the UK population of Chaffinch is undergoing a significant decline. Read more ...

A survey where observers are each given a randomly selected 1km square and record all the species encountered and numbers of each for a minimum period of 2 hours between 9am and noon. Read more ...

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