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near Santa Marta, MAGDALENA(Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (1st-5th September, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

El Dorado is the final ProAves reserve I visited. It is located close to the city of Santa Marta in the Sierra Nevada mountains. There are 2 ways to get there from Santa Marta. Either ProAves can organize a vehicle which is rather costly (150,000s) or you can take a truck which leaves the market at 8am and takes about 2 and a half hours (6000s). This drops you off at a junction called, 'El Ye' from where you have about an hour to hour and a half to the cabaña. On the way up I saw Blossomcrown. This feeds on the pretty roadside (Impaciens) flowers just above the school. The ProAves cabaña is well located at about 1950m and there is good birding nearby including a nice patch patch of foret directly below where I saw Santa MArta Antpitta and possibly Santa Marta Wren. The cabaña has no electricity, OK bunk beds and a local girl cooked us meals. The only other person there with me was a student named Christian who was studying the Santa Marta Parakeet. 
The first good birding spot above the house is a trail leading off from the first bend into nice forest where I saw White-rumped Hawk, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Spotted Barbtail and Slaty Antwren. From the cabaña to the top is quite far and can 2-3 hours. Trucks sometimes go up in the early morning, and a good idea is to take one of these and bird your way down. About 20 minutes’ walk from the cabaña is the guardaprque Martin's house. From here, a trail called Sendero los Bromelias goes up where I saw the endemic Santa Marta Toucanet (possibly just a sub-species) and Rusty-headed Spinetail. This trail is a lot shorter than walking the road but is very steep. Up from Martin's house is 'Estacion Ecologico San Lorenzo' Much of this area has non-native pines but I saw White-tipped Quetzals next to the building and Black-throated Wood-Quails nearby. Up from here, look out for a trail to the left up a steep bank. This leads to nice forest (2400m) with Santa Marta Antpitta, Strong-billed Woodcreeper and Sickle-winged Guan. Santa Marta Parakeets are also possible here but easier further up. A little further along is a spot with an excellent view, good for spotting parrots in the morning. After this, the road passes several antenna where I saw Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant perching on top of. Near the top, the road forks, the right to an antenna and left towards the military base at the peak. Follow the left fork oand look out for a small patch of forest on the left that is very productive. Here I saw Plushcap, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant and Streak-crested Spinetail. Further along is a gate on the right to a clearing with a small lake. In this area, there are many nest boxes for the parakeets and this was the easiest place to see them as there was an active nest. The last spot was 5 minutes further on from the lake where there is nice forest. This is the best site for the endangered endemic Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant. It may not be a good idea to go as far as the base as you may be hassled by the soldiers. 

I saw 80 species including 24 lifers
Species seen 

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse