DAY 2 - SUMAPAZ &

CHICAQUE

Sumapaz Páramo is the largest paramo ecosystem in the world and it is located about a three hour drive outside of Bogota.  The name means "utterly peaceful moorland" and that it is.

860 square miles (223,000 hectares) was established as a national park in 1977 in order to protect this land.  

 

Looking across the surreal landscape, one can appreciate the importance of this area.  Frailejónes and other plants are everywhere and these plants are known to soak up water from the atmosphere and pass it down into the soil, creating the lagoons that provide the water source for Bogota's eight million people.

We drove and walked along the road leading to the Laguna de Chisacá looking for the Green-bearded Helmetcrest, which feeds on the Frailejónes flowers.  We were at 12,500 feet (3800 meters) and had been looking for about an hour when Steve spotted one. 

There was a scrubby tree that was a favorite place for the Helmetcrest and he came back to it many times, so we waited there with our cameras.  The bird was molting, so he wasn't the prettiest, but he was indeed a Green-bearded Helmetcrest.  

By waiting there so long, we were rewarded by a visitation from a male Bronze-tailed Thornbill, an equally rare near-endemic hummer.  This bird was in perfect feather and needless to say, I was thrilled to see him!  We did not see any other hummingbirds in the several hours we spent up in the Páramo.

We left Sumapaz and headed to Chicaque, where we would have lunch at the restaurant and spend the rest of the afternoon photographing at the feeders there.  The Golden-bellied Starfrontlet has been known to visit and we were hoping to see this beautiful species.

This trout was fantastic!
This was indeed our lucky day, as both a male and female Golden-bellied Starfrontlet showed up at the feeders.  Numerous Collared Incas (which were always fighting with each other), Lesser Violetears and Tourmaline Sunangels were also here.
Golden-bellied Starfrontlet
Golden-bellied Starfrontlet
Female Golden-bellied Starfrontlet
Video of the Golden-bellied Starfrontlet by William Orellana

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