report Bolivia Sep/Oct 2000
Photos of the birding sites
John van der Woude, The Netherlands - report at www.jvanderw.nl - see also introduction of this report
|Lomas de Arena reserve near
Santa Cruz. A varied landscape, open, sandy, with chaco woods and a small
stream and a few pools. A large (15) group of Guira Cuckoo was sunbathing
on the sand ridge right.
|The actual Lomas de Arena sand
dunes at the end of the dirt road. Impressive but we saw no birds here
(didn't expect either).
|Open chaco woods near the
entrance of the Lomas de Arena reserve, with a Burrowing Owl.
|The tallest part of the chaco
forest that comprises the major part of the (new) Botanical Garden of
Santa Cruz. This is along the track that you follow all the way to the
backside of the 'garden'. On this spot we had a flock with a/o
Straight-billed Woodcreeper, White-backed Fire-eye.
|Just beyond the gorge at
Angostura, along the old road from Sta. Cruz to Cochabamba. This rise
marks the start of the Andes proper along this road.
|The basin of Samaipata. This
village has a nice gradual transition to the surrounding semi-arid bushes
and the moistier meadows/fields below. Mountains of Amboro NP in the
|The garden and one of the cabañas
of La Vispera lodge at the border of Samaipata village. Many birds here,
the most conspicuous being the Golden-billed Saltator. More about this
lodge/farm at lavispera.org
|About 1 km into the Cuevas
valley. The cliffs hold Ashy-tailed and White-tipped Swift, numerous
parrots, and according to a local inhabitant Golden-collared macaw in
November/December. The dirt road into
the Cuevas valley starts at Km 100 from Santa Cruz towards
Samaipata (Green-cheeked Parakeet and Lineated Woodpecker right at the
|The moist subtropical forest
remnants at aboyt 6 km into the Cuevas valley. Yellow-olive Flycatcher,
White-necked Thrush, Crimson-crested Woodpecker etc.
|In the Siberia temperate forest,
at the start of the side road going down to Kuahari. Andean Condor,
Swallow-tailed Kite, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Pale-edged Flycatcher,
Masked Flowerpiercer, Andean Guan, Band-tailed Pigeon, etc.
|Along the same side road,
further down. White-eared Solitaire right here, Blue-winged
Mountain-Tanager in display flight, Crested Becard, Barred Forest-falcon,
Slaty Thrush, Andean Tyrant, Rufous-faced Antpitta, etc.
|Central garden of the Tambo
Mission School near Comarapa. The guest rooms are simple but adequate, and
there is a friendly atmosphere. White-tipped Plantcutter, Black-backed
Grosbeak, and others.
|A lush river valley amidst the
semi-arid environments near Comarapa and Tambo. Red-fronted Macaws flew
around here in the morning. Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Grey-crested Finch and
several others in the woods.
|Semi-arid shrub at 5 km from
Tambo towards Comarapa. Here we had several specimens of the endemic
Bolivian Earthcreeper. Also Scissor-tailed Nightjar at dawn.
|Flowering cactus near Tambo. A
rare sight in the period we were there. On cactuses like this we had
|Fresh snow had fallen in mid
October on the mountains near La Paz. This and the next photo are taken
from a bit below the Cumbre, the pass at about 4600 m above sea level, in
the road from La Paz to the Yungas of Coroico and Chulumani.
|The valley eastward of the
Cumbre. The main road, asphalted now to Cotapata, is well visible on the
opposite side. Some minor roads go to the fields alongside the small
river: White-winged Diuca-Finch, Black Siskin, D'Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant,
|The very birdy temperate forest
left above the garage of Cotapata, which is on the road from the Cumbre
(La Paz) to Coroico. This is several kms beyond the turn-off to Chulumani.
Easy ticks of Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Great Sapphirewing, Black-throated
Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculo, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager,
Blue-backed Conebill, Three-striped and Orange-browed Hemispingus, Pearled
Treerunner, Moustached Flowerpiercer.
|Steep forested subtropical
Yungas forest on the opposite side of the valley down to Chulumani. Of
course the better forests are always harder to get into. Rufous-breasted
Woodquail heard from across the valley, and several typical species seen
on this (more open) side as well: Collared Inca (here with brownish collar
in stead of white), Plumbeous Pigeon, White-necked Thrush, Green Violetear.
Scale: the tallest trees on the slope are about 20 m high.
|Hotel Tamampaya on the opposite
slope - the white dots slightly left of the centre of the photo. This is
at 1300 m above sea level, well down into the Yungas, and 1 hour driving
before Chulumani. Our too limited birding around the hotel produced a/o
Plain Antvireo and Slaty Gnateater, two good subtropical species.
|The upper part of the Apa Apa
forest reserve near Chulumani in the Sud Yungas of La Paz province. A very
interesting mixture of subtropical and lower-temperate forest. The
4WD-track follows the slope about midway on the photo. Many Yungas Manakin
along this track.
|The Cock-of-the Rock site above
Puente Villa, tha hamlet just beyond hotel Tamampaya along the road to
Chulumani in the Sud Yungas. A wonderful subtropical scenery, found by
driving or walking up valley from Pte. Villa for maybe 3 kms and then
walking the trail (visible left on the photo) for another 20 mins. Scale:
the wooden bridge is about 4 m long. Cliff Flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis,
Plumbeous Kite, but not many others.
|The altiplano between La Paz and
Titicaca lake, with the snow-capped Cordillera Real in the background.
Life here at 4500 m above sea level is harsh and primitive.
|The southern small part of
Titicaca lake, with a view on the much bigger northern part through a gap
in the distance. Titicaca Flightless Grebe (also more prosaically called
Short-winged Grebe) near the lake border vegetation.
|A typical roadside habitat near
Trinidad in the eastern lowlands: small marshy ponds, low woods, scattered
palms, savanna grassland. Good for many species, like Southern Screamer,
Yellow-billed (and Red-billed) Cardinal, Rufous Cachalote, Troupial.
|Continuing the airport road from
Trinidad leads to a small village overlooking this river bend. Driving the
track along the river bank to the right, leading through the riverine
forest in the sun, produced White-bellied Seedeater, Rufous-tailed
Jacamar, Black-fronted Nunbird, Blue-crowned and Black-tailed Trogon,
Sooty-fronted Spinetail, White-chinned Sapphire, etc.
|Savanna palm woods North of
Trinidad, along the road to the sites for the Blue-throated Macaw. Jabiru
on the foreground. Other species here: White and White-rumped Monjita,
White Woodpecker, Toco Toucan, Maguari Stork, and many others.
|The children of the farm before
the last leg to the Blue-throated Macaw. They hold two chicks of Greater
Rhea. The 7-year old girl above right was our guide to the macaws.
|The final walk, guided by that
little girl (see previous photo), to the palm island (the left one) with
the Blue-throated Macaws. Display flights of Yellow-browed Sparrow in the
grass savanna. Toco Toucans in the same scope view as the pair of
Blue-throated Macaws at the border of the palm island.
|Idyllic river view from our
unintentional but comfortable lodge on the Blue-throated Macaw excursion.
Several river dolphins cruised back and forth. Birds observed from this
photo point: Sunbittern, Grey Antbird, Undulated Tinamou, Blue-and-yellow
Macaw, Large-billed Tern, and many others.
|Main road into Riberalta, the
motorbike town in the isolated Amazonian tropical lowland corner of
eastern Bolivia. Many of the motorbikes serve as taxi, providing a
permanent cool breeze, but also dust if it has not rained for more than a
day or so…
|Wooden bridge across a tropical
forest stream just before the hamlet called Siete Julio, near Riberalta.
In the woods alongside the stream were Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin,
Iherings Antwren (probably the first observation in Beni province and the
second only for Bolivia), Rose-breasted Chat, Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher,
|The inner courtyard of hotel
Colonial in Riberalta. We had Pale-tailed Barbthroat foraging on the stem
of the big tree in the background.
|Lake Tumichucua, 30 minutes
motorbike ride from Riberalta. The forest left is an island in this big
lake. This (touristic) site is probably not very special for birding but
canoeing around we got some nice trip ticks here, like White-eyed Attila,
Horned Screamer, Osprey, and typically a Yellow-winged Cacique colony
around a wasp nest.
|One of the numerous meandering
river beds to be seen from the air on the flight from Riberalta back to
Trinidad. This is a wide (old) meander bend through tropical forest, and
inside the floodplain is a newer and smaller meandering river. An
expedition into this far-away region might be an ornithological dream.