2nd February – from a hotel in Bogota   Leave a comment

I planned to start my Colombia trip 24 hours early. This was partly to get over the jet lag (I got up at 0200 BST on the 1st and arrived at 0300 BST on the 2nd at the hotel) but mainly to meet up with my former colleague from the lab; Maria Ospina. Maria and I must have worked together for about ten years but she decided to return to Colombia about a year after I retired.

After a much-needed, deep and very long period asleep I found out mid morning from Maria that a friend of hers had suddenly died and she would not be able to meet up with me. There’s not a lot to do around here, I’ve been for a short walk but it’s just offices and flyovers, so I’m killing time reading, checking e-mails and trying to get my trip list over its current low value of five. The rest of the group will arrive at 10 tonight and I’m sure that over the next few days I will long for a chance to snooze or read in the afternoon as we will undoubtedly be burning the candle at both ends.

Colombia has undergone a great transformation in the last decade or so. Formerly infamous for the cocaine cartels and guerilla warfare, it has emerged as modern, affluent and efficient country, the new airport terminal, clean, efficient and welcoming, is testament to that.

Colombia, of course is best known in birding circles for having more species than any other country in the world. The fact that it has a Pacific and a Caribbean coastline, lowlands in the Orinoco and Amazon drainage and extensive wetlands known as the Llanos all contribute, but more than any other reason, the fact that the Andes divides into three discrete ranges in Colombia, each with its own avifauna adds huge numbers of species to the national bird list. I first visited Colombia in 2007 and saw lots of great birds but a series of mishaps varying from a knackered bus to an impromptu roadblock by over zealous youths prevented me from seeing all that I wanted to. Hopefully this trip will be hassle free.


We had to change planes at Madrid, whilst this is far preferable to flying to Miami and then having to sit in their dreadful transit lounge and be treated like cattle, Madrid is not the most organised airport in the world. Eventually after a couple of hours I found where to get my new boarding card. Having been on over 20 trips to Spanish-speaking countries you would think I would be able to speak Spanish by now!


From a pedestrian bridge in Bogotá, they have introduced a central bus only lane with all the bus stops on the central reservation to try to avoid congestion.


A street view near my hotel. Really looking forwards to meeting the other participants, all of whom I know from previous trip and starting birding in the the most bird-rich country on Earth.

Posted February 2, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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