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Recent bird sightings:
Sites - Los Flamencos Sanctuary

Site evaluation: 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Species:  
Elevation: Sea level
Climate: Hot and dry
Trails: Numerous
Accommodation: 1 Stars
Food: 2 Stars 2 Stars
Hot water: No
Electricity: No
Communications: Cell phone
Region: Caribbean & Sierra Nevada
Location: Guajira Peninsula, Dept. of Guajira
Summary: Los Flamencos Sanctuary is an important coastal wetland and dry forest reserve created to protect a large population of the American Flamingo. The reserve is best accessed through the small town of Camarones. The flamingos and numerous other waders, herons, ibis, gulls and terns can be found in large saltwater lagoons. In addition, the xerophytic scrub vegetation of the area is very productive for all of the Guajira specialties restricted to NE Colombia and NW Venezuela. A telescope is recommended.
Endemics:
Key Species: American Flamingo, Scarlet Ibis, migrant waders, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Buffy Hummingbird, Russet-throated Puffbird, Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Slender-billed Inezia, Orinocan Saltator, Pileated Finch, Tocuyo Sparrow, Vermillion Cardinal
Access: 2 hrs east of Santa Marta, 20 minutes west of Riohacha.
Site Description: Just west of the town of Camarones, Los Flamencos Sanctuary is the place to go to search for the American Flamingos and other aquatic birds, particularly rare vagrants and migrants. There are several seasonally-flooded lagoons along the road between Camarones and the ocean beach where large concentrations of birds are generally present. The flamingos themselves are seasonal in abundance ?some individuals are present year-round while flocks of up to 800 may be seen during the non-breeding months. It is sometimes necessary to hire a boat from the beach at Camarones in order to view these congregations.

Dawn at the lagoons is best to see large numbers of wading birds, before fishermen begin their activities and the birds disperse to various feeding grounds. Hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills and mostly white-phase Reddish Egrets can be found among the more common wading birds. Several Scarlet Ibis can usually be found in the small flocks of White Ibis, also keep a watch out for Wood Stork. Shorebirds are well-represented during the Northern winter (October-March) and can include scarce species such as Long-billed Curlew, Red Knot and White-rumped Sandpiper. There are also good numbers of gulls and terns- Lesser black-backed Gull and Kelp Gull have been frequently observed in the area in recent years. Scattered trees and brush by the lagoons may produce Scaled Dove, Glaucous Tanager, Gray Kingbird and Yellow Oriole.

Of equal or perhaps greater interest to most birders is the inland xerophytic scrub, the dominant vegetation type of the zone. Several species restricted to northeastern Colombia and parts of adjacent northern Venezuela can be found in this habitat, including Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Buffy Hummingbird, Russet-throated Puffbird, Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Slender-billed Inezia, Orinocan Saltator, Pileated Finch, Tocuyo Sparrow and the splendid Vermillion Cardinal, called ?El Rey de la Guajira? (?King of the Guajira?) by locals. Crested Bobwhite, Blue-crowned and Brown-throated Parakeets, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Black-crested Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren and Northern Scrub-Flycatcher are all to be looked for as well in the scrub. Roadside scrub between the beach and Camarones is a good place for most of these birds, although some are more common further inland where the scrub is taller. The town of Perico is also a good location for many of these landbirds.

This is a desert environment, and it is very hot by 10 AM on most days; birding can be both slow and very hot during the midday hours!
Photos:
American Flamingo, Benjamin Freeman Black-crested Antshrike, Benjamin Freeman Vermillion Cardinal, Benjamin Freeman White-fringed Antwren, Benjamin Freeman Scarlet & White Ibises, Benjamin Freeman
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