|Climate:||hot and humid|
|Trails:||roadside, long trail|
Recent bird sightings:
#1 | Avery Bartels| Crescent-faced Antpitta| RNA Proaves - El Mirador| 0000-00-00
#2 | Avery Bartels| Yellow-throated Vireo| RNA Proaves - Cerulean Warbler| 0000-00-00
#3 | Avery Bartels| Crested Ant-tanager| RNA Proaves - Chestnut-capped Piha| 0000-00-00
#4 | Avery Bartels| Golden-collared Honeycreeper| RNA Proaves - Las Tangaras| 0000-00-00
#5 | Avery Bartels| Tocuyo Sparrow| Perico| 0000-00-00
#6 | Avery Bartels| Least Tern| Camarones| 0000-00-00
#7 | MattSlaymaker| Wilson's Warbler| Colibri del Sol| 2013-03-11
#8 | Trevor| Cundinamarca Antpitta| Montoderondo| 2029-09-10
#9 | Trevor| Mountain Grackle| Cerulea Reserve| 2004-10-10
Sites - Bahia Solano & Utria National Park
Location: Bahia Solano and El Valle, Dept. of Choco
Summary: The lowland rainforests of the Choco are famous for their incredible birds. Unfortunately, much of the Colombian Choco is unsafe to visit, but the beach resorts of Bahia Solano and El Valle provide exciting birding, including the endemic Baudo Oropendula. It is always advisable to inquire as to the current security situation before visiting the Choco, and the network of birding paths is complicated; it is important to hire a local guide in the area.
Endemics: Baudo Oropendula
Key Species: Choco Tinamou, Great Curassow, Brown Wood-Rail, Harpy and Crested Eagles, Plumbeous Hawk, Rose-faced Parrot, Great Green Macaw, Grey-capped Cuckoo, Black-breasted Puffbird, Spot-crowned Barbet, Ocellated Antbird, Black-headed Antthrush, Rufous-crowned Gnatpitta, Streak-chested Antpitta, White-ringed Flycatcher, White-tipped and Blue Cotingas, Broad-billed Sapayoa, Rufous-winged, Lemon-spectacled and Blue-whiskered Tanagers, and Chestnut-headed Oropendula.
Access: Access is only by flight from Medellin. a road connects El Valle to Bahia Solano; other transportation in the area is by boat
Site Description: When birding in the Bahia Solano, El Valle and Utria areas, it is always advisable to hire a local guide. Excellent guides can be contracted from the hotels (such as El Almejal); a local woodsman named Chu has very keen eyes and is an expert on the Baudo Oropendula.
The rainforests of the Choco are very rich, but long species lists are only accumulated with time and effort. The following text describes several of the prime birding sites in the area, followed by a sample list of interesting birds that have been recently found.
Road from airport to El Valle:
The road from the airport to El Valle is unpaved until ~4 km from El Valle, and this final section is paved (although more of the road was being paved during our visit, and the entire road will probably be paved in the not-too-distant future). Much of the road is bordered (at least on one side) by secondary forest, although much is also pasture.
El Almejal and trails:
El Almejal (http://www.almejal.com.co/) is a very nice lodge located right on a broad beach at the edge of El Valle. El Almejal has roughly 50 hectares of forest in the hills behind the lodge; a trail system traverses this forest and connects with other paths through the forest.
Utria National Park:
This park is the primary reason birders come to Bahia Solano/El Valle. A completely flat ~8 km path/unpassable dirt road/trail (one-way) connects the village of El Valle to Utria National Park. There is secondary forest along much of this trail, including extensive portions of the trail with forest on both sides, especially further from El Valle. This trail can be very muddy, as this is one of the rainiest places on Earth! At the time of our trip, the trail was fairly dry and passable with normal hiking shoes (usually a rubber boot-only trail!). The Baudo Oropendula nest tree is around ~ 4-5 km from El Valle; they were not present at the tree during our stay but the best sites for this much-wanted endemic are along this section of the trail.
After ~ 8 km the trail enters Utria National Park, and winds for another ~1.5 km (the only hill on the trail) through mature primary forest to the Ensenada de Utria, a calm inlet where Humpback Whales come to give birth to calves between June and September. It is possible to go in boat from the end of the trail to the park headquarters, which offers lodging, food, and a small number of forest trails. It is also possible to take a boat from the town of El Valle to the park headquarters, spend a day or two hiking the few trails on offer within the park, and then return to El Valle walking the El Valle-Utria trail.
A sampling of birds seen during a 3-4 day stay might include (starred birds are common):
Choco Tinamou, Crested Guan, Brown Wood-Rail (in mangroves), Tiny and Plumbeous Hawks, Rose-faced Parrot*, Great Green Macaws, Bronzy Hermit*, Blue-headed Sapphire, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (in mangroves), Grey-capped Cuckoo (in thickets), Black-breasted Puffbird*, Spot-crowned Barbet*, Black-striped Woodcreeper*, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Pacific Antwren*, Bicolored* and Spotted* Antbirds, Black-headed Antthrush*, Streak-chested* and Thicket Antpittas, Rufous-crowned Gnatpitta, Paltry Tyrannulet, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant*, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher*, White-ringed Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner*, Rufous Piha, White-tipped Cotinga*, Red-capped*, Golden-collared* and Blue-crowned* Manakins, Broad-billed Sapayoa, Tawny-faced Gnatwren*, Red-legged Honeycreepers*, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis*, Scarlet-browed*, Rufous-winged*, Lemon-spectacled, Tawny-crested*, Blue-whiskered* and Dusky-faced* Tanagers, Scarlet-rumped Cacique* and Chestnut-headed* and Baudo Oropendulas* (only common on El Valle ? Utria trail).
Other possibilities include Great Curassow, Harpy and Crested Eagles, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Crimson-bellied Woodpecker, Ocellated Antbird, Blue Cotinga, Green Manakin and surely much much more!