On the very last day of this month I was in Columbia, at the famed birding lodge El Dorado in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a high mountain range, up to 5700 metres overlooking the Caribbean Sea. My main target up here was the White-tipped Quetzal, a spectacular bird only found here and on the adjacent Caribbean slopes of neighbouring Venezuela. I got lucky withing the first hour, a magnificent male sat nicely in a tree by the forest trail. What a bird.
I could post one of the endemic species from Feb.1st in Columbia but I choose instead this Black-capped Tanager from El Dorado Eco Lodge. It was a lifer for me and the photograph shows off its oscellated, slightly irridescant green throat and breast feathers on an otherwise blue bird with a black cap.
This was not a good month for bird photography, the weather was generally cold and wet, not condusive to getting out with the camera. However a visit to the Charca de Suarez did result in a close up shot of a Pintail, not a common species in Andalucia, in fact it's the first one I can remember at the Charca and as it is a very elegant bird it's worth a record as bird of the month.
Jays are a mixed woodland species and as a consequence are not really numerous in Andalucia due to a lack of suitable habitat. I had seen them however on visits to el Robledal, a forested area in the North Axarquia which is a good place to see all types of forest birds. They are extremely wary of human presence and are difficult to approach, so I used 4wd to get off the track and into the woods. With the engine switched off our patience was rewarded with a good shot of this one when it perched in a nearby tree, unaware of our presence. A very attractive bird.
May and June straddled my trip to Florida and Trinidad and I use two images from that trip. The Tufted Coquette is a tiny Hummingbird that flits and hovers around a flowering bush like a honey bee, only quicker. It's hard to locate and photograph so I was quite pleased with this shot of a nice male even though most of the bill is obscured by the flower on which it is feeding. This was taken in the grounds of the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad.
The White-bearded Manakin here is a male, the females are olive brown. This was shot at a lek where the males were displaying by hopping from vegetation to the ground accompanied by loud wing snaps, whirring, and calls. Quite a show.
I was very fortunate to capture a Golden Oriole at last among the trees at Arroyo Marin, a picturesque river valley close to the Town of Archidona which lies about 50kms due North of Malaga. This is a great spot for woodland birding and we have seen a wide variety here including three Woodpecker species, Hawfinch, Crossbill, Nightingale, Warblers including Bonellis, Melodious and Olivaceous, and plenty of Golden Orioles. I admit to using playback from the car to attracted this male into a tree quite close-by. The first and only decent shot I have managed to get of this fairly common but very elusive bird.