Colombia-Cauca-Dapa and El Dieceocho, a set on Flickr.
Dapa and El Dieceocho
Despite having lived or traveled in some of the biggest cities in the world (Rio De janeiro, Mexico City) and some of the most livable (Brisbane, Oslo?) and having enjoyed the fruits of their incredible human cultural diversity, I can’t call myself a city person. When I do find myself in the concrete jungle, I often feel that my heart and eye always seek a green horizon somewhere, to at least have the illusion of a chink in the concrete that lets in the cool green caress of the natural world. So it was that when I arrived in Cali, in the steamy Valle del Cauca, Colombia, I was pleasantly surprised to see the imposing, craggy, cloud topped and above all, green, presence of the Cordillera Occidental was visible from almost anywhere in the city.
In fact, on closer inspection, the system of National Parks and reserves in “los Farallones” protects an amazing wealth of biodiversity and water catchments for the residents of Cali. In less than an hour one can ascend to cool temperate cloud forests, home to a huge number of birds and other species, including some difficult to find elsewhere. In two day trips, guided by dear friend and local frog expert Martha Velasco, we explored “el Dieceocho” and Dapa, rewarded with great views of the beautiful Multicoloured Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima). Other highlights of this day of tanagers included Beryl-spangled, (Tangara nigoviridis), Saphron-headed (Tangara xanthocephala) and Golden Tanagers (Tangara arthus).
We also visited another private reserves, la Finca Alejandria, where the large number of feeders attracts a high diversity of hummingbirds, including Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae), Long-tailed Sylph (Agaliocercus kingii) Brown Violet-ear (Colibri delphinae), and one of Colombia’s smallest, the Purple-throated Woodstar (Calliphlox michelli). Along the road at Dapa, which passes through relatively intact cloud-forests in the Reserva Bitaco, we also had a fleeting glimpse of the Booted Racket-tail, (Ochreatus underwoodii). To have all this within reach of a major urban centre is a real blessing for Caleñas.