|Venezuela, Summer 2008 Birding Trip Report - Part 7 of many - Parque Nacional Henri Pittier|
Our next stop was Parque Nacional Henri Pittier. The park is world
famous for being home to 43% of Venezuela's bird species (580
species), and about 6% of the world's species. Part of this is
because it is on the north/south migration route. Another reason is
the many elevations inside the park, from beautiful beaches into the
base of the Andes.
We left Colonia Tovar by bus to head to Puerto Colombia or Choroni,
two of the main tourist cities inside the park. Although we learned
there are official borders between the cities and the park, I got the
feeling that the park was gradually losing to population growth. But
at 107,000 hectacres, the park is still very large, and it won't
happen in my lifetime. The bus trip from Colonioa Tovar is long,
requiring bus changes in La Victoria and Maracay. We didn't arrive to
Puerto Colombia until late at night, which is generally a very bad
idea in Venezuela. But were happy to learn it is one of the safest
cities in Venezuela. The city is totally tourist driven (mostly
Venezuelan tourists), and you can walk safely outside all night.
I don't have great bird-specific information for this park, and you
might find more in your travel guide. Two roads lead from Maracay
into park. One passes a biological research station, which I read has
simple accomodations, but we were not able to reach anyone on the
phone, and local tour guides could not give us more information,
possibily because they were trying to promote their own services.
Outside the center of Puerto Colombia are many nice looking haciendas,
which have a lot of green space, and would allow for bird watching
from your hotel. If you want to walk in the forest, you could arrange
an overnight trip via German tour guide Claudia, or take a boat to
Chuao, a small town close to Puerto Colombia. From there is a two hour
hike to a waterfall, but the trail is not well marked, and we didn't
find the waterfall. You can get a guide in Chuao for a small fee.
The best birding for was just walking on roads outside the city. But
most of the raods lead to haciendas, and deadend. There is a small
hill with a statue that is also excellent. Offhand, some birds seen
were the Amazon Kingfisher, Guira Tanager, Tropical Gnatcatcher, and
various unidentified Oropendolas, Parrots, Swallows, and Hummingbirds.
Along with about twenty or so of the common Venezuelan species such as
the Saffron Finch, Scaled Dove, Brown Pelican, Black Vulture, and Tropical