South America, Day 14 - 02 Mar 2018

02 Mar 2018 – Cartegena, Colombia

Rough seas last evening prompted the crew to place barf bags at each set of landings. But by 6 am the seas were calming and we were approaching Cartegena, Colombia.

The high-rises are the first thing you see when you approach to port, and the white buildings give the feel of a Mediterranean City. Cartegena is a beautiful city with a mix of the old fortress city and new, multi-million dollar hotels and resorts. It looks very much like Miami, as well.

Magnificent Frigatebirds, Brown Pelicans, Royal and Sandwich Terns, and Laughing Gulls were the main birds in port. Flocks of Snowy Egrets were flying in all directions, and I would find a roosting colony along the shoreline of the canals lining the Old City. Robin and I had taken a Photo Tour of the city, so we had the opportunity to see both the Old City Fortress, the downtown area, and revisit the mangrove beach we saw last year. Paulina, our tour guide, was accompanied by our photographer guide, Marina. Wonderful ladies!

Our first stop was the Old Fortress surrounding the city. We didn’t have much time there, so I ran off after a pair of Social Flycatchers, and managed a fly-by American Kestrel before we continued out of the city toward a mangrove reserve. 

There, I found an Amazon Kingfisher perched on an overhead wire while Willets and Snowy Egrets foraged in shallow ponds left by the receding tide. The old dugout canoes provided some photo opps, as did the kids playing soccer in between their lessons. It was hot out, and the 90 degree temps was beginning to take its toll on me.

While waiting for the rest of the group to return to the bus a flock of parakeets whistled past me at a squawk. I managed a couple of pics-from-the-hip, and spent all evening trying to ID the little boogers. Brown-throated Parakeets! I first thought Brown-hooded Parrot, but the yellow wing patch did not work on them.

We drove back into the city and spent some time in the old downtown area photographing the buildings and town square. The monastery and nearby church were the big draw with their lush courtyards buried in huge trees.

Our bus broke down, so we were stranded for a time. This gave me opportunities to hunt down some Tropical Kingbirds and Great Kiskadees that were squabbling in the nearby trees.  Despite the heat and my crushing headache the day turned out to be quite nice.

Our tour guides Paulina and Marina were absolute delights and really made this an excellent day. Cartagena is one city that I’d come back to in the future.

(L/R) Paulina, Marina, Robin

The next 2 days are at sea while we head home to port in Miami, then fly home to Detroit on Monday.


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