Since my host at Minca cannot check me in until 1:00pm, I have the whole morning in Santa Marta. I went back to the Parque Novio to try to get a photo of the Caribe Grackle together with the Great-tailed Grackle for comparison. Both are totally black bird with white eyes. But their size is very different and the tail shape is different. I saw both together yesterday. But no luck today. There was no Great-tailed Grackle to be found there. Then, I went to the Marina to try to film the Magnificent Frigatebird. There were lots flying low yesterday but again there were only a couple soaring very high. I gave up and took a bus to the farmer’s market. The bus station to Minca is located nearby. I wanted to find it first. I did find it: a very small office right by the market. I went inside and saw many vendors of fruits, vegetables and meat. I bought a small tomato, an onion and a green onion to make an omelet with the 3 eggs left over for lunch. I also bought an avocado to add to my leftover salad from last night.
When I got back to the penthouse, it was 11:30am. Ines and her caregiver were home. I rested a bit and cooked my lunch. Together with the last piece of papaya, I had a wonderful healthy lunch. After saying goodbye to Ines I took a taxi to the bus station. The small van carried 8 passengers and it costed only $8,000 ($2.5) for 1-hour ride to Minca. In the bus I notified my new host Andres. He replied that his cousin was the driver of the van and will deliver me to his house. I was worried about how I was going to carry my luggage to his house on dirt road for a quarter mile from the main road where the van stops. It all worked out fine. Andres greeted me and helped me to get the suitcase into my room. It is a separate building from the main house with its own bathroom. Andres is an artist and built this guest house all by himself. It is an amazing place. Everywhere it shows the art and care. I met his twin boy and girl who are 14 years old. After resting a bit, I went out to walk the trail. Immediately I saw the large hanging nests of Crested Oropendola on a large tree. There was a Black Vulture perched close their nests and the birds were very upset. Soon, a man at a house smiled to me and gestured me to the back of his house. There is a newly finished patio that has a 180-degree view of the valley below. It was 3:30pm and very hot. No birds anywhere. When I came back, he pointed to the front of his house. I saw a beautiful Blue-crowned Motmot on his bird feeder. He just put out a banana. Also, an incredible Silver-beaked Tanager was there. It has a bloody red body and silver beak. A Black-billed Thrush and a few Blue-and-gray Tanager and Palm Tanagers were there. A Red-crowned Woodpecker also joined the feeding frenzy. I thanked the man and gave him a little money for buying more bananas. I went back to the house and left my heavy camera there. Then, I stopped at a small grocery store and bought a few things for breakfast.
I went back to the main street and entered the Hotel Minca. This is the hotel that the birding groups stay. I wanted to check out if they have bird feeders. Indeed, they have a few hummingbird feeders that were full of birds. A birdguide with a group from US was at the patio and told me there were 6 kinds of hummingbird right now. I could only tell maybe 3. They look alike. The birding group has 9 clients. They all sit by a large table and I sit by myself. They seemed to be the only overnight guests in this large hotel. There are many small hostels and hotels in town. I ordered fish filet with mushroom source. It came with a small salad and French fried. The grilled fish filet was very good. When I got back, Andres was back from Santa Marta. He had to go to attend a school event of his kid. He spends 1 hour each way to drive his kids to school M through F. All the parents are the same! A young woman arrived his house tonight from Bogota. He introduced her to me as a musician. She said she conducts music therapy.
Andres arranged a private bird guide for me for tomorrow from 6:00am to 9:00am. He also arranged a motoTaxi to take me up the mountain to el Dorado hotel and preserve for March 4. This place is supposedly the best birding place in Colombia.