Despite the huge rush of development and high density housing, the geography of the area means there are still green spaces around. However, many are inaccessible and/or insecure which is good for the birds, but not so good for birdwatchers! So here's a short guide to give you an idea of where to go birding and what you might see.
1. Parque La Flora.
Black-bellied Wren (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris), Red-rumped Woodpecker (Veniliornis kirkii) and Guira Tanager (Hemithraupis guira) are resident though take a little searching. There are many tyrant flycatchers to challenge your ID skills - learn the calls and behaviour! The park is good for migrants warblers and thrushes. Protonothary warblers (Protonotaria citrea) are easy to see at the right time of year on the banana feeders put out by the salpicon (fruit salad) vendors just by the entrance. Because the park is in a small valley, it's easier to see the canopy and spot birds that might otherwise be missed. I've had some more unusual migrants too - Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) and Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea).
There is the odd 3-toed Sloth in the park, though despite many visits I've only seen one once. There are also Coral snakes - I've seen Micrurus dumerilii and I've been told that the endemic M. Sangilensis has also been recorded. Both are highly venomous but not aggressive.
2. Finca La Esperanza & Montifiore
On the eastern edge of Floridablanca, this sloping area of woodland belongs to the CDMB and is popular with walkers at weekends. However, it's a good place to spend time with woodpeckers, tanagers and hummingbirds near the waterfalls.
If you continue up from La Esperanza you reach a road to the Cerro La Judea. This is a large protected area and an Important Bird Area but access is not so straightforward. However, in a few hours you can walk (or drive!) up to the Montefiori hotel/restaurant and its nearbly waterfalls. Here I've seen Golden-naped (Tangara ruficervix), Lemon-rumped (Ramphocelus icteronotus icteronotus) and Black-capped Tanagers (Tangara heinei) amongst others as well as White-naped Brush Finch (Atlapetes albinucha).
3. Jardín Botánico Eloy Valenzuela (Floridablanca)
|Botanic Gardens in Floridablanca|
|Black and White Owls|
4. Finca El Carajo & Caragua
|Finca El Carajo and Bucaramanga Airport beyond|
5. Picacho & Km 39
|Picacho at dawn|
|Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager|
6. Road to Llano de Palmas
To the west of Rio Negro is a plateau on which sits Llano de Palmas amongst other places. There are still patches of forest along this road at around 1000m or so ASL. This gives a good chance to find species such as Western Slaty Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha) and Slaty-Antwren (Myrmotherula schisticolor), but in particular is good for finding the punk looking Sooty Ant-Tanager (Habia gutturalis), a near-threatened endemic species. I've had good views of White-bibbed (Corapipo leucorrhoa) and Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) here and seen my first Black-hawk Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus).
My apartment in Los Pinos, Bucaramanga proved to have pretty good birding and I have recorded 87 species with 4 others heard. The hummingbird feeders have been an amazing success with large numbers of 5 different species - many neighbours have bought feeders after seeing the swarms around mine. The balcony proved a great spot for watching migrant raptors in late October and this year I've seen over 1500 Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura meridionalis) passing over in 2 days as well as other migrant Buteos. Sadly, as I won't be here shortly, I can't invite other birders, but I hope this short guide to Bucaramanga birding is useful.