Saturday, January 29, 2011

Black Skimmer at Laguna de Tisma

In celebration of World Wetlands Day, a team of local birders and ornithologists comprised of Martín Lezama, Manfred Bienert, Carlos Ramiro Mejía, Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux paid a visit on January 29, 2011, to Laguna de Tisma northwest of Granada. The group observed 47 species, including approximately 3,000 Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), 20 Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus), eight Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus), Gull-billed, Caspian and Royal Terns, a single Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger), 50 Dickcissel (Spiza americana) and a dozen Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis).

Terns, Stilts and Sandpipers at Laguna de Tisma (photo by G. Duriaux)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wing-banded Antbird at Cerro Musún

Between January 4 and 6, 2011, Liliana Chavarría and Georges Duriaux conducted a Golden-winged Warbler census in the Cerro Musún Natural Reserve near Río Blanco (Matagalpa Department). Using mist-nests in an attempt to capture their target species, Georges and Liliana were thrilled to capture a Wing-banded Antbird (Myrmornis torquata). Although confirmation of this species' presence in Nicaragua is based on specimens collected between 1893 and 1917*, there are few reports in recent years, the lastest known published sighting being from May 1994 at Refugio Bartola on the Rio San Juan, by Martin L. Cody. Wing-banded Antbird is described as "uncommon and patchily distributed" throughout its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Although it is found in Nicaragua, Panama, and several South American countries, it has not been reported from Costa Rica.
Wing-banded Antbird

Wing-banded Antbird

Other notable species observed by Liliana and Georges at Cerro Musún include Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens), Great Curassow (Crax rubra), Pheasant Cuckoo (Dromococcyx phasianellus), Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata), Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps), Scaled Antpitta (Grallaria guatimalensis), Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleaginous), Golden-crowned Spadebill (Platyrinchus coronatus), White-ruffed (Corapipo altera) and White-collared Manakins (Manacus candei), Nightingale Wren (Microcerculus Philomela), Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii), Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia), and Black-faced Grosbeak (Caryothraustes poliogaster).

*Martínez Sanchez, J.C. & Will, T., 2010. Thomas R. Howell’s Check-list of the Birds of Nicaragua as of 1993. The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Scaled Antpitta

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Collared Forest-Falcon at Laguna de Apoyo

One of 10 Pied-billed Grebes seen on Laguna de Apoyo
During a visit to Laguna de Apoyo the week of January 3, 2011, Rob Batchelder recorded 58 species of birds on the lake and in the tropical dry forest on the slopes of the surrounding crater.  A juvenile Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), seen on Saturday morning, January 8, was a nice surprise after hearing this species call each evening at dusk. Other highlights included 10 individual Pied-billed Grebes (Podilymbus podiceps) on the lake, Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Gray Hawk (Buteo nitidus), Pacific Screech-Owl (Megascops cooperi), Black-headed (Trogon melanocephalus) and Gartered (Violaceous) Trogons (Trogon caligatus), Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens), Banded Wren (Thryothorus pleurostictus), White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris), and Indigo (Passerina cyanea) and Painted Buntings (Passerina ciris)

Ringed Kingfisher - a common resident at Laguna de Apoyo

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lesser Scaup, Black-bellied Plover at Salinas Grandes

On a Sunday morning visit to Salinas Grandes (León) on January 2, 2011, Rob Batchelder and Andrew Walsh observed four non-breeding Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) on a sand bar at the south end of Isla Juan Venado.  A scan of the shallow ponds at the nearby salt works produced a raft of four Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) diving for food.  Other interesting birds seen at Salinas Grandes include Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximusmaximus), and Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

El Jaguar CBC Tallies 189 Species!

The 2010 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) at El Jaguar Reserve in Jinotega, held on Sunday, December 19, recorded 189 species--18 more than last year's count.  Five teams covered a number of sites within the 15-mile diameter count circle, including the cloud forest and shade coffee habitats of El Jaguar, the pine-oak forest near San Rafael del Norte, and open grassland and aquatic habitats at the west end of Lago Apanas.  This year's effort produced 48 species not recorded during the 2009 count, including White-faced Quail-Dove (Geotrygon albifacies), Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata), Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare), Red-capped Manakin (Pipra mentalis), Spot-breasted Wren (Thryothorus maculipectus), Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera), Rufous-winged Tanager (Tangara lavinia), Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), and Elegant Euphonia (Euphonia elegantissima).
The 2010 El Jaguar Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Team