Sunday, February 27, 2011

Altamira Oriole at Playa Coco

While birding the dry forest-covered hillsides just south of Playa Coco on February 27, 2011, Rob Batchelder observed a single Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis).  Rob previously observed this species in the same area in November 2009.  Only 14 kilometers northwest of the Costa Rican border, Playa Coco is nearly 100 km south of the southern limit of this taxon's published range, suggesting the possibility that Altamira Oriole could someday be recorded in Costa Rica.

Other interesting birds seen during this outing include Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), "Mangrove" Black-Hawk (Buteogallus (anthracinus) subtilis), Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus), and White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quelantaro Banding Weekend

Long-tailed Manakin
During a weekend of bird banding at Quelantaro private nature reserve, February 19-20, 2011, Salvadora Morales, Oscar Bermúdez, Guillermo Rodríguez, Ofelia Gaitán, and German volunteers Philip and Armin, captured a total of 27 species, of which 12 were North American migrants.  The monthly monitoring at Quelantaro is part of the Monitoring Overwintering Survival of Migratory Birds (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal: MoSI) program.  Noteable species captured or otherwise recorded during the weekend included Thicket Tinamou (Crypturellus cinnamomeus), Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliatus), Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae), Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei), Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulfurescens), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis), Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae), Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus), Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), and Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris).

Steely-vented Hummingbird

Quelantaro is a privately-owned nature reserve -- part of a network of Reservas Silvestres Privadas (RSP) -- located about 45 minutes southwest of Managua in the municipality of Villa El Carmen.  It is the only such reserve in the area, and hosts one of Nicaragua's seven active MoSI monitoring stations.  RSP Quelantaro is also developing programs for volunteer tourism, environmental education, and sustainable agriculture.  For more information (in Spanish), visit Quelantaro's homepage at:

Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Cinnamon Hummingbird
Squirrel Cuckoo
Turquoise-browed Motmot

Swainson's Thrush

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MoSI Weekend at El Jaguar

From February 11-14, 2011, Liliana Chavarría, Georges Duriaux, Moisés Siles and Oscar Rodríguez carried out this season's fourth weekend of bird banding at El Jaguar Private Reserve, part of the Monitoring Overwintering Survival of Migratory Birds (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal: MoSI) program. This program is conducted with the support of the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) and follows a standardized protocol.  IBP carries out research and disseminates information on the abundance, distribution and ecology of certain migratory bird species of conservation concern. The MoSI program at El Jaguar utilizes16 mist nets, located at fixed points according to the IBP protocol.  Birds are captured in the nets, weighed and measured, and fitted with leg bands (rings), before they are released unharmed back into the wild.

Audubon North Carolina supports the MoSI project at El Jaguar with equipment donations, while the American Bird Conservancy helped fund the construction of two new MoSI processing stations at El Jaguar.

During the most recent MoSI weekend, participants captured 117 birds, of which 27 were migrants. Among the birds captured or recorded were: 

Red-capped Manakin
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Picoides fumigatus)
Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis)
Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus)
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla anabatina)
Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare)
Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus)
Red-capped Manakin (Pipra mentalis)
Spot-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius maculipectus)
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)
Tropical Parula (Parula pitiayumi)
White-winged Tanager
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)
MacGillivray's Warbler (Oporornis tolmiei)
Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata)
White-winged Tanager (Piranga leucoptera)
Blue Bunting (Cyanocompsa parellina)
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater)
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia occipitalis)

Blue Bunting

Tawny-winged Woodcreeper

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nightingale Wren at RN Peñas Blancas

Hacienda San Francisco
On February 4, 2011, Liliana Chavarría and Georges Duriaux conducted their third Golden-winged Warbler census at the "San Francisco" coffee farm bordering the Peñas Blancas natural reserve in Jinotega Department.  According to Liliana, of the 57 species recorded, the most unexpected for this site were Nightingale Wren (Microcerculus philomela) and Plain Antvireo (Dysithamnus mentalis), both being species rarely seen outside areas of mature forest.

Other noteworthy species included Slaty-breasted Tinamou (Crypturellus boucardi), Blue Ground-Dove (Claravis pretiosa), Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Stripe-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa eximia), Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus), White-winged Tanager (Piranga leucoptera), and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia occipitalis).

Golden-winged Warbler
The census, conducted under the auspices of Alianza Alas Doradas, recorded a total of 14 Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) at the 10 established count points.
Alianza Alas Doradas is part of the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group and is comprised of organizations and individuals in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia who monitor the namesake species on its wintering grounds in Latin America.