Monday, April 25, 2011

Birding Highlights from Northern Coffee Highlands

Michigan-based naturalists Julie Craves and Darrin O’Brien visited Matagalpa and Jinotega in early March 2011, and submitted the following report to NicaBirds:

"The first portion of the trip involved a banding project with a group from North Carolina (USA) at Finca Esperanza Verde from March 3-8.

Northern Bentbill
Approximately 102 species were observed with observation highlights including: a calling Barred Forest-falcon (Micrastur ruficollis), a calling Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), and two Yellow-eared Toucanets (Selenidera spectabilis).  Banding highlights included a male Red-capped Manakin (Pipra mentalis), a male & female Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis), a female White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei), and a male Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanocompsa cyanoides). Recapture highlights included two Northern Bentbills (Oncostoma cinereigulare) from 2008 and a Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) from 2006!

Long-tailed Manakin
A travel day on March 8th involved a stop for a partly rainy morning at Selva Negra.  Only 22 species were tallied, but Resplendent Quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno) put on a show at the fruiting avocado trees of Sendero Romantico.  At least 3 males and a female were present, all giving excellent looks at their phenomenal tails and vocalizing repeatedly.  The big miss was Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculata).  Unbelievably, none were heard!

The remainder of the trip from March 8-12 was at El Jaguar Reserve, during their last MoSI pulse. A couple notable birds banded (for us, anyway!) included Violaceous Quail-Dove (Geotrygon violacea) and Ruddy Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla homochroa)

White-faced Quail-Dove

In addition to birds captured in the mist nets, 88 species were observed with highlights including: watching a foraging Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui) behind the cabin, seeing a perched Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) from the cabin’s porch, confirming Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) for the reserve’s bird list, and finding a new species for the reserve with two Northern Rough-winged Swallows (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)!

The entire trip tallied 163 species of birds.  However, insects were also in the scope with 20 species of dragonflies identified.  Not bad for high elevation in winter."

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