Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chuck-will's-widow at El Jaguar

After hearing the distinctive call of a Chuck-will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) just before dawn three mornings in a row, Klemens Steiof and Rob Batchelder located the bird on the evening of April 2, 2011, perched on a log just meters from their cabin at El Jaguar. In the Checklist of the Birds of Nicaragua (Lista Patrón de las Aves de Nicaragua, Martínez-Sánchez, 2007), this North American breeding bird is listed as a local winter visitor along Nicaragua's Pacific slope, from sea level up to 300 meters. In The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide, author Richard Garrigues describes Chuck-will's-widow as a "very uncommon (or seldom detected) NA migrant from Oct to April, mostly in lowlands," which is "usually silent" in Costa Rica, and presumably also in Nicaragua. This record is noteworthy not only because the bird was found at 1300 meters above sea level, but also because it was first detected by its call.  Chuck-will's-widow is a new addition to El Jaguar's impressive and growing bird checklist, which now stands at nearly 290 species.


During the same visit, Klemens and Rob helped add a second species to El Jaguar's list, a Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), seen in a thicket in an open area of the reserve on the morning of Friday, April 1.  El Jaguar owners Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux placed a mist net in the area where the Catbird was seen earlier in the day, and succeeded in capturing the same bird just as dusk was settling in.  Georges was able to document the new addition to El Jaguar's checklist with the help of a vehicle headlamp for lighting:

Gray Catbird

Other interesting birds that Rob and Klemens found during their four-day stay at El Jaguar included Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra), Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata), Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Smoky-brown Woodpecker (Picoides fumigatus), Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus), Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis), Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus), a dozen warbler species including Blackburnian (Dendroica fusca), Cerulean (Dendroica cerulea) and MacGillivray's Warblers (Oporornis tolmiei), White-naped Brush-Finch (Atlapetes albinucha), Blue Bunting (Cyanocompsa parellina), and Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater).

Highland Guan (male)
MacGillivray's Warbler

Violet Sabrewing

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