Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tufted Flycatcher & King Vulture at Cerro Mogotón

Hoping to relocate the Unicolored Jay (Aphelocoma unicolor) seen by Francisco "Chico" Muñoz and Anders Bringskog on February 20, 2011 -- the first record of this species for Nicaragua -- Liliana Chavarría and Georges Duriaux spent the weekend of April 15-17 visiting El Mogotón (Nueva Segovia), Nicaragua's highest peak, located on the border with Honduras.

Lili reports that bird activity was very low due to the extremely dry conditions this late in the season, and they were unsuccessful in finding Unicolored or any other jay species. Nevertheless, Georges and Lili were pleased to find six Tufted Flycatchers (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) on the slopes of Mogotón, along with three King Vultures (Sarcoramphus papa) flying only 10-15 meters above the ground in search of thermals.  Other highlights included Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra), Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata), Pheasant Cuckoo (Dromococcyx phasianellus), Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii), Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater), and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia occipitalis).

Tufted Flycatcher
Although they had hoped to camp on the mountain and put up mist nets to capture and inventory local birds, due to logistical difficulties Lili and Georges were unable to transport the necessary equipment up the slope. They hope to return at a later date to conduct a more thorough search for the jay, and other species of northern Central America that may not yet have been detected within Nicaragua.

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