Monday, August 22, 2011

Salinas Grandes Pearl Kite

Long-billed Curlew
On Sunday, August 21, 2011, Manfred Bienert, Georges Duriaux, Liliana Chavarria and Rob Batchelder paid a visit to the salt evaporation ponds at Salinas Grandes (León) in search of migrant shorebirds. The birders recorded more than 60 species in all, including eight species of herons & egrets, and 18 species of shorebirds. Among the most noteworthy shorebirds were Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia), Collared Plover (Charadrius collaris), Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus), Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla), Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus), and more than 100 Wilson's Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor).

The group also re-located the lone American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) which Manfred first observed at Salinas Grandes on October 31, 2010 -- a new record for Nicaragua! -- and which he had most recently seen just a week earlier, on August 14, 2011.

American Avocet

Perhaps the most unexpected encounter of the day was with a Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) perched on a telephone wire along the road that leads north from the center of the small beachfront village to the mouth of the estuary which forms the southern border of the Isla del Venado protected area. The small raptor perched confidingly for several minutes, allowing Manfred and Rob to snap several photos, before it was mobbed by a Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) and flew away.

Pearl Kite

Other highlights of the day included Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), a calling Crested Bobwhite (Colinus cristatus), a group of nearly 50 Wood Storks (Mycteria americana), Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), five tern species including Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis), Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger), and large numbers of Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis) roosting at the eastern edge of the Salinas.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two New Species for El Jaguar

During the resident bird monitoring program "MoARe" (Monitoreos de Aves Residentes), conducted annually between April and October at El Jaguar Reserve, two species were recently added to El Jaguar's checklist, bringing the reserve's confirmed list to an impressive 291 species:

On May 29, 2011, Liliana Chavarría, Georges Duriaux, Moisés Siles and Oscar Rodríguez captured an individual White-throated Flycatcher (Empidonax albigularis), while a single juvenile Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) was captured on July 26, 2011.

White-throated Flycatcher
Violet-headed Hummingbird

While not new to El Jaguar's checklist, two White-bellied Emeralds (Amazilia candida) captured on August 10 are also noteworthy considering that this species has only rarely been registered at El Jaguar in the past.

White-bellied Emerald

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Early Migrants at Salinas Grandes

On a July 19 visit to Salinas Grandes (León), Manfred Bienert observed a number of migrant shorebirds whose presence in Nicaragua in July was unusually early for fall migration.  Among the shorebirds Manfred saw were Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus),  upwards of 80 Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus), Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), around 30 Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Willet (Tringa semipalmata), Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), and Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri).

Marbled Godwit
Short-billed Dowitchers

In addition to shorebirds, also noteworthy were the number and diversity of Tern species, including Least (Sternula antillarum), Black (Chlidonias niger), Common (Sterna hirundo) and Sandwich Terns (Thalasseus sandvicensis), as well as Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger).

A group of nearly 50 Lesser Nighthawks (Chordeiles acutipennis) sleeping on the ground and in bushes at the eastern edge of the Salinas was also an interesting find.

Monday, August 1, 2011

White-crowned Pigeon & Early Migrants on Corn Island

On a July 18-21 visit to Corn Island, Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux were surprised to find several migratory species already present on the island, including a pair of Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius), and both Greater (Tringa melanoleuca) and Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes).

Georges and Lili also saw healthy numbers of White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala), a Corn Island specialty.

Also seen were White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), Green Heron (Butorides virescens), and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea).