Wednesday, December 28, 2011

El Jaguar CBC sets new record!

The third annual El Jaguar Christmas Bird Count this year tallied 197 species, setting a new record and adding 36 new species to the count circle checklist.  With teams covering several new sites, including part of Lago Apanas by boat, this year's count also racked up an incredible 6,342 individual birds. 

Among the most noteworthy birds recorded were Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus), Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Olive-throated Parakeet (Aratinga nana), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird (Tilmatura dupontii), Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda), Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps), Black-crowned Tityra (Tityra inquisitor), and Bay-breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snowy Cotinga at Refugio Bartola

During a four-day visit to Refugio Bartola (Rio San Juan) December 7-11, 2011, Lili Chavarria, Georges Duriaux, and Rob Batchelder recorded and captured nearly 150 bird species.  For Rob and Lili, a highlight of the trip was adding Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus) to their respective life lists when they observed a lone female feeding high in the canopy with a mixed flock.  The following morning, while Georges and Lili were tending to nearby mist nets, Rob encountered another group of at least four female Snowy Cotingas feeding high in a fruit tree with a group of Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) and Black-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus).

Other noteworthy sightings included Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis), Semiplumbeous Hawk (Leucopternis semiplumbeus), Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), Band-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri), Purple-crowned Fairy (Heliothryx barroti), White-whiskered Puffbird (Malacoptila panamensis), White-fronted Nunbird (Monasa morphoeus), Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus), Slaty Spinetail (Synallaxis brachyura), Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus), Chestnut-backed (Myrmeciza exsul), Bicolored (Gymnopithys leucaspis) and Spotted Antbirds (Hylophylax naevioides), Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Myiobius sulphureipygius), and Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Oryzoborus nuttingi).

The group spent three mornings capturing and taking measurement data of Bartola's birds. Among those species captured were Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus), Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus), Tawny-crested Tanager (Tachyphonus delatrii), and Carmiol's Tanager (Chlorothraupis carmioli).

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper

Tawny-crested Tanager

Rob & Lili processing Long-billed Gnatwren

The birders also tried one evening to relocate the Ocellated Poorwill that Rob and his friend Klemens Steiof found at Bartola in March 2011, but were unsuccessful.  Few nocturnal birds were vocalizing, though Georges and Rob heard a pair of Spectacled Owls (Pulsatrix perspicillata) calling on the last night of the trip.

Black-cheeked Woodpecker

Western Slaty-Antshrike (female)

White-throated Crake

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wood Thrush Monitoring with Geolocators

During the first four days of December 2011, a team led by Dr. Kevin Fraser of York University's biology department successfully attached geolocators to 10 individual Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) captured at El Jaguar Reserve in Jinotega. The geolocators will allow researchers to recapture the birds next winter and determine where in the U.S. and Canada the birds bred, and should provide useful data about the migration routes these birds use between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Dr. Kevin Fraser w/ Wood Thrush
Wood Thrush Monitoring Team
The same weekend, El Jaguar carried out its monthly MoSI monitoring of overwintering migrant bird species. Among the more interesting birds captured were the resident Ruddy Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla homochroa) and the migrant Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus), photographed by Georges Duriaux.

Ruddy Woodcreeper

Philadelphia Vireo

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pearl Kite NE of Sebaco

While driving from Managua to Jinotega on Saturday, November 26, Georges Duriaux came across a Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) perched on a roadside power line, a few hundred meters beyond the exit for Chaguítillo, 4 km northeast of Sébaco on the main highway to Matagalpa. While Pearl Kite is being recorded more and more frequently in Nicaragua's Pacific slope lowlands, this sighting is unusually far north and east, and is one of the very few records of this species in Nicaragua's northern mountains.