Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail at Isla Juan Venado!

On December 22, 2012, Manfred Bienert paid a visit to the Isla Juan Venado Natural Reserve (León), where he observed a variety of shorebirds, herons, terns and gulls along the sandbanks at the mouth of the estuary, including Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) among a mixed flock that also included Royal (Thalasseus maximus) and Sandwich Terns (T. sandvisensis), Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) and Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla). A white morph Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) seen on this visit may have been the same individual Manfred observed last February, given that this species is rare in Nicaragua and white morph birds are less common than dark morph ones.

In the extensive mangroves of the reserve, Manfred located 15 migrant Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) and a similar number of White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris). By far the most suprising and exciting discovery of the day, however, was a Rufous-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides axillaris) seen foraging for small crabs among the roots of the mangroves. This is one of very few records--perhaps only three--of this species for Nicaragua, and apparently the first in a coastal mangrove habitat. According to Thomas R. Howell’s Check-list of the Birds of Nicaragua as of 1993 (Martínez-Sánchez, J. C., and T. Will, Eds. 2010), "There are only two Nicaraguan records, both from forest on the slopes of different volcanic peaks. A female taken 6 June 1917 at 2,100 feet (640 m), Volcán San Cristóbal, had the ovary greatly enlarged; a male taken 4 May 1917 at 3,500 feet (1,070 m), Volcán Mombacho, had the testes slightly enlarged. The habitat is noteworthy, as this species has usually been found elsewhere in coastal mangroves. Thurber et al. (1987) also reported this rail from humid forest above 700 m in El Salvador."

In all, Manfred recorded 61 species on this outing, including what may be only the third documented record of Rufous-necked Wood-Rail for Nicaragua.  Great find, Manfred!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Upland Sandpiper at Chiltepe Peninsula

Manfred Bienert observed 63 bird species on a visit to the Chiltepe Peninsula northwest of Managua on October 13, 2012. Highlights included Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Crested Bobwhite (Colinus cristatus), White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis), and Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus). The day's most unexpected surprise, however, was an Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) found in an overgrown field normally used for peanut cultivation. A rare passage migrant, Upland Sandpiper has been recorded only a handful of times while migrating through Nicaragua.

Upland Sandpiper

Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) was another interesting find on Manfred's recent outing to Chiltepe. He observed three individuals on this visit, but saw 12 in the same location on August 11, 2012 – an unusually high number for this uncommon grassland-dwelling resident.

Double-striped Thick-knee

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dates for 2012 Christmas Counts Announced!

The dates for this year's Nicaragua Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) have been set, and birders of all ages, nationalities and skill levels are welcome and encouraged to participate.  Last year's counts featured almost 40 new species not previously recorded, and the 2011 El Jaguar count tallied a record 197 species in a single day!

The annual Sierra de Managua CBC will be held on Friday, December 28, 2012, with teams covering Montibelli, Chocoyero, Finca El Nisperal, and the Masaya Volcano National Park.  Last year's Sierra de Managua CBC tallied 108 species, including 13 species of overwintering migratory warblers and many birds typical of the Pacific Dry Forest endemic zone.  Please contact Sally Gladstone if you are interested in taking part in the Managua CBC.

The annual El Jaguar CBC in Jinotega will take place on Sunday, December 30, 2012, with teams covering the 120-hectare El Jaguar cloud forest reserve as well as nearby sites such as the pine-oak forest above San Rafael del Norte and the open grasslands and wetlands surrounding Lago Apanas. Contact Liliana Chavarria for more information and to sign up.
Both CBCs are free of charge.  Overnight lodging at El Jaguar is also free, though a $25 donation is requested to cover the cost of the four meals (Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner) provided to participants.  If possible, please bring your own binoculars, water, and field guides, though spares may be available in some cases.

See you in December!  Hasta diciembre!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

White-rumped Sandpiper at Salinas Grandes

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, Manfred Bienert observed 61 bird species at Salinas Grandes (León), including 20 shorebird species. The most interesting find of the day was unquestionably a White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), a species that migrates from its Arctic breeding grounds to South America primarily over the Caribbean and which is very rarely reported from Nicaragua's Pacific coast.

White-rumped Sandpiper

Other highlights included three Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) – possibly the same individuals seen on two previous visits in July -- Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), 150 Stilt Sandpipers (Calidris himantopus) and a group of around 300 Wilson's Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Agami Heron and Least Bittern at Rio Papaturro

Agami Heron
During a four-day visit to the Centro Ecológico los Guatuzos and the Río Papaturro (along the south shore of Lake Nicaragua in Río San Juan department), David Hille, Georges Duriaux and Liliana Chavarría observed and captured in mist nets a total of 115 species from August 10-13, 2012. Highlights included Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), Agami Heron (Agamia agami), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), Bronzy Hermit (Glaucis aeneus), all five resident kingfisher species including Green-and-rufous Kingfisher (Chloroceryle inda), Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), Chestnut-colored Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus), Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus), Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher (Poecilotriccus sylvia) and Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Oryzoborus nuttingi).


Green-and-rufous Kingfisher

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ruddy Crake at Pearl Lagoon (RAAS)

From August 1-4, 2012, Liliana Chavarría, Georges Duriaux and Manfred Bienert visited the Pearl Lagoon area of Nicaragua's South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS). From the Garifuna community of Orinoco, the group made visits by panga (small fishing boat) to the Wawashang River, Bilam Creek, Mahogany Creek, Shark Lagoon and to the outskirts of the neighboring community of Marshall Point.

During the four day trip, the birders recorded a total of 106 species, including nine hummingbirds, four kingfishers, and eight species of flycatchers. Highlights included White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora), Blue-chested Hummingbird (Amazilia amabilis), White-crowned (Pionus senilis), Red-lored (Amazona autumnalis), Mealy (A. farinose) and Yellow-naped Parrots (A. auropalliata), Russet Antshrike (Thamnistes anabatinus), and a Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher (Terenotriccus erythrurus) along the banks of Mahogany Creek. In the same location, a Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus) was seen flying across the river. At the mouth of the Wawashang River, two Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) were observed flying overhead.

In addition to resident birds, a number of early migrants were present, including a total of five Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) seen at Bilam Creek, Shark Lagoon and Marshall Point, and a flock of 16 Purple Martins (Progne subis) seen at El Rama, around 65 km inland from the coast.

Prothonotary Warbler

Purple Martins

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the trip was a Ruddy Crake (Laterallus ruber), seen well in the open crossing a cement walkway between the communities of Orinoco and Marshall Point. Although not uncommon in appropriate habitat, like most members of its genus this skulking reed-dweller is more often heard than seen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breeding Least Terns at Salinas Grandes

On a July 7, 2012, visit to Salinas Grandes (León), Manfred Bienert recorded 51 species, including 17 shorebirds -- an impressive diversity outside of winter and migration months!

Highlights included more than 200 Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), a lone Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens), four Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), single Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) and Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), both Yellowlegs species (Tringa spp.), and a Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus).

A pair of Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) -- an adult in breeding plumage and an apparent juvenile -- represent two of the very few records of this species in Nicaragua.

Another highlight of this outing was the presence of 35 Least Terns (Sternula antillarum), noteworthy not only for their presence in July, but also due to Mandred's discovery of two active nests indicating that this species (previously thought to be a passage migrant) is breeding in Nicaragua.

Least Tern nest with eggs

Sunday, June 17, 2012

American Dipper at Rio Labú (BOSAWAS)

From April 30 to May 8, 2012, Georges Duriaux and Liliana Chavarria undertook an eight-day expedition along the Rio Labú into the heart of the Saslaya National Park, part of Nicaragua's massive BOSAWAS reserve.  The trip produced a number of impressive bird species, including Black-eared Wood-Quail (Odontophorus melanotis), White Hawk (Leucopternis albicollis), Solitary Eagle (Harpyhaliaetus solitarius), Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata), Black-crested Coquette (Lophornis helenae), Yellow-eared Toucanet (Selenidera spectabilis), Scaly-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus guatemalensis), Striped Woodhaunter (Hyloctistes subulatus), Long-tailed Woodcreeper (Deconychura longicauda), nine species of antbirds including Wing-banded Antbird (Myrmornis torquata), Golden-crowned Spadebill (Platyrinchus coronatus), Thrush-like Schiffornis (Schiffornis turdina), Song Wren (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus), and White-throated Shrike-Tanager (Lanio leucothorax).

One of the most noteworthy discoveries, however, was a seemingly healthy population of American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), a bird that, although found in fast-flowing mountain streams in Costa Rica and Panama, had not been recorded in Nicaragua since Richardson collected three specimens near San Rafael del Norte (Jinotega) in March 1892.  George and Lili recorded this species on five separate days in several locations along the river, with a daily high of three individuals recorded on May 2 at the campsite they designated "Labú 2".

American Dipper
White Hawk
Ornate Hawk-Eagle
Black-crested Coquette (female)
Striped Woodhaunter
Scaly-throated Leaftosser
Long-tailed Woodcreeper
Wing-banded Antbird
Golden-crowned Spadebill
Song Wren
White-throated Shrike-Tanager (juv.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Carrera Verde Draws 1,500+ Runners!

Today's inaugural running of the Carrera Verde (Green Race) 5K drew 1,500+ runners and walkers, and hundreds of volunteers, in support of a massive effort to raise environmental awareness in Nicaragua. In addition to the 5K race, the series of activities included free concerts by well-known local artists, and a massive reforestation effort (at least four trees for every runner will be planted) at the FUNDENIC-run Reserva Natura on June 3.  Hailed as the largest environmental festival in Nicaragua's history, the Carrera Verde brought together hundreds of Nicaraguans from every background, and dozens of non-governmental organizations and corporate sponsors.  Let's hope this becomes an annual tradition, and the impetus for even greater partnerships to preserve Nicaragua's unique biodiversity, including its 726 (and counting...) species of birds!

Read more (in Spanish) at:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aplomado Falcon at Alamikangban

On a visit to Alamikangban in Nicaragua's remote North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) from April 4-7, 2012, Manfred Bienert, Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux observed more than 70 species in the pine savanna, grasslands, and remnant patches of lowland Atlantic slope forest that characterize the area. According to Lili, the most noteworthy find was Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis), with a lone individual seen on April 6, and a pair seen on April 7.

Aplomado Falcons
Other highlights of the trip included Great Curassow (Crax rubra), Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea), White-tailed Hawk (Buteo albicaudatus), Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus), Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus), Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina), Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata), and Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus).

The Alamikangban Natural Reserve is located 65 km ESE of Siuna and 72 km inland from the Atlantic coast.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spotted Nightingale-Thrush at Tepesomoto-La Patasta

Following Osmar Arróliga's December 2010 discovery of Spotted Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus dryas) in the Tepesomoto-La Pataste Nature Reserve (to be described in a forthcoming edition of the Cotinga), Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux visited the same site on March 29-30, 2012 hoping to encounter this species, which represents a new addition to Nicaragua's checklist.  Using mist nets in a patch of remnant cloud forest within the reserve, Georges and Lili successfully captured a single individual Catharus dryas at 8:00 a.m. on March 30.

Other highlights of the visit to Tepesomoto-La Pataste included Green-breasted Mountain-gem (Lampornis sybillae), Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), Mountain Thrush (Turdus plebejus), White-throated Thrush (Turdus assimilis), and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia occipitalis).

Located in Madriz department in northwest Nicaragua, the Tepesomoto-La Pataste reserve comprises 10,200 hectares and encompasses several volcanic peaks, including Volcán Somoto (1,730 m) and Pataste (1,736 m).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reddish Egret at Las Peñitas

In celebration of World Wetlands Day, Liliana Chavarría, Georges Duriaux, John Gerwin and Manfred Bienert visited the Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve on Saturday, February 25, 2012.  Their five-hour excursion from the town of Las Peñitas (León) at the north end of the reserve produced a total of 66 bird species, including 11 species of shorebirds such as Sanderling (Calidris alba), Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) and Willet (Tringa semipalmata).

Herons and egrets were well-represented, including all three nocturnal species: Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), and Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius).

Boat-billed Heron

Among a group of 80 Snowy Egrets, the birders were suprised to see another all-white egret with black legs, but larger and behaving differently than the surrounding birds. This turned out to be the day's most interesting discovery: a white-morph Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens).

Reddish Egret (white morph)

In the mangroves south of Las Peñitas, the group observed a number of other interesting birds, including the "Mangrove" race of Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis), Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis), American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea), Ivory-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster), and Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea).

American White Pelican at Laguna de Tisma

Liliana Chavarría, Georges Duriaux, and Manfred Bienert visited Laguna de Tisma (Masaya) together on February 11, 20, and 21, 2012, while Manfred made a solo visit to Tisma on February 18. During these four visits, they recorded a total of 79 species, including large migratory flocks of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), and Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus).  Lili and Georges also report seeing a group of at least 100 Nicaraguan Grackles (Quiscalus nicaraguensis) congregating at a communal roost on the afternoon of the 20th.

On that same date, Georges and Lili observed three large groups of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) comprising 78 individuals.

American White Pelicans

Beginning on the 11th, Georges and Lili located a group of eight Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). This species was again observed on subsequent visits, with Manfred recording a total of 26 individuals on the 18th.

Glossy Ibis

Other interesting sightings from Tisma included Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), and Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Black-collared Hawk at Los Guatuzos

From February 10 to 13, 2012, Manfred Bienert paid a work-related visit to the Los Guatuzos wildlife refuge, located on the south shore of Lake Nicaragua (Lago Cocibolca) in the department of Río San Juan. Although his birding time was rather limited, Manfred recorded 67 bird species during his visit. Among the eight raptor species Manfred observed were a pair of Laughing Falcons (Herpetotheres cachinnans) engaging in apparent courtship behavior, and a lone Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis) that overflew the area.

Laughing Falcon

Black-collared Hawk
Kingfishers were plentiful, according to Manfred, with American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea) being the most common member of this family.  Another Caribbean slope aquatic bird that Manfred encountered was Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), likely breeding in the area as the bird he photographed was apparently a female in breeding plumage.


Other noteworthy birds Manfred observed at Los Guatuzos were Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus), White-ringed Flycatcher (Conopias albovittatus), and Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus).

White-ringed Flycatcher

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis at Refugio Bartola

New York-based birders Andrew Vallely, Paul Sweet, and Liz Herzog visited Refugio Bartola (Rio San Juan) from January 31 to February 5, 2012.  Andrew provided the following report of their most noteworthy sightings: 

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affnis): A flock of about 20 were on the Rio San Juan between San Carlos and El Castillo on 31 Jan and again on 5 Feb 2012.

Semiplumbeous Hawk (Leucopternis semiplumbeus): At least two individuals seen from the trails at Refugio Bartola on 2 and 4 Feb 2012.

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis): A group of at least ten birds flying along the river near El Castillo on 5 Feb 2012.

Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata): Two females found perched in forest understory along the trails at Refugio Bartola on 2 and 4 Feb 2012.

Central American Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium griseiceps): One individual responding to our recording along the Rio Bartola on 5 Feb (other owls found at Bartola included Black-and-White, Crested, Vermiculated, and Mottled).

Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aureus): Heard singing (but not seen) on at least two mornings (2 and 4 Feb) along the trails at Refugio Bartola.

Snowy Cotinga (Carpodectes nitidus): Two males, both seen along the Rio San Juan on 2 Feb and 3 Feb. One bird was on the Costa Rica side of the river.

Ocellated Antbird (Phaenostictus mcleannani): At least two individuals were at an antswarm at Refugio Bartola on 4 Feb 2012.

Streak-chested Antpitta (Hylopezus perspicillatus): One individual (detected by voice) was along the Rio Sarnoso on 2 Feb 2012.

Speckled Mourner (Laniocera rufescens): One individual was closely studied as it responded aggressively to our recording at Rio Sarnoso on 2 Feb 2012.

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis (Dacnis venusta):  Several individuals including one female and at least three males were seen in the garden at RB and with greenlet/honeycreeper flocks in nearby forest on 1, 2, and 3 Feb 2012. Although this record is not surprising given that this sp is sometimes reported from adjacent lowlands of Costa Rica, we know of no previously published record for Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis): We saw at least two individuals of this species in near-direct comparison with Great tailed Grackles at El Castillo on 5 Feb 2012.

Note: Sally Gladstone and family also report having seen a female Scarlet-thighed Dacnis in the garden at Refugio Bartola during a four-day visit over New Year's.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sierra de Managua CBC Tallies 108 Species

Sally Gladstone reports that this year's Sierra de Managua Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on January 3, 2012, recorded a total of 108 species, just shy of the standing record.  Highlights were three new species for the Sierra de Managua checklist: Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) at Montibelli, Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster) spotted by Sally's son Jack Hruska at Finca El Nisperal, and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum), which, although common in the area, had not been recorded during previous CBCs. The day's count also included 13 species of overwintering migratory warblers including two Hooded Warblers (Setophaga citrina) at Finca El Nisperal and both species of Waterthrush (Parkesia spp.). Sally notes that there were "lots of parrots and parakeets this year, all five species known to occur in the Sierra were counted including eight White-crowned Parrots (Pionus senilis)."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slate-throated Redstart at Volcán Casita

View of neighboring Volcán San Cristobal's smoking crater, from Volcán Casita 

An excursion to Volcán Casita (Chinandega) on January 28, 2012, produced more than 50 species for Lili Nigaglioni, Georges Duriaux, Palak Shah, Liliana Chavarria, Rob Batchelder, and Manfred Bienert. Among the more interesting finds were species typically encountered further north and east in pine-oak habitat in Nicaragua's northern mountains, such as the "White-breasted" race of Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus chionogaster), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), and Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens).

A volcanic "island" that rises 1,395 m above the surrounding Pacific lowlands, Casita is also one of the few known locations in Nicaragua for Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), which Manfred and Rob heard calling in response to playback, from a grassy slope strewn with boulders and volcanic rock at around 1,200 meters elevation on Casita's south-east slope.

The day's most unexpected find, however, was a Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus), seen well by Liliana and Georges, and fleetingly by Manfred and Rob, at around 8:00 a.m. a few hundred meters uphill from the Hacienda Bellavista coffee farm at 800 meters above sea level. The bird was traveling in a mixed flock that included Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer), Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons), Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia), Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina), and Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), the latter being one of the most abundant species encountered during the trip.  Although Slate-throated Redstart has a broad distribution from the U.S.-Mexico border south to northern Argentina, the handful of Nicaragua records are concentrated near Dipilto, along the Honduran border, and the species is not know to occur further south in areas such as San Rafael del Norte in Jinotega.

Google Earth map showing path of trip and sightings locations.

Forster's Tern at Guayabo Wetlands

On a January 15, 2012, visit to the El Guayabo Wetlands north of Granada, Manfred Bienert recorded 77 bird species, a single-day record for Manfred at that site. In a flooded field between the community of El Guayabo and the Lake Nicaragua lakeshore, Manfred found an unusually large number and variety of birds including six species of ducks, among them American Wigeon (Anas americana). Terns were also particularly well-represented with 12 Gull-billed (Gelochelidon nilotica), 200+ Caspian (Hydroprogne caspia), a similar number of Sandwich (Thalasseus sandvicensis), 30 Common (Sterna hirundo), and around 60 Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus). The highlight of the day, however, was a group of 15 Forster's Terns (Sterna forsteri), a species recorded very rarely in Nicaragua.

A flock of nearly 300 Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) was also noteworthy, and provided Manfred an opportunity for some fantastic photos:

Shorebirds were also well-represented on the day's checklist with 15 species including a Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), and five Wilson's Snipes (Gallinago delicata).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reddish Egret at Salinas Grandes

Paying his habitual monthly visit to the salt evaporation ponds at Salinas Grandes (León) on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 10, 2012, Manfred Bienert found a total of 42 species, including Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens), a species which Manfred has observed at Salinas Grandes on at least two other visits this winter.

Reddish Egret (l) with Greater Yellowlegs (r)

Other highlights were a lone Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), which Manfred had not previously seen at Salinas Grandes, and four Wilson's Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor), a passage migrant that now appears to be overwintering in small numbers at Salinas Grandes.

Mourning Dove

Palm Warbler at Corn Island

While spending a family vacation on Corn Island (RAAS) from December 23, 2011 to January 8, 2012, Manfred Bienert observed 32 bird species, including eight species of herons and egrets, a similar number of shorebirds, and such characteristic residents as White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) and Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani). Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum) and Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) were among the more noteworthy winter visitors that Manfred encountered during his stay on the island.

White-crowned Pigeon
Smooth-billed Ani