Saturday, December 13, 2014

El Jaguar CBC on January 4


This year's annual Christmas Bird Count at the El Jaguar cloud forest preserve in Jinotega has been confirmed for Sunday, January 4, 2015.  Participants should arrive during the afternoon of January 3, and will be divided into sector teams that evening after dinner.  A contribution of USD 60 is requested to cover two nights' lodging and five meals (including dinner on the day of arrival and breakfast prior to departure on January 5).  Transportation to El Jaguar to/from the city of Jinotega is available upon request.  Prior El Jaguar CBCs have tallied upwards of 200 species on count day, consistently making this event Nicaragua's most "birdy" Christmas count!

For more information and to confirm your participation, please contact Liliana Chavarria and Georges Duriaux directly at: orion.liliana@gmail.com and georges.duriaux@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Olivaceous Piculet & Other Highlights from Rio San Juan

Janelle Freshman, who along with her husband Howard has visited the Rio San Juan region twice a year for the past several years, recently submitted the below photos of interesting birds seen on their visits to Los Guatuzos and Sabalos Lodge. Janelle notes that "the birds we saw in Los Guatuzos were found with the assistance of Armando Carballo of Cabinas Caiman in Papaturro. He has been taking us on amazing bird walks for almost 5 years now and he has become our friend also. Armando and his wife Aileen have 2 cabins with meals in Papaturro. They are wonderful people."
(note: all photos copyright Howard & Janelle Freshman, http://howardfreshman.com/)

Olivaceous Piculet at Los Guatuzos, August 2014
Pied Puffbird seen along Rio Papaturro, Aug 2014

Nicaraguan Seed-Finches at Los Guatuzos, Dec 2011 (also seen in Aug 2014)


Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Rio Papaturro, Dec 2011

Golden-olive Woodpecker at Sabalos Lodge, February 2014

Yellow-billed Cacique at Los Guatuzos, August 2014



 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Save the Date!: Sierra de Managua CBC on January 2, 2015

The 2014-15 Sierra de Managua Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place on January 2, 2015, beginning at 6:00 a.m. with teams covering Reserva Silvestre Privada (RSP) Montibelli, RSP El Nisperal, Gaia Estate, and for the first time RSP Sierras de Managua and RSP Concepcion de Maria. Christmas Bird Counts throughout the Americas, e-Bird reporting, websites like NicaBirds and similar initiatives represent the “citizen science” that contributes to data used by ornithologists to evaluate population trends, natural history and the conservation status of our birds. Results from all nine years of the Sierra de Managua CBC can be accessed at the Audubon Society website, as can results from all counts across the Americas.


The Sierra de Managua CBC has been conducted for nine years with increasing participation by the community of birders in Nicaragua and beyond. Through the CBC we track the abundance of key bird species, including some known from other studies to be in trouble. This year we will be especially watching out for “Common Birds in Steep Decline” (Wilson’s Warbler, Common Nighthawk, Cape May Warbler, Eastern Meadowlark) along with “Watch List” birds (Olive-sided Flycatcher, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler and Wood Thrush). Some populations of winter residents like Painted Bunting and Yellow-billed Cuckoo are of concern now, so finding and counting these birds will be important too. The White-crowned Parrot, known to be declining steeply in Nicaragua is regularly seen during the CBC.

Sierra de Managua CBC count circle
Entry to the Reserves and participation in the CBC is free of charge and open to birders of all abilities. Please contact the Reserves directly or Sally Gladstone at smgladstone@hotmail.com to sign up so we have a head count before January 2. Bring your own binoculars and water, and a field guide if you have one, also your own lunch if you prefer. Overnight lodging and lunch may be available at Montibelli, El Nisperal, Gaia Estate and Concepcion de Maria. For rates please contact those reserves/farms directly. At the end of the long day, we all meet at Montibelli to tally results across sites and enjoy the delicious asado (price to be determined later) for which Montibelli is famous.

White-Necked Jacobin at El Jaguar

Eric van den Berghe, Director of Biodiversity and Associate Professor of Ecology at Zamorano University in Honduras, submits the following report of the first record of White-necked Jacobin at El Jaguar (Jinotega) earlier this year:

"Florisuga mellivora, the White-necked Jacobin, ranges from Mexico to Ecuador and is primarily a lowland or foothill resident in the Atlantic drainage of Nicaragua. It was therefore surprising to find it near the peak of one of the highest mountains in northern Nicaragua around 1350m at Finca El Jaguar, a well researched birding hotspot. A solitary male was observed repeatedly visiting ornamental flowers at the forest edge on 29 May 2014 under clear sunny conditions.


It is unclear whether this observation represents sporadic forays to higher elevations by this species, or whether this is the result of a severe drought all over Nicaragua which may have driven birds to higher elevations in search of scant flowering vegetation. The presence of numerous other hummingbirds including more than a half a dozen other species (Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Violet Sabrewing, Long-billed Hermit, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird and Emerald-chinned Hummingbird) supports the hypothesis not so much by their presence as they are expected species in the area, but by the fact that they struck me as unusually abundant, and the fact that the seasonal rains also had not yet arrived at El Jaguar. Most native flowering plants other than cultivars were close to a month behind the regular flowering schedule, a fact that I was particularly attuned to, as the primary purpose of the trip was entomological in search of beetles on flowers. It would be interesting to know if others have similar observations or if this was an isolated outlier."

October Visit to El Crucero & Montibelli

Stephen Paez, a regular NicaBirds contributor who lives in Miami, sends the following report from his October 25-28, 2014 visit to the Managua area:

"I started off at Finca El Cairo in El Crucero. First time there. Some of the highlights: Plain Chachalaca, Broad-winged Hawk (a few perched and being harassed by the Magpie-Jays), Ruby-throated Hummingbird female, Steely-vented Hummingbird, both motmots, Collared Aracari, Golden-Olive Woodpecker (that was cool), Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Yellow-Olive Flycatcher, E. Wood-Pewees, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, House and Rufous-and-white Wrens, Swainson’s Thrush, several migrating warblers: N. Waterthrush, American Redstart female, Chestnut-sided Warbler and of course plenty of Tennessees and Yellows. The best was a male Wilson’s Warbler. Gray-headed Tanager. Scarlet Tanagers were numerous and outnumbered Summer Tanagers. Also several Baltimore Orioles.

Then I headed to Montibelli and spent a night there. With Juan Rodriguez (my favorite guide there) we saw a total of 73 species the first day and added 4 species the next morning before I left for Miami. A total of 77 species. The usual resident birds were seen with highlights being Plain Chachalaca, Northern Potoo (good eyes by Juan), Gray and Zone-tailed Hawk (looking so much like a Turkey Vulture), Elegant Trogon, Olive Sparrow, N. Beardless Tyrannulet and Common Tody-Flycatcher. It was odd that I saw no Scarlet Tanagers. Good number of migrants. These included Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female), E. Wood-Pewee (some called), Great Crested, Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers, Yellow-throated and Philadelphia Vireos, Wood Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Baltimore Orioles and Summer Tanagers. Nice variety of migrant warblers: Tennessee and Yellow Warblers (both common), Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Hooded Warbler (male), Chestnut-sided Warblers, Black-throated Green Warbler (female) and Juan’s good eye got us a beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler at Los Balcones Trail."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Canada Warbler at Montibelli: A Reminder that Migrants Turn Up Almost Anywhere

Managua-based birder Howard Youth made his third visit to Montibelli on October 2, 2014. Juan Rodriguez was his guide on one of the long, hilly trails. All told, the two tallied 54 species, including one each of Gray-headed Dove (Leptotila plumbeiceps) (heard), Nutting's Flycatcher (Myiarchus nuttingi), Red-throated Ant-Tanager (Habia fuscicauda), and Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei). Eight Blue-throated Goldentails (Hylocharis eliciae) were calling and on territory. Arriving migrants included the best bird of the morning, an immature Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) that Juan spotted actively feeding in the understory. The very faint necklace, white undertail coverts, gray upperparts, yellow underparts, and head pattern were well seen by both birders. Three, perhaps four, Northern Waterthrushes (Parkesia noveboracensis) strutted on damp trails, a Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) called from the breakfast area, and an Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) hawked insects from a snag.

Although Nicaragua's northern mountains are best known for wintering or transiting warblers, this Canada Warbler reminds us that Managua-area forests host a variety of warblers as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jabiru and Raptors Highlight Trip to San Miguelito Wetlands

On September 15 and 16, Managua-based birders Jessie and Cal Stuebner and Howard Youth hired a boat to explore the Ramsar wetlands north of the town of San Miguelito, on Lake Nicaragua's east side. The morning of September 15, they pulled into a small clearing at the edge of a wet, grassy expanse and spotted a single adult Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) presiding over a dozen far-shorter Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) and a single Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja).

Jabiru with Wood Storks

Two boat rides into the wetland yielded other interesting sightings, including an adult Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) with a juvenile sitting on its back, three Black-collared Hawks (Busarellus nigricollis), one or two Crane Hawks (Geranospiza caerulescens), a Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis), a small kettle of probable Mississippi Kites (Ictinia mississippiensis) (all field marks seen on one individual), Yellow-naped Parrots (Amazona auropalliata), four kingfisher species, Spot-breasted Wrens (Pheugopedius maculipectus), and recently arrived Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) and Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla). All told, 99 species were seen or heard between San Miguelito and the nearby wetlands.

Gray-headed Kite

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crimson-fronted Parakeets Visit Managua Backyard

Managua-based birder Howard Youth reports a visit August 28 from at least two, likely a few more, Crimson-fronted Parakeets (Psittacara finschi) to his Altos de Santo Domingo (Managua) backyard. Youth noticed the vocalizations first as the birds flew in. The calls were not nearly as grating as Pacific Parakeet (Psittacara strenuus) and without the parrot like chatter, yet not as soft as Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis).

The birds landed in tall rainbow eucalyptus and one was in plain view. The red forehead and "wing pits" (inside area of bend in wing) were clearly seen. The birds were, in apparent size and proportions, not nearly as thick billed or large headed as Pacific. The body and tail were a bit more sleek, too. Youth would like to thank Liliana Chavarria-Duriaux for advising him to watch for this species, which has been reported in the area recently.

Youth also reports a recent uptick in migrants from North America appearing in or over his yard. These include Bank (Riparia riparia), Barn (Hirundo rustica), and Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), Purple Martin (Progne subis), Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius), Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea), and Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Least Bittern at Lago de Apanás

Least Bittern

While birding at Lago de Apanás (Jinotega) on August 4, 2014, Georges Duriaux and Liliana Chavarría-Duriaux observed a small heron around 30 cm (12 in) in length which they were able to photograph and identify as a Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis). Although Georges, Lili, and Manfred Bienert had previously reported this species in December 2013 based on hearing its call, this is the first photo-documented report of this species from Lago de Apanás.

Least Bittern

Other birds seen on the same visit included Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus), Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta), the latter also representing a first report of this lowland species at Lago de Apanás and at an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level.

Pinneated Bittern

A complete list of birds seen by Lili and Georges at Lago de Apanás can be viewed online at: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19337248

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Great Potoo & More at Refugio Bartola

Managua-based birder Jessie Mentzer Stuebner and her husband Cal visited Refugio Bartola on the Rio San Juan from June 18-20, 2014, and submitted the following account of their trip:

     My husband and I recently took a most beautiful three-day trip to Refugio Bartola on the Rio San Juan. On the first day, we were amazed at the number of birds we saw even just during the two boat rides out to the refuge – ducks, herons, hawks, kingfishers, jacanas... Upon arriving at the refuge, the gentle swaying reeds full of Passerini's Tanagers, and the garden full of other small, colorful birds created an instant atmosphere of birding tranquility. There were seedeaters, anis, flycatchers, yellowthroats, doves, hummingbirds, saltators, orioles, and more. A pair of Common Tody-flycatchers had a small nest in a bush next to the patio; and there was also a Yellow-throated Euphonia couple with a nest in a nearby bromeliad. In the distance, you could hear the melancholy cries of a Great Tinamou, periodically drowned out by the sound of a White-throated Crake; and kingfishers, swallows, parrots, and oropendolas made regular trips back and forth across the river. Our eBird list for the afternoon included 26 different species that we were able to identify. After a most delicious lunch, we made plans to head out on a night tour in the nearby woods, part of the Indio-Maize Biological Reserve. Our guide, Jonathan, was expertly gifted at making the sounds of a wide variety of birds. With his help, we conversed with a Great Tinamou for several minutes, lured a Black-faced Antthrush out onto the trail for a peak, and started a group of Rufous Motmots calling back and forth. As darkness fell, the excitement of the walk increased! Jonathan got a Crested Owl to converse with him, and soon, several others joined in; but the highlight was a Great Potoo. We called back and forth with the potoo for several minutes, getting closer and closer, until it was right above our heads! It was amazing! Sometimes I couldn't tell whether I was hearing Jonathan or the potoo! And even he was excited about being so close to a bird so amazing. We all returned to the refuge talking excitedly about all we'd seen and heard, 28 species in total, most of which were coming in to roost for the evening at the beginning of the walk.

     The next day, after a fabulous breakfast, we headed out with Jonathan on a boat tour of the river. Despite the fact that it rained heavily half the time, it was a beautiful adventure! It began with a pair of Great Green Macaws flying just over our heads, and with the sounds of several Chestnut-mandibled Toucans all around. As we continued on, we encountered a group of five Keel-billed Toucans picking fruit from a tree on the riverbank; they were the first of 11 Keel-billed Toucans we saw on that ride! Among the 48 species we identified on our boat tour were Long-tailed Tyrants, Bat Falcons, Green Ibises, Collared Aracaris, and an American Pygmy Kingfisher. One highlight for me was the crystal clear sounds of a Thicket Antpitta. I'd heard numerous recordings of the wonderful sound, and it was so amazing to hear it for real! Cal's favorites were the different parrots and the Black-cheeked Woodpeckers; and Jonathan was excited about hearing the duet of a pair of Melodious Blackbirds, which he said are not very common there. After the boat tour, we spent the rest of the day on the refuge patio because of the off-and-on rain showers. There were still numerous small birds all around, and as evening approached, the sights and sounds of roosting birds increased, including a group of nearly twenty Yellow-billed Caciques that came to a nearby tree to spend the night.

Keel-billed Toucan

     On our last day at the refuge, we took one more short trek with Jonathan through the woods. It was pretty muddy from the previous day's rain, but we plodded along in our rubber boots while Jonathan, as always, made a number of bird calls and songs to see who would respond. After passing a group of small birds that included antwrens, honeycreepers, and Black-faced Grosbeaks, we heard a hawk. Jonathan knew exactly what it was, and as he called back and forth with it, we got closer and closer until we could see it perched on a branch less than 20 feet above our heads! It was a Semiplumbeous Hawk, and another one could be heard in the distance. We stayed for a while and admired its beauty before continuing along. We saw nineteen different species on that short walk, including a pair of Black-throated Trogons, a Long-billed Gnatwren, a father-and-son pair of Red-capped Manakins, a beautiful male Bare-crowned Antbird, and a Crowned Woodnymph.

Black-throated Trogon
 
     Being that it was the month of June, many of the birds that we saw throughout the trip had nests or young, or were playfully flirting with each other or putting on a number of other displays. I know that June is a rainy time along the river, but it was more than worth it! Altogether, we saw 116 different species, 44 of which I had never seen before. As is often the case, the trip felt far too short, and returning to the day-to-day life and tasks of Managua was difficult. Maybe someday we will make it back to the beautiful little refuge on the river. And if it doesn't rain as much, we can hopefully see, and even photograph, so much more!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Northern Harrier Hunts Blue-winged Teal at Salinas Grandes


On a March 22, 2014, visit to Salinas Grandes, Manfred Beinert had the unique thrill of watching a Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) hunt a Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) in one of the large salt evaporation ponds. As the harrier patrolled about 2-3 meters over the water, the duck tried to hide by diving. Each time it resurfaced, the harrier attempted to grab the duck until the teal eventually was too tired to escape and the harrier succeeded in catching it. Once the harrier had a grip on the duck, it submerged it underwater, sitting atop it for more than two minutes until the duck drowned. Then, with some difficulty, the harrier carried the duck into a nearby mangrove tree.



In addition to the harrier, Manfred observed two species of falcon that were also hunting aquatic birds: Merlin (Falco columbarius) and Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). All told, Manfred tallied 54 species for the day, a somewhat modest number during migration. Highlights included Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), Clapper Rail (Rallus longirsotris) and several "Mangrove" Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia erithachorides).

Pacific Screech-Owl at Quelantaro

Managua-based birder Jessie Mentzer Stuebner submits the following report from her April 5, 2014 visit to Quelantaro reserve:

Pacific Screech-Owl
"My husband and I recently experienced a most beautiful visit to Reserva Silvestre Quelantaro, located near kilometer 46 of Carratera a Pochomil. It was our first time at the reserve, and we had no idea what to expect; we were amazed at the simple, peaceful beauty of the place, and at the number of birds we encountered (51 species altogether)!

There were the usual Clay-colored Thrushes (Turdus grayi), Turquoise-browed Motmots (Eumomota superciliosa), and Hoffmann's Woodpeckers (Melanerpes hoffmannii) in abundance, and all around us we could hear Thicket Tinamous (Crypturellus cinnamomeus) and a few Plain Chachalacas (Ortalis vetula). As we hiked the trails with our guide, we couldn't believe how many Black-headed Trogons (Trogon melanocephalus) and Long-tailed Manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis) we found, and how close we were able to get to them! The sounds of the manakins and trogons blended with songs from a few Ivory-billed Woodcreepers (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster) and a few Elegant Trogons (Trogon elegans) too. There were numerous hummingbirds, including lots of Blue-throated Goldentails (Hylocharis eliciae) and Cinnamon Hummingbirds (Amazilia rutila), and several that we couldn't identify.

The trails eventually took us to a little river that had managed to survive the dry season. You could see by the extent of the dry river bed that it was much smaller than normal, but it was still enough to attract a little Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana) and a Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis). There were smaller birds everywhere, surrounding us with their playful sounds, including Lesser Greenlets (Hylophilus decurtatus), Rufous-capped Warblers (Basileuterus rufifrons), Yellow-throated Vireos (Vireo flavifrons), various flycatchers, and quite a few Banded Wrens (Thryophilus pleurostictus). As we moved away from the river, we found a few Blue-crowned Motmots (Momotus coeruliceps) and a Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) hiding in the brush, as if trying to escape from all the Streak-backed Orioles (Icterus pustulatus), Masked Tityras (Tityra semifasciata), and noisy parakeets (Orange-chinned and Orange-fronted) and White-crowned Parrots (Pionus senilis). One lonely bird of prey, a Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus), monitored all the activity.

Despite all that we had already seen as we hiked along, the highlights of the visit (at least for me) both occurred as we headed back to the visitor center for some fresh fruit and juice. We were able to get within two yards of a pair of White-necked Puffbirds (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) and a sleepy Pacific Screech-Owl (Megascops cooperi)! I couldn't stop taking pictures – probably have about 15 of each species!

White-necked Puffbirds
I would recommend Reserva Silvestre Quelantaro to anyone in Nicaragua. According to their Facebook page, they have 70 hectares of tropical deciduous forest; the trails are stunning and easy to hike. The staff treated us like family, and the birding was amazing!"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Black-collared Hawk at San Miguelito Wetlands


On March 8, 2014, Georges Duriaux, Liliana Chavarría and Manfred Bienert visted the San Miguelito wetlands (Humedales de San Miguelito) RAMSAR site in Rio San Juan department.  After traveling 4½ km by boat up the SE shoreline of Lake Nicaragua, the birders entered the Piedras and Camastro rivers which together form the marshy wetlands.  During the course of the morning, they observed a total of 84 bird species, including five species of kingfisher and a similar number of duck species.  Noteworthy were two large groups of Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), each comprising 30-35 individuals (in Nicaragua this species is generally found in much smaller groups).  The birders also found 10 different species of herons.  A group of 15 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons (Nyctanassa violacea) appeared to be a migratory flock since this species generally is not otherwise found in groups and typically prefers salt or brackish water habitats. 

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Other migrants included two large kettles--of around 500 birds each--of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) making their way slowly northward.  Among them were a dozen Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) and six Broad-winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus).  In addition to these, the birders observed eight other raptor species including Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianius) and nearly 25 Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus).  But the day's real highlight were six Black-collared Hawks (Busarellus nigricollis), a noteworthy concentration of individuals given that this species is considered rare in Nicaragua.


Black-collared Hawk

Throughout the wetlands, abandoned woodpecker holes were being used by Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) and Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea).  Other species of interest included Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), Franklin´s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) and Nicaraguan Seedfinch (Oryzoborus nuttingi).


Mangrove Cuckoo
Prothonotary Warbler

Snail Kite

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2nd Annual Great Green Macaw Photo Contest

 
Fundación del Río, a Nicaraguan NGO that has devoted itself for more than two decades to sustainable development and environmental conservation in the Río San Juan region, announces its second annual Great Green Macaw photography contest from April 30-May 3, 2014.

For several years, Fundación del Río has undertaken a cross-border (with Costa Rica) conservation program to save the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus). Birders and photographers of all skills levels are invited to join in this year's event to search for and photograph this rare and emblematic bird. Registration is USD 100, and a prize of USD 700 will be awarded for the best photo of a Great Green Macaw, with a second place prize of USD 300.

During last year's inaugural expedition, in addition to the "target" species, participants also saw Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus), Chestnut-colored Woodpecker (Celeus castaneus), Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus), White-fronted Nunbird (Monasa morphoeus), White-ringed Flycatcher (Conopias albovittatus), Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus), Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) and much more.

For more information please send an email to info@fundaciondelrio.org

Friday, February 14, 2014

Support a Great Initiative: Binoculars for Slingshots

 
Every year, Paso Pacifico, one of Nicaragua's most active and prominent conservation NGOs, reaches over 150 children with its bird education program that includes lessons focused on migratory birds, the importance of birds as disperser, bird behavior, parrots, and the diversity of birds and their ecological niches.

An important part of this program is teaching children how to observe and appreciate birds using binoculars. This is particularly important because every year Nicaraguan children kill thousands of birds and animals using sling-shots. Through its education programs, Paso Pacifico gives these kids a high quality pair of eagle optics binoculars in exchange for their sling-shots.

Through Binoculars for Slingshots the children can enjoy birds up close and even gain job skills for the growing eco-tourism sector in the country. Paso Pacifico is currently running a crowdsourcing campaign to make a very large purchase of binoculars for Nicaragua. In crowdsourcing, a lot of small donations can really add up!

Please help make it possible to bring the wonder of birds and the joy of birding to more of Nicaragua's children, while helping to save the Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata) and other rare birds!

For more information and to support this innovative project, see: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/binoculars-for-slingshots/x/6325122

 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sierra de Managua CBC Sets New Record!

On December 28, 2013, the 22 participants in the annual Sierra de Managua Christmas Bird Count (CBC) tallied a record total of 116 species, covering three primary sites within the count circle: Finca El Nisperal, Bosques de Gaia, and Montibelli reserve.
 
Team "El Nisperal"

Species recorded for the first time in this year's count included Great Egret (Ardea alba), Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), Yellow-green Vireo (Vireo flavoviridis), Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea), Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens), and Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis).
 
Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus)
 
The count also saw record numbers of several species, including White-crowned Parrot (Pionus senilis), and only the second record of Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans) in the eight-year history of the Sierra de Managua CBC.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jabiru at RN Apacunca

Nels Nelson of Hillsboro, Oregon (USA) submits the following report of a Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) seen at Reserva Natural de Apacunca, Chinandega, on January 7, 2014:

 
"I was birding in the company of my guide and professional biologist Orlando Jarquin G. and his friend Gustavo Sarria M. We had been birding since early morning and had pretty much seen what we thought we were going to see that morning. The sun was starting to get oppressively hot and we had pretty much birded the areas Orlando had in mind for the morning part of the day and had returned to the main gravel road. As we were nearing the biological station headquarters and our vehicle, I suddenly heard Orlando (who was 50-100 feet in front of me) call out loudly "Jabiru" (several times) as he pointed upwards to the direction in the sky where he had spotted the lone Jabiru, circling with a flock of Wood Storks.

"I managed to get five fotos before the Jabiru disappeared from our view at 10:24 a.m.. As the Jabiru disappeared from view, we stood there in the road, exuberant & almost in shock at our good fortune of getting to see this rare bird, even if only for a moment or two."

 
Other noteworthy sightings from Nels and Orlando's visit to RN Apacunca include Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus), Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus), Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia), Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus), Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata), Nutting's Flycatcher (Myiarchus nuttingi), Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris), and Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius).
There was an error in this gadget
>