Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lifers Galore at El Jaguar!

Florida-based birder Bill Boeringer submits the following report from a recent visit to Nicaragua:

Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird
On June 30-July 2, 2015, I birded El Jaguar with Moisés Siles. Although I’ve been to Nicaragua on family trips several times (my wife is Nicaraguan), it was my first opportunity to bird the Central Highlands. The weather was beautiful the first day, but deteriorated the next two. Nonetheless, I ended up with a very good list, including 38 life birds! Highlights were the hummingbirds: 12 species, including both male & female Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird (Tilmatura dupontii), Black-crested Coquette (Lophornis helenae), plus area specialties Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei) and Green-breasted Mountain-Gem (Lampornis sybillae). We had great, open looks at both Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra) and Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajaneus), and surprisingly good looks at Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis) and Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus aurantiirostris). We heard close Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus), but they would never get into the open for looks. We also had good looks at Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris) and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia occipitalis), and a decent look at White-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucosticte).

Blue-tailed Hummingbird
Both oropendola species were nesting next to the common area, and we saw them at every meal, along with Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus). Tanagers were well-represented, with Crimson-collared (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus), Passerini’s (Ramphocelus passerinii), Blue-gray (Thraupis episcopus), Yellow-winged (Thraupis abbas), Golden-hooded (Tangara larvata), Rufous-winged (Tangara lavinia), and Common Chlorospingus (aka Common Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus flavopectus) seen.

My “goal” bird was Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), and we saw about a dozen over the last two days, along with Emerald Toucanets (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) and Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), the latter two seen in and out of nest holes.

Moises heard but did not see one bird which I did see, a Slate-colored Solitaire (Myadestes unicolor). However, he got a quick glimpse of a Scaled Antpitta (Grallaria guatimalensis) which disappeared (and could not be coaxed out) before I could get on it!

For some reason, flycatchers were scarce, except for Dusky-capped (Myiarchus tuberculifer). Aside from that, we had only a couple of Social Flycatchers (Myiozetetes similis), and single Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris) and Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata).

I recommend El Jaguar to anyone traveling to Nicaragua--just bring mosquito repellant for the forest! Moises was an excellent guide, and Georges and Lili could not have been any nicer.

Green-breasted Mountain-gem