Thursday, April 26, 2018

when Warblers are Waterbirds

Who doesn't like a nice blue background behind their subjects?  Usually for warblers that's blue sky.  But when spring is cold (news flash, spring has been cold), the insectivores stay close to water where there may be more bugs.  There was a nice flock of yellow-rumps along North Lake in Grand Mere, and many were foraging low hoping to find some emergent insect.  I couldn't tell how much success they were having, but it reached high 50's today, so hopefully they did better in the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

into the lowlands

After a few days birding the highlands and mid-elevations we dropped down to Rio Silanche.  A little rain fell as we arrived, but mostly it was a day for sunscreen.  The birds were new.

Swallow Tanager is a fairly unique bird that I knew we had at least a shot at in Panama last year.  We didn't find it there but we did see it briefly here.

Pacific Antbird is another bird that is in the Central American books but we'd never seen.

We saw a few Hook-billed Kites here at these lower elevations, I think I'd seen 2 in my life before this walk

In addition to Swallow Tanager, there were a number of Dacnises (currently lumped with tanagers though this bird acted more like a chickadee) that were only possible for us here.  This is a female Yellow-tufted Dacnis that was one of the highlight birds for me on this walk.

Hornero's are open field birds that struck me as a cross between a Killdeer and a robin.

Finally a view of a female Thick-billed Seedfinch.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Signs of spring?

Hopefully saying it out loud doesn't jinx it.

I've actually been getting out a couple times a week (or nearly) which has been a nice change.  Even nicer will be consistent temps over 50, but you can't have it all right?

Is sapsucker the quintessential April migrant?

If it isn't then Hermit Thrush probably has a pretty good case.

I think of Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet more as March birds, but they're still around.

A Sora surprised me a little, but probably more because it's felt so cold rather than being late on the calendar.

This is probably my best ever Snipe photo.

Also my best photo of a Red Fox moving one of her kits to a new (non-flooded?) den, but I don't have a lot of those to choose from.

Finally a nice mix between the classic sign of spring, a robin... with snow falling.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

less rain in the clouds?

Our first day at Tandayapa was probably the one most impacted by the rain.  We mostly birded from the shelter of the various porches about the lodge in the morning.  About midday it started to lighten up and we ventured out into the grounds.

Brush-finches continued to appear, first Chestnut-capped (a species widespread in Central and South America)
 followed by White-winged.

The highlight of this little walk was probably everyone's best ever view of Barred Becard.

But the rain wasn't gone long and soon we were birding from beneath raincoats and umbrellas again, though this Thick-billed Euphonia was from another of the porches.

After lunch we headed out in the bus to some higher elevations (the Upper Tandayapa Valley).  There was less rain, but the clouds and mists were a lot denser and some treetop tanager flocks were more frustrating than they were satisfying.  Plate-billed Mountain-toucan was at least easier to identify, even if rendered more or less colorless by the "light".  (It's blue).

We struggled to find and see birds.  A giant earthworm was probably the most memorable thing encountered.

Our guide heard a fruiteater or two, as well as a distant quetzal (that we would spend a lot of time walking rainy roads listening to Jose whistle for over the rest of the trip), but the birds weren't being super visible.  I think my ISO was probably 10,000 for this Striped Treehunter, a bamboo specialist in a fairly narrow elevation band.

Masked Trogon was as close as we came to either of the quetzals.

Finally a view of Wattled Guan, a bird Jose picked up as we drove back to the lodge at last light.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tandayapa rain

They don't call it rain forest for nothing.

After a few days in high elevation habitat we awoke well before the dawn at Tandayapa lodge.  Awoke to the gentle soft chirps of frogs.  To the pattering of rain.  To a variety of moths fluttering about the walls.  Did I mention the rain?

We spent much of the morning working the porches of the lodge in attempts to stay dry (or dry-ish).  The birds didn't mind the rain though and activity was fairly steady in little fits and starts.

There was a large blacklit sheet just off one of the porches that attracted moths and other insects.  The birds were also interested in them.  This is a Montane Woodcreeper

Flycatchers started appearing as well, this is Golden-bellied

 Followed by the tiny Ornate.

 The ornate seemed patterned almost more like a manakin than a flycatcher.

Warblers were a familiar shape though.
Slate-throated Redstart varies from reddish underparts in Mexico and grades into yellow by the time it reaches South America.

But this being South America there were more unfamiliar shapes too.  This is a (decidedly subpar) shot of a Streak-capped Treehunter.

Book study paid off when a couple more furnarids appeared for a couple of us.
This is Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner

followed by Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner.
Foliage-gleaners were as active as a gnatcatcher or chickadee, but the size of a catbird and not easy to get good looks at as they dove about the leaves in the wet gloom.

Crimson-rumped Toucanet was a little easier to ID.
There were barbets and tanagers about as well, but they stayed mostly high and I'll save their pics for when they came a little lower later in the trip.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

On to Tandayapa

But not before a few last birds from the Yanacocha feeders.

As far as chachalaca class birds go, the white scalloping on Andean Guan was fairly attractive.
 I thought they would be a lot more common; I think we only saw them here.

We did very well with Brushfinches on the trip.  They seemed very towhee like though were a size bigger and a lot quieter.
This is Gray-browed Brushfinch

 Followed by adult and sub-adult Yellow-breasted.

Finally a last hummingbird that didn't fit into the series of hummingbird posts, Sapphire-vented Puffleg