Nicaragua V – This Is It

Volcano 02-26-2016-4470Now that I have run out of pictures I feel like I should go back to Nicaragua the next chance I get and take more.

Our last day and a half was spent on Ometepe, a large volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua. The approach is by ferry. So some of these pictures were taken on the water and others were on land.

The day before we were staying in Granada and it seemed both evenings over the square a large flock of Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers would come in to roost in the trees. I finally got a picture or two of one, albeit far away, on Ometepe.

White-Winged Doves are perhaps unspectacular but I don’t get to see them at home so I find them worth noting.

On the ferry…and a Laughing Gull or two…

Just as this Magnificent Frigatebird came into view, there was a rainbow.

More views of a Laughing Gull…and the beach, with waves, and a Great Egret below.

On land, and there’s nothing I love more than seeing Cattle Egrets, they always remind me of Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom.

Cattle Egret 02-26-2016-4755Below, fruiting cashews, the sign at the entrance to Ometepe, and a fascinating petroglyph left by indigenous peoples.

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker…

Groove-Billed Anis hanging out on a fence…

Groove-Billed Anis 02-26-2016-4745and a Great-Tailed Grackle.

Great-Tailed Grackle 02-26-2016-4656But perhaps no bird left a bigger impression on me than these White-Throated Magpie-Jays.

Whte-Fronted Magpie-Jay 02-27-2016-4828We finally have spring weather and I have already begun to see migrants, so stay tuned.Cloud Forest 02-26-2016-4721

Nicaragua IV

Tricolored Heron 02-25-2016-2830Springlike weather is still far enough away for me to feel like I can put myself back in Nicaragua with a few more pictures. But it’s getting harder and harder to go backward! One more of these posts and I’m going to have to move on to spring migration.

The bird above and in the pictures below is a Tri-Colored Heron. We took a boat ride around Lake Nicaragua and managed to see some really nice birds. And despite the rocking of the boat I managed to get some pictures.

I feel like this trip cemented the difference between Snowy Egrets (below) and Great Egrets in my brain so I don’t have to think about it anymore.

Below, Southern Lapwings.

Green Herons…

Caspian Terns…

We pulled up to an island in the lake that has been devoted to a habitat for monkeys. Below are pictures of one Howler Monkey, a Spider Monkey and a Capuchin Monkey.

Sadly we discovered that people were feeding these monkeys bad things like the lollipop the Spider Monkey on the left below is clutching in his hand. I couldn’t tell exactly what one woman was offering to the Capuchin but it appeared to be something like a potato chip.

Back out on the lake, among perched birds were an Osprey and a Black Vulture.

Below, a Northern Jacana.

We came upon a colony of nesting Montezuma’s Oropendolas. Their nests alone are fascinating.

Below is a Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron 2-25-15-2996I will be back with one more post from Nicaragua. I hope soon!

Hiding in Plain Sight

Common Potoo 02-23-2016-3934

The bird above is a sleeping Common Potoo, a nocturnal species. Now see if you can find the bird in the photo below.

Find the Potoo 02-23-2016-3922

How our guide ever saw the bird in the first place is beyond comprehension. But the same day, one of our net-tending participants found the practically invisible hummingbird nest below. The only way I could find the spot with my camera was to look for the orange leaf.

Hummer on Nest 02-23-2016-4173

The birds at the lodge feeders were much easier to spot. An Inca Dove and a Rufous-Naped Wren.

And birds in the hand, as always, were the easiest to see. Except you hardly ever see the whole hummingbird. Below, a Stripe-Throated Hermit and a Blue-Throated Goldentail.

Below, a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher on the left and a female Painted Bunting on the right.

The bird below found its way into my net. It is a Yellow-Billed Cacique.

The Ivory-Billed Woodcreeper below was on a tree near my net. Much more common than an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker!

Below, a Tropical Kingbird and another Black-Headed Trogon.

There is nothing new about a Turkey Vulture but it’s nice when you can see the field marks.

Turkey Vulture 02-23-2016-4217More photographs to come from my trip to Nicaragua. Below, one of many stunning overlooks.

Landscape 02-23-2016-4224

 

Back from Nicaragua II

Pacific Parakeets 02-22-2016-2699Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back here. There’s more to come after this brief post too. For a relatively short trip, a little over a week, how could I be so buried in photographs? I’m beginning to wonder how I will ever make it through spring migration.

Here are a few birds in the hand…and in the field. First bird below is a Barred Antshrike. This was a new Antshrike for me!

Another new bird for my life list was this Black-Striped Sparrow. For those who do not think captured birds should be added to one’s life list, I did see both of these species out of the hand as well, although I did not get photographs of those.

The bird below looks much like the Turquoise-Browed Motmot in my last post from Nicaragua, but this bird is actually a Blue-Crowned Motmot. Perhaps the most easily noticeable difference between the two species upon first sight is the shortness of the tail between the base and the two paddles at the end – much shorter on this bird. The blue in the crown is easier to see on the closeup at the bottom of this post. This bird is bluer on the back than the Turquoise-Browed Motmot which has a rufous patch on its back.

Below is a Mottled Owl. Another new bird! We were fortunate enough to find him sitting about waist-high right next to the trail.

Mottled Owl 02-22-2016-2628After this second morning tending the nets, we took a trip to Chocoyero, a protected area, to see the nesting site of the Pacific Parakeets. It was exciting to watch them fly in and out in pairs.

The trail also provided interesting vegetation…

I would not have been able to get the pictures of the Pacific Parakeets flying into their nests without my monster lens. But that meant capturing everything else, like the trees above, with my cellphone.

The FOOD WAS WONDERFUL all week long. Below is a picture I took of my first lunch or dinner at Montibelli, now I can’t remember which… I was eating basically vegetarian and was happily well fed every day wherever we were.

IMG_1590Here’s a better view of the royal blue on the crown of the Blue-Crowned Motmot.

Blue-Crowned Motmot CLOSE 02-22-2016-3719

I’ll try to be back much sooner now that I think I’ve rediscovered everything. To be continued…

Return from Nicaragua

Turquoise-Browed Motmot 2-21-15-2433

Turquoise-Browed Motmot

I got back home late Sunday night, almost Monday morning, so I did not go to work on Monday but spent most of my day cleaning, buying groceries, doing laundry, catching up on the domestic situation that always changes when you live in an aviary.

It will take me a few days to go through all the photographs, but I wanted to share a few in the interim, before the snow melts and I get distracted by spring migration.

Rufous=and-white Wren 2-21-15-3328

Rufous-and-White Wren

Our Operation Rubythroat group in Nicaragua, which now has been named “NicaNetters ’16,” met at the airport in Managua on Saturday afternoon, and we loaded up into the bus with our gracious and capable driver Carlos and superb local guide Alejandro Cesar Lee to the Montibelli Private Natural Reserve which is outside of Ticuantepe.

The original plan for the trip was to band Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and other neotropical migrants, but before we left the States we had to accept an unforeseen change of itinerary, which meant that we would not be setting up nets in the usual fashion. But our surprise upon arrival was finding out that we would indeed be setting up mist nets at least for the three days we had at Montibelli: Alejandro had banding experience and it was worth a try. I was particularly happy for the participants who had not been on one of these expeditions before, so that they would have the experience of what it is like to do this sort of thing.

Of course whenever we set up mist nets we catch some of the local resident species too. Below is the Turquoise-Browed Motmot in the hand.

Now whenever I see a dove I am reminded of my Diamond Doves at home. We’ll get back to them in a later post. This is an Inca Dove.

Inca Dove 2-21-15-2394Our first day we caught the beautiful Rufous-Capped Warbler below.

And we also had one or two Cinnamon Hummingbirds, which are probably the most common hummingbird species in this region. Below is one I managed to capture out of the hand. I hope to find a better picture as I go through them.

Cinnamon Hummingbird 2-21-15-2455

Cinnamon Hummingbird

After our first morning of setting up nets and monitoring in the field, my roommate Kathy and I got back to our room after lunch for a short break from the midday heat. Not long after we were ready to relax, there was a knock on the door. Our next-door neighbor had the beautiful bird below right outside his window. This is a Black-Headed Trogon.

Black-Headed Trogon 2-21-15-3615I spent much of the trip trying to get a picture of the bird below that was not in the hand, but the species eluded me until the last couple days when a good number of them were hanging out at the hotel where we were staying. I will return to continue the story more chronologically as I go through more pictures. But I just could not resist sharing this White-Fronted Magpie-Jay with you. The tail goes on forever.White-Fronted Magpie Jay 2-26-15-4625It’s good to be back, and thanks for stopping by!