Friday, December 25, 2009

Red-faced Warbler

This is another adult male Golden-cheeked Warbler, one we had in the flock today on the same trail where we collected data yesterday. This flock was almost two kilometers from yesterday's flock, and can safely be assumed to represent different individuals.

With yesterday's two adult males, this brings the total here in La Esperanza now to three adult males of a total of five individuals. That's a high percentage of adult males for this part of the wintering range, and one that most likely is not going to hold as the season progresses.

Of course we were happy finding this bird, but the real surprise today was a Red-faced Warbler, which here in Honduras reaches the southern limit of its range, and is not common. Last year I worked on the same project in Chiapas (Mexico), where this species is more common. I have seen Red-faced Warbler before in Honduras, as a matter of fact close to the Nicaraguan border, near San Marcos de Colón. As far as I'm aware, this bird has never been recorded in Nicaragua. The photos I was able to get show a barely identifiable blur, so I'll spare you those.

Another cool bird today was White-breasted Hawk. According to the wikipedia page, still a subspecies of Sharp-shinned Hawk, but a candidate for a split. Its plumage certainly is quite different. Not exactly a rare bird in Central American pine-oak forests, but I had never seen one perched, only in flight. This bird perched in the flock area, and when we discovered it, we knew why all the passerines suddenly had become quiet.

With only one remaining flock to describe here in the area of La Esperanza, we're almost done. So far, every flock here had at least one goldencheek. We're in the core winter range and in suitable habitat, so finding a goldencheek here isn't too hard. Our next field site, Cusuco on the Atlantic slope near San Pedro Sula, is a bit of an outlier, and finding goldencheeks there is more difficult.

Internet access there too is more difficult - non-existent the last time I was there - so it may be a while until the next update.

Happy New Year!

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