Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Change of plans

My field work on the Golden-cheeked Warbler project in Honduras is currently suspended for about a week. Minor yet continuous car trouble has burdened the already slim budget, necessitating an early return to El Salvador, where hopefully we can pick up extra funds to do the remaining two field sites in Honduras, La Tigra and Uyuca. Honduran field assistant Fabiola returned to Tegucigalpa yesterday, and sadly, last night my other field assistant, Kashmir, received bad news concerning the health of his father. He decided he needed to be back in Veracruz to be with his family. Today he and I drove from San Marcos de Colón in southeastern Honduras to San Miguel in El Salvador. There, Kashmir took a bus to San Salvador, for a trip back to Veracruz. Hopefully everything will turn out fine for him and his family, and he will be able to return to the project next week.

Meanwhile, I will be in eastern El Salvador for a few days, to look for two bird species that may or may not be here: Pearl Kite and Burrowing Owl. Last March, me and various SalvaNatura staff members found the first Pearl Kite for El Salvador. In 2009, Honduran biologist Mario Espinal recorded the first occurrence of Pearl Kite for Honduras. An article describing these records is currently in press; I'm hoping to find additional Pearl Kites this week, supporting our hypothesis that this species may be expanding its range westward in Central America. I will also be looking for Burrowing Owls, a species that may be here also.

The photo at the top is of a Zone-tailed Hawk carrying nest material. I photographed this bird yesterday morning during our last day of field work in La Botija. At the site where we found our flock, there was a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks flying about and calling. One of them carried nest material; it appeared that our final flock site in La Botija was also a Zone-tailed Hawk territory.

This Philadelphia Vireo was one of the flock members yesterday. The flock contained the usual suspects, but we did not find another goldencheek, leaving the score for La Botija at just one - average for that site. Our final field sites in La Tigra and Uyuca will undoubtedly have more goldencheeks, for the species is fairly common at both sites.

Here's a Steller's Jay, a common species in Pacific slope pine-oak forests.

No comments: