Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eastern El Salvador

Still in eastern El Salvador, looking for Pearl Kites and Burrowing Owls, but so far without success. Tomorrow I'm planning to go back to nearby southern Honduras, where - theoretically, at least - my chances ought to be higher for Pearl Kite. The volcano at the top is Volcano Chaparrastique, which towers over San Miguel and its surroundings. San Miguel is a hot and dirty town choked with traffic, best left alone by travelers. Yesterday I spent all day birding Playa El Icacal, a 45 minute drive from here, where in March of last year I photographed an immature Pearl Kite. I was there briefly a month ago, but back then Kashmir and I didn't have the opportunity to do a thorough search. Yesterday I did, but struck out again. Raptors I did find there were Common Black-Hawk, Roadside Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, and an immature tundrius Peregrine Falcon. I got to 59 bird species altogether, without really trying for a big list - I was mostly scanning wires and fence posts for Pearl Kites.

Among the more interesting birds was this Red-throated Parakeet, feeding on a mango. There were at least three more individuals at the site, as well as more numerous Orange-chinned Parakeets, a smaller and more common species.

The other photos I'm posting today are all of common species in this part of El Salvador. Some are winter visitors, like this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, while others are residents.

This is a White-lored Gnatcatcher, a common resident of arid and semi-arid scrub and thorn forest.

Groove-billed Ani's (above) and Stripe-headed Sparrows (below) are common just about anywhere in cattle pastures.

I saw and heard a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks over what seemed like a potential Burrowing Owl location. I didn't see the owls.

This is a female Zone-tailed Hawk, with three tail bands.

And this is the male, with only two tail bands.

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