Monday, January 11, 2010

El Jicarito!

Yesterday afternoon, after we were done with our morning field work in La Botija describing mixed warbler flocks in pine-oak forests, we headed out to a little-known but fabulous birding spot called El Jicarito, on the eastern side of the Golfo de Fonseca. We made it in less than two hours from San Marcos de Colón, and that even includes time spent replacing a tire that - WHAM! - blew up while we were doing 80 km/h on the Pan-americana.

El Jicarito is a large wetlands that must be simply amazing in migration, but even in January proved to be hopping with birds. The birds in the picture above are Black-necked Stilt, Blue-winged Teal and Wood Stork. All three species were numerous and easily observed.

Stilts are fantastically photogenic, and I finally figured out how to get crisp shots in harsh light.

I was even able to get good flight shots of these graceful birds.

Here the light was less forgiving, but I'm posting this shot to give you a sense of the avian variety this place has to offer. In this shot I've found Roseate Spoonbills, Tricolored Herons, Snowy Egrets, an immature White Ibis, Blue-winged Teals, Black-necked Stilts, Pectoral Sandpipers, Willets, and a Lesser Yellowlegs.

This photo has Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Wood Stork, White Ibis, and Black-necked Stilt.

Wood Storks were easily observed everywhere. We searched for a Jabiru, a similar but considerably larger species, but didn't find any.

Also photogenic were Barn Swallows on the barbed wire, such as this immature bird molting to adult breeding plumage.

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