Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monte Uyuca

Our first outing at our last field site, Monte Uyuca near Tegucigalpa, proved successful today: we found no fewer than four Golden-cheeked Warblers. Three of them were in today's large flock, all three males. It pays to observe plumage details, for today's first goldencheek had no streaks at all on the undertail coverts, while bird number two was distinctive because the black on the breast was considerably less than on the first bird. The third bird finally was seen in close proximity of the other two. All three birds had black throats, black chins and black upperparts - and thus were adult males - but differed subtly from each other in the amount of streaking in various places.

Also exciting was an observation of three Ocellated Quails that Kashmir flushed almost from under his feet. The birds flew a short distance and landed, but could not be found again. As I mentioned in the previous post, this is a species that I had never seen or heard before. This year we're registering it in two different places.

The hummingbird at the top is a common bird in pine-oak forest, and we see it all the time. Today we had an opportunity to photograph it up close and personal. This is a male White-eared Hummingbird.

This spectacular butterfly was another exciting find. It's called Red-lead Fiestamark; this is a male. It's very small, and very beautiful. I had never seen one before.

Today's large flock had no fewer than 66 individuals representing 25 species. Besides Golden-cheeked Warbler, those included Greater Pewee, Blue-headed Vireo, Wilson's Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-backed Oriole, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Slate-throated Redstart, Olive Warbler, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Flame-colored Tanager, Black-throated Green Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Yellowish Flycatcher, Northern Flicker, Warbling Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Bushy-crested Jay, Steller's Jay, and Brown Creeper.

At one point, the flock broke in two, with orioles, jays and most woodpeckers going one way, while the smaller species went another way. Later, both parts seemed to merge again, forming this rather large mixed flock.

After we were done with the field work this morning, we continued on the same road to look for tomorrow's location. For hundreds of meters, there wasn't a bird to be seen or heard - all had converged into this mega-flock. Then we found a small pocket with some birds about a kilometer away, including an immature male goldencheek. This was around a construction site. Tomorrow we will go to a slightly different area along the same road.

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