Friday, December 10, 2010

Last day in Tortuguero

Well, the monkeys were right and I was wrong, of course.

Mantled Howler Monkeys are excellent short-term weather forecasters, no doubt because their place high up in the canopy provides them with fabulous views of the sky. So when I opened the nets today around noon, when the rain seemed to let up a little bit, it was accompanied by hoots of derision from across the river.

Indeed an hour or so later it was raining again, and it never stopped. Bird banding can take place in light rain, so I ran the nets for two hours, in hopes of a surprise maybe on my last day of banding in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. But all I caught was a Gray Catbird, a female White-collared Manakin (recapture), and one of the pair of Northern Barred Woodcreepers that have a territory around the net lanes. The poor woodcreeper I released without processing this time, for it has already participated generously in this study.

The above photo is from a few days ago, and shows a wing of a first-year female Scarlet Tanager. I'm afraid this is the kind of bird photo only hardcore banding nerds will appreciate, for it shows a molt limit in the greater coverts, by which we can age this bird as a HY (hatch year) individual. Yeah, I know...

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