Sunday, December 26, 2010

Los Cóbanos revisited

Wandering Tattler
Roselvy and I went birding today in Los Cóbanos, a coastal spot in southwestern El Salvador. By bus it's quite a trek from San Salvador, and we didn't get there until lunch time. Sundays this place is packed with daytrippers enjoying fried fish, cold beer and loud music. Not caring too much for the loud music, we walked a couple of hundred meters to another, quieter beach, where we sat down at a more modestly priced eatery.

Scanning the ocean while munching on some fried fish, I found a bird that I don't think I have ever seen in El Salvador before: Least Tern. It was maybe 250 m away, i.e. not close, but definitely within the realm of confident identification for me. Too far for a photo, though.

This could be a noteworthy sighting. Howell (1995) shows the bird wintering in southern (Pacific) Mexico, but places question marks on the Guatemalan coast and in the Salvadoran-Honduran-Nicaraguan Gulf of Fonseca. The BNA account (Thompson et al. 1997) merely copies these question marks. It also states that the species was "not found during focused search of Pacific coast of Costa Rica during Jan" (Thompson et al. 1997) - but eBird has a few January records for Pacific Costa Rica, and a few more for December. Yay for eBird!

But of course it has no December or January records yet for El Salvador, because who after all birds El Salvador…? (And yes, I did enter today's sightings into eBird. Soon there will be a green dot in El Salvador for this species…) 

Semipalmated Plover and Least Sandpiper

Other birds we saw were more expected, and included Wandering Tattler, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Tricolored Heron, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Brown Pelican, White-collared Swift, Cave Swallow, and Barn Swallow.

Tricolored Heron
Howell, S. N. G. and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK.
Thompson, Bruce C., Jerome A. Jackson, Joannna Burger, Laura A. Hill, Eileen M. Kirsch and Jonathan L. Atwood. 1997. Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

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