Friday, January 29, 2010


Rain, wind and dense fog (clouds) did not prevent us from finding a large mixed warbler flock with two goldencheeks yesterday, making 30 individuals for the season. This morning, the weather was a little worse than yesterday, and after a couple of hours, we simply gave up. The photo above shows an area where we heard birds, but couldn't see more than a fleeting silhouette here and there. Our field work there was impossible.

Meanwhile, Roselvy and Lya, both SalvaNatura staff, have arrived to set up a permanent bird monitoring station in Monte Uyuca. We're assisting them with this. Hopefully they will start banding tomorrow, and who knows, maybe they will catch a goldencheek...

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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Zen approach to tick bites

Yes, four sites into the yearly five-site cycle of looking for Golden-cheeked Warblers in Honduran pine-oak forests, I have picked up a fair share of ticks. They're small, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Every evening, before I go to bed, I inspect my body and try to pick them off of me. Around 9 PM, I go to sleep, and about midnight I'm woken up by the ticks I missed biting me. It is then that the Zen approach comes into play, for scratching only makes things worse. I get up, put on my head lamp, retreat to the bathroom, and locate the remaining critters from where the itching is worse.

Bet you didn't need to know that.

These ticks are an occupational hazard that I simply endure, for during these field seasons there is much to recompense for this.

Alright, so back to how we're doing in the project. Well, we just finished La Tigra, where Golden-cheeked Warblers are quite abundant. Here's a few pictures of birds we found there. The bird at the top and in the two photos below is an adult male.

We're still finding way more adult males than birds in other plumages. With four sites down and only one more to go, we have found 24 individuals so far, 15 of which were adult males.

The black throat, black chin and black upperparts indicate an adult male.

Other birds we saw in national park La Tigra, near the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, include Resplendent Quetzal.

Many believe this to be the most beautiful bird in the Americas, and it's hard to disagree. My photos here are of birds that were distant, high in tall trees. Click on the photos for a better view.

There may still be many neotropical migrants here and up north it may still be very much winter, but here in Honduras, the first sign of spring for us was this early return of a local breeder to La Tigra, the Swallow-tailed Kite. These birds are common in Honduran cloud forests from February on, but spend the 'winter' in South America.

Most exciting find for me personally in La Tigra this week was a male Ocellated Quail advertising a territory near one of our field sites. We never saw the bird, but heard it quite clearly. This is a mysterious bird of which very little is known. It occurs in pine-oak forest, but keeps a very low profile for much of the year. Having spent much time in its range and habitat, I had nonetheless never heard or seen one.

Our last field site is Uyuca, where later this week we will be joined by two bird banders from SalvaNatura. We will assist them with setting up a banding site in this location. We're all hoping to catch some goldencheeks...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

La Tigra

After a short intermission, we're back on the Golden-cheeked Warbler project in Honduras. Kashmir returned to San Salvador Monday evening, and Tuesday morning he and I set out for Tegucigalpa, to reconnect with Fabiola and go to our fourth field site, national park La Tigra. This is the oldest national park in Honduras, a stone's throw away from the capital Tegucigalpa.

Golden-cheeked Warblers are fairly common there, and in the flock this morning we found no fewer than three individuals. The bird pictured above is a Golden-cheeked Warbler, but not one of today's birds. Lighting conditions weren't favorable for photography.

Two of today's birds were adult males, and we could tell there were at least two of them, because we saw them fairly close together. The third individual appeared to be an adult female, with a black throat but whitish chin. (Adult females are very similar to immature males, and it's possible that it was that. Immature males, however, tend to show whitish tips on black throat and breast feathers, which this bird didn't show.)
With today's birds taken into account, we're now at 13 individuals overall, 8 of which were adult males.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

El Jicarito revisited

Yesterday I spent all day birding El Jicarito, a wetlands complex in the Honduran department of Choluteca. Kashmir, Fabiola and I went there about a week ago, and back then we only had a couple of hours to bird this fantastic place. Being in the neighborhood, and figuring there could be Pearl Kites here as well as any place, I went back for a full day of birding.

The day started with some bad luck. This winter, I sometimes feel like the entire field season is nothing but bad luck, with various car problems, passport theft and a lot of waiting. I passed two police road blocks yesterday morning, but about a kilometer before my turnoff, I was stopped at a third. The police officer and I went through the usual routine with car papers, driver's license, and the check of the triangles and fire extinguisher. This time, he found the fire extinguisher to be empty. "Look," he said, "the meter is in the red. This thing is empty." To prove his point, he squeezed the handle, as if to spray, but nothing happened. Seeing he had a point, I didn't contest his findings, and meekly paid the 200 Lempiras. Before I paid, he wanted me to get back into the car. Later I realized why: the transaction had to be performed without the other cops seeing it, so that he could pocket the money himself. As he handed me back my driver's license and the car papers, he leaned over the rolled down window into the car and stuck out his hand for the 200 Lemps. Reflecting a bit on this, it occurred to me that all Honduran cops received the money I've given them this way, and I assume they all keep it to themselves. None of them write actual tickets.

Anyway, I got to El Jicarito a little before 9 AM, and then pleaded with the guard to let me in. You see, in the dry season there's a few small puddles with some shorebirds and ducks here and there and this presumably is the reserve. Then there's a gate. Behind the gate, the birding is much better. Last week, we had no problem going through. Yesterday though, a different caretaker informed me that the road was a private road, and that he had instructions not to let anyone enter except fishermen who worked on the shrimp farm it led to. I pleaded a little bit, saying I was a birder, only interested in observing birds, nothing else. Reluctantly, he let me in.

In just a week's time, many wet areas had become dry and bird numbers and diversity seemed lower in the areas we visited the week before.

Then I stumbled onto some good luck. A large SUV pulled up to where I was parked, its windows rolled down, and inside was a wealthy-looking older couple with worried faces who asked me what I was doing. "Birding," I said. They then smiled and sighed a big sigh of relief, and said "ah - birding! Yes, we have many birds here." They were of course the owners of the shrimp farm, and the man even got out of his vehicle to talk to me. He was not a birder himself, but he was clearly enchanted by the multitude of birds on his property. "Oh, it's quite a spectacle. Sometimes it's just like a movie!" Super-friendly, he said I was welcome to bird the premises. I had to sign in at another gate, and after that I got to the shrimp farm itself, which indeed held many more birds than the area outside the gate.

Rather than list every species I saw, I will mention and illustrate some highlights. Most unusual species was probably Franklin's Gull, of which I found two individuals in the large Laughing Gull flock. Franklin's Gull you would expect here in migration; as a winter visitor, it is fairly rare in the region.

Other cool birds included resident Mangrove Yellow Warblers, which were common. Wintering (northern) Yellow Warblers were also abundant.

This bird has just begun molting its contour feathers, and will soon have a burgundy head, like the bird pictured above.

A good number of raptors can be observed at this place. I stumbled upon this immature Peregrine Falcon, which I photographed at maybe 10 meters (30 ft) distance - through the windshield.

Then there was this muddy-legged but very confiding (Mangrove) Common Black-Hawk. I was able to approach this bird at 5 m distance, and it even remained while I got out of the car for more photos.

I don't know if I've ever been this close to a wild raptor that wasn't being held by a raptor bander...

I was also lucky with this Eastern Meadowlark, which sang its little heart out just meters away from me.

At the moment, I'm back in San Salvador, about to get ready for heading out to Honduras again, to do the remaining goldencheek field sites, La Tigra and Uyuca.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"¿Estas bromeando?"

This morning I got an early start and crossed into Honduras around 9 AM. Figuring I had all day to get to Choluteca - less than a two hours' drive away - I decided to take little side roads on the Panamericana, and do some birding and searching along the way. The first road I took was a dirt road leading south not far from the Salvadoran border, to a small community called El Guayabo. It led into a mixture of cattle pastures and dry scrub, where Tropical Mockingbirds for example were very common. However, my birding there was cut short by a wasp attack. There's a small wasp species that's fairly common in southern Honduras and that I had seen before. As I was birding from the car with windows down, a few had flown in and were feeding on what I assumed was salts and minerals from sweat. Thinking they were harmless, I let them. When I got out of the car to look at some hummingbirds, wasp numbers suddenly increased dramatically, and before I knew it I was surrounded by fifteen or so wasps, with about thirty more buzzing around in the car. Yes, they were all busy feeding on sweat-stained substrates (my arms, my T-shirt, my binocular strap, the car seats), but doing so got themselves in tight corners. Thus they began stinging me. Their sting was only moderately painful. Freaking out nonetheless, I got into the car and started driving at considerable speed, hoping the wind would blow them out. Which it did, thankfully.

I decided I was going to do my birding on another, less wasp-infested dirt road, which I found in the direction of Agua Fria and Playa Grande. These names, incidentally, are a bit fanciful, for neither cold water nor big beaches were found there. Nor Pearl Kites, for that matter. What I did find there was a first cycle Herring Gull, soaring with a Common Black Hawk. According to Howell & Webb, Herring Gulls are uncommon here in winter, though not rare. I also saw another immature Peregrine Falcon. Some kids on bicycles were interested in what I was doing, and one of them became my guide to the area for a little while. I gave him some change and in return he opened cattle gates for me and told me there was a beach there after all, although when we got there, it was just dry salt flats surrounded by mangrove. The birding there wasn't very exciting, so I turned around and went back to the Panamericana.

One of the birds I saw there was the Yellow-breasted Chat pictured above.

Then, near Jicaro Galán, I ran into a police road block, and was asked to pull over. I recognized the police officer from last Tuesday, when Kashmir and I were traveling in the opposite direction. Then he gave me a ticket for having only one, instead of two triangles, which cost me 200 Lempiras back then. (In El Salvador, you only need one. In Honduras, you need two.) Kashmir wisely suggested we get a second triangle, so we won't have to pay a second time. I remember Kashmir asking the cop how much those things cost. "Oh, just 50 Lemps, you can buy them in Jicaro Galán, just a little down the road". So we paid the 200 Lempiras and went over to the ferreteria that he had directed us to. As we pulled up, I joked to Kashmir that the ferreteria probably belonged to his brother, and that they had a little business going together. When asked for a triangle, the girl at the counter gave us a bored look and said "200 Lempiras". We said "What? You must be kidding!" Still looking bored, she said "150 Lempiras". She brought out a set of two, but we informed her that we already had one, and only needed one more. We talked her down to 65 Lempiras for one triangle.

So when the same cop today asked me for the fire extinguisher and the triangles, I smiled and produced said articles proudly. With a straight face, he then said "Those triangles are different. They need to be the same." Incredulous, I started laughing and said "You've got to be kidding me!" "Also, you need to have red and white marking at the back bumper of your vehicle, like that truck over there." Knowing I was being fed sh**, I was getting angry and started telling him that he was just sh***ing me. I could see that this wasn't helping matters. He then directed me to pull over a little further off the road, and I thought 'OK, here we go, he's going to make me turn the vehicle inside out.' This however, he was not interested in. He kept repeating his points about the triangles being different, and I kept laughing and saying that it was irrelevant, and we seemed to be reaching a stalemate over this. With him holding my papers, mind you. He eventually handed them back to me and asked me for some change. I gave him 10 Lempiras and I was on my way.

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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Change of plans

My field work on the Golden-cheeked Warbler project in Honduras is currently suspended for about a week. Minor yet continuous car trouble has burdened the already slim budget, necessitating an early return to El Salvador, where hopefully we can pick up extra funds to do the remaining two field sites in Honduras, La Tigra and Uyuca. Honduran field assistant Fabiola returned to Tegucigalpa yesterday, and sadly, last night my other field assistant, Kashmir, received bad news concerning the health of his father. He decided he needed to be back in Veracruz to be with his family. Today he and I drove from San Marcos de Colón in southeastern Honduras to San Miguel in El Salvador. There, Kashmir took a bus to San Salvador, for a trip back to Veracruz. Hopefully everything will turn out fine for him and his family, and he will be able to return to the project next week.

Meanwhile, I will be in eastern El Salvador for a few days, to look for two bird species that may or may not be here: Pearl Kite and Burrowing Owl. Last March, me and various SalvaNatura staff members found the first Pearl Kite for El Salvador. In 2009, Honduran biologist Mario Espinal recorded the first occurrence of Pearl Kite for Honduras. An article describing these records is currently in press; I'm hoping to find additional Pearl Kites this week, supporting our hypothesis that this species may be expanding its range westward in Central America. I will also be looking for Burrowing Owls, a species that may be here also.

The photo at the top is of a Zone-tailed Hawk carrying nest material. I photographed this bird yesterday morning during our last day of field work in La Botija. At the site where we found our flock, there was a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks flying about and calling. One of them carried nest material; it appeared that our final flock site in La Botija was also a Zone-tailed Hawk territory.

This Philadelphia Vireo was one of the flock members yesterday. The flock contained the usual suspects, but we did not find another goldencheek, leaving the score for La Botija at just one - average for that site. Our final field sites in La Tigra and Uyuca will undoubtedly have more goldencheeks, for the species is fairly common at both sites.

Here's a Steller's Jay, a common species in Pacific slope pine-oak forests.

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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goldencheek relocated

This morning we went to the spot where yesterday we saw that immature female goldencheek. And sure enough, the bird was still there, and I was able to get some photos. It spent some time in this small encino or thin-leaved oak (Quercus sapotifolia), and is here seen with a prey item in the bill.

The chin and throat on this bird are white, with limited black streaking from the sides of the breast down. The crown, nape and upperparts are olive, with very thin black streaks. I'd call this bird an immature female. Adult females and immature males tend to have darker, more heavily streaked upperparts. Note the faint auricular patch, which is practically absent on adult male goldencheeks and is reminiscent of Black-throated Green Warbler, in which this patch is more pronounced than seen here. Note also how the olive upperparts are still darker than on any Black-throated Green you'll ever see. Observers unfamiliar with goldencheeks might mistake a bird like this for a BT Green, but careful observation of the points just mentioned should set them straight.

Today's flock consisted of 26 individuals representing 19 species, including Wilson's Warbler, Painted Redstart, Western Tanager, Brown Creeper, Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Olive Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Crescent-chested Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker, Greater Pewee, Brown-capped Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Least Flycatcher. The grosbeak, a seed eater, is perhaps a debatable flock member, but it did associate with the other members and it was feeding on insects also.

Most of the time today we worked in dense fog (clouds). As we drove down from the mountain, the sun broke through and we saw this Lesser Roadrunner.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Found another goldencheek

It wasn't in today's flock, but after we were done with that and scouted for tomorrow's location, we did find one. We drove about a kilometer further on the road where we found a flock this morning, just to make sure that tomorrow's location would be Tracker accessible. You don't want to discover that it isn't at six in the morning. We've found that our Chevy Tracker has rather low clearance and gets into trouble where in previous years the pick-ups we drove had no problems at all.

As we came up on a part of that road where in a previous field season we had found a goldencheek, I noticed how suddenly there were thin-leaved oaks everywhere. Knowing now what we didn't know then, it just made sense that this is where we found that goldencheek back then. And sure enough, within a few minutes after exiting the car, we found another one. Today's bird was an immature female, with only a little bit of black on the sides of the breast, and a clear throat and chin. We'll look for it again tomorrow - maybe I'll get some photos. The bird pictured above is a male Hepatic Tanager, a common bird here in La Botija and a regular flock member. Today's flock had four.

Driving back, I wondered why it seems to be that goldencheeks on the wintering grounds prefer thin-leaved oaks, while the species they associate with appear to be more generalist. Think about it: structurally, a goldencheek isn't that much different from a black-throated green, yet the BT green is found in a much wider variety of microhabitats. (It also is a lot more numerous, of course.) I think part of the answer may be that BT greens employ a wider array of foraging strategies, utilizing treetops as well as the middle layer, and occasionally even the herbaceous layer, feeding on all parts of the substrate. Goldencheeks on the other hand are often found in either the tree or middle layer, foraging on the outer branches of the tree.

Why is this?

Is the BT green a slower, more methodical forager, and the goldencheek a faster-paced forager that needs more light so it can discover prey more quickly?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In La Botija

Today a couple of pictures from our third field site, La Botija in southeastern Honduras, near the Nicaraguan border. In fact, the butterflies you see here mating are Nicaraguan Satyrs. They're perched on fallen oak leaves. Broad-leaved oaks are fairly common here, but thin-leaved oaks, beloved by wintering Golden-cheeked Warblers, are quite scarce. In previous years, goldencheeks themselves were fairly scarce around here, although they were found every year.

We didn't find any this morning, when we did our first mixed species flock here. If we're lucky, we'll find one or two at this site.

American Kestrels on the other hand are quite common here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


National Park Cusuco was next on our itinerary for this winter's search for Golden-cheeked Warblers in Honduras. We found two goldencheeks there, one of them again an adult male! This brings the adult male : females/immatures ratio up to 6 : 3, a very unusual and intriguing result so far. In this part of the winter range, you'd expect that ratio to be the other way around.

We also continue to see Golden-winged Warblers, more than in previous years. In Cusuco, we saw 4.

But for us, Cusuco this year was marked more than anything else by what we found in the early morning on January 1: someone had broken into the car, and stolen various items, including Kashmir's passport, which he - foolishly, it must be said - had left in his otherwise empty camera bag. (I'm writing this blog entry in the Mexican consulate in San Pedro Sula, where we are waiting for his replacement passport to be processed.)

In Cusuco, we stayed at the eco-hostel in Buenos Aires. I had stayed there before and had fallen in love with the desolate, magnificent view of the valley below. However, the hostel's peripheral location also meant an additional safety risk, and indeed several items we had left out - hand soap, detergent - were stolen. That, and the incessant rain the last four days or so, made our visit a little less pleasant than it could have been. I remember swimming in a mountain stream there and seeing groups of Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites overhead, once with a King Vulture mixed in, but that was two years ago, in February. This time, it was often quite cold, misty and rainy, and looking for mixed species flocks was sometimes difficult. Two days were lost because we were unable to find a flock. Our last flock was hard to follow in the pouring rain on a steep slope.

Today in San Pedro Sula we bought a 'new' (used) window for the car, had it installed, and Kashmir made progress with his passport. Hopefully he can pick that up tomorrow and we can continue to our next field site, La Botija near San Marcos de Colón. That's on the other side of the country, so we have a long drive ahead of us, to what I expect will be much nicer weather, and a bit more comfort. In previous years, goldencheeks were not common at this site either, but we'll see.

Ever since day one, we've had minor but continuous car problems. We now have had all four tires fixed. We've had to deal with a broken thermostat, halting circulation of the engine coolant, resulting in an overheated motor on a hilltop somewhere. Still remaining is a right front wheel suspension issue, which appears to be minor. We do need to buy another tool for replacing tires, because the one we had was stolen on New Year's Eve.

Here are some snapshots from Cusuco.

This is a Spotted Woodcreeper, a fairly common species in Cusuco and a regular flock member there.

Yellowish Flycatcher is another common species in Cusuco.

Common Bush Tanagers travel in tight packs and often appear to associate with mixed flocks, although they are also found in single-species flocks. They are somewhat omnivorous and will eat fruit as well as insects.

This immature Broad-winged Hawk was on something it caught on the road, but flushed as we approached. It landed in this oak nearby, possibly waiting for us to leave so it could return to its prey.