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Old Wednesday 18th July 2012, 04:07   #1
dalat
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Weekend birding in Nicaragua

I am here on a work trip, almost entirely confined to Managua, but I managed to look a bit for birds around the hotel ground and have two full days out for birding on the weekends. One day I went to the Montibelli reserve, just 30 min out of Managua, the other day (well, 2 half days it was) I went to the Selva Negra reserve in the northern Mountains, about 2 1/2 h drive from Managua.

It was my first ever neotropical birding, so what a feast, basically any bird seen was a lifer, 90 lifers in total! It's literally entering a new world, phantastic.

Ok, I'll tell some of my personal highlights. As I did little preperation beforehand, I have no clue how rare, or rather likely, how common those birds actually are. So my exitement about these sightings is totally unspoiled of such considerations.

One of the very first birds I found when exploring the hotel grounds was Nicaraguas national bird, the Guardabarranco or the Turquoise-browed Motmot . What a stunner! It later turned out to be an often seen bird, even roadside while driving, but I loved it every time I saw it, simply beautiful!

A Northern Pootoe pretending quite succefully to be a piece of wood just 5 m above the trail. Wierd!

A Long-tailed Mannakin zooming by, only allowing for a glimpse of a view.

Several Swallow-tailed Kites soaring and gliding in the wind above the treetops.

At 5.30 in the morning, barely awake, after my first steps out of the room, I almost stumpled over a bunch of funny and not shy at all little birds hopping around on the ground in front of me, White-eared Ground Sparrows.

Entering the forest, there were lots of very lound and very strange metallic noises in the tree tops. Took me a while to find the cause, and the bird I found was at least equally strange as the noise it made: a Three-wattled Bellbird!

Later, higher up the slopes, there was another song, similarely loud and metallic but a little more melodic. I was expecting another huge and wierd creature, it took me ages to find the songster and I was quite suprised to find a normal little grey bird doing all this impressive noises: Slate-colored Solitaire.

On the way down, suddenly something crashed falling down the canopy and landing just a couple of meter in front of me behind a tree. Heavy wingbeating revealed a raptor. I stayed still, and a few seconds later it went all down on the ground, saw me, and must have been shocked because it let go the squirrel it had just caught. It then hopped on the next branch and stared at me for a long time quite reproachingly. A Collared Forest Falcon.

And then there was a Pheasant, walking through the dense understory, all brown with barings, long tail. This is not Asia and there are no Pheasants here, as I found out when looking up the book. Must have been a female Highland Guan then, although not behaving as arboreal as the book says.

Nice were the Trongons, at last a family familiar to me, from Asia. And as over there, there very reliably reacted to my clumpsy imitation of their call. And better than in Asia (well, than in Vietnam I have to add), they are not shy, noone seems to shoot em here.

And Toucans are just as great and Hummingbirds much more difficult than I imagined.

Florian

Last edited by dalat : Wednesday 18th July 2012 at 18:57.
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Old Thursday 19th July 2012, 01:31   #2
njlarsen
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Florian,
thanks for sharing.

Just a thought: did you check Pheasant Cuckoo when you mentioned the pheasant-like bird? Not that I am saying it was one, just one more bird to check (and if that is what you saw, great bird for you)

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Old Thursday 19th July 2012, 02:26   #3
dalat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
did you check Pheasant Cuckoo when you mentioned the pheasant-like bird?
Hi Nils, no I did not, so thanks for the hint! Now I did, but it wasn't the cuckoo. It was much bigger, I guess around 70 cm long, structuraly very much like a pheasant, walking on the forest floor. It also made a call like this: http://www.xeno-canto.org/13959. And Highland Guan is on the site list, that made me conclude it is one.
But after only 2 days birding on this continent, I am very open to more suggestions :) Is that highland guan an unlikely bird?

I was wondering about the behaviour, as I read that these Guans are mostly up in the trees, while my bird was on the ground and did not make any attempt to go up even with me approaching, but rather walking away from me...

Thanks, Florian
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Old Thursday 19th July 2012, 12:43   #4
Ian David Ellis
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Sounds more likely to be a female Great Currasow?

Ian
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Old Thursday 19th July 2012, 13:57   #5
dalat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian David Ellis View Post
Sounds more likely to be a female Great Currasow?
For these reasons I did not consider Great Curassow:
- the back of my bird was similarely barred as the tail
- the head looked rather non-descript brown, no obvious crest or colors
- Calls. At least on xeno-cantho, I can't find a recording of GC that fits as well as the ones of HG.

Ian, you think GC is mire more likely because of behaviour?

Thanks, Florian

Last edited by dalat : Thursday 19th July 2012 at 13:59.
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Old Friday 20th July 2012, 09:03   #6
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Hi Florian,

From your description I'd definitely say female Highland Guan - I've seen other guans (Black, Crested) forage on the forest floor quite comfortably, so I wouldn't get hung up on the fact that they're (mostly) arboreal. Why not google or chec the IBC for piccies?

Nice one. Sounds like you're having a great time down there :)
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Old Friday 20th July 2012, 20:41   #7
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Hi nohatch,

thanks for the reply! Yes, I did check some pics before, probably I should have more confidence in my IDs, but as I am such a newbie in the region....

It was fun, but too short, back to Europe now. Hope to add some more extended time at my next work trip there...

Florian
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