Friday, December 19, 2014

Honduras, Day 6. You won't believe what is happening in the men's room!

Best title for one of my blogs ever! We will get to that part shortly. We got up a bit later than the day before, hearing Little Tinamou, again, right outside the windown. We had a arranged a morning trip to a nearby hotel, Rio Santiago River Resort. This is an amazing place for hummingbirds, with over 220 feeders. Our friend Paul and his guide Jose, were accompanying us again. It was not too far from Pico Bonito, so we didn't have to leave quite so early. The weather looked a bit threatening, but we were hopeful.

We arrived at the resort and parked. It is quite a nice place, owned by an American who is a former gold miner. The cabins looked great and they were working on some smaller rooms. The main house has a raised covered deck, and there is a palapa with a bar behind the house. A short way up the hill is the aforementioned men's room. We could see hummingbirds shooting by everywhere, but we knew they would still be around later, so we decided to try a trail first and then come back.

The trail was a little steep, but not bad at all. Our first bird was a gaudy Keel-billed Toucan. We came across a beautiful little waterfall. White-breasted Woodwrens were singing loudly. We dropped down a small hill and were excited to see a Royal Flycatcher. Unfortunately, Paul and Jose were behind us and it flew before they got there. We worked up another small hill and had both Gray-headed and Gray-chested Doves on the path. Both were new for me. There were a few warblers around. Then it started to sprinkle. No problem! We had rain gear, so we moved on.  We were very happy to find a White-throated Thrush, normally a highland species. In winter some of the high elevation birds will move down slope. Then the rain got a bit heavier. Then it really opened up. We decided it might be better to sit under the covered palapa or the deck, so we turned back. I started having bad cramps in my legs, I think from dehydration, so the walk back was not fun at all.

We went up to the palapa and there were hummingbird feeders hanging along the edge. One of my most wanted hummingbirds was Band-tailed Barbthroat. Almost immediately, one flew in. Some of the hummingbird species we had been seeing at Pico Bonito were very common, like Crowned Woodnymph, Rufous-tailed and Violet Sabrewing. A Stripe-tailed, which we had seen briefly at the tower, flew into one of the feeders, giving close up and personal looks.  I drank some water and was feeling much better!

We went up to the covered deck to see some of the other hummingbirds that use the feeders in the trees. We talked to the owner and he said they found that they did much better using very small tube feeders, instead of the larger ones. They go through 25 lbs of sugar a day! The swarms of birds were very impressive. We added a couple of new species for the trip,Scaly-breasted Hummingbird,  and White-necked Jacobin. It was still pouring rain, but we didn't care. This was a true spectacle. We all took a ton of photos, some of the best hummingbird photos I have ever taken.

Esdras excused himself and disappeared for a few minutes. I was too distracted by the birds to even notice. He came back up to the deck, holding up his camera and said "You won't believe what is happening in the men's room!" We all fell apart laughing. It turns out what was happening was a bat was sleeping right by the light fixture, not quite what our initial thoughts were. We trooped up the hill and looked in. There was a small bat hanging there, trying to sleep. We took a few photos and left him be. We told the owner to be sure to leave the door open so he could get out later. James Adams, at Pico Bonito, identified the bat as a Chestnut Short-tailed Bat, a fairly uncommon species. We teased Esdras mercilessly about what he said. It will remain for me, one of my all time favorite statements while birding.

We packed up and went back to Pico Bonito for lunch. (I had the wasabi blue cheese steak sandwich, fabulous!) It was still raining, so we took our time and watched the birds from the porch. Someone pointed to a small tree across the lawn that looked like it had an oddly dark branch. It wasn't a branch, but a very young Boa Constrictor. It had been in that tree for several days, picking off unsuspecting hummingbirds that landed nearby. I had not noticed it at all. I braved the rain and went over a took a few photos, none very good. The rain slowed down, so we birded around the lodge some. It was kind of nice to have a slower paced afternoon.

Photos from the day:

 Bird list for the day:
 Tinamidae          Little Tinamou             
Phalacrocoracidae  Neotropic Cormorant        
Ardeidae           Great Egret                
Ardeidae           Cattle Egret               
Cathartidae        Black Vulture              
Accipitridae       Common Black-Hawk          
Accipitridae       Broad-winged Hawk          
Scolopacidae       Spotted Sandpiper          
Columbidae         Red-billed Pigeon          
Columbidae         Inca Dove                  
Columbidae         Gray-headed Dove           
Columbidae         Gray-chested Dove          
Apodidae           White-collared Swift       
Trochilidae        White-necked Jacobin       
Trochilidae        Band-tailed Barbthroat     
Trochilidae        Long-billed Hermit         
Trochilidae        Stripe-throated Hermit     
Trochilidae        Violet-headed Hummingbird  
Trochilidae        Scaly-breasted Hummingbird 
Trochilidae        Violet Sabrewing           
Trochilidae        Crowned Woodnymph          
Trochilidae        Stripe-tailed Hummingbird  
Trochilidae        Rufous-tailed Hummingbird  
Trogonidae         Black-headed Trogon        
Momotidae          Blue-crowned Motmot        
Alcedinidae        Amazon Kingfisher          
Ramphastidae       Collared Aracari           
Ramphastidae       Keel-billed Toucan         
Picidae            Black-cheeked Woodpecker   
Picidae            Golden-fronted Woodpecker  
Picidae            Yellow-bellied Sapsucker   
Picidae            Chestnut-colored Woodpecker
Picidae            Pale-billed Woodpecker     
Psittacidae        Olive-throated Parakeet    
Psittacidae        White-crowned Parrot       
Psittacidae        White-fronted Parrot       
Tyrannidae         Royal Flycatcher           
Tyrannidae         Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  
Tyrannidae         Great Crested Flycatcher   
Tyrannidae         Great Kiskadee             
Tyrannidae         Boat-billed Flycatcher     
Tyrannidae         Social Flycatcher          
Pipridae           Red-capped Manakin         
Tityridae          Black-crowned Tityra       
Tityridae          Masked Tityra              
Vireonidae         Yellow-throated Vireo      
Corvidae           Brown Jay                  
Troglodytidae      White-breasted Wood-Wren   
Polioptilidae      Tropical Gnatcatcher       
Turdidae           Swainson's Thrush          
Turdidae           Wood Thrush                
Turdidae           Clay-colored Thrush        
Turdidae           White-throated Thrush      
Mimidae            Gray Catbird               
Parulidae          Black-and-white Warbler    
Parulidae          Hooded Warbler             
Parulidae          American Redstart          
Parulidae          Magnolia Warbler           
Parulidae          Yellow Warbler             
Parulidae          Chestnut-sided Warbler     
Thraupidae         Green Honeycreeper         
Thraupidae         White-collared Seedeater   
Thraupidae         Yellow-faced Grassquit     
Thraupidae         Buff-throated Saltator     
Cardinalidae       Summer Tanager             
Icteridae          Melodious Blackbird        
Icteridae          Great-tailed Grackle       
Icteridae          Baltimore Oriole           
Icteridae          Chestnut-headed Oropendola 
Icteridae          Montezuma Oropendola       
Fringillidae       Olive-backed Euphonia      

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