Monday, December 22, 2014

Honduras, Day 8, Dec. 12, 2014 Mystery Solved and a Fond Farewell

This was to be our final day. We had scheduled the van at 2:00 PM for our transfer back to San Pedro Sula. We wanted to get a bit more birding in before we left. We had arranged to meet Esdras for one last time at 6:30 AM. We had pretty much gotten our packing done the night before. I had very mixed feelings. I was happy to go home, but I was really going to miss Pico Bonito.

We got up and dressed and started out the door. There on the path were the two tinamous, adult and youngster, we had seen the day before. This time they were more cooperative. We got very good looks and could see by the size they were not Little Tinamous at all, but Greats. They were not intimidated by us in the least. I snapped a few photos in the dark, not sure if I was getting anything at all. The pictures are pretty bad, but they do show enough to get the idea of what they area. We walked down to the path, and they just strolled along in front of us. I was afraid to breathe! Finally, they hopped over the edging of the path and slipped into the woods. It was a great way to start our last morning!

We were a bit early, so I ran down to the moth light to check out what might be there. The lodge had a white sheet with a light set up at night for moths. I was hoping for some big silk moths, but all of the bugs were fairly small. A few were really lovely. One white moth had a silver sheen and looked kind of furry. I took a few photos, then headed back to the lodge, where we met Esdras. We decided to do a walk before breakfast.

We found a number of birds we had already seen, like Red-capped Manakin and Chestnut-collared Woodpecker. We walked down to the tower and said goodbye to the Lovely Cotingas. We were very excited to find a Slate-colored Solitaire. They are normally found at a higher elevation, but were moving down slope for the winter. Esdras found a young roosting Great Potoo, probably "Ginger", a  young bird that was rescued, and then released by the lodge. We went back and ate breakfast with Esdras. I had the pecan encrusted french toast one last time. Seriously, if you go there, order this! It is amazing!

We finished breakfast and went back out to look for Vermiculated Screech-Owl. We worked the low forest in front of the lodge, with no success. They are fairly common there, but difficult to see when roosting. None responded to Esdras' tape. We did get one more life bird for me, Yellow-winged Tanager. We should have had this bird long before our last day; they are really common, but they had eluded us. Finally, Esdras spotted a couple in a tree by the parking lot. They aren't fancy looking birds at all, mostly blue gray with a little yellow flash on the wing, but I was still happy to see them. We had a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl near the parking lot, too.

It was getting close to time to leave, so we bid Esdras goodbye and went and finished packing. Esdras was a really good guide and I recommend him highly. We went up to the lodge and I did a bit of last minute shopping. Our bags were brought up and the van was out front. I settled up our bill and the desk agent gave me a gift from Alex Alverado, one of the guides, who I am friends with on Facebook. It was a lovely hand embroidered tote bag his wife had made for us. I was really touched!

Just as we were about to get on the van, Alex and another guide came up and asked us if we wanted to see a Vermiculated Screech-Owl. It would only take about ten minutes and the van driver was happy to wait. Of course we did! We followed them through the woods where we had looked earlier. I have no idea how they spotted it, but tucked up in the leaves was a little round ball of an owl. Alex took my phone and digiscoped the bird for me. I am horrible at digiscoping, but he did a great job! It was a wonderful bird to end our time at Pico Bonito.

We got in the van and got on our way. The driver made several stops, where we saw more Yellow-winged Tanagers, Solitary Sandpiper, Blue-gray Tanagers and a very interesting swift that Martin is still working on. We finally arrived at the Metrotel, where we began our trip. We arranged for a cab to pick us up at the unbearably early time of 3:30 AM for our 6:30 AM flight. Part of me felt like we should have just gone to the airport.

I have one more quick story to relate. Our flight to Miami when without a hitch. We went through immigration and went to re-check our bag. When they X-rayed the bag they saw a small jar of mango marmalade that I had forgotten about. They pulled the bag to check it more carefully. The agent opened the suitcase and pulled out a burlap bag of organic cocoa I had bought. I said, "Oh, that is just a bag of organic coca." Martin said "NO! COCOA! Not coca!" The agent laughed, but still did a little test to make sure. He then reached in and pulled out a paper wrapped small pottery bowl I had bought. I said "Oh, that is just a little pot!" He and Martin doubled over laughing. I must have turned five shades of red! He said "Lady, you made my week." I am so lucky I am not in jail! Thank goodness I got a TSA agent with a sense of humor.

Honduras was great. I think it would be a great introduction to tropical birding. Pico Bonito is beautiful, more than comfortable and the food is great. I will be very happy to answer any questions and put you in touch with the right people. Thanks for reading along.

Photos for the day:

Bird list for the day:
Tinamidae      Great Tinamou               
Cracidae       Plain Chachalaca            
Ardeidae       Cattle Egret                
Cathartidae    Black Vulture               
Cathartidae    Turkey Vulture              
Accipitridae   Roadside Hawk               
Scolopacidae   Solitary Sandpiper          
Columbidae     Red-billed Pigeon           
Columbidae     Gray-headed Dove            
Cuculidae      Squirrel Cuckoo             
Cuculidae      Groove-billed Ani           
Strigidae      Vermiculated Screech-Owl    
Strigidae      Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl       
Nyctibiidae    Great Potoo                 
Apodidae       White-collared Swift        
Apodidae       Vaux's Swift                
Trochilidae    Long-billed Hermit          
Trochilidae    Stripe-throated Hermit      
Trochilidae    Purple-crowned Fairy        
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        Chestnut-colored Woodpecker 
Psittacidae    Olive-throated Parakeet     
Psittacidae    White-crowned Parrot        
Furnariidae    Wedge-billed Woodcreeper    
Furnariidae    Ivory-billed Woodcreeper    
Tyrannidae     Bright-rumped Attila        
Tyrannidae     Great Kiskadee              
Tyrannidae     Boat-billed Flycatcher      
Tyrannidae     Social Flycatcher           
Cotingidae     Lovely Cotinga              
Pipridae       Red-capped Manakin          
Tityridae      Rose-throated Becard        
Vireonidae     Tawny-crowned Greenlet      
Corvidae       Brown Jay                   
Troglodytidae  Spot-breasted Wren          
Troglodytidae  White-breasted Wood-Wren    
Turdidae       Slate-colored Solitaire     
Turdidae       Swainson's Thrush           
Turdidae       Wood Thrush                 
Turdidae       Clay-colored Thrush         
Mimidae        Gray Catbird                
Parulidae      Ovenbird                    
Parulidae      Hooded Warbler              
Thraupidae     Blue-gray Tanager           
Thraupidae     Yellow-winged Tanager       
Thraupidae     Green Honeycreeper          
Cardinalidae   Summer Tanager              
Cardinalidae   Red-throated Ant-Tanager    
Cardinalidae   Black-faced Grosbeak        
Cardinalidae   Rose-breasted Grosbeak      
Icteridae      Melodious Blackbird         
Icteridae      Great-tailed Grackle        
Icteridae      Orchard Oriole              
Icteridae      Montezuma Oropendola        
Fringillidae   Scrub Euphonia              
Fringillidae   Yellow-throated Euphonia    

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