Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bulletin 295 - Guatemala 2017 #1 - Wrens and Thrushes

I went for a second visit to Guatemala at the end of May. Once again, I used the wonderful local guide Knut Eisermann of Cayaya Birding. On this visit, we concentrated on the western highlands and Pacific lowlands along the Mexican border, as several Mexican species just make it into Guatemala here. I had a list of 10 species in particular I wanted to see and we got 9 of the 10 and saw the other, but I was not able to get a photo of the bird.

Wrens are small active brown birds. Many of the tropical rain forest species are very wary and difficult to see and photograph. However with perseverance, you can see and photograph them. On last years trip to Colombia, I got 6 new species and added 3 more on this trip. There are 86 species worldwide, all but 1 in the Americas, and I now have 31 photos.

The 5.5" Banded Wren (Thyrophilus pleurostictus) has a brown back, gray breast and extensive horizontal black barring across the belly. He perched nicely on a fence post for me.
Banded Wren
The 4" Rufous-browed Wren (Troglodytes rufociliatus) has a rufous head and throat.

Rufous-browed Wren

The last new wren for the trip is the inappropriately named 8.5" Giant Wren (Campylorhynchus chiapensis). It is no larger then our Cactus Wren (same genus) in sw USA. One sort of expects a bird with name like that to be the size of a Blue Jay or so. Anyway, from the name you can see it is a resident in Chiapas, Mexico and just crosses a couple miles into Guatemala, although many guides list it as a Mexican resident only. It responded nicely to the tape and a pair flew in. It is brown above and plain white below.

Giant Wren

The 5.5" Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) is a resident from sw Canada to Costa Rica, but this was only me third time to see this bird. It is an easy wren to see as it is usually perched in the open on a rock. This bird had a nest near by and was carrying a worm to her babies.

Rock Wren
A surprising bird for me to find was our 6.5" Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis). It ranges as far south as Nicaragua. The male of course has a sky blue back and rufous throat.

Eastern Bluebird - male
It was my first time to photograph the juvenile bird which has a spotted breast typical of many thrushes.

Eastern Bluebird - juvenile
The 10" Rufous-collared Thrush (Turdus rufitorques) I had seen on the previous trip as well. The male is brown with a bright rufous collar around his neck.

Rufous-collared Thrush - male
The female is similar but duller.

Rufous-collared Thrush - female
The 7.5" Spotted Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus dryas) was a life bird. It has a black head, orange bill, yellowish underparts with olive spotting. This is a very difficult bird to see, but we walked into a woods and one was sitting in open on a post singing. Another lucky birding day for me, as we had spent an hour on the other trip and the bird never came into the open even to see it.

Spotted Nightingale-Thrush
We also saw a Black Thrush which was another lifer, but I missed the photo.

I have put the different bird families in single folders for easy perusal.

Here are the 31 wrens.

And I have 36 of the 180 worldwide thrushes.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2017 David McDonald

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bulletin 294 - Hong Kong - other birds

In just a single day of birding I had about 40 new species of bird photos to add to my collection. Last time, we saw the birds around water, and here are the best of the rest.

There was a single hawk, the 25" Black Kite (Milvus migrans). It is an all black hawk.

Black Kite
And in flight.

Black Kite
The cuckoo family has over 140 species and only about 40 are in the New World. I saw 2 species and photographed one, the 17" male Asian Koel (Eudynamus scolopaceus) is all black with a red eye. The female is brown. This may be a juvie male with the spots on the wings,

Asian Koel
The rest of these birds are passerines or songbirds. There were 2 members of the Corvidae family. These are the crows, jays and magpies. The 21" Collared Crow (Corvus torquatus) is black with a white collar around the neck.

Collared Crow
The other was the 15" Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus). This long-tailed bird has a black head and blue wings and tail.

Azure-winged Magpie

The New World has just 2 of the 33 species of shrikes. Here is the 9" Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach). It is very similar to our shrikes with the hooked bill and black mask across eyes,

Long-tailed Shrike
The starling and myna family is an Old World family. The birds seen in the Americas are introduced or escaped cage birds. Here is the 10" Black-collared Starling (Gracupica nigricollis) has a yellow face, black collar, black back, wings and tail and gray below.

Black-collared Starling
The other was the 10" Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus). It is all black with a red eye and small bushy crest above the bill.

Crested Myna

Bulbuls are another Old World family of birds with many being used as caged bird pets and hence, some escapes are seen in North America. Here is the 8" Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus). I had photographed an escaped bird in Miami, so it was nice to see this distinctive bird in the natural habitat. It is brown with a black head and crest and red cheek spot. 

Red-whiskered Bulbul - adult
Another was the 8" Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster). This bird is brown above, light below and a black head.

Sooty-headed Bulbul
The third was the 7.5" Light-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis). It is also known as the Chinese Bulbul. It has olive back and wings, light underparts and black and white head.

Light-vented Bulbul
Chinese Bulbul
The cuckooshrikes are a 92 species Old World family. The one I saw looked very similar to our Baltimore Oriole. Here is the 8" male Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus).

Scarlet Minivet - male
The female is yellow and has gray wings.

Scarlet Minivet - female
The last bird is a member of the Old World Flycatcher family. It is the distinctive 8"  Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis). The male shown here is pied black and white and the female is gray and white. 

Oriental Magpie-Robin - male

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2017 David McDonald

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