Sorry it took so long for this next installment; I've had a busy week.
Day 2: March 7, 2010
At around 4:30 in the morning, the Howler Monkeys started howling away, just a bit into the woods from where we were sleeping. This early alarm clock was, as I suggested, a bit early. However, waking up early allowed me to hear a singing Common Pauraque, possibly one of the ones we saw driving in the night before. I sat and listened for a while, but did not hear much else until around 5:30.
When it was light enough to do some birding, I headed outside and decided to stay right around the cabin. Before long, birds were everywhere. Green Herons, Northern Jacanas, and several Purple Gallinules were along the edge of the lagoon, while a Ringed Kingfisher sat on a dead branch over them. From near the creek came calls of Broad-billed and Rufous Motmots, as well as the song of the Buff-rumped Warbler.
Birds flooded into the trees nearby. Some of the species in the trees included Band-backed Wren, Black-and-white Warbler, Black-faced Grosbeak, and Tropical Gnatcatcher. When the numerous birds in the trees in front of me left, a few of the other birders joined me. Before too long, we heard and saw a Pied Puffbird, which was sitting at the top of a nearby snag.
After breakfast, the crew headed along the main road which goes through El Zota property. As the sun warmed the earth, many more birds became active. In a clearing, we found lots of Collared Aracaris, a beautiful pair of Slaty-tailed Trogons, a cooperative Brown-hooded Parrot, and lots of Pale-vented Pigeons which we affectionately call PVPs.
In the woods near the clearing, we watched several Spider Monkeys and a White-faced Capuchin travel through the trees.
We then headed farther up the road to a large, scrubby clearing. Here, we heard a Little and Great Tinamou singing in the woods. A few Snowy Cotingas flew over while White-collared Manakins clapped from the woods behind us. We also spotted a Laughing Falcon sitting across the opening. Before too long, raptors appeared in the sky. At first, vultures circled around, but soon our first kettle of the day appeared, a small kettle of about eight Plumbeous Kites. Then, we started seeing a few Swallow-tailed Kites stream in from over the corner of the clearing. They circled above us. Kites continued to fly in until the kettle consisted of 48 of the gorgeous raptors. Small groups of swifts and swallows joined the skies with the raptors. Several Purple and Gray-breasted Martins flew aimlessly by, but the swifts, Gray-rumped and Lesser Swallow-tailed moved with very direct flight.
To our surprise, we saw another puffbird sitting on top of a snag. This one was much bigger than the one earlier, and turned out to be a White-necked Puffbird. In the same tree, was a very odd Black Vulture, which sat in a very strange way at the top of the tree, providing the group with plenty of laughs.
After lunch was siesta time, which basically meant more birding. A few guys and I walked out along the entrance road, but turned on a side road. Not long after traveling along the road, we saw an extremely tiny bird sitting about eye level in the vegetation. This little bird, a Black-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, along with being one of the world's smallest passerines, has one of the greatest bird names out there. Along the road, we also found a good number of butterflies.
At about 3:00 in the afternoon, the group got together for a hike, this time through the woods. We ended up on "Sendero Swampo" which translates to Swamp Trail. It definitely lives up to its name!
Later in the evening, after dinner, we went potooing. Before we even called for potoos, we spotted a Common Potoo sitting in a snag in front of us. We got great looks at the bird, and decided to head to bed after that.
March 7, 2010 list:
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Mantled Howler Monkey
Central American Spider Monkey