3rd February 2022
A day to remember with Armadillo and this Lesser Anteater and only a few days ago, close encounter with a Tayra. And this is all on my patch!
I was meant to be on a flight back to the UK yesterday but I’ve extended my stay for a little while longer. All I’ll be comin home to is freezing snowy conditions and a corrupt government. Here, I’m in beautiful surroundings at an awesome hostel and the patch I’m daily watching is only a few minutes walk away.
And the patch just keeps on giving as it proved to be a corker of a day and not just bird species but mammals as well. From 06.30 to mid-day, I had only covered the area from the edge of the primary forest/chocolate plantation, long grass field, the river in the NE corner to the north pond. To walk it, it would take only a few minutes but on every turn I took, I didn’t know where to look as life and patch ticks were added on. Yesterday was a swift/hirundine day, while today it was the turn of woodpeckers and woodcreepers. It started off with the same species that I last saw yesterday, 2 Rufous Motmot. Also in area were single Least Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Eleana, 2 Summer Tanager and a three-toed Slough. I could hear the Lineated Woodpecker in the chocolate plantation but by the river there was new species to be had. A single Spot-headed Woodcreeper flew in followed by 2 Smoky-brown Woodpecker together. There were also Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, the female Black-blue Grassquit, 2 Olive-green Flycatcher, Black-cheeked Woodpecker and a Purple-crowned Fairy perched very briefly before movin on. The waterthrush was vocal below on the river and while I was searching to see which species it was, an obvious much larger woodcreeper flew in and started climbing from the base of a tree. Northern-barred Woodcreeper! A monster compared to the other woodcreeper that I just had.
2 Braod-billed Motmot was a good start to brighten the morning
and this Northern-barred Woodcreeper were species that I’ve not seen before
Just a single record shot of the Purple-crowned Fairy before it flew off
The 2 Smokey Woodpecker were the second site record
I didn’t want to leave the river but I could see so much activity goin on back up towards the edge of the forest, with yank warblers, honeycreepers, tanagers and flycatchers. When I reached them, there were also 2 Olive-backed Euphonia, Olivacious Piculet and 2 Barred Antshrike. While returning the way I came, there was a brief shower and poking my head under a small patch of tall mallows and I came eye too eye with my forth woodpecker of the hour so far. An Olive-green Woodpecker. Shortly afterwards, the sun came back out and both a Yellow-throated Vireo and Tropical Pewee showed well while an Acadian Flycatcher was sunbathing on the deck. Up to 3 Rufous-tailed Jacamar were together on different perches and another surprise was a Grey Catbird. While high up, the shower had brought down a single Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
The forth species of woodpecker in an hour and also a lifer Olive-green Woodpecker
The yank warblers included Golden-winged, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided and this stunning Black and White Warbler.
And this Yellow Warbler
For the second time only, I had up to 3 Rufous-tailed Jacamar together at the edge of the forest.
The only other place I’ve seen Grey Catbird is in Miami
Time had shot by and it was already gone 14.00 and at the last minute, I changed my mind in goin back for dinner. And on this occasion I made the right decision. I thought that I better check out elsewhere on the patch and under the tall mallows at the NW corner, there were of note, single Wood Thrush, Mourning Warbler, male Painted Bunting and for it’s second day, the Ovenbird. After covering the centre of the reserve and seeing a flyover of 2 Hoffman’s Woodpecker, a single Green Ibis, 2 Green Heron but no sign of any of the Boat-billed Night Heron for the first time since I first started watching this area, I returned the north pond. This is when things really started to liven up. Making my ways there, out of the blue, a Armadillo crossed my path at close range and despite running to where it appeared to have disappeared, I couldn’t hear or see anythin. Shite! And no sign after thirty minutes of searching. Before I leave the patch, whenever that will be, I want to get a decent image of the ever elusive Mourning Warbler and an individual was calling nearby. I moved in and I noticed this bulky, black and white bird in the thick of a bush. Bloody ell! A male Great Antshrike! I wasn’t expecting one of those to turn up here. The warbler was soon forgotten and fortunately the antshrike performed superbly at very close range until I lost it as it moved deeper into cover. I hung around for a good twenty minutes, hopping that it would return, but I could hear another Mourning Warbler and went in search of it. It was ticking intermediately but I duno how an earth I spotted it as it was still, but my eyes switched to something on the ground. Immediately I had an idea of what it was goin to be and I was spot on when I lifted my bins to have a look. No way! A Lesser Anteater! It had no idea that I was there and with my skill, I got a tad closer to where I could obtain ideal views of this very hard to get species. It was too busy getting stuck into licking up ants and for the next ten minutes, it hardly twitched and was just still. Unfortunately, when it did decide to move, it disappeared down a bank where I had no chance of seeing it. Like the antshrike, I stuck around for a while until I noticed a Russet-napped Wood Rail approaching the north pond. I sat on one of the many concrete benches for twenty minutes, that overlooks the pond along the main path, and observed the rail preening before it was flushed by a Great Kisadee. A Great Egret flew out and was replaced by a hummingbird that I identified it as a Long-billed Starthroat. Only the forth hummingbird species for the patch after the Purple-crowned Fairy that I had earlier. I ended this crazy mental day off with yet another species of woodpecker, Rufous-winged Woodpecker! Boy, am I looking forward to tomorrow.
Like the peppershrike, I really didn’t think that this male Great Antshrike would turn up on the patch and an awesome looking bird!
In less than a week I’ve now been fortunate to see Tayra, a few Common Agouti, up to 4 Slough and today, Nine-banded Armadillo and this Collared Anteater! The only other anteater I’ve ever seen was high up in a tree while working in the Peruvian Amazon
Russet-napped Wood Rail preening on the north pond
This Long-billed Starthroat was only the forth species of hummingbird for the patch
This Rufous-winged Woodpecker was the sixth species of day
And I goin home yesterday. Now why would I want to return back to the UK when I can relax and see some amazing birds and mammals on my doorstep?
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