Monday 30 September 2013

North American thrushes lead the way

Just before dawn this morning as we were preparing to open nets, Ivan the boatman appeared with a hand caught bird. In the kitchen he had found a Grey-cheeked Thrush - the first of the season !
How the day unfolded, below one of the 35 Swainson's Thrushes banded today !
 Only to be out banded by the 40 Veerys ...
Veerys and particlularly Swainson's Thrushes are caught in numbers every year here in Tortuguero.
Our 16 Red-eyed Vireos today, was a good total for a whole season..
Five species of flycatcher, including another Great Crested, our first Social, 4 Arcadians and 6 Yellow-bellied the more interesting..
Of the three Summer Tanagers...three different plumages....
This moulting hatch year male more interesting than the corresponding female..
..but this adult male was bright !
127 birds today of 18 species...our first Autumn fall and best day so far.
Tomorrow to the National Parque site, where last winter, thrushes, Catbirds and Kentucky warblers were found amongst the resident primary forest species.
(photos - Wendy)

Saturday 28 September 2013

White-whiskered Puffbird..A "Bobo bird" !

I put my hand into the bag and very loose feathers was all  I could feel. Having no experience of a Puffbird in the hand, and few have....this is what one looks like
This imm.or ageing and sex to be decided was extracted by Yohay from Eilat, a member of our banding team. All very loose feathers, a strange physical structure, and motionless.....all part of their apparent lethargic character - (Bobo meaning stupid)

Yohay with me at our Cano Palma banding station.

No moult lilerature on this species..but on this bird the wings in symetrical moult, with flight feathers being replaced at 3 points.
A panoramic 180 degree photo taken by Wendy of the forest here surrounding the 1m wide boardwalk, and finally another first of  the autumn migration today a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Back to the coast tomorrow - an early boat to our Aeropuerto site.

Friday 27 September 2013

Prothonotary Warblers head the migrant list....

Five protons banded today....yesterday our first Veery.
Closely followed by four more Northern Waterthrushes !
After two largely successful days balancing the targeting of both resident and migrant species, below our migrant totals to date :

Prothonotary Warbler        12
Northern Waterthrush       14
"Trail's Flycatcher"            11
Yellow Warbler                 10
Veery                                5
Red-eyed Vireo                  5
Canada Warbler                 4
Great Crested Flycatcher    3
Kentucky Warbler               1
Eastern Wood Pewee          1

Tomorrow our boat picks us up at 5am to take us the few kms back into the forest and we band at the Cano Palma base. Here the targets are resident species, and after this evening's downpours ...Antbirds and Antshrikes we hope!
Our final bird this morning...not a migrant....this female Slaty-tailed Trogon

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Vis-mig today, early Kingbirds to evening Nighthawks...

These beauties to start........!
A Urania day flying Swallowtail moth. This was on the kitchen wall last suppertime. Passage of this moth throughout the day but peaked at c4000 per hour passing our our accomodation at 17:00.

Banding this morning in the primary forest behind Tortuga Lodge.....

Early highlights a couple of passing flocks of Eastern Kingbirds... each flock 50+ birds. No migrants banded today, mainly White-collared Manikins and a nice American Pygmy Kingfisher.

A great way to end visible migration today....with 6 flocks each of c60-80 birds....all Nighthawks slowly spiralling upwards as they move south.

Migration counts feature as part of our scheduled day, with 10 minute counts of all vis-mig carried out every 2 hours whilst banding a minimum.
Yesterday a late afternoon count from the beach picked up a lovely adult Brown Booby..!!

The main man...(or beast) of our garden Iguana family kept putting in an appearance whilst watching this evenings migration.

We are off to Aeropuerto at 5am tomorrow...shrub and low coastal forest next to the beach.....hoping for migrants.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Kentucky first.....Wilson's to follow....!

Our highlight today, this 1st year male Kentucky Warbler
Two  more Prothonatory Warblers today and our daily Northern Waterthrushes too.
This red rump brightened the forest net.......

An adult male Passerini's Tanager.....only 1 caught here in each of the last two years. Another eight Hummingbirds caught today, and nice to see a Green-breasted Mango in the field.

No ringing table at the aeropuerto site....
and Wendy loving working in the 30+c and 90% humidity.

Tomorrow a return to the STC (Sea Turtle Conservatory) site, our base where, on the first day, catching two Yellow-green Vireos in a mixed warbler/vireo flock was amazing !

We will catch up with our own Wilson's Warblers soon. The 2nd for UK and Ireland in Cork currently. A common wintering bird at our highland banding sites. - where we head on 30th Sept.

Monday 16 September 2013

Teifi to Tortuguero...or Cardigan to Costa Rica

Wendy and I start our latest venture to Costa Rica this evening......
Our first base will be in the lowland tropical forest on the Caribbean coast at Tortuguero.

Last year one of our star birds early in the trip was this Royal Flycatcher at the Canadian research station at Cano Palma....just a boat ride across from Tort..and where we had great night time views of Great Potoo and Agami Herons....
This year we have timed our visit 2 months earlier, to be blitzed with North American migrants we hope..!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Manxie rescue and release...

Manx Shearwater.....
Found in a garden...hiding behind the dustbin.
48 hours later having been rested in a box, ringed and released from a Teifi estuary headland.

Monday 9 September 2013

Emerged from the reed bed and down to the sea....

With the passage of Sedge and Reed Warblers through the marsh slowing down, our efforts have moved from the wet and mud of the reed bed on the Teifi marsh to the beach.
Having seen an increase in the number of Rock Pipits on Patch in the Teifi estuary it was time to dust off the spring traps, replenish the worm stocks and continue to collect data on passage through the spit.
14 Rock Pipits were caught over the early morning high tide yesterday. All were juveniles still undergoing body moult. 81 have now been ringed since we started in 2010 so potential to start a colour ringing project.
One advantage of ringing down at the estuary is to be able to record the waders moving through for county records and BTO's Birdtrack. Only about 30 small waders were in the high tide roost
with no sign of the recent Curlew Sandpiper but the Dunlin and Ringed Plover were joined by a juvenile Turnstone. Good to see some of the Dunlin with shiny new rings from being ringed the night before.
In the last few nights we have ringed 14 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and an Oystercatcher

Although CES is over for this year on the Teifi marshes reserve, some ringing will continue on the site for a few more months. 13 Blackcaps and  17 Chiffchaffs were ringed last week. This Blackcap was ringed last Autumn and not seen since. Is he a migrant using the site as a stop over regularly or a local breeder who has managed to avoid the nets all summer?
Information about autumn migrants and winter residents is fed back to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and the Welsh Wildlife Centre about birds on the reserve which they are grateful to be able to use. Spreading pictures and information to their supporters helps with bird identification,  helps to raise the profile of the reserve and hopefully increase revenue for use in conservation to help provide good habitat for these migrants. Thanks to Nathan and Howard for their continuing support of our work on the reserve.