Monday 3 November 2014

Migrant colours before tropical rain

The expected change in the weather, from a mixture of high humidity and sunshine to near constant rain has happened. No banding today, a mixture of vismig and shorebird counting in the rain, more on today later but a look back to some colourful birds from the last two days. Like this adult male Summer Tanager above, this the only adult male of the eight Summer Tanagers to date.

An interesting shot of the reddish tones of a this Summer Tanager, we think an adult female.

Much more unusual here are Scarlet Tanagers, this one the first of the trip.
Prothonatory Warblers numbers are increasing with three more caught, this area being a major wintering site for this large and colourful warbler.

Not everything is colourful, some are more subtle. This the underside of a Pewee bill, showing the size of the dark area.This and the distance between upper tail coverts and tail tip being the key in hand features for separation of  these flycatchers.
This being a Western Pewee, on both criteria mentioned above.

You may have picked out a retained secondary feather in the photo Wendy posted of a male Black-cowled Oriole, a resident species in the previous post.
Here a different view of the wing showing the three ? different age feathers in the wing.

Another colourful resident, a male White-collared Manakin
We catch few adult males, so three males caught in one morning was unusual and all finishing their primary moult. The outer primaries produce a noise, so without being able to produce this sound, I doubt if lekking.

Back to today, and our hike in the rain to the bocca, where canal meets the Caribbean. Considering the weather, a look for weather driven birds and we were not disappointed.
Terns were the highlight, with c80 Royal, - 6 of them ringed. Two Sandwich Terns, and a first sighting for me here of Common Terns, 8 in the roost. 12 Laughing Gulls were present too.
Waders seen included, 2 Collared Plover, 4 Semi-palmated Plover, 10 Sanderling, 1 Black-bellied Plover,  several Hudsonian Whimbrel and Spotted Sandpipers. Two flocks totalling c60 Blue-winged Teal were the first of the Fall .

Here we work in very humid conditions, bird bags,..and clothes get damp!
Used bird bags are washed and dried every day, here our cheerful housekeeper Elisa, with some freshly washed and tumble-dried bags for us...
And if the rain gets too bad to go birding, as it sounds right now, we mend nets !!!!

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