Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Unexpected birds from El Valle/Altos del María

Michael Gaston Harvey sent in the following report:

I'm not sure if anyone still recieves these reports, but I thought some sightings from the last few months in El Valle/Altos del Maria would be of interest. I, along with Danilo Rodriguez and various other people, have found several unexpected species to be present and even common in the right habitat in this area. Barred Hawk, Black Guan, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, White-tipped Sicklebill, Green Thorntail, Rufous-crested Coquette, White-tailed Emerald, Snowcap, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, Orange-bellied Trogon, Tody Motmot, Blue-throated Toucanet, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted Barbtail, White-throated Spadebill, White-thighed Swallow, Ochraceous Wren, Pale-vented Thrush, and Blue Seedeater all seem to be present fairly reliably, many of them in numbers. Other species seen on occasion include Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Black-crowned Antpitta, and Rufous-browed Tyrannulet. The Mountain-Gem, Snowcap, Spinetail, Barbtail, and Wren were especially surprising. These five species are especially numerous at a patch of forest in Altos del Maria, but all were found in other areas as well. The Altos del Maria location is along the eastern fork of the main road (permission required to enter). Take this road until the pavement ends just before a quarry. There is some good forest here. Most species were also detected at a forest patch on a gated road leading north toward Cerro Lloron from Mata Ahogado, near El Valle. Take this road until it reaches a crest, the best habitat is before (below and to the west of) this crest. Finally, a loose colony of Wedge-tailed Grass-Finches has been present near the top of the road between El Valle and La Estancia (very rough, 4WD required).

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