Nicaragua Day Seven-San Rafael Oak Pine Forest and El Jaguar Reserve

Some of us began day seven with an early morning attempt to see the Highland Guan, a pheasant-sized bird of the highlands. While this bird is considered “locally common” it has a very small and decreasing range from the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in the north to the the northern highlands of Nicaragua in the south. While we did see a few fly in and sit in trees at the forest edge we did not get any to come out in the open as there were just too many locals moving around and making their way to the coffee plantations. While we did not get any good looks at the guan, we did get a visit from the beautiful and ghostly Gray-necked Wood-Rail. Both the guan and rail are birds that tend to come out in the open only for a very brief period right at dawn and so the lighting is always poor at best.

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Gray-necked Wood-Rail

After breakfast we headed to the San Rafael Oak-Pine forest. This is the southern-most extend of this type of forests range and we located several species here that we did not  see anywhere else. What was really interesting is that it was a rather blustery day with intermittent rain and high winds that did not seem to adversely affect the birding as there was a lot of action despite the conditions. While the lighting was not very good from a photographic perspective, it is a good challenge to try to capture good images despite the lack of lighting. I believe poor conditions can still make for some interesting pictures and I really do like capturing the conditions I am photographing in.

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Yellow-throated Warbler searching for insect larvae in pine cones
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Yellow-throated Warbler
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Yellow-throated Warbler. You can see the long bill that is adapted for reaching into cones to extract insects and arachnids 
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Yellow-throated Warbler

We saw many warbler species on this trip which was fantastic. Another great find was the Grace’s Warbler. He did not give us great looks but I was able to get a picture of him peeking out from behind pine needles.

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Grace’s Warbler

One of the neatest looking woodpeckers I have seen is the Acorn Woodpecker and we were able to get some great looks at a few in this forest .

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Acorn Woodpecker
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Acorn Woodpecker
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Acorn Woodpecker
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This Rufous-crowned Peppershrike was a very nice find indeed 
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The peppershrike feeding on a caterpillar
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Painted Redstart
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A very wet and unhappy looking Blue -crowned Motmot
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A Buff-throated Saltator sits in the pouring rain
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Buff-throated Saltator
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Male Variable Seedeater
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Female Variable Seedeater
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Greater Pewee

We saw some Easten Bluebirds on this trip. The interesting thing about this population is that they are not migrants but, rather, a resident population.


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A strikingly colored male Eastern Bluebird in the rain
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Another look 
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The rain is really coming down but the bluebird doesn’t seem to mind
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Rusty Sparrow
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Rusty Sparrow
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A wet Social Flycatcher
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A Montezuma Oropendola checking out the bananas
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Montezuma Oropendola
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Montezuma Oropendola
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Montezuma Oropendola posing
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Montezuma Oropendola

Some of the tanagers were the  most richly colored birds I saw. The Crimson-collared Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager and Passerini’s Tanager were all amazing birds.


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Crimson-collared Tanager
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Crimson-collared Tanager

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Golden-hooded Tanager

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Olive-backed Euphonia 


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Olive-backed Euphonia
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Yellow-breasted Chat in deep foiliage with poor lighting
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Violet Sabrewing
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Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer
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Black-headed Saltator
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Green-breasted Mountain-Gem
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Green-breasted Mountain-Gem
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Green-breasted mountain Gem
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Emerald-chinned Hummingbird. Not much of a picture but the best I could get. We only saw this bird a couple of brief moments.  

2 thoughts on “Nicaragua Day Seven-San Rafael Oak Pine Forest and El Jaguar Reserve

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