Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

April 20, 2018

Lanquin Guatemala Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:28 am

El Retiro Resort Birding.

Yesterday morning I jumped on the bus to Lanquin. What a torture ride. It took us more than two hours to go sixty kilometers! The road turned to dirt and it was bumpy, windy and steep. Eventually we got there and I poured off the bus and into some dinner of chicken and rice. I got a tuk-tuk to El Retiro Resort. It is right by the river. First thing I did was jump into the river for a swim. I have not done that for ages. I forget the last time I went for a swim.

Red-billed Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas flavirostris)

First up is the Red-billed Pigeon. You can tell this one by the yellowish bill with some red at the base of it.

Spot-breasted Oriole
Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis)

I have seen so many orioles, but they keep coming at me like a plague of zombies.

Streaked  Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus)

Collared Aracari
Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

This one was quite small compared to something like a toucan or macaw.

Spotted Sandpiper

This Spotted Sandpiper was in a creek that was discharging toxic waster into the river where everyone was swimming.

Social Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher

Jumping out of the nest looking for building materials.

Lanquin bird list

Red-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas flavirostris)
Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis)
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus)
Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)
Spotted Sandpiper
Great-tailed Grackle
Clay-colored Thrush
Blue-and-Grey Tanager
Social Flycatcher
Bronzed Cowbird
Great Kiskadee
Yellow-winged Tanager
Baltimore Oriole and female
Altamira Oriole
Clay-colored Thrush

April 18, 2018

Coban Guatemala Day Two

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:00 am

Orquigonia

This morning I just walked out of the hostel, bought a sweet bread roll from the panadaria and a coffee from a street stall and jumped on the bus to San Cristobal. Easy-peasy. The bus driver dropped me off at the turn-off for the Orquigonia and I walked about two hundred meters to the facility.

Rose-throated Becard - male
Rose-throated Becard (Pacyramphus aglaiae sumichrasti) male

I asked about just wandering around by myself but they said it was compulsory to take a guide, which would cost fifty quetzals, less than ten dollars. Ha, why not? My guide was very good and spotted quite a few birds for me and was very patient when I wanted to hang around a while to wait for some birds to turn up. All in all a very good day and cheap at half the price!

Rose-throated Becard - female
Rose-throated Becard (Pacyramphus aglaiae sumichrasti) female

This female Rose-throated Becard was collecting sticks for her nest. Spring is coming I think.

Canada Warbler
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)

Quite a few warblers in the forest. This one came all the way from Canada.

Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

It was very hard to get photos of these warblers as they were flitting all over the place.

Ovenbird
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)

And at the end of my tour, there was an Ovenbird at the feeding dish. It was so dark I had to use my flash. Ergo, red-eye.

Lineated Woodpecker - male
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) male

As I was walking back down the track to the main road, I spotted this Lineated Woodpecker hammering away at a pine tree.

Chestnut-headed Oropendola nests
Chestnut-headed Oropendola nests

And just before the main road, lots of Chestnut-headed Orpendola nests in a big pine tree hanging over the track.

Canada Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler

With a nice slick-back hairdo. Pimpin’ it!

Orquigonia bird list

Rose-throated Becard (Pacyramphus aglaiae sumichrasti)
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus)
Black-headed Saltator
Wilson’s Warbler
Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)
Slate-throated Redstart
Plain Chachalaca
Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris)
Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri)

April 17, 2018

Coban Guatemala Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:21 am

Parque Nacional Las Victorias

I am in Coban, Central Guatemala. I think I am about 1000 meters up. Not sure. This morning I went to the Parque Nacional Las Victorias. I was not expecting much but it was fantastic. Lots of new birds and a smattering of old friends.

Townsend's Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)

Eastern or Western Wood-peewee
Eastern or Western Wood-peewee – not sure

Thanks to Luis and Mark for the ID help. It seems that you cannot separate them except by their song, so I will call them Contopus spp.

wren ?
House Wren ( Troglodytes aedon)

Supposed to be common in North and Central America. First I heard about it. ha ha.

Magnolia Warbler - non-breeding.
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) non-breeding.

Wilson's Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler

Black-headed Saltator
Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps)

Crimson-collared Tanager
Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)

Bushy-crested Jay
Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Great-tailed Grackle - female
Great-tailed Grackle

Little Blue Heron - juvenile
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) juvenile

Chestnut-headed Oropendola
Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri)

Least Grebe
Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)

Agouti
Agouti

“Agouti – Rodent. The term agouti or common agouti designates several rodent species of the genus Dasyprocta. They are native to Middle America, northern and central South America, and the southern Lesser Antilles.” (wiki)

alligator or crocodile ?
Crocodile or Alligator ?

They called it El Lagarto, which means lizard in Spanish. Not much help in trying to identify it. It was abandoned in the park by some unscrupulous persons.

Coban bird list

Eastern or Western Wood-peewee
House Wren ?
Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps)
Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) non-breeding.
Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri)
Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)
Wilson’s Warbler
Great-tailed Grackle
Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) juvenile
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives)

Agouti
El Lagarto ?

April 15, 2018

Biotopo del Quetzal

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:44 pm

Ranchitos del Quetzal.

Before I get to Ranchitos del Quetzal, I had some photos left in my camera from my last day at Panajachel from the verandah of my apartamento. A male Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) attached itself to the tree in front of the house, so I had to take its photo.

Yellow Warbler - male
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) male

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) male has underparts with chestnut streaking. Underside of tail yellow. And so on to the Biotopo. I stayed one night in Guatemala City and got my bird book finally. Too bad it only covers me until El Salvador, doh! And so, this morning I wait an hour for the horrendously expensive shuttle bus that was going all the way to Lanquin, a nine to ten hour journey. My 160 kilometer journey took me four hours! That is an average of 40kms/hour. Horrendous!

Common Chlorospingus
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

I found this Common Chlorospingus on a hike to the river near the compost heap. I could not believe how sparse the supply of birds were. It was completely dead. I was shocked. Nothing around.

Common Chlorospingus
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)

The next day I found another Common Chlorspingus. I think this photo might be a bet better than the other one.

Unicolored Jay
Unicolored Jay (Aphelocoma unicolor)

The unicolored Jay is blue all over with a black mask through the eyes. They were quite common in this location.

Slate-throated Redstart
Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus)

This is a very boring name for a very colourful bird. I went for a walk up the mountain around mid-day and saw quite a few lizards but no birds.

Collared Trogon
Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris)

Right at the end of the day I spied this Collared Trogon high up in a tree.

Black-headed Nightingale-thrush
Black-headed Nightingale-thrush (Catharus mexicanus)

It was nearly night when I took this photo of the Black-headed Nightingale-thrush. That is why it is so bad. doh!

lizard 1
lizard 1

lizard 2
lizard 2

Not sure if this is the same species or not.

Biotopo del Quetzal bird list

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)
Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)
Wilson’s Warbler
Unicolored Jay (Aphelocoma unicolor)
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)
Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus)
Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris)
Black-headed Nightingale-thrush (Catharus mexicanus)
Great-tailed Grackle

April 13, 2018

Lago Atitlan Day Three

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:10 am

Atitlan Nature Reserve, Day Three.

Day three and back at the Nature Reserve. But first here is a Northern Rough-winged Swallow that was at my window the afternoon before.

Northern rough-winged Swallow
Northern rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

The light was terrible and the birds were not co-operating so most of the photos are pretty terrible. They are mostly just record shots.

Band-backed Wren
Band-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus zonatus)

Nashville Warbler - Chipe de Nashville
Nashville Warbler – Chipe de Nashville (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)

Golden-olive Woodpecker
Golden-olive Woodpecker (Colaptes rugiginosus)

Black-headed Grosbeak - female
Black-headed Grosbeak – female (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

Azure-crowned Hummingbird
Azure-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanocephala)

Gray-collared Becard, female
Gray-collared Becard, female – mosquero-cabezón mexicano (Pachyramphus major)

Acorn Woodpecker, female
Acorn Woodpecker, female (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Flame-colored Tanager
Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata)

Yellow-winged Tanager -  Tangara Aliamarilla
Yellow-winged Tanager – Tangara Aliamarilla (Thraupis abbas)

American Coot - Gallareta Americana
American Coot – Gallareta Americana (Fulica americana)

Green Heron
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

White-eared Hummingbird
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)

Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Panajachel Bird List

Northern rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
Band-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus zonatus)
Golden-olive Woodpecker (Colaptes rugiginosus)
Black-headed Grosbeak – female (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
Azure-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanocephala)
Gray-collared Becard, female – mosquero-cabezón mexicano (Pachyramphus major)
Acorn Woodpecker, female (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata)
Nashville Warbler – Chipe de Nashville (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
Yellow-winged Tanager – Tangara Aliamarilla (Thraupis abbas)
American Coot – Gallareta Americana (Fulica americana)
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)

April 12, 2018

Lago Atitlan Day 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:11 pm

Atitlan Reserva – Panajachel.

The next morning in Panajachel, I get up not that early, have muesli for breakfast. No coffee. Then start walking towards the reserve, looking for a tuk-tuk to take me there. Finally one comes along and drops me off outside for 15 Quetzals ($2.50).

Blue-and-White Mockingbird
Blue-and-White Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus)

I am too early. It does not open till 8am. So I walk down the road and look for some birds. There are a few around. I spot a Blue-and-White Mockingbird rooting around in the dry loaves on the hill slope above me.

Nashville Warbler
Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)

When the reserva opens, I pay my 70 Quetzals and up the trail I climb. There are birds everywhere. The spanish name for the Nashville Warbler is Chipe de Nashville.

Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)

Townsend's Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)

Yellow-Winged Tanager
Yellow-Winged Tanager – Tangara Aliamarilla (Thraupis abbas)

Slate-throated Redstart
Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus)

Wilson's Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)

Bushy-crested Jay
Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)

Blue-gray Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

Wood Thrush
Wood Thrush – zorzal maculado (Hylocichla mustelina)

3676 id please
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)

3706 ID please
Western Tanager, female. ( Piranga ludoviciana).

White-eared Hummingbird
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)

Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis)

Atitlan Reserva Bird List

Blue-and-White Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus)
Nashville Warbler – Chipe de Nashville (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)
Yellow-Winged Tanager – Tangara Aliamarilla (Thraupis abbas)
Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus)
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
Wood Thrush – zorzal maculado (Hylocichla mustelina)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – picogordo pecho rosa (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Western Tanager ( Piranga ludoviciana).
Tennessee Warbler
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis)
Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi)
Sociable Flycatcher
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
3788 Bronzed Cowbird (Mothothrus aenueus)
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)
White-tipped Dove

Others

Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi paniscus)
squirrel. ??
Coati (Nasua nasua)

Guatemala Lake Atitlan 1

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 8:58 pm

Panajachel, Lago Atitlan. Guatemala.

Day one in Lago Atitlan, Guatemala. I got here about mid-day from Xela. I caught three chicken buses which were quite good. No crowding or smelly chickens. It only took me about three hours to get here.

Black-capped Swallow
Black-capped Swallow (Atticora pileata)

In the afternoon I walked down to the lake to see if there were any birds about. I am staying by the river so it is pretty close to the lake shore. First up I saw a whole bunch of Black-capped Swallows perching on the wires above the sewerage treatment works.

Black-vented Oriole
Black-vented Oriole (Icterus wagleri)

I saw this new Oriole in the tree next door. I keep finding new species of Orioles. There must be hundreds of them.

American Coot
American Coot (Fulica americana)

The only birds on the lake were the American Coots. No ducks, nothing. The spanish name for American Coot is Gallareta Americana.

Black Phoebe
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

I could not identify this Black Phoebe at first because I thought it had too much rufous colouring in it. But I was wrong, again!

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

There was one solitary wader by the shore. The spanish name for Spotted Sandpiper is Playero Alzacolita. I think it had its breeding plumage happening. Last time I saw one of these was in Campeche, Mexico. By this time the wind was getting up and it started to rain. So I high-tailed it back home.

Tennessee  Warbler
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)

Back at the house, I saw this Tennessee Warbler in the trees.

Panajachel Bird List

Black-capped Swallow (Atticora pileata)
Black-vented Oriole (Icterus wagleri)
American Coot – Gallareta Americana (Fulica americana)
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
Spotted Sandpiper – Playero Alzacolita (Actitis macularius)
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)
Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)
White-winged Dove
Great-tailed Grackle
House Sparrow

March 31, 2018

Backyard Birding Chiapas

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:47 pm

San Cristobal de las Casas

I was feeling tired today so I slept in. Just as well I did, because I photographed some nice birds in the garden of the guest house where I am staying in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

White-eared Hummingbird
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)

I had seen this hummingbird outside my window feeding on the bottle brush flowers. But everyone I got the camera out and ready , it had flown off. I finally got some photos of one when he stayed around for a while.

White-eared Hummingbird
White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)

And another photo because I can.

Tennessee Warbler
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)

Thanks to Manoli for identifying this Tennessee Warbler. It is a very pretty little bird.

Rufous-collared Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow ( Zonotrichia capensis) aka Andean Sparrow

I nearly missed this Rufous-collared Sparrow. It was rooting around under a bush.

Bullock's Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)

I got the shock of my life when I identified this one. But if you look closely it is not your standard Altamira or similar. It has a black stripe through the eye and a black patch on the top of the head.

San Cristobal de Las Casas bird list

White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis)
Rufous-collared Sparrow ( Zonotrichia capensis) aka Andean Sparrow
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Fun in the Zoo

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:14 pm

Tuxtla Gutierrez Zoologica

I struggled to get out of bed this morning. I just wanted to sleep all morning. I had a shower to wake myself. It sort of half worked. Down the street to the corner, a tamale and lukewarm coffee for breakfast, then wait for the colectivo to take me up the hill. I am glad that I got out of bed, it was totally worth it.

Yellow-winged Cacique
Yellow-winged Cacique – Cacique Mexicano (Cacicus melanicterus)

First of all, when I got to the zoo, I wandered around the car park because it was not open yet. There were heaps of birds around. I should have got there earlier. The Yellow-winged Caciques were building a nest right in the entrance area. Hopefully I will get around to doing a complete post on the nest-building later.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher – Papamoscas Vientre Amarillo (Myiodynastes luteiventris)

This is the only photo I took of the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. You never know.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – Pijiji Aliblanco (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

The Black-bellied Whistling-ducks were in a pond in the zoo. They could have flown out any time so I am calling it.

Russet-crowned Motmot
Russet-crowned Motmot – Momoto Corona Café (Momotus mexicanus)

This Russet-crowned Motmot jumped up in front just as I was leaving. Thank you very much. That is the second motmot and I am hoping for the Blue-crowned one as well.

Great Curassow  - male
Great Curassow (Crax rubra) – male

This male Great Curassow was rooting around in the leaf litter under the rainforest understory. Standard behaviour for these type of birds. They look and behave very similar to our Australian Brush Turkey.

Great Curassow  - female
Great Curassow (Crax rubra) – female

The female Great Curassow is very different with a rufous back and spotty neck.

Bronzed Cowbird
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus)

This Bronzed Cowbird was stealing the ducks’ food.

Inca Dove
Inca Dove (Columbina Inca)

It took me a while to work out what this was. The white undertail with the black lining gave it away.

Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Amazing birds the Altamira Orioles. They were putting on a show bobbing up and down. Very strange.

White-fronted Amazon
White-fronted Amazon (Amazona albifrons)

And a decent photo of a White-fronted Amazon.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker(Melanerpes aurifrons)

Come ten o’clock I headed back down the hill because I had to check out of my hotel. Packed up my bag and headed off to the bus terminal.

Tuxtla Gutierrez bird list

Yellow-winged Cacique – Cacique Mexicano (Cacicus melanicterus)
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher – Papamoscas Vientre Amarillo (Myiodynastes luteiventris)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – Pijiji Aliblanco (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Russet-crowned Motmot – Momoto Corona Café (Momotus mexicanus)
Great Curassow (Crax rubra)
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus)
Inca Dove (Columbina Inca)
Plain Chachalaca – chachalaca vetula (Ortalis vetula)
Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi)
Summer Tanager
Golden-fronted Woodpecker(Melanerpes aurifrons)
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
White-fronted Amazon (Amazona albifrons)
Black Vulture
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

Extras

Mexican Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus)
Guatemalan black howler, or Yucatan black howler, (Alouatta pigra)

https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/39269-Tuxtla-Guti-rrez-Check-List?taxon=3&view=taxonomic

March 30, 2018

Yucatan Campeche and Chiapas

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 12:11 am

Campeche to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Well I finally got around to sorting out all my tourist photos. It has been a hectic ride. I was in Merida for two weeks learning Spanish at a school. Then I went to Campeche for a couple of days.

Campeche square
Campeche square

This is a square showing the colourful houses.

Black Christ church
Black Christ

This church had a black christ just above the altar. Pretty amazing. The sign on the church says “Lord Black Christ of San Roman”.

Pirate in gaol
Pirate in gaol

They had this pirate in gaol under the fort. He still has his treasure to comfort him.

Campeche waterfront
Campeche waterfront

In Mexico they call the street along the waterfront the Malecon. This is the Gulf of Mexico.

Mexican Flag
Mexican flag

Campeche’s claim to fame is the Big Flag. But it cannot compete with Goulburn’s Big Merino.

Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins

A maya pyramid at Palenque Ruinas.

Catazaja Laguna
Catazaja Laguna

I got a colectivo here from Palenque. I photographed lots of new birds. Top Spot.

Sumidero Canyon - Chiapas
Sumidero Canyon

Just a short colectivo ride from Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas. The boat ride went for two hours and cost a measly ten bucks.

Sumidero Canyon
Sumidero Canyon

Dark and foreboding.

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