Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

May 22, 2018

Magnificent Frigatebird

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 7:39 pm

Fregata magnificens

The male Magnificent Frigatebird has a red gular sac under the chin, which he inflates to attract a female. You can just see the de-inflated sac under the chin of the male in this photo. I think this male is in non-breeding phase.

Magnificent Frigatebird  - male
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) – male

The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly.

Magnificent Frigatebird  - female
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) – female

Frigatebirds feed by stealing fish from other birds on the wing. They harass the bird causing them to drop a fish, which they swoop upon. Their range is from Mexico to Brazil on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Magnificent Frigatebird  - immature
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) – immature

Immature Magnificent Frigatebirds have a white head as well as white on chest and belly. They keep this plumage for four to six years.

A great resource : http://nemesisbird.com/birding/identification/magnificent-frigatebirds-determining-age-and-sex/

Juan Venado Reserve

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:31 am

Boat Ride in the Mangroves

This afternoon I went for a ride in the mangroves. But. It was in a dugout canoe. And I will say categorically that I do NOT like dugout canoes. They rock all over the place. It is extremely difficult to take photos that are in focus when the boat is rocking all the time. Whinge over. I started off at 2.30pm, went with my guide to the boat with this dodgy outboard motor and a couple of planks to sit on.

American white ibis
American white ibis (Eudocimus albus)

Well at least I got a new bird, maybe a couple of them. And a new sub-species. The American White Ibis is called Ibis Blanco in Spanish. This one had a hook in its beak. Poor thing.

Ringed Kingfisher   - female
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)

This is a female Ringed Kingfisher. I had to work out if it was a Belted Kingfisher or not but this one had rufous under the wings, so that settled it.

Ringed Kingfisher   female
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)

Just to show both sides of the Ringed Kingfisher.

Mangrove Warbler
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia bryanti)

This is the Mangrove Warbler sub-species of the Yellow Warbler. I am pretty sure it is local to Central America. But not sure exactly where.

Tricoloured Heron
Tricoloured Heron (Egretta tricolor)

A lot of these birds are in breeding plumage.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Whimbrel
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

Green Iguana
Green Iguana

I did not see much of the Green Iguana but I liked the claws. Called Iguana verde in spanish.

Las Penitas bird list

American white ibis (Eudocimus albus) Ibis Blanco
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)
Yellow “Mangrove” Warbler (Setophaga petechia bryanti)
Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis)
Spotted Sandpiper
Tricoloured Heron (Egretta tricolor)
Great Egret
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Mangrove Swallow
White-winged Dove
Red-billed Pigeon

May 21, 2018

Nicaragua Day Two

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:58 pm

Las Penitas Village Amble

This morning I woke up at 6am and went for a walk through the village at the back of the beach looking for birds. It was quite good, finding a number of good birds, a new species and a local race. I had to deal with barking dogs and huge sows that wanted to eat me, but I came out with my dignity intact.

Cinnamon Hummingbird
Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila)

A number of thes Cinnamon Hummingbirds were hovering and feeding on the flowers in the trees.

Rose-throated Becard    female
Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) female

It took me a while to identify this Rose-throated Becard. I am pretty sure it is a local race but I cannot find out any information. There are 8 sub-species but I do not know which one it is. Thanks to James again for help with the identification.

Black-headed Trogon
Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)

White-lored Gnatcatcher
White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris)

This is a better shot of the White-lored Gnatcatcher , breeding male as far as I can tell.

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

There are a lot of birds here that i did not expect to see. But then again i have no idea what to expect. doh!

Bronzed Cowbird
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus)

Good shot showing the red eye of the Bronzed Cowbird. The red eye is a very good indicator.

Tropical Mockingbird
Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)

Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

There are some very nice deep colours in this Altamira Oriole.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Nice shot of a Brown Pelican just skimming over the top of the waves.

Clay-colored Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi)

The Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi) changes eye color from brown when young to deep red when adult. This is a good shot showing the eye color of what I assume is an adult.

Magnificent Frigatebird - male
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregatus magnificens)

This is a male Magnificent Frigatebird. The chest is all black but it does not have a red patch under the chin. Do not know what that means.

Las Penitas bird list

Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila)
Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)
White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris)
Great Kiskadee
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus)
Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi)
Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
Scrub Euphonia (Euphonia affinis)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregatus magnificens)

Nicaragua Pacific Coast

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:09 am

Las Penitas

Well it has been a while since I posted some bird photos. It has been raining heaps in Nicaragua. I went up to the hills but it poured and I realized it was useless because all the tracks would be mud. So I came to the coast where it is sunny.

White-lored Gnatcatcher
White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris)

This little fellow was flitting around in a tree. I had no idea what it was at the time but I was surprised that I got even a semi-horrible photo.

House Sparrow
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

I was quite shocked to see a House Sparrow but it seems they have made inroads into Nicaragua mainly in towns and not so much in the bush.

kingbird maybe
Tropical Kingbird

I cannot see a white stripe at the edges of the tail and the chest has no grey in it. I am waiting for the experts. But it is getting a bit late. Thanks james, it was a tropical kingbird. Just hoping. doh!

Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Quite a nice photo of these beauties. I have been seeing them all over Central America.

fishing boat getting air
Fishing Boat

This fishing boat was going out of the river and the surf was about six foot sets. I was gob-smacked. They got some good air, but.

Royal Tern - non breeding
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)

Took me a while to id this one. I have forgotten what a Caspian Tern looks like. doh!

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

A few flocks of Brown Pelicans came flying down the beach. Quite a sight.

Magnificent Frigatebird
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregatus magnificens)

And last but not least a Magnificent Frigatebird. I have to hurry because they are turning off all the lights at the hotel. doh!

Las Penitas bird list

White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris)
Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea)
Great-tailed Grackle
Tri-colored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
White-winged Dove
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
tropical kingbird
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregatus magnificens)
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)

May 12, 2018

Mexico to El Salvador

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:59 pm

Tourist Shots from Mexico to El Salvador

It has been so long since I uploaded the tourist photos. All the way from Chiapas, Mexico to El tunco in El Salvador. It’s nuking, man.

san cristobal
Street in San Cristobal

This was a tourist street in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, south Mexico. I have no idea why they had all these umbrellas over the street but it worked because there were heaps of tourrists promenading up and down. I think there were lots of tourists there because it was Easter week.

tourist crap
Selling tourist junk

The tourist knick-knacks. It is the same old same old every tourist town you go to.

chicken bus
Chicken Bus

A genuine Guatemalan chicken bus at Xela, just about to take me to Lake Atitlan. It only took me three buses to get there.

Outskirts of Xela
Outskirts of Xela

After a week of spanish lessons, I was on my way to Panajachel, out of the city.

Atitlan Reserva
Atitlan Reserva

A waterfall at Atitlan Reserve, just out of Panajachel. I saw quite a lot of nice birds out in the bush and up into the mountains. Coban was superb, as was Lanquin, except for the horrendous bus rides to get there.

Old Gnarly Tree
Old Gnarly Tree

It is actually some kind of strangler fig climbing up a big tree. At Tikal.

tikal
Tikal

This is what all the tourists go to see. I did it and I got the pictures. the end.

Hotel Kangaroo
Hotel Kangaroo

An oasis of Aussieness in the jungles of Rio Dulce, Guatemala. You get around in boats, no roads there.

Finca Paraiso
Finca Paraiso

I went on a mammoth bus ride to get to this waterfall that was hot water coming out of a volcano or something. It was super hot.

El Tunco Point
El Tunco Point

And into El Salvador. Lots of waves here. They ain’t hollow barrels but a good fun wave nevertheless.

May 9, 2018

El Sunzal Birds – La Libertad

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:31 pm

El Sunzal Birds

This morning I was up eaarly just after 6am and went down towards the beach. I took a few photos of the surfers but the waves were just not that good. So off I went back in search of some birds. Luckily I found a few.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - juvenile
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) juvenile

At first I thought it was a Tropical Mockingbird but the bill was all wrong. After I processed this photo I looked online and found that it was a juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. My book did not have a photo of the juvie in it so I could not work it out.

Orange-chinned Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis)

This one caught me by surprise. I thought they were Orange-fronted Parakeets until I had a good look and something was not quite right.

Orange-fronted parakeet and Orange-chinned Parakeet
Orange-fronted parakeet and Orange-chinned Parakeet

This was a bit problematic putting this photo up. But it is a good comparison shot. A lady at a restaurant by the beach had these parakeets with clipped wings out the front of her shop. On the left is the Orange-fronted Paraakeet and on the right is the Orange-chinned Parakeet. You can clearly see the difference in plumage between them.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea) juvenile

I am pretty sure this is a Northern Rough-winged Swallow but I am waiting on the experts to give me confirmation. There is not much else it could be. Edit> It is a Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea), thanks to James Coe for the id.

Amazon Kingfisher - female
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) female

And I think this might be the same Amazon Kingfisher as yesterday. I was hoping to see the male. And the vultures are circling overhead.

Little Blue Heron  - immature
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) – immature

This motley crew is an immature Little Blue Heron. Being photobombed by a grackle.

El Sunzal Birds list

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) juvenile
Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis)
Orange-fronted parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis)
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)
Tropical Kingbird
Green Heron
Inca Dove
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea)
Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea)
Great Kiskadee
Brown Pelican
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
White-winged Dove
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) immature

May 8, 2018

El Salvador Birds Three

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:49 pm

Birds of El Tunco

Yesterday afternoon I arrived at El Sunzal, found my hostel, then late in the afternoon wandered along the track to the beach. There was a dried up creek just before the beach with some Green Herons poking around in the stagnant water.

Streak-backed Oriole
Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus)

I was very surprised to find this Streak-backed Oriole. It was just hanging in the trees near the El Sunzal bridge.

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

And these Spot-breasted Orioles were on the other side of the bridge feeding on the flowering trees.

White-throated Magpie Jay
White-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta formosa)

This White-throated Magpie Jay was high up on a tree right near the bridge too. The locals were all walking past and had no idea what was around them.

Amazon Kingfisher - female
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) female

This morning I went and checked out the yukky surf, then came back after taking a few desultory shots of the surfistas. I then went to the creek and found this femaale Amazon Kingfisher on the wire over the river/creek.

Orange-fronted Parakeet
Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis)

I did not know what I had when I shot this. I looked in the book and found these are common along the pacific coast. Wow the mosquitoes are bad here. I am being attacked as we speak. And it is only 3.30 in the afternoon. I had to buy some Off it is so bad. ouch!

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

A lot of these Spotted Sandpipers were in breeding plumage.

Rufous-naped Wren
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)

I cannot stop taking photos of these beautiful birds.

El Tunco bird list

White-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta formosa)
Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus)
Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis)
Orange-fronted Parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis)
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) female
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)
Green Heron
Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)
Inca Dove (Columbina inca)
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives)
Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea)
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola)
Clay-coloured Thrush (Turdus grayi)
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
Tropical Kingbird
Greater-tailed Grackle

Surfing El Tunco

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 9:04 pm

Surfing in El Salvador

I arrived here in El Tunco yesterday and late in the afternoon I went for a walk to see what the waves were like.

cut back 0133
cut back

The waves were not fantastic but they were ok. There were a few guys getting some good rides but not that many.

In the critical section 9879
In the critical section

I met a one-legged El Salvadorean surf photographer at the beach and hung around talking to him and taking some photos. He sold his photos to the visiting tourist surfistas.

cut back 9898
cut back

I went back this morning but the surf had dropped off a lot and it was not very big.

off the top
off the top

longboarder cranking it
longboarder cranking it

Los Cobanos Afternoon

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:26 am

Los Cobanos afternoon.

In the afternoon I went back to the patch of scrub. Nothing new but I got some interesting photos nevertheless.

Turquoise-browed Motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)

I took some photos of the lizards sun bathing on the roof of the hostel and when I showed them to the owner, she said that was what the hostel was called – Casa Garrobo, after the lizards, garrobo. Ha ha.

Garrobo
Garrobo

This squirrel was into the mangos. I found a huge patch of mango trees with heaps of ripe fruit and the birds were feasting. Mainly the Melodious Blackbirds.

Squirrel - ardea
Squirrel – ardea

This Golden-fronted Woodpecker is race santacruzi, the El Salvador sub-species.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker  - female
Golden-Fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons santacruzi) – female

Just a touch of rufous on the wings told me what this was.

Inca Dove
Inca Dove (Columbina inca)

A bit of a golden crown for this noisy critter

Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

And a good shot showing most of the features of the White-winged Dove.

White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

Los Cobanos bird list

Black Vulture
Yellow-winged Cacique
Brown Pelican
Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)

Garrobo
Squirrel – ardea

First El Salvador Post

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:14 am

Los Cobbanos – El Salvdador

I spent nearly a week in Guatemala City waiting to get my keyboard fixed on my laptop. They did not fix it. I am typing this on an external USB keyboard that I am not yet used to. I am struggling here. I finally escaped Guate City and got about two buses to the El Salvador border then caught two more buses to Los Cobanos, on the coast just down from Sonsonate.

Rufous-naped Wren
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)

First morning in and I went for a walk in the bush near my hostel. It was much better than I expected. Some nice shots of some Rufous-naped Wrens was the first thing I bumped into.

Crane Hawk
Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)

I spotted this Crane Hawk in the middle of the trees, and got some pretty tragic shots. I thought that was going to be it for this one.

Crane Hawk in flight
Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)

But luckily I spotted him again up in the sky and got some wonderful photos of him in flight.

Ruddy-Breasted Seedeater
Ruddy-Breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta)

This is the second seedeater that I have photographed. He was just sitting on a wire outside a house. Lucky me.

Laughing or Franklin's Gull
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

I am not sure what this is. One or the other for black-headed gulls. edit.. FRanklins Gull, thanks for the help.

Laughing or Franklin's Gull
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)

This is a younger bird, maybe the same species, maybe not. I do not know. edit:\ Black Tern, first winter , thanks for id help.

Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole ( Icterus gularis)

More orioles. There sure are a lot of orioles in America.

Los Cobbanos bird list

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)
Ruddy-Breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta)
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris)
White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
Golden-Fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons santacruzi)
Tropical Kingbird
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives)
Altamira Oriole ( Icterus gularis)
Inca Dove (Columbina inca)
Ruddy Ground-dove
White-collared Seedeater
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)
Groove-billed Ani
Clay-coloured Thrush

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