North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO2 2018

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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Page 102 of 115

V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) • N U M B E R 2 237 The northwestern Caribbean Sea remains poorly explored, and thus holds potential for surprises. This Great Shearwa- ter, found at the edge of shelf waters about 28 km northwest of Guanaja, one of the Honduran Bay Islands, was new not only for Honduras but for the entire Region on 10 December. Photo by © Roland Rumm. Likely a result of an exceptionally strong El Niño, Least Storm-Petrels con- tinued to be seen over the shallow waters of the Gulf of Fonseca in Honduras, with many individuals—like this one, on 13 December —showing active wing molt between October and December. Photo by © John van Dort. Central America riod at Las Playitas, Matagalpa, Nicaragua (LCD, ph. GD). It was only four years ago when Belize recorded its first Ruddy Duck. One or more have been present in three of four winters since, including the most recent thanks to an observation at Fresh Catch Fish Farm, Belize 31 Dec (RM). A female Great Curassow was a great find at the Reserva El Jaguar (Jinotega) 3 Jan (GD & JT); only historical records existed for this heavily birded area. Fifty Pink-footed Shear- waters and 500 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters represented noteworthy concentrations off Cano I., Puntarenas, Costa Rica 17 Dec (ph. JT). An exciting find, new for Honduras and all of Central America, was a Great Shear- water seen during a pelagic birding trip about 25 km north of Isla Barbareta, one of the Honduran Bay Islands 10 Dec (RoG, OD, ph. RR). Likely a product of a particularly strong El Niño event, Black Storm-Petrels continued to be seen in the Gulf of Fonseca during Dec, most notably several individu- als at seven locations through Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, and Honduran waters of the Gulf 13 Dec (ph. JVD, m.ob.) and 2 in Hon- duran waters 23 Dec (RJ, ph. JvD, JD). Fall 2015 was productive for Least Storm-Petrel in the Honduran Gulf of Fonseca and winter saw that trend continue, courtesy of multi- ple sightings throughout the period. Highest numbers were reported 13 Dec and 31 Jan when an estimated total of 30-40 individu- als were observed throughout the Gulf, occasionally in groups of up to 9 individuals together (ph. JvD, m.ob.). Red-billed Tropicbird is rare through the Region's inshore waters, there- fore an individual seen from the Puntarenas ferry in the Gulf of John van Dort Oliver Komar –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– F ive countries reported extensions to their avifaunas this season, with Hon- duras adding Great Shearwater, while Bell's Vireo was new for Belize, Savannah Sparrow was new for Nicaragua, Whistling Heron was new for Costa Rica, and both White-faced Ibis and Gray Hawk were new for Panama this winter. DUCKS THROUGH HERONS Whether a product of increased observer coverage or a real trend, the last few winters have seen more migratory ducks reported in the Region than before, and that pattern continued in 2015-2016. Gadwall, a regu- lar winter visitor as far south as cen. MX, is rarely reported in Central America. Six in- dividuals were photographed at Tamashan, Retalhuleu, Guatemala 22 Jan (JK, JPC). Notable numbers of Blue-winged Teal have been reported at Sandillal Res., Guanacaste over the last few years. This winter a max of 12,000 was notched 26 Dec (RG), with 6000 remaining to 3 Feb (JZ), among them a Cin - namon Teal (JZ). Two Cinnamon Teal were also present at Tamashan, Retalhuleu 17 Feb (MR). A Northern Shoveler, rare in Panama, was photographed at Juan Hombrón, Pan- amá Oeste 26 Feb (GB). Green- winged Teal are uncommon in n. Central America; south of Honduras these small ducks are generally rare and noteworthy. Two were seen at Ramsar site Las Playitas-Moyúa-Tecomapa, Matagalpa, Nicaragua 3 Jan (LCD & GD), while in Costa Rica one was present at the San - dillal Res., Guanacaste 26 Dec (RG) and another was at Coris, Cartago 2 Jan (ph. JGC). A good record for the department was a pair of Redhead at Río Dulce, Izabal, Guatemala 17 Dec (ph. MO), while several individuals were seen throughout the pe- Nicoya, Puntarenas, Costa Rica 24 Dec was a good find (ph. JZL). Even rarer inshore, a Red-footed Booby rested on a buoy in the company of Brown Boobies just 8 km off Puerto Quetzal, Escuintla, Guatemala 26 Jan (ph. JPC, JK). A Peruvian Booby was seen at Peñon de San José, an inlet near Panama City, Panama 6 Jan (VW) and Feb 26 (RMi); the species has been regular here since at least 2014. Providing only the second record for Honduras was a Double-crested Cormo- rant found resting on a buoy off the beach at Tela, Atlántida 20-22 Dec (RJ, ph. JvD, ph. OK). An American White Pelican, present at the Panama Viejo mudflats and occasionally nearby sites, remained from Dec 2014 and was reported through the period (m.ob.). An American Bittern, very rare anywhere in Central America, was observed at the north side of Lake Yojoa, Cortés, Honduras 11 Feb (WM). A pair of Whistling Herons, first reported from Laguna Malibu at Gorgona, Panama Oeste, Panama in 2014 were ob- served multiple times at this site 1 Dec–20 Feb (DoA, AR). An ad. that flew over the road to Gatún Locks from Colon City, Colón, Panama 6 Feb (ph. LW) provided the first report from the Panama Canal area, while an individual near Manzanillo, Limón 16 Feb (JAR, ph. MV)—potentially the same bird— furnished a first country record for Costa Rica. Is this yet another example of a South American open-country species expanding its range to Central America in response to deforestation?

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