North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO3-NO4 2019

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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 394 This immature Collared Plover was at Aqua Mar Shrimp Farm, Toledo District on 31 May. The species is now a rare visitor to Belize. Photo by © Roni Martinez The steady increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls in North Ameri - ca has carried over to Central America, where this species is now annual. This first-cycle individual was at the Belize Municipal Airstrip, Belize District, 31 March. Photo by © Francis Canto Always unexpected, Burrowing Owls occasionally show up in Central America. This individual was Belize's third record, and the first this century, found in savannas west of Crooked Tree Village, Belize District, 27 Mar. Photo by © Roni Martinez the El Faro shrimp farm in Choluteca, Honduras on 2 Jul (ph. JvD, AA), likely oversummered. Late was a Lesser Scaup at Río Papaturro, Río San Juan in Nicaragua on 6 Jun (ph. EJ). Rarely reported from El Salvador, but probably regular, is Wedge-tailed Shearwater. A WINGS tour off the Pacific coast of Central America re - ported this species on each of the six transects logged on 26 Mar, between the Salvadoran de - partments of La Libertad and Ahuachapán (SH, FS, others), with 65 observed in waters off La Libertad and 60 off Ahuachapán, providing first records for each department. The same WINGS tour reported a Christmas Shearwater off the coast of Sonsonate, El Salvador, providing that country with a first record, and another one the same day off shore of Escuintla on 26 Mar (SH, FS, others), a second record for Guatemala. The same observers produced more first department records for El Salvador in the form of a Black Storm-Petrel off the coast of La Libertad, and three Least Storm-Petrels off Ahuachapán, all re - ported that same day. During the report period, Black and Least Storm-Petrels continued to be seen in Honduran waters of the Gulf of Fonseca, although in lower numbers than in the previous six months. Two Black Storm-Petrels and three Least Storm-Petrels were seen on 12 Mar (RA, AA, JvD), while an additional Least Storm-Pe - trel was seen on 3 Apr (ph. JvD). An American White Pelican, present at Panama City's water - front since Dec 2014, continued through the entire period (m. obs.). Also continuing were two Whistling Herons near Gorgona on the Pacific coast of central Panama, present until 7 Apr (ph. CK). A White-faced Ibis—a first for Panama when it was discovered on 11 Feb— continued in Gamboa, until 18 Mar (m. obs.). A Gray-headed Kite on 14 May at Ecofinca Luna del Puente, Santa Cruz de Yojoa (DM, AA, WO), was one of few interior Honduras records and a first record for Cortés. It was reported several times during the period. Requiring large mature lowland forest tracts, Crested Eagle is now rare and local anywhere in Central America. One was at the Belizean La Milpa Field Station in northwest Orange Walk on 15 Mar (LD, MF), and one was documented near Tapalguas just east of the Río Plátano Reserve in eastern Hon - duras, Gracias a Dios, on 24 Mar (AA, AF, RG, ph. JZa). Always a good find, a Spotted Rail was seen at the cutoff to Burrel Boom, Belize on 21 May (IMai). Collared Plover was never common in Belize, but with the loss of much of its habitat over the past half century, it is now considered rare, with the few modern records coming from man-constructed, but relatively undisturbed, habitat at shrimp farms. The latest record was of one at Aqua Mar Shrimp Farm, Toledo on 31 May (ph. RM). Three pairs of Rufous-necked Wood- Rails vocalizing between 1000 and 1300 m in the Cerro Hoya massif on the Azuero Peninsula near the town of Flores, Veraguas on 21 Apr (JAC, v. rec. EuC, KG) was the first Panamanian report from humid montane forest (five previous re - cords have been in mangroves) and provides the first suggestion of local breeding for the country. Three American Avocets were seen at Laguna Piquín Guerrero, Chinandega on 15 Mar (OJ). Also in Nicaragua, where rare at any time of the year, were six Snowy Plovers in Salinas Grandes, León, Nicaragua on 21 Jul (HY, JS). Spring is usually a good time for transient shorebirds in the region. In El Salvador, an early Baird's Sand - piper was observed on 9 Mar at the Laguna de Metapán, Santa Ana (ph. MB, EC, GF, SH). Pos - sibly due to increased observer coverage, White- rumped Sandpiper is now annual in Honduras. One was at a shrimp and salt complex near San Lorenzo, Valle in southern Honduras on 12 May (JvD). Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a rare transient in Honduras with only a handful of previous re - cords, was recorded 7 May at Reserva El Jicarito, Choluteca (ph. JvD). Another on 14 May at Lago Apanás, Jinotega was noteworthy for Nicaragua (MS). Two Red Phalaropes were observed in off - shore waters of La Libertad, El Salvador on 26 Mar (FS, CP, OP, PV), providing only the fifth re - cord for El Salvador, and the first spring record. JAEGERS THROUGH PARROTS The same pelagic trip produced another first spring record, two Parasitic Jaegers, just the sixth record for El Salvador. Another pelagic ob - servation from the WINGS group off of Escuintla on 26 Mar, resulted one of Guatemala's few re - ports of Long-tailed Jaeger. In the region, Laugh- ing Gull is known to breed in Belize only, where small colonies are found scattered on a few cayes exposed to increasing anthropogenic pressure and predation from dogs, cats, and rats. One such colony was confirmed to persist on 9 Jun at Middle Silk Caye, Stann Creek (ph. RM) where the report included 11 Laughing Gulls, 278 Brown Noddies, 327 Sooty Terns, and 89 Sand - wich Terns. Franklin's Gull, a common spring migrant along the Pacific coast of Central Ameri - ca, is scarce even a few miles inland. This spring, however, observers in several Central American countries reported groups of Franklin's Gulls mi - grating well inland. Unusual was a group of 400 over the city of San Salvador on 29 Apr (WR), about 25 km inland. Further inland still at 140 km from the Pacific coast was a group of 43 fly - ing over Gracias, Lempira in western Honduras on 2 May (NE, JR, FR, IM, MM). The same day a flock of 86 was noted at Gra Gra Lagoon, Stann Creek (ph. RM), a high count for Belize. A sub - adult California Gull observed at the mouth of the Rio Jiboa, La Paz on 10 Apr (ph. MT) was the third record for El Salvador, while one at Las Peñitas in León on the same day (ph. GT) was the fourth record for Nicaragua. Herring Gull is an uncommon winter visitor along both coasts of Central America from October to April. One in first-summer plumage seen 10 May in Belize City (PB), and it or possibly another on 30 May (RM), were exceptionally late. Another rare gull that seems to be increasing, especially in Belize after first being recorded as recently as 2011, is Lesser Black-backed Gull. The latest is a first- C E N T R A L A M E R I C A

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