North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 2016

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 504 SA Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Stann Creek, Belize (C.B.W.S.) has received recent attention from researchers and recreational birders alike recently, especially the more remote areas at higher elevations. As a result, several species have been documented from the reserve for the first time or are proving to be more prevalent than previously thought. Among those reported this spring are such Belizean rarities as Crested Eagle, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Crowned Woodnymph, and Speckled Mourner. Along the trail to Victoria Peak, single Crested Eagles were found in two locations about 1 km apart 21 Mar (RM et al.), about 10 km ne. of where one was seen six weeks before 9 Feb (DF). Including other, undated re - ports of this species by local rangers, the remote w. portion of C.B.W.S. is becoming the go-to place to find Crested Eagle in n. Central America. Until recently, the uncommon and local Band-tailed Barbthroat was thought to be restricted to s. Toledo at the n. limit of its range in Belize, but four reports from C.B.W.S. in Stann Creek this spring demonstrate otherwise. These reports, 15 Mar–10 Apr (DF, RA, MSt), add incrementally to the 19 previous records from C.B.W.S., all since 2009 and all but four in the past two years. Crowned Woodnymph, until recently, was known from Belize from only one small area in the Maya Mountains foot - hills of Toledo, with one outlier from Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo. This spring, there were nine reports from widely separated areas of C.B.W.S. between 11 Feb and 23 Mar (DF, RM, RA), adding significantly to the only two previous reports in Feb 2014 (DF). Another rarely seen bird in Belize, Speckled Mourner, was recorded for the first time in C.B.W.S. this spring, with one seen and heard at Deadman Camp along the Victoria Peak trail 21 Mar (RM) and another well studied in the lowlands at Juan Branch headquarters 20 Apr (RM). With the increasing popularity of pelagic birding trips off the Pacific coast of Central America, country lists have increased steadily. Black Storm-Petrel was added to the Honduras list as recently as 3 August 2014. On 24 May 2015, less than ten months later, those on a pelagic trip into the same Gulf of Fonseca waters found a minimum of 12 individuals, including the one pictured here. Photograph by John van Dort. story can be told for Cinnamon Teal, Redhead, Ruddy Duck, and perhaps a few others that are still too infrequently reported to discern a sig - nificant change in their pattern of occurrence. The only country first reported this spring was Plumbeous Vireo in Nicaragua, but this species has surely been overlooked in the pine- oak highlands of northern Nicaragua until now. Belize recorded its second Hermit Thrush, El Salvador its second California Gull and third White-rumped Sandpiper, and Honduras its second or third California Gull. Panama's third and fourth Ruby-topaz Hummingbirds, a male and female first reported in January, continued to be seen through early April. DUCKS THROUGH RAILS Green-winged Teal is a rare but regular winter visitor to Central America. In Guatemala, 2 were at Finca Tamashan, Retalhuleu 7 Mar (MRo, CAg, EdC, EvC). We still know very little about the occurrence of pelagic species in the Gulf of Fonseca. Black Storm-Petrel, new for Hon - duras as recently as Aug 2014, may in fact be regular in the Gulf of Fonseca. At least 12 were present 24 May in the middle of the Gulf (OK, ph. JvD). In Guatemala, a Jabiru was seen near Sayaxché, Petén 24 Apr (ABL), and in Panama, where quite rare, one was seen soaring over the rainforest surrounding the Canopy Tower, Pan - amá 2 May (ph. MJI). Unusual inland, but not unprecedented, an ad. Nazca Booby was seen 18 Apr flying over the entrance to Pipeline Rd. in Soberania N.P., Colón (ph. OQ). About a year earlier, an ad. was photographed in Miraflores, also in the Canal Zone. Uncommon, but in a more expected setting, were 2 seen 26 Apr 16 km offshore while en route from Isla Coiba to Playa Arrimadero, Veraguas (EC). Rare in El Sal - vador, a Blue-footed Booby was reported 21 Mar from Los Cóbanos, a marine area off the coast of Sonsonate (NH). Two Peruvian Boobies seen 22 Mar flying to the Peñón de San José at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Panamá (JAC) illustrated that at least a few birds from the incursion that began in Jul 2014 were still present. An American White Pelican that appeared in Panama City's Panamá Viejo in Dec 2014 re - mained through the spring period (m.ob.). On 30-31 Mar, one, possibly the same individual, was at Punta Chame, Panamá Oeste (ph. PO), about 50 km from Panamá Viejo. Whistling Heron, a grassland species from South Amer - ica, has become more frequent in Panama in recent years. One was seen 8 May at Laguna Malibú, Panamá Oeste (MO), where it was first reported in Jul 2015. A Striated Heron seen 29 Apr at Querevalo, Chiriquí (ph. MJI) and an - other seen 9 May near Arena, Veraguas (KG) represented first records from these respective provinces. The one from Querevalo estab - lished the westernmost record for this species in Panama. A Long-winged Harrier seen at Juan Hombrón, Panamá Oeste 21 (ph. VW) & 23 Mar (DA) was at the same location where one was seen in 2012. Like Whistling Heron, Long-winged Harrier is an open grassland spe - cies from South America that is still rare in Panama, but numbers have been increasing in the past few years as it pushes westward. Rarely reported in Honduras, a juv. Bicolored Hawk was at Río Santiago Nature Resort near La Cei - ba, Atlántida 5 May (ph. JvD). Red-tailed Hawk reaches the s. limit of its Central American dis - tribution in cen. Panama; thus, an ad. seen 24 Jan at Lagunas de Aruza, near Metetí, Darién (EC) was a good find this far east. Hard to see almost anywhere within its wide Neotropical range, Spotted Rail is occasionally reported in Honduras from the shores of Lake Yojoa and very rarely elsewhere. Two at an ar - chaeological site at Río Amarillo in w. Hondu- ras 10 May (CZ, ph. FD) provided a new re- cord for Copán. One was also seen in Panama 9 May on the Chagres River near the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Colón (CW). SANDPIPERS THROUGH TERNS Shorebirders in Central America look forward to spring, when species diversity reaches its pinnacle with the usually evanescent appear - ance of long-distance migrants. In Costa Rica, a Wandering Tattler was seen 20 May at Quepos, Puntarenas (JC), and in Panama, one was found 28 May on Frijoles Islet off Isla Coiba, Vera - guas (KG, ph. MR). Not annually reported from Honduras, a group of 3 Red Knots, one nearly in breeding plumage, was a good find on the beach at Punta Ratón, Choluteca 29 Apr (ph. JvD); one of the other birds was club-footed, allowing individual recognition at this location on 9, 20, & 24 May (OK, ph. JvD). Another in breeding plumage was seen 9 May at Panamá Viejo, Central America's most important shore - bird site (RMi, DM, CM, CP). Considered rare on the Pacific slope n. of Costa Rica, a White- rumped Sandpiper at the mouth of the Río Ji - boa, La Paz 9 May (ph. EnC) provided only the third report for El Salvador. Parasitic Jaeger is uncommonly reported from Honduras; even more unusual are re - ports of staging birds. A large tern flock present throughout the spring at Punta Ratón, however, attracted a juv. Parasitic Jaeger, which was seen there regularly between 2 Apr and 27 May (RJ, OK, MM, ph. JvD). Spring is the time to look C E N T R A L A M E R I C A

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