Quest for the Horned Guan – Cerro Paquisis, Santiago, Guatemala.

IMG_73156 February 2017

In my trek to see the legendary Horned Guan, my dreams of seeing the amazing creature appears to end in smoke and ruins. After a long and steep hike up the mountain, we are confronted by a raging wildfire at our exact Horned Guan destination. However, not all hope is lost. Adjacent to the pillaring smoke and sweltering flames, the guan appears. This endangered bird is one of the top target species of Guatemala, and I am privileged to get great views and capture a unique flight photo. Thanks to local guide, Cruz Chikibal, for a successful day!

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The awe-inspiring Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus) takes flight from the upper canopy of the cloud forest. Though the Horned Guan resembles other guans, it is not a true guan. It is actually the only surviving member of an ancient lineage of cracids.
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Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus)
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The view while hiking back down Cerro Paquisis.
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Our three-guan day included this Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) and the Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra).
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Cruz Chikibal and I after a successful search for the Resplendent Quetzal the following day.

Lago de Atitlán – Tzununa

19-23 January 2017

The long, winding descent to San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlán was a harrowing ride. Accompanying the amazing views were sheer death defying drop offs, treacherous curves, and a blown engine. With the lingering screams of a half dozen fellow travelers ringing in my ears, I settle in the small and friendly village of Tzununa on the northwest side of the lake. Here, I decompress for a few days while I hike the surrounding hills, meet locals, and of course, go birding.

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Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
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Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
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White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
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White-faced Ground-Sparrow (Melozone biarcuata)
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Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)
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Fisherman at Dawn
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The Liquid Gold Waters of a Lake Atitlán Sunset 

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