Parque Nacional Tikal

29 March 2017

Before leaving the wonderful country of Guatemala, I visit Tikal National Park in Petén. Harboring ancient Mayan Ruins, Tikal is also home to an incredible array of birds. Following is a selection of my favorite images . . .

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Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)
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Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius)
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Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
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Black-throated Shrike-Tanager (Lanio aurantius)
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Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris)
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White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica)
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Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio)
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Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
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Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus)

Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas

13-24 March 2017

As my time in Guatemala comes to an end, I return to Petén and travel back up the Río San Pedro to the Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas (EBG) in Laguna del Tigre National Park. Last December, I participated in a Christmas Bird Count at this same biological station (click here for the blog post). Situated on the edge of the river within the vast Mayan Biosphere Reserve, EBG is the hub of important conservation work, including biological research, community development, and environmentally and socially responsible tourism. Thanks to Cornelio Chablé, Jeovany Tut Rodríguez, and the rest of EBG’s staff, I have the privilege of photographing birds for the station’s database. Following are a selection of my favorite photographs . . .

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Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis)

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Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris)
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American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea)
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Green-backed Sparrow (Arremonops chloronotus)
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Agami Heron (Agamia agami)

Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)

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Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus)

Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)

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Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Left to right, top to bottom: Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii), White-bellied Emerald (Amazilia candida), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl), and Wedge-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus curvipennis).

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Spider monkey silhouetted in the canopy.
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White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)

Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea)

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Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)
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Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
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A small bat clings to an overhanging snag above the river.
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Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda)
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Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
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Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
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Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
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Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus)
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View of Estación Biológica las Guacamayas from the Río San Pedro
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The local Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) named Bobby.
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The wonderful EBG staff and a few local students.

Conteo Navideño de Aves – Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas  

17-19 December 2016

For the past eight years, I have participated in a myriad of Christmas Bird Counts in my home state of Colorado. Birding from dawn to dusk, we brave frigid temperatures as we scour rugged terrain for mountain birds and wade through icy waters counting American Dippers. This Christmas season, however, I find myself dripping with sweat in the humid broadleaf forests of Petén, Guatemala.

While I happen to be out of the country this winter, that doesn’t stop me from participating in Christmas Bird Counts. Shortly after departing Belize, I join the Christmas Bird Count at Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas (EBG). Stationed 45 minutes up the Río San Pedro by boat, EBG is an ecotourism lodge and research station surrounded by the vast forests and wetlands of Laguna del Tigre National Park. With a six year count history, the EBG Christmas Bird Count has rapidly grown in popularity within the Guatemala birding community. This year’s count doubles as a book launch for the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America with authors Oliver Komar and Jesse Fagan.

After an evening of socializing and looking for Northern Potoos along the river, we divide into groups to conquer tomorrow’s count day. I join a group poised for a long day of hiking. After a boat ride to our starting point, we begin trekking through the jungle in the early morning darkness. Twelve hours, eighteen kilometers, and 160 species later, my group completes the 2016 Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas Conteo Navideño de Aves. Many incredible birds were seen and it was the perfect introduction to the Guatemala birding community.

For the day’s ebird list, check out http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33275875

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Early morning vista of Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre
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Queen (Danaus gilippus)
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Dark morph Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus)
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White-bellied Emerald (Amazilia candida)
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Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis)
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My fearless count companions included Cornelio Chablé (EBG tourism manager and wildlife guide), Luke Seitz (guide for Wings Birding Tours), and Daniel Aldana Schumann (guide for Quetzal Birding Tours). Photo courtesy Cornelio Chablé.