Central America: Summer 2017
Summer 2017: 1 Jun–31 Jul
John van Dort
van Dort, J., and O. Komar. 2021. Summer 2017: Central America. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-aA5> North American Birds.
The summer is generally a quiet period in Central American birding, and only Guatemala added a truly new bird, House Finch, to its list this summer. While the finch is resident in nearby Mexico and has long been expected, there is still no clear evidence that House Finch has colonized Guatemala. Few vagrants were reported this season. The most notable was in western El Salvador, where a Jabiru showed up. The species had not been recorded in that country in over 90 years.
George Angehr (Panama), John Cahill (Guatemala), Liliana Chavarría-Duriaux (Nicaragua), Jan Cubilla (Panama), Lee Jones (Belize), Roselvy Juárez (El Salvador), Darién Montáñez (Panama), Pat O’Donnell (Costa Rica), John van Dort (Honduras).
Doves through Terns
Following a report of the third and fourth records of Inca Dove for Belize in the Spring 2017 report, another Inca Dove was reported approximately 7 km to the southwest of those spring sightings on 15 Jun (v.r. Roni Martinez). Practically anywhere in Central America, catching a glimpse of the elusive Maroon-chested Ground-Dove is a rare event. A count of six individuals on 25 Jun from the slopes of the Irazú Volcano, Cartago Prov. in Costa Rica was exceptional (Jorge Gabriel Campos, Eddy Chacon). Uncommon and local throughout Central America, the rather secretive Spotted Rail is poorly known in the region. A count of nine individuals in rice fields near Liberia in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste on 4 Jul was remarkable (Jorge Gabriel Campos, Mario Arana García). Also impressive was a count of 12 Gray-breasted Crakes at The Dump in Toledo Dist., Belize on 19 Jul (Lee Jones, Philip Balderamos).
White-rumped Sandpiper winters in South America and is seen in Central America generally in low numbers as a late spring migrant from late April to mid-May, when many locally wintering shorebirds have already departed. A group of 20 White-rumped Sandpipers near the Río Indio Lodge, Atlántico Sur Autonomous Region, in southeastern Nicaragua on 1 Jun was thus unusually large and quite late (ph. Edward Paxton, Chandra Biggerstaff). Also late and plentiful were a group of 22 Red Knots seen in the Estero Real Delta in the eastern corner of the Gulf of Fonseca, Chinandega Dpt., Nicaragua on 14 Jun (Orlando Jarquín, José Martin Vallecillo Mendez). Some Red Knots, however, also winter in this area, and these perhaps were oversummering birds. Brown Noddy is not unusual on the cayes off Belize, but a count of 278 was unprecedented on 11 Jun at Middle Silk Cay, Stann Creek Dist. (Roni Martinez and others). An estimated 500 Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, some of which were actively molting flight feathers, was a noteworthy number off the coast of Darién Prov. in Panama on 12 Jun (William Hull).
Storks through Cowbirds
Jabiru had not been seen in El Salvador for 91 years, so a juvenile present on 17 Jul at Barra de Santiago, Ahuachapán Dept. was an exciting find (Cesar Magaña). It remained until the seasonal wetlands it frequented dried out with the onset of the dry season in December. In Honduras, a Ringed Kingfisher on Utila I. was a first record for Islas de la Bahía Dpt. on 6 Jul (Oliver Komar). A first record for heavily birded Francisco Morazán Dpt. in central Honduras was a White-necked Puffbird, a few km north of San Ignacio, on 25 Jul (Enzo Carias). A total of 240 Yellow-crowned Parrots leaving their roost in the savannas of Coclé, Coclé Prov., in Panama on 28 Jun was noteworthy (Carlos Bethancourt and others). A similar counting of Mealy Parrots flying toward their roost near Black Rock Lodge in the Belizean district of Cayo on 5 Jul yielded 225 individuals, also an impressive number (Isaias Morataya). A mind-blowing 4,530 Barred Parakeets seen flying over in groups of 10–500 must have been quite the spectacle on 24 Jul in San Gerardo de Dota, San José Prov., Costa Rica (Rich Hoyer, Linda Swanson, others).
The widespread House Finch is regular in Mexico all the way through Chiapas but thus far had never been reported from Central America. Two individuals were heard singing on 9 Jul at Aldea El Quetzal near Lago Tziscao, Huehuetenango Dpt. on the border with Mexico, providing a first record for Guatemala and Central America (Eric Hernández Molina). A total of 68 Giant Cowbirds seen feeding in a soccer field was an exceptional number on 30 Jun in Ujarrás, Cartago Prov. in Costa Rica (Ernesto Carman).
Report processed by Michael L. P. Retter, 26 May 2021.