Black-cheeked Woodpecker by Simon Thompson Chestnut-colored Woodpecker by Valerie Gebert Cuero Lagoon by Simon Thompson Enjoying the Caribbean! by Simon Thompson Ferruginous Pygmy Owl by Simon Thompson Looking for the Honduran Emerald by Simon Thompson Honduran Emerald by Simon Thompson Lodge Dining Area by Simon Thompson Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) by Simon Thompson Montezuma Oropendola by Simon Thompson Rufous-tailed Jacamar by Simon Thompson My Cabin in the Woods by Simon Thompson Social Flycatcher by Simon Thompson
Trip Report


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Trip Report for our Venture to

Pico Bonito Lodge, Honduras

February 15 – 22, 2014

 

February 15: Arrive in San Pedro Sula and drive to lodge, some afternoon birding around Pico Bonito Lodge
February 16: All day birding around Pico Bonito Lodge
February 17: Morning at Cuero y Salado National Park; afternoon at lodge
February 18: Morning at Lancetilla Botanical Gardens and lunch at Triunfo de la Cruz
February 19: All day to Olanchito and Valle del Aguan (dry forest)
February 20: Morning at Rio Santiago; afternoon at lodge
February 21: Morning hike up Loop Trail (for some of group); afternoon at lodge

February 22: Departure for the US

 

Rufous-tailed Jacamar by Simon Thompson

 

 

 

It was a strange start to a tour; airline delays and cancellations kept me away for 1 day and 2 folks could not make it at all: a combination of winter weather and crowded airline schedules. Thankfully all melded after that for a very enjoyable tour to one of our newest destinations – Pico Bonito Lodge in Honduras. Our first full day was spent around the very beautiful grounds of the lodge where we explored both the landscaped areas, as well as the more wooded and/or areas that were being returned to nature. One of our target birds of the tour was the very wonderful Lovely Cotinga, and yes, we had wonderful views this afternoon as the electric blue males and the ash-gray females fed in an Avocado tree. Nearby we had another one of the PBL specialties- the Keel-billed Motmot. Wow!


Montezuma Oropendola by Simon Thompson

The grounds of the lodge are very attractively planted with a mix of native and other tropical plants and as a result, they attract a wonderful mix of resident and overwintering species. Montezuma and Chestnut-headed Oropendolas visit the feeders and Gray Catbirds and Ovenbirds feed in the manicured gardens.

 

Honduran Emerald by Simon Thompson

One of the most popular outings from the lodge has to be the morning train and boat trip to Cuero y Salado National Park. It’s always good birding while waiting for the very wonderful open-air train and today was no exception with Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Turquoise-browed Motmot both vying for attention. The train journey is a great birding experience as the slow speed gives us great opportunities to see both the larger wading birds and also the flocks of seedeaters that flush ahead of the train. As well as both Variable and White-collared Seedeaters, it’s also always a good place for wintering Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks. This year it did not rain on the boat, so we got to enjoy a full trip into the mangroves. Highlights had to be Boat-billed Heron, a very obliging Sungrebe and a sneaky Gray-necked Wood-Rail that slipped away into the mangroves. It was then back to the lodge for lunch and more exploration of the grounds (and a visit to the amazing snake collection!)Ferruginous Pygmy Owl by Simon Thompson

 

Lancetilla Botanical gardens is about 1.5 hours west of La Ceiba and a great and easy place to spend the morning. The walking is level and the birds are often on the edge of the forest making for easy (well, most of the time) viewing. We never did glimpse the elusive Ruddy Crake, but the Black-striped Sparrow did show itself after some time and we had great views of a pair of soaring Black Hawk-Eagles and a terrific Rufous-tailed Jacamar that just sat along the roadside. Lancetilla is also pretty good for wintering “North American” migrants, such as Chestnut-sided, Magnolia and Black-and-white Warblers.

 

After a morning birding at Lancetilla it’s always nice to slow down a little with lunch and some beach birding along the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The restaurant does not look like much, but produces some very tasty food. Wash this down with a beer or a soft drink and a dip in the ocean – a very nice break! It also gave us a chance to see some coastal birds, such as Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird and both Sandwich and Royal Terns.

 

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker by Valerie GebertOur next day was the long one, with a very early start (!) from the lodge. Our destination was the dry Aguan Valley, around the other side of Pico Bonito National Park. It’s a very attractive drive through small towns and agricultural land with mountains in the background and our first stop was in some of the farm country. Here we were looking for the beautiful White-fronted Parrot which nests in the cavities in the large trees. Yes, we got some great views, along with some other more typical open-country species, such as Eastern Meadowlark, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Gray-crowned Yellowthroat. The country gets drier and thornier as we approach our destination, which of course, is for the Honduran Emerald – the only bird that is endemic to Honduras. Thanks to the very sharp eyes of our driver we found our first pair of Honduran Emeralds soon after leaving the main road- and they posed for some great photographs. As well as our target hummer in the thorn scrub we also found Canivet’s (Salvin’s) Emerald, Cinnamon Hummer, as well as “our” own Ruby-throated Hummer. Lunch was at a nearby ranch- good food and very interesting to eat on a local farm.

Social Flycatcher by Simon Thompson

 

Rio Santiago is a river just west of Pico Bonito and where a Canadian ex-pat has built a small lodge and where the hummers just swarm! A few hours spent here watching the feeders or hiking the steep trails is a great morning. The hummer feeders attract over a dozen species with White-bellied Emerald, Violet Sabrewing and Rufous-tailed Hummer being the most common. The star bird was the Band-tailed Barbthroat, a species of Hermit which sneaked in from time to time – thankfully it was seen by everyone….with some patience. The trail hike was steep, but worth the climb as a male Black-crested Coquette was coming in to an Inga tree. Again with a little patience we saw the bird very well- and yes, I remember how hot it was while waiting for the bird to appear! The afternoon was spent relaxing. A few of us walked down to a nearby finca to look for the evening Short-tailed Nighthawk. While we were waiting for it, a small pool in the backyard attracted in a wide range of wintering birds- Wood Thrush, Kentucky, Worm-eating and Hooded Warblers, as well as White-collared Manakin – very nice indeed, and yes, we did get a couple of fly-bys from the Nighthawk: a great end to the day.

Black-cheeked Woodpecker by Simon Thompson


Our last full day was spent exploring the lodge grounds and to hike the Loop Trail. This is a bit of a slog at times, with some rocky and eroded patches, but the birding was well worth it. We hit a large mixed species flock mostly within the understory. Yes, it was a challenge to get onto all of the birds, but we did our best. Highlights had to be the Black-throated Shrike-Tanager that sat still for all of us to get onto, several Russet Antshrikes and a mixed bag of Woodcreepers at an antswarm.

We finished the trip with exactly 215 species, as well as a handful of smaller mammals and reptiles – always a wonderful place to visit.

 

 

Simon Thompson

 

Birds seen or heard on our

Honduras Tour

February 15-22, 2014

 

 

Little Tinamou
Blue-winged Teal
Plain Chachalaca
Magnificent Frigatebird
Brown Booby
Neotropic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Boat-billed Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Black Hawk-Eagle
Double-toothed Kite
Common (Mangrove) Black-Hawk
Great Black-Hawk
Roadside Hawk
White Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Gray Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Ruddy Crake
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Sungrebe
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Northern Jacana
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Rock Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Inca Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Blue Ground-Dove
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Vermiculated Screech-Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Short-tailed Nighthawk
Lesser Nighthawk
Great Potoo
White-collared Swift
Vaux’s Swift
White-necked Jacobin
Band-tailed Barbthroat
Long-billed Hermit
Stripe-throated Hermit
Brown Violet-ear
Purple-crowned Fairy
Green-breasted Mango
Black-crested Coquette
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Salvin’s Emerald
Violet-headed Hummingbird
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird
Violet Sabrewing

Violet-crowned Woodnymph

White-bellied Emerald
Honduran Emerald
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Cinnamon Hummingbird
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Black-headed Trogon
Gartered Trogon
Tody Motmot
Blue-crowned Motmot
Keel-billed Motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Collared Aracari
Keel-billed Toucan
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
Laughing Falcon
American Kestrel
Bat Falcon
Olive-throated Parakeet
Brown-hooded Parrot
White-crowned Parrot
White-fronted Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Russet Antshrike
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Plain Xenops
Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Paltry Tyrannulet
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Eye-ringed Flatbill
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Bright-rumped Attila
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Lovely Cotinga
White-collared Manakin
Red-capped Manakin
Black-crowned Tityra
Masked Tityra
Rose-throated Becard
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Lesser Greenlet

Green Shrike-Vireo

Brown Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Gray-breasted Martin
Mangrove Swallow
Bank Swallow
House Wren
Spot-breasted Wren
White-bellied Wren
White-breasted Wood-Wren
Long-billed Gnatwren
White-lored Gnatcatcher
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush
White-throated Thrush
Gray Catbird
Tropical Mockingbird
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
White-shouldered Tanager
Black-throated Shrike-Tanager
Crimson-collared Tanager
Passerini’s Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Yellow-winged Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Shining Honeycreeper
Green Honeycreeper
Blue-black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
White-collared Seedeater
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-striped Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager
Red-throated Ant-Tanager
Black-faced Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue-black Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Giant Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Spot-breasted Oriole
Baltimore Oriole        
Chestnut-headed Oropendola
Montezuma Oropendola
Scrub Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia
Olive-backed Euphonia
White-vented Euphonia
Lesser Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Mammals

Variegated Squirrel
White-nosed Coati
Central American Agouti
Proboscis Bat
Brazilian Rabbit
White-faced Capuchin

Reptiles & Amphibians

 

Common Basilisk
Green Iguana
Spiny-tailed Iguana
House Gecko
American Crocodile
Boa Constrictor
Slider sp