Field Notes January

Resplendent Quetzals are common at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest between March and November. They are seasonal altitudinal migrants and they become scarce between November and February when the majority migrate over the continental divide and feed on lower elevations in Atlantic forests. This year a few individuals have remained on site through December and January. A pair (the male in spectacular breeding plumage) was seen hanging around for a week mid January at 1900m feeding on the fruit shown here, a member of the avocado family.

The first male Three Wattled Bellbird was heard calling February 1st and during the past week more individuals have arrived as males can be heard calling in the forests between 1850 and 1950meters. It will be interesting this season to do a survey of breeding males. They nest in a very narrow elevation range.

There is a small tree in border areas of pasture and forest. It is shown here. Simple opposite leaves with smooth margins. Eugenia sp.? The locals here call it Arayan but this common name refers to a huckleberry species which this is not.

This tree is currently fruiting and is attracting a lot of birds. Right off the deck of the house there is one fruiting and attracting Mountain Thrush, Blue Grey Tanagers, Flame Throated Tanagers, Summer Tanagers, Common Bush Tanagers, Silver Throated Tanager, Northern Oriole, Red Crowned Woodpecker, Mountain Elaenia, Dusky Capped Flycatcher, Emerald Toucanet. We also came upon two Black Guan feeding on this tree in the pasture about 50 feet from the forest. Instead of flying away they initially tried to hide in the thick foliage in the upper canopy of the tree. We were able to observe them from only 20 feet away until they exploded out of the tree giving us a great view as they dashed into the forest.

A Silver Throated Jay was spotted at 2600 meters on the Peak of Mount Totumas. This is the first record of this bird here.

Green Violet Ear Hummingbirds are breeding. Males are calling incessantly and we found a female on her nest about 12 feet high up a small tree.

Northern migrant warblers are regularly seen; Blackburnian, Wilson’s, Black and White, Black Throated Green Warblers. A single individual Golden Winged Warbler. Summer Tanagers and Northern Orioles.

The orchid species Oncidium carinifera is in full bloom throughout Mount Totumas Cloud Forest In suitable habitat. Here are a few images.

A new species of orchid was photographed in bloom in mid December and is shown here below

A Violet Sabrewing showing off its long tongue………

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