|Welcome to Honduras !!!!|
My First two days in Honduras - La Chorcha Lodge and the La Laguna-San Francisco Rd.
Wow, Honduras ! I was fortunate enough to win the contest through the 10,000 Birds Conservation Club that set me up with accomodations at La Chorcha Lodge in Copan and a guided tour with Robert Gallardo. I got the news on Canada Day weekend. After a moment of stunned silence and subsequent online scrambling, I had tickets booked to San Pedro Sula for August. My plan was to stay four nights at La Chorcha Lodge and enjoy two day trips guided by Robert.
Upon arrival in Honduras, I met Robert and we set off from San Pedro Sula Airport to Copan Ruinas. It was a three-and-a-half hour drive with some interesting sites, one massive thunderstorm and a few birds including my first lifer of the trip: a TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD.
At La Chorcha, I settled in to my cabin. The cabins are excellent: comfortable, spacious and bugfree (This fact cannot be understated !) . Oh, and they come with a hammock !
|View from La Chorcha cabin|
And birds...In no time I added CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD, GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN,
SPOT-BREASTED ORIOLE, GRAYISH SALTATOR and BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR to my life list. MELODIUS BLACKBIRD, CLAY-COLOURED ROBIN/THRUSH, GREATER KISKADEE, TROPICAL KINGBIRD, a giant roost of BLACK VULTURES in the evening and noisy flock of ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEETS in the morning.
After a wonderful breakfast on the lodge patio, Robert and I headed out for some morning birding along the La Laguna - San Francisco Rd. This road winds up through the mountains around Copan, cutting through fields, scrub, broadleaf forest ( interspersed with shade-grown coffee plantations ) and, at the mountaintop, evergreen forest. Within a minute of stopping at our first stop, a RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE was spotted. In the fields that surrounded the road we saw BLUE-BACK GRASSQUIT, WHITE COLLARED SEEDEATER, PLAIN WREN, BLUE GROSBEAK, RUSTY SPARROW, a vocal FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL, YELLOW-WINGED TANAGER, BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER, NORTHERN BEARDLESS TYRANNULET and GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT. A little further up the road Robert called in a male BARRED ANTSHRIKE, one of the most memorable birds I have ever seen. If asked to describe it, I would have to say TV static come to life. A minute later, a series of shrill calls rang out and a flock of four WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAYS appeared. Tough to beat that one-two ! We also added a lone PLAIN CHACHALACA, a bold TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT and GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER before heading further up the road.
At this point, the terrain changes from field and scrub to a mature forest. After a few near misses on some lifers ( more on that later ), a stop at a shade-grown coffee farm yielded the near-endemic BUSHY-CRESTED JAY and YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE.
A little further up the mountain, we arrived at another plantation with many fruiting trees like mistletoe. No elegant euphonias ( not the right time of year ) but a few minutes of observation allowed us a brief look at an IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER, NORTHERN BARRED WOODCREEPER, BROWN-BACKED SOLITAIRE and, the piece de resistance, two EMERALD TOUCANETS. I must admit -I love toucans; their appearance is near comical and they display such personality. A particularly grumpy toucanet flew up into a large tree and proceeded to make sounds that I can only guess were the toucan equivalent of cursing. We walked along the road into a patch of broad-leaf forest where SLATE-THROATED REDSTART and WHITE-BREASTED WOOD WREN hopped around the bushes along the road.
At the top of the road, the vegetation turned to evergreen forest. I missed a couple of lifers but came up with an ACORN WOODPECKER and a particularly playful IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER that flew around us for a good two minutes, providing for some wonderful binocular-free viewing. A nice way to finish off our trip list. And so we headed back down the road, winding along the mountain...wait, what was that ???
A near-suicidal LESSER ROADRUNNER jumping in front of our taxi !!! Now that's the way to get a life bird !
It was a nice morning but the birding never stops when you are staying at La Chorcha. There are trails that wind through the property and provide plenty of birding opportunities. During my time over the next couple of days I had beautiful views of a friendly female SALVIN'S EMERALD, STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE, INCA DOVE, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, WHITE-TIPPED DOVE, a seemingly-everywhere BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT, YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER, TROPICAL PEWEE, ROSE-THROATED BECARD and, for all lepidopterists, a HUMMINGBIRD MOTH ( which stumbled into the territory of a cinnamon hummingbird; The poor bird was puzzled when it's normal methods of intimidation didn't work on the moth ). And so ended a nice long day of birding...
|Good night !|