Sunday, December 22, 2013

Banding Session 2: Refugio Curu

The Curu Wildlife Refuge, a privately owned nature reserve about a half-hour's drive from Finca Pura Vida, boasts a high abundance and diversity of birds.  The refuge contains coastal mangrove forest and second-growth humid forest in varying stages of succession.  Our banding table is located in an abandoned mango plantation whose trees have aged to the point where they are no longer productive.

The instant our first mist net was opened at 5:45am on Wednesday, a Common Paraque (below) came out of nowhere through the still-dark forest and flew directly into our net.

Paraques belong to the Nightjar family, or Caprimulgidae, a group known affectionately as the Goatsuckers.  Unfortunately, the Caprimulgids owe their family name to a folk myth that they sucked milk from the udders of farmers' goats.  In the real world, however, the "goatsuckers" are major nocturnal insectivores, using their ludicrously wide mouths to catch insects on the wing.

Other highlights from the week included numerous Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes, Black-headed Trogons, Green and American-Pygmy Kingfishers, Philadelphia Vireos, and two Olive Sparrows, the latter a new species for the station.
The tiny (but spunky) Pygmy Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Twan Leenders with a male Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Dairo Vinasco an instant after a Philadelphia Vireo flew from his hands

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