21 March 2009

Cloudforest Quetzals Cling on…(Chiapas, Mexico): 14 March 2009

Cloudforest Quetzals and Mountain Guans…(Chiapas, Mexico): 14 March 2009
Our gloomy outlook for the mornings birding around Lagos de Montebello (a collection of ultramarine coloured lakes near the Guatemalan border), took a drastic turn for the better when just after checking out a Unicolored Jay at the top of a pine a shout went up from Michael, Doug, and Matt – RESPLENDANT QUETZAL. The shout may have been a little overexcited as this emerald-tailed wonder hot-footed to the other side of the road before I had got my glasses on it. Heart racing I went in hot pursuit of what must be considered one of the World’s top birds. Racing through the thick underbrush (that drew blood in the process), I could hear the bird calling ahead of me, and I hardly had time (or the inclination) to observe a couple of Azure-hooded Jays as I was single-minded in my pursuit of Guatemala’s national bird. Every time I got close to the calling bird a perusal of the pines drew a blank so I fought my way into the brush further, only to see a flash of emerald and crimson disappear off into the woods ahead of me. I decided to wait in one place and give it a blast of the tape. All went quiet for a while and I feared the world’s top quetzal had given me the slip, only for my eye to catch a bright green streamer-tailed bird landing above me. The Resplendent Quetzal (see photo) was in the bag. Having genuinely thought they may have been extirpated in the area only the day before we were then serenaded by three calling birds in the area. The morning in this remnant patch of cloudforest did not end there and just a short time later we were entranced with a Highland Guan (see photo) doing display flights from the canopy right overhead. To top all this off we also got great looks at two separate Black-capped Nightingale-thrushes, and best of all added our third jay of the morning to the list – when a few Black-throated Jays came in to check us out. A triple Jay morning!

No comments: