Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Patrocinio and Takalit

White-throated Magpie-Jay (above) and Pacific Parakeets (below).

It was an early start today to head away from Las Nubes, visiting another finca which is also beginning to make its mark on the Guatemalan birding circuit. At Patrocinio visitor facilities include an old water tower which has been converted into a spectacular canopy-viewing platform. Our longish journey meant we arrived after the peak time for activity at the platform, but many birds on and soon after arrival included an all-too-brief White-faced Quail-Dove which I flushed from close to the path near the tower - a great start to the day, but a shame the others couldn't quite get on it.

Fruiting trees nearby were choc full of Clay-coloured and Swainson's Thrushes, as well as Orchard, Altamira and Baltimore Orioles, Turquoise-browed Motmots, White-throated Magpie-Jay and assorted tanagers, vireos and warblers. Yellow-naped Amazon and Orange-chinned, Orange-fronted and Pacific Parakeets were also in evidence, but audible Highland Guans in the nearby forest remained frustratingly elusive.

We logged well over 50 species before departing after late morning to Takalit, which offered more forest trail birding along with Mayan ruins. New or notable trip birds here included Collared Trogon, Common Tody-Flycatcher, White-collared Swift and Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, and the trees were alive with warblers and other Neotropical migrants, the most notable of which was a single Worm-eating Warbler.

As Mayan sites go Takalit is easily outshone by Tikal, but added a brief cultural interlude which has so far largely been absent this trip. The limited time we had there, however, allowed for little more than passing appreciation as we birded close to the car park, finally getting acceptable views of the noisy but very unobtrusive Spot-breasted Wren.

Mayan statue at Takalit.

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