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Friday, September 15, 2006

Birding on 9/11

Monday, September 11 found me high in the mountains above the highland Guatemalan town of Cobán. After hours of bus rides from Copán, Honduras to Guatemala City and then to Cobán, I hooked up with some researchers from the Proeval Raxmu project that trains Q'eqchi' Mayan villagers to monitor bird populations at several sites in the Alta Verapaz. By the time we got up to the monitoring site about an hour from Cobán, it was late in the afternoon. Resplendant Quetzals are in the area, but they were quite in the late afternoon rain. We did manage to find Barred Antshrike, Plain Wren, Slate-colored Solitaire, Chestnut-capped Warbler, Common Bush-Tanager, and Chestnut-capped Brushfinch. We heard lots of Plain Chachalaca on the way out. Driving back down in the dark, we stopped to watch a Mexican Whip-poor-will hunting from a perch near the road. As I got out of the car, I heard a Vermiculated Screech Owl and a Mountain Pygmy Owl calling up the slope in the twilight. A magical place! I look forward to going back!

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