Monday, December 16, 2013

Honduras Part 4: Lancetilla Botanical Garden and Tela

Rob writes:  Only about an hour from The Lodge at Pico Bonito is the gigantic Lancetilla Botanical Garden. The garden is located just outside of the seaside resort town of Tela and covers over 4,000 acres. The entrance doesn't look like much - it's just a small guard shack located right along the highway at the start of a long gravel road, but you can tell immediately that the garden will be great for birds. We got out of our van pretty much right at the guard shack and began birding. Even with countless cars going by on the gravel road, we could hear an amazing number of birds.

One of the first new birds that I added was a Bright-rumped Attila. We could hear the bird extremely well, but it took forever to find where it was perched. Once we did, it continued to call while we all tried to get some pictures.

This Bright-rumped Attila was very vocal.
One of the most impressive parts of the morning for me was the number of White-collared Manakins that we found. We ended up seeing 14 on the property throughout the morning, including several males!

The female White-collared Manakins were a little easier for me to photograph than the males. Check out those orange feet!
That makes it very easy to distinguish between the female White-collared and female Red-capped Manakins.
My very blurry photo of a male White-collared Manakin. Luckily I got better views of this bird than I did photos.
While Brian was off taking amazing videos of several species, our guide Elmer and I found a Smoky-brown Woodpecker coming to a nest whole to feed its young. It was really late in the season for this to be occurring, and the young bird looked like it would be ready to fledge any day. Brian finally caught up with us and was able to get an amazing video of the scene!

Over the next several hours, we explored all over the garden and found many amazing birds, with Brian catching many of them on film. Here are some of my favorite photos and videos.

Although Passerini's Tanagers are extremely common, I never got sick of them on this trip.

The saltators are very interesting birds that are related to the tanagers.
We saw two species while in Honduras, Buff-thoated and Black-headed which is pictured here.

After finishing up at Lancetilla, we headed to the Tela for lunch. Tela is a resort town mainly for wealthy Hondurans and has a beautiful beach that is full of birds! After placing our order, we took a short walk on the beach to see what we could find. We came across a very rare bird by Honduran standards but something that each of us has seen countless times over the years, a Ring-billed Gull. It is always interesting to find something that is quite rare where you are birding but extremely common where you are from!


Ethan Rising said...

Nice shots!! Is that a female trogon to the left of the male?

Rob Ripma said...

It's another trogon but I think it's actually a second male not a female. Nice eye!