RLG's summer soundtrack includes more cheeps than chirps as nestlings and fledgings become vocal!

August 2016

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Summer's Exciting Sightings

By Jane A. Lyons

Vice-president, Las Gralarias Foundation


July and early August have been very busy at Reserva Las Gralarias. Here are a few of our Exciting Sightings!

4 July 2016 – A nest of White-tailed Tyrannulet was noticed by guest Janet Duerr while birding from our staff building rooftop. The nest was some 25m above ground on a moss-covered branch of a Croton (Euphorbiaceae) tree. Although the species is widespread and commonly seen at RLG, no published description of the nest of this species exists. 

Nest of White-tailed Tyrannulet

While monitoring the nest I saw an adult feeding the one nestling snuggled inside the moss. Two days later the nestling was obviously beginning to want to stretch its wings and fly. However, it ended up on the ground below the tree. With scarcely audible chirps the adults and their fledgling stayed in contact, and the adults flew down to the ground to feed the young bird. The first day out of the nest it could not fly well, but by the second day it was able to fly in a straight line and was still being well tended by both adults. We are delighted to have these pretty flycatchers rearing their young in our gardens. 

views of White-tailed Tyrannulet nest

Nest, adult and fledgling White-tailed Tyrannulet 

Update on our Lyre-tailed Nightjars:  All summer our Lyre-tailed Nightjars have been observed around the guest houses. Two males were calling and one male was regularly perched on one wall while a female perched on a different wall. The female can offer something of a show as she occasionally jumps straight up for almost two meters and emits a loud “pok” and then settles to her perch again, giving the overall impression of a very large kernel of popping popcorn. On the evening of 31 July we saw two females on the same wall, perhaps one being the offspring of the adult female. One also made the "pok…pok" sound. 

July was the month of male and female Crested Quetzals beginning to nest again at RLG. These beautiful birds return in early summer every year to nest and rear their speckled fledglings which look like Scaled Fruiteaters, except with quetzal-green backs. 

The end of July brought us very vocal Cloud-Forest Pygmy-Owls, Club-winged Manakins along Parrot Hill Trail, and a pair of Crested Guan along Brother’s Trail. Daily we saw Tayras, Sickle-winged Guans and Toucan Barbets as well as many doves, tanagers and brush-finches at our banana feeders. 

Finally, July also welcomed long-time supporters and Las Gralarias Foundation newsletter editors Roy and Laurie Averill-Murray who arrived to spend six weeks volunteering at Roy & Laurie Averill-Murraythe reserve. They will report on their work in future issues of our newsletters.

If you missed their Spring/Summer issue of The Hum, you can link to it here to catch up on more news. 

1 August 2016 – Three--yes, THREE!!!!--White-faced Nunbirds were seen on one branch along – where else? – Nunbird Ridge Trail. Two were probably juveniles since the species is known to nest in May (from the one nest ever documented). 

Space issues prevent me from adding our summer mammal, amphibian and reptile observations, but those should show up in future issues. Stay tuned!

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Photo Credits: White-tailed Tyrannulet and Averill-Murrays courtesy of Jane Lyons; Crested Quetzal courtesy of Marcelo Quipo, White-faced Nunbirds courtesy of Roy Averill-Murray; Fawn-breasted Brilliant Hummingbird courtesy of Greg Lambeth. Copyright 2016 © Las Gralarias Foundation.