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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (, and of course, instead of spending time with clubs and balls, he took his tripod and camera and went searching birds on the trails and forested areas surrounding the facilities.
Suddenly, Siu heard a raptor whistle call that he immediately recognized as a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). He had heard it so many times while watching this bird soaring high, but to his surprise this time it was perched on a cecropia dead branch, just looking to the golf course. It only took seconds to draw this large bird’s attention and get a decent shot before it decided to soar to a farthest perch.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests. Individuals often soa…

Christmas Eve at Parque Natural Metropolitano

On Christmas Eve we spent the day at the Parque Natural Metropolitano trying to get better pictures of some species that are common there, and try to find some migratory warblers and vireos. We observed, and tried to get photos of, common birds in the park like Lance-tailed Manakin, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Rufous-breasted Wren, Red-crowned Anttanager, Red-throated Anttanager, White-shouldered Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo. Also, we were able to observe a Golden-fronted Greenlet, among others.

Unfortunately, as usual, finding birds was easier than photographing them, and finally these were the photos we got.

The Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) can be distinguished from similar brown basilisk by its large size and the high fin-like crests down its back. Most are brown to olive, and have a white, cream or yellow stripe on the upper lip and a second stripe along either side of their bodies; these stripes have higher contrast in juveniles and fade as the lizards age.  While the basilisk is most known for its ability to run on water, it is also an excellent climber and swimmer.

The Pseudostigmatidae are a family of tropical damselflies, known as helicopter damselflies, giant damselflies, or forest giants. The family includes the largest of all damselfly species. They specialize in preying on web-building spiders, and breed in phytotelmata, the small bodies of water held by plants such as bromeliads.
Cocoa Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)

Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina) (female pictured) also know as tyrannine antbird, is a resident breeder in tropical Central and South America from southeastern Mexico southwards to western Ecuador, and Amazonian Brazil. This is a common bird in the understory thickets of wet forest, especially at edges and clearings, and in adjacent tall second growth. The adult male is mainly blackish-grey above and paler grey below, with two white wing bars. The female has brown upperparts and rufous-cinnamon underparts. Exact plumage shades vary geographically, since there are a number of subspecies of this antbird. It feeds on insects and other arthropods taken from twigs and foliage in thickets or vine tangles. It is easier to hear than see in its dense habitat.

 Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) - female

Rufous-and-white Wren (Thryophilus rufalbus) is a resident breeding species from southwesternmost Mexico to northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. Its flask-shaped nest is constructed 2–3 m high in a tree or shrub. It forages actively in low vegetation or on the ground; it is a shy species more often heard than seen. It mainly eats insects, spiders and other invertebrates

This nest was found on a Bullhorn Acacia (Vachellia cornigera) shrub, known locally as "cachito". This plant is best known for its symbiotic relationship with a species of Pseudomyrmex ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) that lives in its hollowed-out thorns. Unlike other acacias, Bullhorn acacias are deficient in the bitter alkaloids usually located in the leaves that defend against ravaging insects and animals. The ants act as a defense mechanism for the tree, protecting it against harmful insects, animals or humans that may come into contact with it. In return, the tree supplies the ants with protein-lipid nodules called Beltian bodies from its leaflet tips and carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk. These Beltian bodies have no known function other than to provide food for the symbiotic ants. The aggressive ants release an alarm pheromone and rush out of their thorn "barracks" in great numbers. Apparently this wren species is also capable of a symbiotic relationship with the ants.

Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota)

 Giant Ameiva (Ameiva ameiva)

White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica), also known as coatimundi or locally as "gato solo" is a species of coati and a member of the family Procyonidae (raccoons and relatives). It inhabits wooded areas (dry and moist forests) of the Americas. They are found at any altitude from sea level to 3,000 m (9,800 ft), and from as far north as southeastern Arizona and New Mexico, through Mexico and Central America, to far northwestern Colombia (Gulf of Urabá region, near Colombian border with Panama). They are omnivores, preferring small vertebrates, fruits, carrion, insects, snakes and eggs. They can climb trees easily, where the tail is used for balance, but they are most often on the ground foraging.  They can be tamed easily, and have been verified experimentally to be quite intelligent.