Day 99: A Bird in the Hand

Noah finds birds and bird lovers in the forest

April 9, 2015, Montezuma Reserve, Colombia — This morning Jose, Jeff, Dave, Fernando, our driver Robin, and I set out for a second full day on the Montezuma Road, this time targeting the lower half to complement the higher-elevation birds we saw yesterday. We walked slowly down the twisty road, birding along the way, with a stand-up breakfast and packed lunch in the forest, and saw 123 species of birds between dawn and dusk.

In the afternoon, we rounded a corner and found several young field researchers in the midst of a bird-banding session. One of them was holding a Tawny-throated Leaftosser, which was fun to admire up close (fortunately, I recorded a truly “wild” one last week, so didn’t have to decide whether this particular, momentarily restrained leaftosser would count on my year list!). They said we’d just missed a toucanet in the hand, and that they’d caught a Pavonine Cuckoo earlier in the day, so it had been a good session. These researchers are working on a large, multi-year study of birds along the elevational gradients of Montezuma Road; they are mist-netting, nest-searching, point-counting, and otherwise learning a lot about many obscure Colombian birds. It’s a pretty cool project.

In the evening, just before dark, several of us wandered up the road to try for a Blackish Rail in a little marsh near Montezuma Lodge. I’ve missed this bird in several countries so far this year, so it was particularly satisfying when the rail walked into the open, giving great views. A nice end to a long day!

New birds today: 9

Year list: 1961

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