Field Guides is always looking to offer new birding experiences to our clients. This year we partnered with El Salvador’s Birdlife International affiliate, SalvaNATURA, to help create a unique tour that included both banding instruction and some great birding. The participants learned basic banding techniques at two different locations: Los Volcanes National Park (Cerro Verde) and El Imposible National Park.
Cerro Verde is a cloud forest site where participants were able to handle such specialties as White-faced Quail-Dove, Green-throated Mountain-Gem,
Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper. We also banded a number of northern visitors including Black-and-white and Wilson’s warblers and Ovenbird. Our two days at El Imposible (semi-deciduous tropical forest) were even more productive; we caught 44 birds on the first day alone! Species banded included White-tipped Dove, Blue-crowned Motmot, Long-tailed Manakin (at right), Ivory-billed and Ruddy woodcreepers, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, and Rufous-capped and Fan-tailed warblers. This tour offered participants a nicely paced introductory lesson on all aspects of banding from net placement, bird extraction from the net, and data collection to safe release.
In addition to the banding, we enjoyed some great birding at both banding sites along with visits to the protected areas of Walter Deininger and Barra de Santiago. Birding highlights during the tour included a Salvadoran rarity, a juvenile Double-toothed Kite, raucous White-bellied Chachalacas, Blue-throated Goldentails singing from their canopy perches, a flyby pair of Yellow-naped Parrots, and an adult male Blue Seedeater at El Imposible! This trip also included a memorable boat ride into the mangroves of Barra de Santiago (where we also had some pretty decent shorebirding) and an afternoon lunch overlooking the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. It was a great group to share this inaugural tour to El Salvador, and we’d like to thank all the wonderful biologists at SalvaNATURA who worked with us during our bird banding activities.