Birder's Guide

OCT 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 16 of 57

15 October 2014 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy The woodpecker continues to call from a moderate-sized oak straight in front of me. Scanning the tree with binoculars, I pick it out immediately. It is obviously a Yucatán Woodpecker. The small tail is the thing that strikes me frst. Then, taking a close look at the bill, I can see that it is proportionally smaller than that of the Golden-fronted. I get the photos needed to confrm this record. Yucatán Woodpecker—a new species for Guatemala! Guatemala's national council for pro- tected areas (CONAP) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) work to- gether to protect the Laguna del Tigre National Park. The park is threatened by land invasions and the rapid expansion of the African palm oil industry. From satel- lite images, I can see that the stand of oaks by my brother. One month earlier, my brother identifed a Yucatán Woodpecker at this loca- tion. This was a frst record for this species in Guatemala, but the photo he got was not 100% conclusive—mostly because he was digibinning with his iPhone. Now I'm trying to confrm his record as well as add a great bird to my big year list. I am surrounded by branches and vines, and getting attacked by mosquitoes. The possibility of being mauled by a crocodile weighs heavy on my mind. Suddenly, I hear a woodpecker call reminis- cent of a Golden-fronted Woodpecker but somehow softer, less shrill. I paddle toward the call. Silence. For a moment, I fear the bird few away. I continue into the thicket until I'm walled in. It is time to get out of the kayak even though I'm still in about a foot of water. Once I hit the shore, the habitat opens before me, revealing tall grass and a few oaks. they seem to be doing quite well. In 2013, I started a Facebook group called "Birding Guatemala". The idea was to create a forum for people to post sight- ings, ask identifcation questions, share advice, and generally to promote birding in Guatemala. The group started with just eight people but quickly grew. Soon, several of the group members began to take bird- ing seriously and started to use eBird. I had new friends, and Guatemala had new bird- ers. One of my "Birding Guatemala" friends was with me when I found the second loca- tion for Double-striped Thick-knee. Today, "Birding Guatemala" has 266 members. January 26, 2014. Río Sacluc, Petén I'm sitting in a small kayak on a narrow, crocodile-inhabited river following a lead left For many birders who visit the awesome Maya city of Tikal (below), the resident pair of Orange-breasted Falcons (above) is a major highlight. Photos © John Cahill

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