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 17 of 57

16 Un Año Grande en Guatemala Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | Octo ber 2014 calls. I jump out of the car with the camera and start taking photos. This is the frst Guatemalan record of Giant Wren. As I photograph this pair, the second pair comes in, attracted to the vocalizations of the others. Later that day, we fnd one more pair of Giant Wrens far- ther from the Mexican border. These I also manage to photograph. I have to admit a certain satisfaction on fnding these wrens in Guatemala. Mexico has more than 100 endemic bird species. Guatemala has zero. By demonstrating that Giant Wrens live in Guatemala, Mexico might be saying "adiós" to one of its en- demics, but Guatemala is adding one to its species list. In order to communicate about my big year, I needed a blog. My oldest brother cre- ated one for me, and it's a really cool one at that: johncahill. I add my observations to eBird, and they show up on my blog automati- species is endemic to Mexico, so why look for it in Guatemala? The answer is: because in a big year, you scrape for every remote pos- sibility. We are driving down the road. I'm us- ing Google Maps on my iPhone and telling my dad where to turn. The satellite imag- ery is really helpful. I'm looking for patches of good habitat. We turn into a tiny village. First right, then left, then right again. As we reach the edge of the village, the houses are farther apart. Bushes and tall trees fll the spaces between the homes. The habitat looks perfect by the time we hit the Suchiate River (Guatemala's border with Mexico). We stop the car near the river. I play a recording of a Giant Wren and immediately a pair responds, fying up to a tree branch just in front of me and singing. From behind me another pair in which I saw the Yucatán Woodpecker is right in front of the advancing oil palms. Already the oil palms have had a nega- tive impact on the park. After I shared my experience with our friends at WCS's biological station at Laguna del Tigre, Julio Madrid from CONAP contacted me to ask if I would be willing to share the photos and my observations with them. My re- sponse: "That's why I'm here". March 31, 2013. Aldea Limones, San Marcos It's hot. We are near the Pacifc on the coastal plain in the southwestern corner of Guatemala. On our hit list is Giant Wren! The The author searches for the elusive Belted Flycatcher above Lago de Atitlán. Photo © Rob Cahill Yucatán Woodpecker was frst discovered in Guatemala by the author's brother, Peter, in 2013. This year the author was able to con- frm the species' presence as well as discover another population along the Río Sacluc. Photo © John Cahill Continued on page 18

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