Birding a Tropical Dry Forest in Nicaragua

We are at a slip in the Marina Puesta Del Sol at the Northwestern end of Nicaragua. It's a gorgeous spot and it's so nice to have calm, flat water, the internet, cold showers and deep sleep.
I have really enjoyed my walks in this beautiful ecosystem.  It's loaded with birds and in a weird way, it reminds me of our place in San Diego County, California.  The live oaks, sycamores, sumac and manzanita being replaced with acacias and other tress that drop their leaves as they try to conserve water.  Of course, this is more humid and its on the ocean, but it is coastal scrub.  I would like to hang out here for awhile, but hurricane season is approaching and we must push on. 
I have added 14 new bird to my life list in the three days I've been here and have a list of around 50 species.  I wasn't able to ID several flycatchers and I missed a few birds who took off before I could have a good look. Notably, two raptors. Darn!  I did get a Peregrine though. I walked to the beach and when I looked toward the estuary entrance, I could see a raptor perched on some driftwood at the end of the beach.  I kicked off my tevas and started walking.  It wasn't long before I knew it was a Peregrine, but I kept going in hopes I could get a good shot. I didn't, but it was a nice walk on a spotless beach.  The Peregrine and I were the only people on the beach.
"You lookin' at ME?"
I got a Lesser Ground Cuckoo!!  I have seen the illustrations of this bird a few hundred times as I've thumbed through the field guides, but I never thought I'd see one. What a stunning bird; the illustration does it no justice.  It looked painted rather than feathered. I really wish I could have gotten a photo, but it sauntered into the tall, dry grass before I could react--I was so stunned to see it!  I got a few other skulkers: Yellow-breast Chat and Banded Wren. 
Black-headed Trogon
Hoffman's Woody
My best guess is a juvenile Painted Bunting for the photo above.  I've seen a female here a few times and she was very green so I had a hard time calling this a painted. I went online for a Nicaraguan bird list and saw only three buntings listed:  Blue, Indigo and Painted.  I read that the Painted juvies are dull, but this is DULL. Can't see what else it can be, so it wins Painted by default.  I will post a separate post on some of the Flycatchers I got photos of and can't decide what they are.  I will have to do that when we get to Chiapas, Mexico because we are leaving here in a few hours and I have much to do to get ready for the passage.
Well hidden Banded Wren.
Bird List:

Brown Pelicans

Magnificent Frigatebird

Green Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Tri-colored Heron

Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture

Peregrine Falcon

Spotted Sandpiper

Royal Tern
Black Tern

Laughing Gull

White-winged Dove
Inca Dove
Common Ground Dove

Parakeets flew over several times, don't know which species

Lesser Ground Cuckoo*
Grove-billed Ani

Cinnamon Hummingbird*

Black-headed Trogon*
Turquoise-browed Motmot*
Ringed Kingfisher

Hoffman's Woodpecker*

Barred Antshrike

Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Pewee?? Wood Pewee probably Western--bird was silent
Great Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Rose-throated Becard*

Barn Swallow
Mangrove Swallow

White-throated Magpie-Jay

White-lored Gnatcatcher*

Rufous-naped Wren
Banded Wren*

Clay-colored Thrush
Swainson's Thrush

Tropical Mockingbird

Yellow Warbler
Mangrove Yellow Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat*
Northern Waterthrush

Scrub Euphonia*

Blue-gray Tanager

Grayish Saltator? Saw for a split second and off it went. Would have been a lifer.

Painted Bunting*
Blue-black Grassquit
Stripe-headed Sparrow

House Sparrow

Great-tailed Grackle
Melodius Blackbird*

Altamira Oriole*
Spot-breasted Oriole*
Baltimore or?? Saw female for the blink of an eye.
A stop at the pub for an hamburgesa con queso and a cervesa after a long, hot walk.
Mangrove Swallow
White-winged Dove


  1. Hi Sue,
    Good to hear from you again. Nicaragua looks amazing and I can understand your sadness leaving there. Great pictures of birds. Some very interesting species there.

    1. Hi Nick,
      Very good to hear from you too. We were supposed to leave this morning, but the officials couldn't get here until evening so we got a stay of exploration. I went birding today and had another great day.
      All the Best,