20 June 2012 – Semaphore Hill Rd, Ammo Dump Ponds
Our first morning at the Tower was as authentic as they come with Howler Monkeys’ deafening roar for an alarm clock. Watching the sun rise from the observation deck is a wonderful way to start the day, and is something I would do every day if I could! Exciting new birds of the morning included Slaty-tailed Trogon, Collared Araçari, Lesser Greenlet, Scaled Pigeon and much more from the deck before breakfast! After breakfast we had a terrific morning on Semaphore Hill Rd with a ton of activity. Immediately upon leaving the Tower we found an ant swarm and in just minutes had great looks at Ocellated Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Gray-headed Tanager and White-breasted Wood-wren. Other highlights of the morning were Shining Honeycreeper, Green Shrike-Vireo, Broad-billed Motmot, Olivaceous Flatbill, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Black Hawk-Eagle, Hook-billed Kite and Golden Crowned-Spadebill. A bit of rain delayed the start of the afternoon but also gave us a good opportunity to watch a pair of Crimson-crested Woodpecker out the front door of the Tower.
The ammo ponds were terrific, providing ample opportunity to study the differences between the Kiskadees and Rusty-margined and Social flycatchers, as well as our first Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Gray-necked Wood-rail, Green Kingfisher, and Yellow-rumped Cacique among many. The highlight, though, was a Least Bittern in flight and on the fringe of the pond that afforded terrific looks.