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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Birding Bros Go International! #23-26: Granada, Nicaragua

Hard to believe we've come this far, but after 22 installments of our bird photos, we've gotten to James's Nicaragua trip. Man, he saw some great birds there, so enjoy reading the account of his first day in Nicaragua below!

After a sixteen-hour roadtrip, including a rather misguided detour to Atlanta, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and following a short three-hour flight we'd landed in Nicaragua. The only international airport is in the capital of Managua, a city with an infamous reputation (I heard that you have to walk around with a baseball bat during the day). This drove us to the far safer nearby city of Granada, a city famous for a magnificent cathedral situated right on the main square.

Editor's Note: Am I the only one who notices the guy with the ice cream cart?

While we were only in Granada for a total of a day, the fairly urban environment yielded four life birds. The first bird I ran into was a Tropical Kingbird. These little guys frequented the power lines around the city, and if I recall correctly this particular individual situated himself across the street from the main cathedral.

Tropical Kingbird - Granada, Nicaragua; 07/08/2010

The next stop in our trek through Nicaragua was the Isla de Ometepe (famous for its twin massive volcanoes). This meant a ferry across Lake Nicaragua, which necessitated waiting at the ferry terminal. While waiting I noticed a small reddish bird in the path, and though he didn’t stick around very long I still got a good look at this nice Ruddy Ground-Dove.

Editor's Note: Insanely jealous of this one! Wasn't the first, and won't be the last.

I then noticed a parakeet hanging out in a palm tree, and after much deliberation (and consulting with the international birding site Robert and I decided that it was in fact a tiny Orange-chinned Parakeet.

Relevant field marks include the rusty coloration on the wings and, er, the orange chin.

After these three lifers we headed through the lax security and boarded the small “ferry”. I leaned over the rail and noticed a juvenile Mangrove Swallow was hanging out on the top of the boat, and luckily he decided to strike a couple of poses.

Apparently he wants to be fed!

With that, the ferry jolted forward, and we embarked on a four-hour trek across one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Tune in next time for the report from Isla de Ometepe!

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