Off the Beaten Path: Bird Spots

As I was pondering the second destination of our virtual tour of El Salvador, I noticed that a persistent sound overpowers even the loudest of fans, the dog-barking and the car alarms, and that sound is the singing of birds.  I am not talking about the famous flocks of green pericos that grace us with their loud squawking (check out the story for Stop #1 on the virtual tour), but the consistent chirps, whistles, squeaks and sing-songy garble which is the soundtrack of every, single day.  It is absolutely lovely.

Stop #2 on our virtual tour:  Bird Spots

January is a good month for listening to looking for birds in El Salvador.  Many species have escaped the frozen tundra of North America to hang out here in the warm sunshine.  As the dry season takes hold, birds congregate near lakes and rivers, in mountainside forests, and in city parks, home gardens and on university campuses.

Often at this time of year, Bob is in El Salvador.  Bob has been a member of every Mission of Healing team for 21 years.  Whether we are in the middle of a health fair or hanging out in a community or out in the countryside for a little touristic relaxation, if we hear an interesting bird call, someone says, "Go get Bob."  Bob has a gift for spotting birds.

So, I have to give a shout-out to Bob as a significant contributor to this blog post.  For a while we actually had exactly the same camera, so I literally do not know who took a few of these pics.  

Bird Spot:  Santa Barbara near Guazapa.  Bob saw this
guy after we heard it call.  The torogoz does not sing, but
makes a raspy croaking sound. The torogoz is the national bird of
El Salvador and is scientifically identified as the turquoise-browed motmot.

Bird Spot:  The UCA.  While this looks like a torogoz, I do not
think it actually is.  There are several types of motmot that live
in El Salvador.  I am pretty sure this one is the Lesson's Motmot.  

Bird Spot:  The UCA (Central American University) campus
in San Salvador.  Same motmot, now chatting with a friend.

During the month of September, children do reports
about their national symbols.  This one was done by a mom
and her preschool child. "It was declared the national bird
by legislative agreement on October 21, 1999.  The torogoz received
this honor for its singular beauty.  You can find it most frequently
in the mountainous zones of our country.

Paintings of the torogoz are found all over El Salvador.

Birds Spotted:  Los Pericos - the green parakeets (they are actually
pretty big for what we usually think of as parakeets).  These birds are loud
and travel in large flocks.  They are pretty common to see in flight, 
but much more difficult to photograph once they roost.  Normally
they like to hide among the leaves.

I am pretty sure I spotted this perico in Panchimalco

Birds just wanna have fun. These birds remind me of grackles and
they can make a very large range of sounds.

Bird Spot:  Botanical Garden La Laguna, Antiguo Cuscatlán.
Birds just wanna race lizards?

Bird Spot: Tonacatepeque. And just about every community
in El Salvador.  Even in the city.  And they crow.  All night long.

Bird Spot:  Chalatenango.  Ducks are helpful
creatures to have in the yard.  They eat the larvae of
the type of mosquito that transmits dengue fever.

Dogs spotting birds

Bird Spot:  El Paisnal.  Have space? Raise a few birds.  You
really have to hunt for the eggs sometimes!

This was a very lucky capture of a bird in the forest.  I looked it
up and it is called a Gartered Trogon.

Bird Spot:  Lago Suchitlán.  The lake is home to thousands of species
of native and migratory birds.  

Bird Spot:  Lago Suchitlán

Bird Spot:  Lago Suchitlán

Bird Spot: The fishing pier in La Libertad

Bird Spot:  Check your clothing! 
Ecumenical Electoral Observation; Churches in Mission

Bird Spot:  The UCA.  Doves are everywhere.  Sometimes
they hover over the altar.  Sometimes they poop on the pews.

Bird Spot: Monument to Peace and Reconciliation, San Salvador

Bird Spot: San Salvador
Bird Spot:  Cerro Verde.  

Bird Spot:  El Boquerón.  These buzzards catch the warm waves
and soar round and round inside the crater.  This one paused for a rest
in a pito tree.  Side note:  you can make torta de pito (like a frittata) from
those little red things.  Julia taught me that. 

OK. I seriously HAVE seen parrots of all colors in the wild.
Do you think I could have captured one decent picture?  No.
Bird Spot:  The Artisan Market, San Salvador.
Whenever I see parrots, I think of a song I learned in Sunday
School here in El Salvador:  Pajarito Canta Tú

Sometimes the most beautiful song comes from a little bird,
perched just outside of your office window.
Bird Spot:  The Lutheran Church Offices in San Salvador

I am definitely not a bird expert.  I do have a ton of photographs of blurry birds perched in high trees or in mid-flight.  After I finished gathering these bird photos together, I happened upon a Wikipedia site with an exhaustive list of the birds in El Salvador.  If you have visited El Salvador, you might just want to pull out your own photos, check out the web site, and try to identify some of the birds you spotted.


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