Friday, February 14, 2014

Alas, leaving the highlands - day three

In early January I met up with a Detroit friend who had twice been birding in Costa Rica.  I told him I was going at the end of the month and he was effusive with his comments stating, "Costa Rica is a great place - so birder friendly."  Of course, it's easy to know that Costa Rica is worldwide famous for  birding.  It's another thing to experience it.

Something about this rustic sign was so appealing.  On the one hand, a little broken down; on the other, so representative of the importance of the natural environment to the well-being and economy of Costa Rica.

We came upon the sign along a muddy trail while chasing down the elusive Silvery-fronted Tapaculo (Scyalopus argentifrons).  We heard the bird vocalize, and saw it in quick flashes while it remained true to its tapaculo nature.  

Then we had an unexpected surprise when Vernon heard a Resplendent Quetzal calling.  We found the female high up in a tree and then saw the male bird fly over the tree with bright blue sky as backdrop to see its beautiful, streaming uppertail coverts.     

On our final morning at Savegre, the end of our morning walk gave us two good birds.  A family of Spotted Wood Quails (Odontophorus guttatus) was working the leafy ground for food.  

Coming out of the woods and with breakfast in mind, I heard a new vocalization.  This was quickly identified for us by Matt and others who knew to look up to find a couple of Emerald Toucanets (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) feeding - the only ones we saw on the whole trip.  Wow! 

Spotted Wood Quails and Emerald Toucanets inspired a celebratory breakfast with huevos rancheros, beans and rice, white cheese for the Europeans and some typical savory pastries.  Most breakfasts and lunches were vegetarian.  

I found woodcreepers, treerunners and treehunters to be the most difficult group of birds to identify.  We saw a lot and many several times, but so challenging to stick the identification.  Above is a Ruddy Treerunner (Margarornis rubiginosus),    

Up over 10,000 meters to find some high elevation specialities, this thick bed of clouds rolled in.

I think we missed three target species before finally finding this Volcano Junco (Junco volcani).

Resplendent Quetzal is everywhere in the highlands.

In the fields behind our lunch stop restaurant, this orange fruiting tree was full of birds seen well through the spotting scope.


A cluster of lemon and orange trees just off the deck of our lunchtime restaurant invited great birds to pose for photographs.  Tanagers are such amazingly patterned and colorful birds.  This Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) posed in the orange tree.

I was not expecting or even thinking about Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus).  So beautiful!

I was thinking about Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) even less.

Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) rounded out birds photographed in the orange and lemon tree grove.

A cattle truck leading us to the rainforest.

To be continued ...

1 comment:

Matt said...

love the honeycreeper pics