Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hotel Bougainvillea, Costa Rica

Good fortune and a love of birding took me to Costa Rica for a full week at the end of January.  A group of eight birders assembled for the trip arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica on the 28th for our first night at the Bougainvillea Hotel and, after check-in, it  didn't take longer than fifteen minutes to get out to bird the fantastic ten acre gardens of this beautiful hotel. 

Tropical Kingbirds (Tyrannus melancholics) were present on each day of the trip in all locations and habitats.  This was my first and best photo of those I took of TK.  I used a new Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera for all photos taken this trip.  Immediately obvious was the excellent light conditions for taking photographs on this first day.

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) - not too special, but a very pretty dove nevertheless.

The only other time I have seen Red-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas flavirostris) were Rio Grand River fly overs in south Texas, so it was quite nice to see this large, quite spectacular pigeon nicely perched.

Don't know which it is yet, but I thought this was a pretty little butterfly.

This Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) popped out in the open just long enough for me to get this nice photo.  Fun to see our summer visitor on its wintering grounds.  

We saw, but mostly heard, Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) many times throughout the trip, but this little beauty posed in the Beaugainvillea gardens and was my first life bird thriller. 

A Grayish Saltator (Saltator coerulescens) perched quietly relatively high in a tree in the sunny late afternoon.

Hoffmann's Woodpeckers (Melanerpes hoffmannii) were present as a pair, but this male in the nest cavity was in the best light for a photo. The gold feathers on his nape can just be glimpsed in the bright sun.

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) is one of the most recognized birds in Central and South America.  Good little singer, too. We saw and heard many.

Matt Hysell found this White-eared Ground-Sparrow (Melozone leucotis) late in the afternoon in a sunless little corner of the garden.  It is a completely beautiful and unique little bird.  Unfortunately, this is the best I could do for a photo.  This is the one and only that we found for the trip.  I would have liked to see it again.  For a much better photo of this bird, see Matt Hysell's blog, Birding Berrien and Beyond.  Matt will also be blogging this trip and the link to his blog can be found in my blog list to the right.  

The next morning we met up with our field guide for the trip, Vernon Campos, and together birded the gardens before breakfast.  We saw Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) the evening before and I got photos that thrilled me, but my photos from this morning walk were even better. 


I guess I have seen banana trees in photos, but I have actually never seen how bananas grow.  This is a banana clump with an unbloomed banana flower at the bottom.    

This photo of San Jose stretched out in the valley was taken from our balcony on the first evening.

A view of the gardens from the balcony.

The hotel's front gardens in spectacular sunshine as we departed for our next stop.

To be continued ... next ... to the Highlands.

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