Saturday, February 22, 2014

La Gamba Road

By my prior blog entries it's easy to tell how much I loved this area. Leaving was difficult.  Perhaps this statement has no real meaning because I also loved "the highlands" which was completely different. Yes, the rainforest woods were like nothing I've ever seen before.  But, in the afternoons and on our departing morning we birded along La Gamba road which was fields, small woodlots and small homesteads. La Gamba road was also where we saw our three owls on the second night.  I learned from Matt that La Gamba is quite a famous spot for birding in Costa Rica and found another blog, Manuel Antonio Birding by Johan Chaves, which shows more scenery photos than I am offering, a few different birds and overall better photos.  I recommend checking it out.

This is my fewest photos blog entry.  But the photos from this morning are important and need to be included. 

Smooth-billed Anis (Crotophaga ani)

The bird above and below was thrilling for me to see.  Though Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) can be expected in this location, Vernon was excited when he called it out.  I have little experience with kites, including those that stray to the midwest and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.  The only other kites I have ever seen are Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) (which we also saw on this trip) and Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), both during a 2009 trip to Florida. So to see this small, completely attractive and charmingly perched kite was special for me.   

Silly to include a photo such as the one above (no amount of editing could rescue it), but I do so for my memory of seeing a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) on this trip.  It is one of the birds I had really wanted to see, and we saw a couple well through the spotting scope, but they were always too distant for a decent photo.  The blog I reference above, Manuel Antonio Birding ... , has a couple of good Fork-tailed Flycatcher photos that made me completely envious.

After seeing the Pearl Kite, we lingered in this area a bit longer because vultures, mostly Black, were swirling overhead and Lathe and Matt hoped to find another kind of raptor mixed in with them.  I don't remember if we saw a hawk, but the lingering was worth it because a couple of King Vultures (Sarcoramphus papa) soared into view and low enough for a try at some acceptable photos.

Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) is a spectacular bird that I have also seen in Peru and Colombia.  I edited this photo for exposure, shadows and clarity with the rudimentary, but better than nothing, iPhoto editing tool.

Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) is just one of our common, breeding neotropical migrants that we saw frequently on this trip.  It often vocalized with its typical and unmistakable "wheep" call. It's an odd, but pleasurable, experience to hear such a familiar call in such a far away place.  The afternoon before we all had the experience of hearing "RITZbew" and we wondered why Vernon was playing the call of the Willow Flycatcher.  He was not playing the call of a Willow Flycatcher.  An actual Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) was perched and calling in exactly the same kind of habitat as we would see it in June.  

Crossing our famous bridge on foot.

To be continued ... a hour spent with a very fun bird!

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