Saturday, March 1, 2014

Carara National Park

We arrived at Punta Leona resort on Sunday late afternoon.  Punta Leona is a nice, sprawling resort of single story hotel rooms surrounded by trees, plants and gardens, apartments and private homes.  The resort also had two beaches; one within walking distance and another that required taking the resort shuttle.  It's a gated resort and has the second longest driveway from the road to the the resort buildings that Vernon knew of.  We checked into our rooms and had dinner.  

The next morning, staying true to our 6:00 am schedule, we were out birding the grounds of the surprisingly birdy resort.   

A Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) was still calling in the early morning.  For the whole trip we saw seven species of owls.

Fiery-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus frantzii), also seen at Esquinas.

Gray-headed Chachalaca (Ortalis cinereiceps)

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)

Motmots are spectacular.

Perhaps this bird is a Great Kiskadee, so common and seen every day of the trip. But for some reason, to me, it doesn't look like a kiskadee.  The bill seems somewhat smaller and the facial appearance of the bird seems more benign than a kiskadee's look. And, although the photo does not suggest this, it did not seem as large and bulky as a kiskadee.  As we were walking away, I asked Vernon, "what was that yellow-breasted bird on the wire."  His response, something like "good question," suggested that he didn't focus on the bird because it was a kiskadee.  So, unless I receive an ID comment to suggest otherwise ...  Addendum:  see below for Matt Hysell's comment, since this is so obviously not a kisskadee.   

Leaving Punta Leona, our destination stop for the morning was the first entrance of Carara National Park.  We saw a lot of good birds here, but the heat and sun of the morning probably slowed down activity somewhat. 

Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus) posed for us from a close, horizontal branch.  It wanted to go to its nest but seemed hesitant because of all the birders on the trail.    

The Royal Flycatcher nest was hanging low and just over the trail.  It's a large and messy nest - completely unlike what one would expect for a small songbird.

Nesting material is in the bird's beak.

White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica)

The "world famous" Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica).  As with a couple of other north American neotropical migrants, we saw chestnut-sided warbler quite a lot.  At Carara NP this species earned it's nickname when it kept popping up while we were searching for little, flitting green and yellow Costa Rican birds.  Vernon nicknamed it "world famous" when it would, again and again, distract us.  

I worked hard to get this so-so photo of another north American neotropical migrant, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), because I don't get a chance to see it that often at home. 

Fruit of the "testicle tree" or their other nickname, "horse balls." 

Common basilisk or lagarto de Jesus Cristo for its ability to run on the surface of water.

Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis).  It flew in over our heads and initially I dismissed it for Lineated Woodpecker.  But when Vernon called out Pale-billed I had enough time for a couple of shutter clicks before it flew off.  I was lucky for the relatively decent focus and the view of the bird's pale bill while shooting though the branches in the foreground.  

Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana), as with the Pale-billed Woodpecker, this bird popped into view but paused a bit longer.  I got three shots of about equal quality. 

Capuchin Monkey youngster.

Orange-collared Manakin (Manacus aurantiacus)

There is a little story behind my orange-collared manakin photo that reveals a common pitfall of using a point-and-shoot camera - no matter how good the camera - and wanting the photo too much.  This is probably my best of many attempts.  The bird would briefly perch in the open, before flitting to the another branch, but not for quite long enough for my slower shutter to make the necessary adjustments.  I took approximately fifteen photos, most slightly or mostly blurred, until I was reduced to expletives.   Naturally, for such a colorful, cute and close little bird, everyone wanted photos.  But, in my intensity to get a decent photo, I think I blocked some views of my fellow birders' photo attempts.  I was concentrating so much that I didn't even realize this until much later in the day when one of my colleagues made a comment. I apologize to the others in our great group for this now.  I finally got the above photo when the others moved on and I lingered behind for a few extra shots.  For me, just one of the many benefits of keeping a blog is to help me become a better birder.  Being honest about my own peccadillos is another.    

Some kind of iguana?  So well camouflaged that a quick glance may not even reveal it.

Unidentified butterfly that actually landed on a leaf, perhaps because of some interest in the bird poop.

In flight, this butterfly's identity is spectacular and unmistakeable, but in this perched photo not at all so obvious.  I'll leave it as a quiz photo for viewers to make the identification.

To be continued ... with more of Carara National Park.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I don't remember seeing that individual, but the lack of rufous in the wings, pale eye, smallish bill, and hint of a gray cap on the 2nd pic say Gray-capped Flycatcher to me.