Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prothonotary Warbler puts on a show at Magee Marsh

Overall the birding was slow at Magee Marsh on Saturday, 04/26/14. It was sunny, but cool.  Some would say it was downright cold, but I was comfortable.  I went down for a morning of birding with Artemis Eyster and Rodolfo Palma.  It was relaxing and enjoyable.  We met up with Jerry Jourdan and one of his colleagues who he has gotten interested in photographing birds.    

Probably the most concentrated activity for us was at the entrance of the boardwalk where we saw this beautiful Blue-headed Vireo - above and below.   

White-throated Sparrows were abundant here, as were one Eastern Phoebe, one scantily seen Nashville Warbler and the above Pine Warbler of which the only photo I could get was the backlit flight photo.

Further on we found a mostly cooperative Palm Warbler.

But the star of the morning was this beautiful Prothonotary Warbler who put on a show for dozens of birders.  The photo above and the five below give some idea.  This little bird even hopped up on the boardwalk to peck for insects often no more than five feet away.

We closed out the morning at Magee Marsh with a viewing of this Bald Eagle on a new nest just at the edge of the parking lot.  Marsh managers a large area of the parking lot taped off to protect the nesting birds from over zealous viewers.

I agree with this strategy, but note that a number of parking spots were also off limits.  This may be a problem when it comes to limiting close parking for the Biggest Week in Birding May 6-15, 2014.  I feel sure the organizers have planned for this. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The dry forest, Guazimo Road

Two things:  I probably have the name of this road spelled incorrectly and now we are really down to our final birding.  This is my final Costa Rica trip blog entry. 

There was one stop which offered different habitat between Punta Leona and our return to San Jose which Vernon called the "dry forest." The road was in poor condition and the van travelled slowly revealing the driest vegetation that we had seen the whole trip.

While trying to find a sheltered spot alone, if you know what I mean, I found these three horses finding relief from the hot sun in the shade of the trees.  

The lump in the tree above is a sleeping Howler Monkey.  I was surprised that they would be in this kind of habitat.

Before I could catch up with the others, I had to stop for this little guy. His parents' truck had broken down and his dad and older brother were trying to fix it.  His mom was sitting in the grass at the edge of the road watching the repairs.

I started this blog entry on March 31st with the thought that it would be my last Costa Rica trip report and as of today, April 19th, still had not completed it.  I was driving home from shopping this afternoon and listening to This American Life on the radio and got the reboot I needed to complete it. The program today was a repeat from March 1st, 2013 titled No Coincidence, No Story!  I heard the original broadcast and laughed then just as I did again this afternoon.  If you have an extra hour to listen, I recommend it.  Toward the end, listeners are asked to think about coincidences that have occurred in their own lives. I love coincidences and know I have experienced some, but the only one I could recall at the moment was this little boy.

Here were are on this terrible road - with great birds, for sure - and it felt like in the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica - which it was not because Costa Rica is not that big - and I come across this little boy wearing a Detroit Pistons T-shirt.  Okay, so my story would not have made the cut for This American Life, but at the time I enjoyed the coincidence.

Hummingbird - but which I can't say now!

Grazing cow.

The photos above and below were taken through the van window. Above Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina).

Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus).  The others we saw were on the river bank and here they are again in completely different habitat.

Above and below White-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta formosa).

My photos don't show it - but the Magpie Jay is truly spectacular.

Above and below Black-headed Trogan (Trogan melanocephalus)

Finally, some decent photos of Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus). The photo above may be one of my best of the trip.  Shows a little action for a change.

The photos above and below reveal such a stately and dramatic bird with its upright posture and bright lemon breast.

This might be a Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila). With such a poor photo it's hard to tell now so long after taking it.  But, I recall thinking that it was quite spectacular and trying for this photo.

Monday, April 14, 2014

From the NY Times: Paying Farmers to Welcome Birds

In today's NY Times:  Paying Farmer's to Welcome Birds

and also from the NY Times:  The Moral:  Aesop Knew Something About Crows

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

From the NY Times: Salamanders Hefty Role in the Forest

A terrific New York Times article on salamanders.

Salamanders Hefty Role in the Forest

I have always loved turtles and salamanders.  Of course, I've seen and held many more turtles than I have seen salamanders.  I can recall holding only one salamander ever.