On our final morning at Savegre, across the road and up a steep hill, we enjoyed one of our more relaxing and downright fun mornings. But it didn't quite begin that way.
When we arrived at the top of the hill it was to visit a very cleverly thought out feeder station; again, another example of how important birding is to Costa Rica.
The feeder station was an abandoned apple orchard with twenty or so old, squat trees in an area about the size of a suburban backyard. Cut up fruit - papaya, bananas, and whatever else - was arranged on tree branches and feeding platforms. And, this attracted birds! The little orchard was full of chlorophonias feeding vigorously - at eye level - on the fruit. According to Matt these birds are typically treetoppers.
But the weather was overcast and misty, and because it was early, the lighting was not good for taking photographs. Female chlorophonias were feeding and active. All of my photos were terrible. The thing is, when not familiar with the habits of a particular species - as here I was not - I kept thinking, these birds are going to fly and my chances for a couple of decent photos will fly with them.
But not so. The morning became lighter, the mist stopped and the sun, here and there, even came out. We spread out around the orchard and the birds came to us. We all got so many chlorophonia photos. The six below are possibly my best. I had a hard time going through the visceral deletion process required and even kept some of my not so good shots.
Golden-browed chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys) male
I don't think I'll ever see a Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina) eating fruit in the states.
Tennessee warbler - terrible picture, but many were feeding with the chlorophonias.
Female Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea)
Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla)
I had a start when I first saw this bird. I thought it was a Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), an uncommon migrant which has shown up in a few places in Costa Rica. Nah - juvenile Rufous-collared sparrow. I was disappointed, but then glad to see what the juvenile bird looks like. The photo below is of a hidden Rufous-collared sparrow building a nest.
Golden-browed Chlorophonia was one of my wished for target birds for this trip. I hoped we would see one or two and that I might get a photograph. Never did I expect such a fun experience as this.