March 12, 2012

COSTA RICA VI: Hummingbirds

And just cause there wasn't quite room in my last post, here are some hummingbird pics from Savegre and a place called Paraiso Quetzal. We'll start off with the super tiny SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRDMAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRDWHITE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEMGREEN VIOLETEARFIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDThe Fiery-throated Hummingbird was our last new bird. We had a total of 325 species for the trip with an incredible 240 life birds bringing my World List up to 840. We arranged our trip through a company called Costa Rica Gateway. They were wonderful folks to work with; they made all our reservations and provided all our transportation. Plus Kevin Easley knows the birds in Costa Rica like nobody else. If any of you are considering going to Costa Rica and would like more details about the places we went and what we say just send me an email. Pura Vida!


Our last stop was one of our favorites... three days at Savegre Mountain Lodge in the Talamanca highlands. Gardens, hummingbird feeders, trails, great food and a commitment to long-term sustainability. The lodge is just up the hill from the Savegre River and the entire valley was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Seriously cool place...Hiking in the oak forests above the lodgeOur 300th bird of the trip: SILVER-THROATED TANAGERYup, I do believe that's a YELLOW-THIGHED FINCHOur much-anticipated TORRENT TYRANNULETAnd my best looks ever at AMERICAN DIPPERRUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW
After a long hike in the rain, we were rewarded with wonderful looks at what many folks consider to be the most beautiful bird in the world, a male RESPLENDENT QUETZAL


Okay, just a couple more CR posts to go. Our next stop was in the Pacific lowlands near Carara and the Rio Tarcoles. Much hotter and drier here than anywhere we'd been so far. We actually stayed at this place called Punta Leona. Typical (very nice) resort with two beaches, lots of swimming pools, fancy restaurants, etc. Seemed like most of the folks there were either 70 year old American grandparents or 18 year old European supermodels. Felt a little out of place with our binoculars and hiking boots. But the air conditioning was nice :-)
Anyway, some pics for y'all...Crocodillos...And birding was good too. There was a pair of SCARLET MACAWS right outside our roomWe had one full day with a guide named Johan Fernandez. He was terrific! We had a crazy marathon birding day in Carara National Park and the general area. It was exhausting but totally awesome. Ended up with 112 species and over 40 life birds! Like this ROYAL FLYCATCHER...FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWLFERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL trying very hard to intimidate a TROPICAL GNATCATCHERYELLOW-HEADED CARACARATURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOTNORTHERN JACANA... check out those toes!AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER

March 09, 2012

COSTA RICA III: Monteverde

After Arenal our next stop was the cloud forest in Santa Elena and Monteverde. We spent two full days hiking here. Incredible place but the conditions were challenging. We had a lot of wind and rain; especially wind. And it was by far the darkest, densest, wettest woods we've ever seenSeemed like there was at least as much stuff growing on the trees as there was growing on the groundHere's me with Arenal in the backgroundHere's Sarah rocking her brand new, way cool Costa Rica hat
So seeing stuff was challenging. But we still found some cool birds. One of the more common and conspicuous species at this elevation is the COLLARED REDSTARTAmigo de hombreLess common and WAY less conspicuous (but still one of my favorites): SPOTTED BARBTAILOur 200th species of the trip: BARRED BECARDBLACK GUANORANGE-BELLIED TROGONAnd a definite highlight for us was this female RESPLENDENT QUETZAL