Sunday, November 28, 2010

Costa Rica: The birds are hiding from me!

I woke up early this morning not to the sound of howler monkeys (although I did hear them later, they were not particularly loud) but to the sounds of birds!  There were birds singing everywhere, with songs that my beginner ears have never heard before.  Unless I forgot.  but I really think they were new to me.  They sounded so vivid and close that I actually peeked out the curtain above my bed, half expecting them to be all lined up there for me, but alas, none were visible there.  I put on some pants and my binocs and went out onto the porch, where I though I would see them for sure.  And although I continued hearing them all around, I couldn't see anyone!

Finally I spotted someone - an American redstart.  Female.  Yes, I came all this way, and here was my big morning greeting.  I got some Diet Coke.  I gave it a minute.  I went back.

And saw a mystery warbler!  I saw this guy (and one other) several times, each time it was fleeting and just teasing me, really.  Black upperparts, bright (seriosuly bright) underparts.  Sometimes wtih a yellow cap, sometimes without.  Okay, I'm checking the book now......   I don't see it under warblers.  I was colored just like a thick-billed euphonia, but I thought it had a more warbler style beak.  Wait!  Could it be a flycatcher?

Okay, the one with a cap is probably a thick-billed euphonia, there's just nothing else in the book it looked like.

The one without a cap is probably a common tody-flycatcher?  Maybe?  I've been through this whole book now, and that's my best guess.

I finally saw a buff-throated saltatore, and thought I had good pictures, but I have lost them somehow!  Boo!  I saw this guy several times over several days, I can't believe I ended up with no pictures of him at all.  It's really unfortunate, because he's gorgeous.  Frustrating!

Anyway, moving on......  next was the male American redstart.  And a chestnut-sided, and a yellow.  It was actually pretty funny.

And a summer tanager!  yay!

Some sort of woodpecker was too fast for pictures.

And a hummingbird of some sort blew through.

And this wood creeper!

I was starting to get quite a bit happier, bird-wise.  Then something big flew in.  Something big and dark, followed by something else big and dark.  Two black vultures were in a nearby tree!

They preened, looked around, and moved to a closer tree.  Then an even closer tree!  They were quite gracious in allowing pictures before they took off to find breakfast!

After the vultures left I watched the warblers some more and had more Diet Coke until ......

this black-striped sparrow came over.  Definitely the prettiest sparrow I've ever seen!  Then a male black-hooded ant shrike ant shrike streaked past, as did a gorgeous large blue butterfly.  That must be the one Brooke said she wants to see!

Looking towards the main building I saw this grey-necked wood rail come out for a few seconds and then duck back in!  What luck!

Then this interesting fellow (actually a few of them) were in the tree right over my head.  They did not seem super excited about pictures though.  No great shots but hopefully I'll figure out what they are!

Could they be golden hooded tanagers?  The head looks a bit dark on this one but maybe it's a youngster?  That's the only real possibility I see in this book.  Okay, golden hooded tanagers!

OK, Brooke is awake and we're headed for breakfast.  On the way this flycatcher asked for a few shots.  Okay, buddy, now you're famous!

I think breakfast was the first time I saw the Cherrie's tanagers.  Or was it before?  Anyway, they are gorgeous.  Never got a decent shot of the male, I did get some eventually of the female.  Beautiful!

After breakfast and before our noon massages, I of course went back out on the patio.  Toucans!  I think my exact words were, "I see a toucan!  I'm not even kidding!"  There were two fiery billed aracari, who wanted fruit more than they wanted to avoid pictures, but it was a close race.

And then a chestnut mandibled toucan came over to chase them away!  Hahahahahaha, it was awesome!

So, it's now day two in Costa Rica and I've already seen the scarlet macaws and the toucans.  Still on the list - blue-crowned mot mot, hummingbirds, and sloths.  :-)

Oh wait - what's that over there?  Hummingbird!  I believe (although really it's not a good enough picture for ID) this is a purple crowned fairy.  At least, of all the ones in my book in this region, this is the only real candidate.  Yay!

Oh, an iguana got up into the top of the tree across the way.  Pretty impressive!

And wait - what's over there?  An oriole?  Hahahaha, that's sort of surreal!  Yep, it looks like a Baltimore oriole!  Hello old friend!

Somewhere in there we had our massages and then started happy hour a bit early.  With Doritos and vanilla vodka.

Oh, did I mention that after our massage we saw hummingbirds outside the spa?  Looked like white-necked jacobin.  And I saw a banana bird briefly, much less friendly here than at that beach park in cayman.  Anyway, we were living the life in Costa Rica, Baby!

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