Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another amazing car ride!

We're sad to be leaving Arena Del Mars, but glad to take another long ride with Bernie.  We went back to that pond with all the great stuff, and sure enough there was lots more great stuff there!  Starting with roseate spoonbills.  Gorgeous, right?

Roseate Spoonbills
 But they look like a bunch of doofuses next to the elegant black-necked stilt.
Black-necked Stilt and Roseate Spoonbills
 And they are dwarfed by the huge wood storks!
Wood Stork and Roseate Spoonbill
 There was quite a variety there.  From left to right, a white ibis, great blue heron, wood stork, another white ibis, and snowy egret, and another wood stork.
White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Snowy Egret

Adult White Ibis behind Wood Storks
 The brown bird in the grass is a juvenile white ibis.  There were a few there, there were pretty cool-looking!
Juvenile White Ibis behind Wood Storks
Way at the far end were several jacanas.  
Northern Jacanas
 Randomly I caught a black-necked stilt flying.  If I had been trying to get this picture it never would have worked.  :-)
Black-necked Stilt flying
 I love how the snowy egret is flying just above the wood stork that is fluffing its wings.  What a difference!  Also those yellow feet on the egret are awesome!
Snowy Egret flying over Wood Storks
 A tiger heron!  I think this one is a fasciated.
Fasciated (?) Tiger Heron
 A few scarlet macaws flew over, brightening up our day.
Scarlet Macaw Leaving
 Back on the road, and a side trip to check for tiger herons - which we found!  This one might be a bare-throated, might be a juvenile fasciated.
Bare-throated (?) Tiger Heron
 Yeah, I think it's a bare-throated.
Bare-throated (?) Tiger Heron
 Apparently on Sundays they shut down the highway in one direction, and we were free to drive on the other side of the road.  Wheeeeeeee!  :-)
Breaking the Rules

One last walk on our last day here

Well, it's our last morning at Arena Del Mars.  So sad!  It's been wonderful here.  The parakeets came by to say adios.
Orange-chinned Parakeet
 Jack came walking with me this morning, so I was looking hard for the motmots.  And we found them!  There were two, and they gave us quite a show.  :-)
Blue-crowned Motmot
 This waterthrush was trying its best to distract us from the motmots.
Northern Waterthrush
 See?  There were two!  :-)
Blue-crowned Motmots
 Down at the beach the swallows were missing again, but we did see this yellow-headed caracara.  It was perched there for quite some time.  What a treat!
Yellow-headed Caracara
 Yes, yes, it's quite a nice tail.
Yellow-headed Caracara 
 A sandpiper laughing at me, daring me to try to ID it.  Someday!
 The black-hooded antshrike pair was on the path again, and again the female pretty much defeated my camera.  You will just have to take my word for it - she is gorgeous!
Black-hooded Antshrike, female
 Then a new sight - antbirds!  There were 3 or 4 of them, hopping around, where the light was the absolute worst, and moving quicker than a camera.  Brown back, black head, blue orbital skin.
Chestnut-backed Antbird
 I think they must have been chestnut-back antbirds. Sadly these were the best pictures I got.
Chestnut-backed Antbird
 And an agouti!  :-)  A great walk for our last day.
Central American Agouti

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wandering around on my own

Today I'm back to my normal habits - wandering around on my own, seeing what I see.  As much as I love having a guide, I learn more when I'm on my own, and usually find something interesting.  My plan was to basically follow yesterday's path, and hopefully see the swallows in better light for better pictures.  First I remembered to take a picture of the island where the brown boobies are.  I know, they are not really visible, but they are all over that island!
Brown Booby Island
Again the chestnut-sided warbler.  I am getting seriously spoiled here.
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Again the parakeets came through, and again they were extremely difficult to see and take pictures of!  I can't see them in the viewfinder, I just have to point the camera, click away, and hope for the best.
Orange-Chinned Parakeet
Here's the female Cherrie's tanager, I like them better than the males.
Cherrie's Tanager, female
What do you suppose this is?
Another Mystery Warbler
It was motmot-palooza!  There were two hopping around, perching, flying just a touch, perching, hopping some more.  I almost went back and woke Jack up, but figured by the time we got back they would be gone anyway.
Blue-crowned Motmot
Down to the beach it was quiet, not a lot of birds, and no sloth.  I looked for the hawk again but didn't see it.  On the beach, a few frigates flew over, including this one that was palling around with a turkey vulture.  It was cool to see two black and white birds soaring above looking so completely different.
Magnificent Frigatebird and Turkey Vulture
The swallows were a no-show.  :-(  Heading back up this kiskadee looked so cute!
Great Kiskadee
Walking back up the path instead of the road, I saw the hawk!  It was not easy to find it in the foliage (it's much easier in Central Park in the winter than in a rain forest) but I did manage to get a clear-ish view.
Broad-winged Hawk
And a sloth!  This guy was hanging out pretty close to the ground, and he was on the move.  I even got to point him out to new people who were going by in the golf cart, that was a first, usually the golf cart guys are pointing stuff out to me!  :-)
The Baltimore oriole, looking as gorgeous as usual.
Baltimore Oriole
Hahahahaha, I love this picture!  It totally looks like the little bird is sitting on the big bird's back.  Love it!
Mystery Large bird and Mystery Small bird
There were lots of warblers and vireos in this tree, and I loved these two, although I don't know what kind they are.
Mystery Birds
This pigeon was in the trees by the viewing platform, one of the very few pigeons I saw in Costa Rica.
Pale-vented (?) Pigeon
At breakfast the staff showed us this fron that was hanging out on the marble wall.  We had walked right past it, completely missing it!  They called it a gladiator frog, and looking at the book that's probably what it is.  A nice ending to a great morning of wildlife.
Gladiator Tree Frog?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Birding the beautiful resort grounds

This morning I got over to the pool area early to meet Ersel, and we wandered around the grounds finding interesting birds to entertain us.  :-)  Orioles are even prettier when the background is the ocean!

Baltimore Oriole
There were I think 4 red-legged honeycreepers flitting about, I like this picture showing the yellow under the male's wings.
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Yet another kind of euphonia!
Yellow-throated Euphonia pair
The male left and this juvenile came over, prompting the female to make her exit.
Yellow-throated Euphonia juvenile and (exiting) female
The red-legged honeycreeper showing off its incredible cap.
Red-legged Honeycreeper
And here they are, a happy couple.
Red-legged Honeycreeper pair
There were several warblers and vireos around, but they were pretty much mystery birds to me.
Mystery...... Vireo? Warbler?
I love this angle on the streaked flycatcher!  Check out that beak - it's pretty serious!
Streaked Flycatcher
It was a treat to see this summer tanager just about every day.  Come visit me in New York little buddy!  :-)
Summer Tanager
We saw one of the motmots, but it didn't want pictures really.
Blue-crowned Motmot
Finally an okay shot of the Cherrie's tanager!  I always forget to even try to get pictures of these guys, because they are just everywhere.
Cherrie's Tanager
Aha!  A warbler I can identify!
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Sloth!  We really got spoiled seeing so many sloths this trip.

Black-hooded Antshrike
Ersel spotted this hawk and I couldn't see it, until he said, "No!  It's not far!  You're looking the hard way!  Look the easy way!"  And there it was, clear as can be.  Sadly it didn't stay for long, so it's a blurry picture.  But that was the first time Ersel has seen that kind of hawk on the property, so it was pretty special.  :-)
Broad-winged Hawk
There was a stingless bee colony in this tree, and these birds - I think they are purple martins but I am not at all sure - were coming by for snacks.  By the time I moved over to the other side to get good light they had gone!  Well, it was great to see them and know where they were headed, to be able to get a picture with them actually in the frame.
Purple Martins?
Again the golden-hooded tanager defeated my camera.  Someday I hope to get nice pictures of them.  And again a great photobomb - this warbler wanted its share of the spotlight!
Golden-hooded Tanager with Mystery Warbler
After breakfast Jack and I walked around just a little, and found this iguana apparently half done with its meal.  It was crazy-looking!
Spiny-tailed Iguana with Halloween Crab