Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Rainmaker Indeed!

Today we got up quite early and headed with Ersel to the Rainmaker, a very nice area (park? reserve?) with lots to see.  We got out of the car a bit early and started looking for birds along the roadway, which was great!  There were anis, loads of flycatchers (here is an example), lots of little lovelies that were too quick for me.

Boat-billed Flycatcher

This pair of becards were hard at work making a nest.  First, a nice family portrait.
Rose-throated Becard, pair
Mom has something for the nest!
Rose-throated Becard, female
And so does Dad.  It was great to watch them building their nest!
Rose-throated Becard, male
This female red-legged honeycreeper might have been inspired.  There were two other nests in the tree (wow!  good tree!) and she visited both of them.  I'm not convinced either one of them was hers, but I have no idea what a honeycreeper nest looks like.
Red-legged Honeycreeper, female
This masked tityra came through and graciously allowed pictures.  Pretty good!  Usually my first time seeing a bird the pictures are rubbish, I'm too excited.  But this came out nicely.  It's the dawn of a new era!
Masked Tityra
I love golden-hooded tanagers.  Seriously.  Usually they look like they are just missing a huge chunk of their head.  It just blends in, and the resulting shape is quite disturbing.  Once you can make out their outline they are gorgeous!
Golden-hooded Tanager
Here's the male red-legged honeycreeper.
Red-legged Honeycreeper
We saw a visiting swallow-tailed kite (I spotted it, it was a ways off but unmistakable, but it didn't stick around long enough for pictures).  Then these white hawks!  I spotted them accidentally when I was looking at vultures, but they eventually came down low enough that we could get a pretty good look at them.
White Hawks
This picture almost makes me cry for what could have been, if I had a better camera!  Everything was perfect - what a bird!  What light!  What a sky!  Oh well, in my imagination it's breathtaking.
White Hawk
And here's one more because I just couldn't bear to cut it down any more.  Have I mentioned how much I love white hawks?
White Hawk
Then we got to the actual trail.  What a fantastic start!  Once on the trail, the first thing we saw was this.  It was large and scary and beautiful.  And, I'll just say it - not my favorite.  I am very glad I did not stumble onto its web.
Golden Orb-weaver Spider
Happily, we then found an orange-billed sparrow!  And after a long time and loads of crappy shots (the light was quite a challenge) I got this one.  Yeah, well, it's pretty good for an orange-billed sparrow!
Orange-billed Sparrow
We saw this hummingbird for a while, but never saw its front, so we don't really know what kind it is.  I mean, except awesome, obviously.
Mystery Hummingbird
And the big goal for the day - the hummingbird nest!  It was amazing - at the base of a waterfall, hanging at the side of the pool where people were swimming obliviously by, this good parent is doing some serious roosting.  What a sight!
Mystery Good Parent Hummingbird 
A brief break from hummingbird-nest-watching to take a look at a few spot-crowned euphonias.
Spot-Crowned Euphonia
Walking along the river back to the entrance, we saw this daredevil hummingbird flying right into a waterfall!  Hahahahahaha, it was like Extreme Sports for hummingbirds!  :-)
Mystery Superhero Hummingbird
Just at the end of the trail loop Ersel found this frog, and was clearing away leaves etc. so that we could take a look.
Green-and-Black Poison Dart Frog
The frog responded by jumping onto his arm!  A bit tense when a poison frog jumps onto your arm.......  We washed the arm afterwards, and as far as I know Ersel is alive and well.....
Green-and-Black Poison Dart Frog

Exiting the trail, another treat - a Costa Rican Pygmy-owl!  Okay, on this walk we started with white hawks, had a hummingbird nest in the middle, and ended with an owl.
Costa Rican Pygmy-owl
The famous eye-spots on the back of its head.  Kind of creepy, actually......
Costa Rican Pygmy-owl
And now time for a serious lunch - we earned it!  :-)

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