Thursday, February 28, 2013

Afternoon and Evening

Then we stopped for lunch.  Yes, the day is only half through!  This trip was ~packed~.  Guess what was in their garden?  Well there were birds......

buff-throated saltator 
 ........and more!  A group of howler monkeys was hanging around, relaxing and not particularly minding us taking pictures.
howler monkeys
 Oh, and more birds!
squirrel cuckoo
This one led us on  merry chase.
squirrel cuckoo 
And there was this mystery lizard.  It's shedding its skin!
mystery lizard
 A good-bye parrot and off we go.
red-fronted parrotlet

Then we got to our destination.  What a sight!  It was salt ponds, with about a zillion shorebirds.  There were so many plovers and terns and sandpipers my head started to spin a little.  There were oystercatchers and a few herons thrown in for good measure.  And even a couple of wood storks - take a look!
great blue heron, black-bellied whistling duck

roseate spoonbill
great egret, black-bellied whistling duck

white ibis

I particularly love this shot.  It looks like the great egret is the mom and the stilts are like little ducklings following along behind her.  :-)
great egret, black-necked stilt

wood stork
 As it got dark the nighthawks came out!  There were probably a couple dozen of them, so I started clicking away.  But between them being fast and the light being so low this is the best I could do.  Two nighthawks in the same frame, not bad!
common nighthawk

Keep those birders rollin

And we're off!  So long Arenal, we gotta hit the road.  We do appreciate the amazing send-off this morning.  First among the "usual" assortment of hummingbirds was this pair of dueling white-throated Jacobin males.  You can't tell because the camera thought they were something in the way of a nice landscape shot, but I love the picture just for existing.  :-)

white-throated jacobin
 Trogons!  A pair!  Look at them, just sitting in the tree like it's nothing special.  Ha!
orange-bellied trogon
I think the yellow-faced grassquit might be my favorite field-of-grass bird.  I mean, they have a big yellow x on the front of their face.  How can you not love that?
yellow-faced grassquit 
 A rare view of the volcano relatively unmasked.  It's only ~mostly~ covered in clouds.  There's a big difference between covered in clouds, and ~mostly~ covered in clouds.
 Yes, this one is awfully cute, but it's no yellow-faced grassquit.
white-collared seed-eater
 Dacnis!  They are really quite good at avoiding the camera.
scarlet-thighed dacnis
That was all walking around the grounds, now we head onto an actual trail through the woods.  We searched for and found this wren, sadly I don't remember and can't figure out what kind it is.  
mystery wren
 Whoa Nelly!  A coral snake!  It was not large, but it was large enough to eat another (different type of) snake, whose tail you can see sticking out of this snake's mouth.  And that, people, is why we switched from open-toe hiking sandals to closed boots!
Central American coral snake
Enough of the trail.  To breakfast! On the way last these birds, gorgeous and everywhere down there, at last agreed to pose for a shot.  It took several trips and probably hundreds of attempts, but look how pretty they look.  :-)
Passerini's tanager
 Oh, did you want more pretty birds?  Let's check the feeders.  Just pick your favorites!
green honeycreeper, golden-hooded tanager
Heading back to the rooms to pack up we finally had a good look at the crested guans.  I got the crest nearly completely deployed.  Well done Sir Guan!
crested guan
 Jacamar!  The driver and guide spotted these guys as we were driving down the road, and we piled out to take a look.  I took a few shots through the window before we all got out, and I'm glad I did.  We did find the birds again (eventually) but the ones through the glass were still my best pictures.  Weird.  Anyway, how crazy and gorgeous are these birds?  Again, these look to me like a giant hummingbird crossed with a kingfisher.  Hahahahaha, the best of both worlds!
rufous-tailed jacamar
 Their jays are fancier than the ones we have in NYC.
white-throated magpie jay
 Another hawk spotted from the road, this time we were able to get a nice view.
gray hawk
Another awesome sight - monkeys travelling around, with the adult making a bridge for the baby to make it across.  Great timing!
Central American spider monkey
 Another few miles of road, another cool bird.  Hello kingfisher!
belted kingfisher

 And hello sharpie!
sharp-shinned hawk

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And more gorgeousness after that

We headed over to another part of the grounds, with a spectacular lookout over a hillside onto a valley below and a lake.  We saw quite a bit there!  There was a brief and completely unsatisfying look at jacamars, which look like a large hummingbird with possibly a little kingfisher blood.  This flycatcher was showing off a bit.
piratic flycatcher
 There were not many swallow-tailed kites this trip so I was especially pleased that this one put on such a show for us!
swallow-tailed kite
 This little fellow was stubborn indeed.  It took a ~lot~ of waiting patiently to get a look at it.  And then the camera refused to focus on it!  Aaaauuuauauaughghghg!
slaty spinetail
 This little lovely made it up to me.
mystery hummingbird
 Off to another waterfall!  We walked through the forest, where this guy hopped about for a while.  I love this guy with that bright beak.
slate-colored grosbeak
 A rufous mourner, truly an unfortunate name.  This is one of the times I am glad the birds cannot understand what people have chosen to call them.
rufous mourner
spotted antbird
 Same bird, different angle.  My poor camera did its best with the very low light.
spotted antbird
 Another little lovely busily being gorgeous.
green hermit
 Back at the cafe overlook, a turkey vulture came by.  Hello big guy!
turkey vulture
 And our driver found a lineated woodpecker for us.  It truly does look like a cartoon.
lineated woodpecker
 We went somewhere else, I don't remember where, and saw trogons.  Yay trogons!  The male stayed in the shadows but the female allowed a nice shot.
orange-bellied trogon, female

Another morning, another amazing pre-breakfast walk

Yes, just another ho-hum, nothing-special morning.  With a few ho-hum, nothing-special birds.

I mean, unless you like honeycreepers.  And hummingbirds.  On the pretty flowers.  Together.

It's awesome when the guide says, Coquette!  Coquette!  Forget that - come look at this!"
black-crested coquette

black-crested coquette

This is the tree the oropendula make their nests in.  It was so cool to have it there, and see so many of them so much of the time!

Oh yeah, there were also tanagers a-plenty.
crimson-collared tanager

Did I mention hummingbirds?  Here's a plumeleteer.  You can tell because the feet are pink.  It would be even more awesome if it were named the pink-footed plumeleteer, but you can't have everything!
bronze-tailed plumeleteer

Another tanager.  Just, you know, hanging out at the hotel.
emerald tanager

Woodcreeper!  I love these guys!
wedge-billed woodcreeper

People were quite excited about this tyrannulet, but sadly I don't remember and can't tell exactly what kind it is.
mystery tyrannulet 
 I love woodpeckers.  That is all.
black-cheeked woodpecker
 What a cute happy sparrow!
black-striped sparrow

And now into breakfast, where we alternated eating with watching the action at the amazing feeders.  Check this guy out, he knew he had an audience.
Montezuma's opopendula
 Yes, Gorgeous, it was quite well done.
Montezuma's opopendula
 It's surprisingly difficult to see the bright green bird.  So much for females being dull and drab, this one blends in just fine being fabulous and gorgeous.
green honeycreeper, female
 Politely staying on the path.
white-nosed coati
 Still not tired of these guys.
blue-grey tanager
 This honeycreeper is just a fraction of the thrush's size, but doesn't get chased off very easily.
green honeycreeper, clay-colored thrush

And one final tanager.  At last, at last I have a nice picture of a golden-hooded tanager.  :-)
golden-hooded tanager