Sunday, February 24, 2013

The day of the Magic Fig Tree and the Long Short Cut

What a day!  We went from a nice little garden to a much wider world, and went from a bunch of folks to starting to really gel into a group.

In the morning we started out in the garden at Hotel Bougainvillea, seeing mostly the same little lovelies we had already seen yesterday.  Motmots never get boring!  For me a highlight was seeing the white-eared ground sparrow again, I love that little guy.  He took his sweet time coming out but he was worth the wait.

white-eared ground sparrow

Not the best picture of an oriole but it was a truly fantastic view - he looked so gorgeous up there in the flowers!
Baltimore oriole
Onto the bus with us.  It was quite an operation loading up the bus for the first time, but we eventually got underway.  Not for long!  We saw some parrots along the side of the road and stopped for a few minutes.  We were sternly warned not to expect this in the future, but as there was nobody behind us, we enjoyed the parrots for a while.  :-)

crimson-fronted parakeet
Up to a park with a volcano.  It was a nice park, although we could definitely smell evidence of the volcano.  We started out trying to coax reluctant thrushes and wrens out of their hiding places, with mixed results.
sooty-capped bush-tanager

The guides heard a quetzal nearby, so they decided to try to call it in.  Apparently that is not controversial at all for this group, we did a ~lot~ of calling birds in.  With mixed results.  Anyway, after playing the call a few times, the quetzal flew right over us and down into the woods on the other side.  It was pretty exciting, but definitely not satisfying.  However we managed to locate it, and got a view!  Okay, not the best view I've ever had of a bird, but hey - this is the stuff of legends!  Drink it in!
resplendent quetzal 
This little fellow was shy at first, and then positively shameless in his posing.  Make sure you get my good side!
black-billed nightingale-thrush

Back in the bus, heading off to a favorite lunch spot.  Apparently we have come to Costa Rica for great French food.  :-)  The place was great, for more than food.  Check out this silky flycatcher!
black-and-yellow silky-flycatcher
The hummingbirds feeders were buzzing.   Hahahaha, see what I did there?  Get it?  Buzzing?  Aaaaaahhhh, yeah, okay I'll stop now.  Anyway these two had a disagreement over whose feeder it was. Or were they flirting?  Hard to tell. Look at the bill!  Oh it's curved all right!
violet sabrewing 
 Taking a break, showing off from another angle.
violet sabrewing
 And once in a while, a warbler.  We saw lots of chestnut-sided on this trip, several Wilson's, and a bunch of yellow.  There were a few others but those were the big three, for me anyway.
Wilson's warbler
 Sometimes you just happen by a gorgeous waterfall, this is the view from the road.  Yes, from the road, people, not after a long hike through the rain forest!  Just driving along, pull aside, and there you go.  Gotta love it.
 This was a little place that was struggling with earthquake damage.  This little section was basically devastated 4 years ago, and they just reopened, although without power - they are cooking a few things on a wood stove.  The feeders are working quite well for the birds, so no complaints here!  My first peek at one of the stars of the trip.
silver-throated tanager
 At feeders you can start to really tell that hummingbirds are not all the same size.  Check out the size difference here.
green-crowned brilliant (female), coppery-headed emerald
 Tanagers also come in various size.
palm tanagers, silver-throated tanager
 He flashed me!
green-crowned brilliant
 Same bird, different angle.  Yes, it's the same bird.  Yes, I'm sure.  That's how killer cool hummingbirds are!
green-crowned brilliant
 My first look at another star of the trip.
common bush-tanager
 At some point I realized I was basically alone at the feeders, and wandered off to find the group.  They were enjoying the Magic Fig Tree, which was full of Things You Want To See.  I think they said this was a greenlet, which makes sense, but it doesn't really look like the picture in the book.  I think I got something mixed up.
mystery bird
 Bay headed tanager!  Oh my little Sweetie I have missed you!  When when when will you allow a decent picture.  Algun dia!
bay-headed tanager
 Toucanet!  It's the Cover Bird!
emerald toucanet
 A quick glance across the street reveals a parrot, trying in vain to draw attention away from the Magic Fig Tree.
white-crowned parrot
 Eventually we reluctantly get back on the bus.  The poor guides had to pretty much push me along, there was so much to see there.  But time marches on and we had more things to see!  Off we go to our next hotel.  We took a special route, allowing us to see birds along the way.  The trade-off is that it was unpaved most of the way.  After the game drives in Africa it seemed totally fine to us.  We saw keel-billed toucans and a crested guan at one stop (pictures far away and through the window were not great), and then we stopped at this lovely pond.  Black-bellied whistling ducks, with a Mystery Red Bird streaking by.  Hahahaha, this guy has some things to learn about photobombing!
black-bellied whistling-duck
 There was a rail there, which was cool to see.
black-bellied whistling-duck, grey-necked wood-rail
 Egret, heron, duck.  A good triad.
great egret, black-bellied whistling-duck, little blue heron
 And a kingfisher!  After this it was a long drive, including a Long Short Cut that the guide and driver didn't really want to discuss further.  :-)  Arriving at Bosque de Paz was great, and the dinner was absolutely amazing.  What a great way to start!
green kingfisher

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