Friday, March 1, 2013

Apparently random stops are awesome

We stopped at a couple of places, and they really seemed totally random to me.  Like, we were driving down the road, and then we stopped and got out.  On the road. Not in a turn-off or even a parking lot, just...... on the road.  Now it was a back road with almost no traffic, but I still didn't realize that this was our actual destination for a while, I kept expecting them to herd us all back into the bus to get to where we were actually headed.  Hahahaha, next time I will know!  :-)  

Okay, I know this is not a great picture.  But it's better than the last one, right?  Upward trend?  Someday you crazy cuckoo!

squirrel cuckoo

Hummingbird!  Yet another kind!  It's getting a bit silly with all of the different hummingbirds.  How do people keep track of all of them?  Guess I just need to practice, practice, practice.  :-)
Canivet’s emerald hummingbird
 Another crappy photo, but we worked really hard to see this wren, so I'm posting it anyway.
Banded wren

Uh oh, quick stop for scissor-tailed flycatchers.  There were several in a few trees on the side of the road.  Having a driver and a guide separately is really a great idea here, because the guides spotted so many birds along the road - I'm sure we would have seen a few of them with a driver-guide combo, but it's much safer and more effective to have separate people driving and spotting.
scissor-tailed flycatcher
 Another stop, another cool bird!  This zone-tailed hawk was trying to pass for a turkey vulture but we were having none of it.  Gorgoues!
zone-tailed hawk
 This was a really good rest-stop spot.  I mean, come on - there were bats!  We had to climb a little but there were bats roosting under a bridge.
mystery bats
 And this rufous-naped wren made a nest right along the road in a palm tree, we watched the pair of them hop around busily for a little while.
rufous-naped wren
Barred antshrike!  With the crest up!  This is one of my favorite birds, and I'm so happy we got to see it.
barred antshrike
 Another stop, this time for lunch, with an overlook onto this beach area.  I guess it was low tide, and it was just swarmed with gulls, and a few others as well.  Including several frigates, fishing!  I've never seen them fish before, and I thought they only stole fish from other birds.  Because their feathers are not waterproof, so they can't get too wet, or they can't fly.  But it turns out if the water is quite shallow and the fish are right there, they will come in for a snack.  
magnificent frigate bird 
 Osprey!  The others were inside though, and although it looked like it was going to land I couldn't find it.  Oh well.
 Back on the bus!  And on to another stop on the road.  This spot was really cool, first out the bus window we saw this dove.  I think it's a ruddy ground dove, except the guide says that's common and the guides made kind of a big deal about this, so I don't know.   With all of the stuff I don't remember, I'm starting to see the benefits of listing.  Anyway, apparently on this bird you can only see the rufous when it's flying, so, here you go!
ruddy ground dove (?)
 Yes, it's a bull.  But look at it - this is the fattest bull we saw on this trip, that's for sure!  Most of the cows we saw were dairy cows, and apparently they are much skinnier than cows raised for meat.  I don't know if this is a ranch raising cattle for meat, or if they are just for breeding stock, or what.  But they were magnificent animals, and the birds thought so too.  This one had swallows constantly flying around it, a cattle egret and a grackle following it around, and a meadowlark nearby.  Popular guy!
 Across the way someone found a great black-hawk, and then its mate joined it.  So far we have not seen the white hawk, but we have seen the grey hawk and the black hawk.  IT would be cool to have the set, but really it's ridiculous to complain.  :-)
great black-hawk
 Macaws!  Hahahahaha, look at them, they are hilarious!  Who do they think they are fooling with those crazy colors!?
scarlet macaw
 Of course if they are in a tree with some red leaves they disappear, but in this one they stand out quite nicely.  Thanks fellows!
scarlet macaw
 Euphonia!  Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?  They are like not quite a warbler, but definitely not a hummingbird.  But somewhere in the middle maybe.  Teeny and super-fast, and gorgeous.  They look really smooth, and the lines of their coloration are sharp.
mystery euphonia
 Osprey!  Oh, I'm so glad that we saw one all together, and perched.  Maybe it just had lunch and it's drying out its wings.
 Back in the bus, but we didn't get far before we paused to watch these monkeys along the side of the road.  I love this country.
white-faced capuchin monkeys
 Okay, our final stop was not a random side of the road, it was a park in the middle of a town.  Our group stood out just a little bit.  But the ice cream man knew Richard, and showed him the sights.  He pointed out our only sloth of the trip..........
 ..... and yet another owl!  Our ~third~ owl of the day!  Oh I just want to squeeze and cuddle him!  He's so round and looks so cozy and sleepy and cute!
black-and-white owl

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