26 March 2013

ANTS!...COSTA RICA (23 Feb)

The most legendary name in all of Costa Rican parks was looming on our horizon: Monteverde. However, we had a little more time around the steamy lowland jungle within Carara National Park first, where we walked a different trail and saw a different Baird's Trogon, this time a male. Although, dawn found us watching a Tiny Hawk which had recently began nest building in the area (thank you Richard Garrigues for your tip off!). After quickly adding Fiery-billed Aracari to the list we were on our way for the final fling at Carara, before we departed for higher elevations and the mist-enshrouded cloudforests of Monteverde. The trail was good that morning with Riverside Wrens giving repeated views of their smartly banded undersides, and another dapper wren, Black-bellied Wren did likewise too. However, our progress along the trail was halted by a flurry of bird activity right beside the trail: ants were swarming and the birds were following suit. Many birds, some of which are in the "antbird" family follow army ants, although not to eat the ants but prey on the various creatures fleeing the swarming ants.



...And this is exactly what we were treated to, a feeding frenzy of birds around us, that included Grey-headed Tanagers, Tawny-winged and Northern Barred Woodcreepers, Bicolored Antbirds, and flycatchers and manakins dropping by too to feast on the desperate insects. This is one of the classic tropical forest experiences, and it never gets old. The excitement is always palpable, and you never quite know what might dramatically, and suddenly, drop by (as were to find out later on this trip at another swarm-TO COME!).


Up next: MONTEVERDE...