21 March 2015

The Music of the Night....COSTA RICA (26th Feb.)

This day was spent at the classic lowland rainforest site of La Selva, which offers some of the easiest jungle birding outside of northeast Queensland (Australia). The day was packed with goodies like Broad-billed and Rufous Motmots, an Ariel white Snowy Cotinga, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, White-collared Manakin, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, and loads more besides. Although I will remember this more for the "creatures of the night". Smarting after shooting blanks the night before, as it were, in regards to finding owls, on this day we crossed the Stone Bridge, and set out into the primary forest for owls. We had a hot tip from one of the local guides and so hurried to the spot, and I shuffled to the call of Vermiculated Screech-Owl on my trusty I-pod. 

Five minutes passed, and it seemed no one was home, but then a soft, muffled version of the call came from the jungle. A further five minutes passed and it was clear that the bird was remaining sat close, but out of sight of the trail. I walked in a little and found the birding sitting completely in the open, where it remained, and even called in full view of us. With our good fortune we decided to look around the area for any other owls, and quickly (within 5 mins) heard another, gruffer owl call...a Mottled Owl. Just 5 minutes post-screech-owl, this considerably larger owl was locked in our bins too! Due to a fortuitous encounter with Guy Dutson earlier that evening, as we headed back across the Stone Bridge we found "his" roosting Great Tinamou, and on the way back to the cabins stopped in/twitched a Central American Fer-de-Lance sat beside the trail, looking every bit as dangerous as it is!

It was a memorable night in Costa Rica's jungles....