26 October 2017

Costa Rica Bird Challenge: Day 5, (16 Oct 2017)

Quetzal Time!
This autumn, Costa Rica had lived through a big storm that actually affected the mountains more than the coast, and so this day had been rejigged, so we get some of those mountain birds that were now cut off from us at their more traditional Talalamanca Mountain haunts (i.e. Savegre). Instead, we traveled to Irazu National Park, making our first stop for a tiny hummingbird perched on a wire that materialized into a gorgeous male Scintillant Hummingbird once we had our ‘nocs on it. A wonderful opening. This was followed not long later with a highland classic, a group of Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, which brought excitement all round; it’s a bit of a looker! We steadily added highland species that we knew well today provided our only access too; playing a Costa Rican Pygmy Owl tape failed (as usual), with said owl, but did bring in the rather handsome Fiery-throated Hummingbird, my real intention of playing the call! 
Playing this call also irritated some of the local Flame-throated Warblers, which were only too thrilled to see, a powder blue warbler with a glowing ember where its throat should be! A pair of Black-capped Flycatchers also showed in the same area. As we continued climbing the road and making short stops, we added some tame Sooty-capped Chlorospinguses, and then were met with the sight of the other team buses parked at the side of the road in the fashion that implied something big had just gone down; and it had. The front driver had spotted the emerald form of a male Resplendent Quetzal and brought traffic to a halt, while our cameras and brains went into overdrive at seeing one of the World’s most beautiful bird forms. 
After admiring this scintillating male, with its wispy emeralds green feathers lifting up gently in the wind behind him for a while, we set off for the crater at the top, which held two species in particular only possible there – Volcano Junco, which was waiting by the parking lot for us to arrive, and a pair of feisty Timberline Wrens bounced around the thicker scrub surrounding the enormous crater at the apex of Irazu, which afforded some scenic shots of note, and also led us to another regional endemic, the strangely named Large-footed Finch
We also tracked down our first Sooty Thrushes there too, and too time out from all things avian (honestly I can do that), to admire the incredible views at the top...
(Team Tucan Ticos post-Quetzal and Junco, which I was proud to be part of)
After a fortuitous meeting with a local birder that German knew, we dropped back down on news of a Costa Rican Pygmy Owl having been not only seen, but photographed at close range moments earlier. This gentleman (sorry, I do not know his name), kindly drove us straight to the bridge, where team two, the Redstart Wranglers were already there, but were not aware of the recent owl sighting. A short period of playback later, and the rusty colored owl flew in and landed for all to see. Mission accomplished for one of the highlands more difficult species. Yellow-winged Vireo, some confiding Acorn Woodpeckers and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, were all also seen during the morning.
Following lunch, we had another lengthy drive to somewhere entirely different, we dropped down onto the other side of the mountains and then up to a lodge in the Pacific lowlands, Macaw Lodge, as it lies within the heart of the range of the Scarlet Macaw. The journey time allowed for few stops on the way, once in the Pacific lowlands, but we did add Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, a glowing Lesson’s Motmot lurking in the understorey, and Black-hooded Antshrike, before arriving at the lodge. A post-dinner walk, to look for Spectacled and Black-and-white Owls failed on both fronts.

Next stop Carara…

1 comment:

me myself and i said...


Could you contact me about one of your photos?