22 October 2017

Costa Rica Bird Challenge: Day 1, part II (12 Oct 2017)

Toucans, Tanagers, and TREEFROGS take over…
Having spent the morning in the foothills of the Central Cordillera, our arrival at Selva Verde Lodge also announced our arrival in an extremely bird rich part of the country, the Caribbean lowlands. This was immediately evident, when, following a lunch of traditional rice and beans with more than a splash of Costa Rica’s signature Salsa Lizano, we ran into two different species of trogon (Slaty-tailed and Gartered Trogons), a Black-cowled Oriole, and then walked up to a fruiting tree packed with birds, and a constant hive of activity as birds pulled at the fruits and flew in and out of the tree. 
This was addictive stuff, and we absorbed this feast of birds for a while, which included all three toucan species in the area (Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucans, and Collared Aracari), and also held a variety of tanagers, including Scarlet-thighed and Blue Dacnis, and Green and Shining Honeycreepers. Other distractions included Strawberry ("Blue Jeans")  and Green-and-black Poison Dart Frogs on the grounds, and another two-toed sloth (plus baby slothlet this time), for the day.
We also got our first real experience of the vast raptor migration that streams through Central America at this time, as impressive kettles of Broad-winged Hawks overhead held the odd Mississippi Kite among them too too. Our search at the site for one of the lodge’s celebrity birds, the Sunbittern, came up short though, and so we tried another spot later, but again failing to find that, but adding Golden-hooded Tanager, Grey-headed Chachalaca, and also got to watch the acrobatics of some extremely agile Mantled Howler monkeys in the area. The close of the afternoon, not far from the lodge, though, will perhaps best be remembered for a hummingbird fight we witnessed, when a Purple-crowned Fairy seemed to take particular offence to a Long-billed Starthroat calming sitting in a tree overhead. We watched on as the lovely and gentle looking fairy, belied its appearance, by aggressively and repeatedly dive bombing the poor starthroat, which stood firm for a while, before flying off for an easier life!
At night, we searched the lodge property for owls, hearing and seeing none, but being more than rewarded by the sighting of Costa Rica’s most iconic frog species, the Red-eyed Treefrog, which adorns so many book covers, posters and awnings countrywide. The team ended the day with 155 bird species, which was not to be our strongest day of the competition that would come later! I should mention that I had some esteemed company within the team, our local guide was German Rojas, and the other team members were Tim Appleton (the man behind the British Birdfair), Niklas (journalist for Birdlife Sweden's magazine), and Beltran Ceballos Vazquez (a man synonymous with conservation and the famous Cota Donana National Park in Spain).
The next day was set up to a biggie, starting out at the legendary OTS La Selva Biological Station, and then moving on to the Aerial Tram in the foothills of the Caribbean in Braulio Carrillo NP, before departing for another more remote site, Selva Bananito Lodge, located within La Amistad NP, which stretches all the way into Panama!

1 comment:

Teri said...

Great pictures and a wonderful blog!