This blog is about our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday birding adventures. On Tuesday, we had a full day birding in the Pacific Dry Forest with a stop at a beach near Santa Clara.
On the way to the beach, we saw several hawks. This Roadside hawk was appropriately named since it was sitting on a roadside fencepost.
So was this Crested caracara. We saw a few of them following the piece of heavy equipment that was clearing the edge of the road. They were picking off any creature that was disturbed.
There were some open grasslands where we saw this Fork-tailed flycatcher.
This is a House wren, that has a wide range throughout North America. A plain, common bird, but still worth looking at and photographing.
The beach was amazingly beautiful. Gretchen and Wendy were probably looking at Brown pelicans. We also saw Laughing gulls, Royal terns and Sandwich terns along with various other shorebirds.
As soon as we got to the beach house, we changed into our bathing suits and had a dip in the ocean.
A hot lunch had been prepared for us.
After a pleasant break, we continued looking for birds. Our guide heard a Ferruginous pygmy-owl and we spent about half an hour trying to see it in the top of the tall trees. We persevered and got a glimpse of the bird through the leaves.
Doug thought this Marlboro sign was interesting so Wendy posed in front of it.
On Wednesday, we stayed closer to the lodge. The van took a group of nine of us up to La Mesa road and the Candelario trail. The trail was in the forest along the edge of the fields.
With so many people trying to see the same bird, we needed to “stack,” which means a taller person would stand behind a shorter one. In this photo, our guide Eli, is crouching down and using his laser pointer to direct us to the bird. The guides were really good at pointing the laser at a tree trunk and once everyone could see the spot, moving it upwards to a branch near the bird, being careful to not shine the laser directly on the bird.
All the guides were good at taking a photo through the scope with our cell phones. Photos could happen after everyone had had an opportunity to see the bird through the scope and obviously if the bird stayed still long enough.
In this case, Eli was taking a photo of a Helmet-headed lizard, which wasn’t moving quickly. In fact, these lizards sit and wait for a long time, before dashing after a tasty insect. When it moves, it becomes vulnerable to attack from its predators, so it stays motionless as much as it can.
We also saw some hummingbirds in the forest. This one is a female Crowned woodnymph. This photo shows the distinguishing characteristics: green above, grayish-green below with a large pale throat patch, white spot behind the eye and slightly forked tail with white tips on outer feathers. The male Crowned woodnymph looks quite different, with a purple belly and a green throat.
The Rufous-tailed hummingbird was one of the most common hummingbirds in this area so we were able to see many of them and learn to recognize them. The other nice thing was that the male and female of the species were similar.
This Chestnut-sided warbler was a little trickier to identify when we were looking at the photo three weeks after it was taken. It’s a female in first winter plumage, so the “chestnut side” is not visible.
We came out of the forest, into the fields, and into the sunshine.
That afternoon the van drove us up and over the rim to Caimito Road. We hoped to see a Montezuma oropendola, because we had seen many Chestnut-headed oropendolas and some Crested oropendolas. The Montezuma oropendola has interesting pale blue and pink patches on its cheeks. And here’s a photo of one.
Doug got a good photo of this Dusky-capped flycatcher.
We really enjoyed seeing every trogon. They are a bit bigger than our American robin and have a distinctive shape and posture. This is a Gartered trogon.
This Lineated woodpecker is similar to the Pileated woodpecker that we have in Canada. It has a similar call and on first glance looks alike. However, the Lineated has a dark chin and not as much white on its head.
On Thursday, we went on another full day trip, this time going north and east to Rio Indio and Jordanal.
This little bird is more significant than you would think from its appearance and name. We worked hard to see the Bran-coloured flycatcher on a hillside of grasses and bushes, and it was the only one we saw the whole trip.
We were driving in four wheel vehicles because the roads were steep and unpaved. There was a lot of road construction to improve the roads to allow the farmers to get their product to market. There was hardly any traffic, mainly because the people who lived way out here didn’t have vehicles.
Here’s a view of a couple harvesting culantro on the steep slopes of their farm. If you zoom in, you can see the ties attached to the farmer’s waist that he uses to tie the culantro into bunches. Culantro is related to cilantro but has a more intense flavour. Its leaves are long and saw-toothed like a dandelion. We had a chicken dish with culantro at the lodge, and it was delicious.
We saw gorgeous flowers throughout the whole trip. Some of the homes were very basic but they had amazing gardens. We’re including this red flower as an example.
This Plain-coloured tanager seems happy and is not aware that he doesn’t have a fancy name.
This is a female Blue-chested hummingbird, which doesn’t show very much blue on her chest. We saw several of them on our trip.
We only saw one Cinnamon becard on the whole trip, but this one was good enough to stick around so we had a good look at it.
We were also happy to see a Barred puffbird, because they were uncommon but also cool-looking.
You can almost imagine the racket of a noise that is coming from this Crested oropendola.
The amazing thing about seeing this Ringed kingfisher, was that across the river from him was an Amazon kingfisher. The Ringed kingfisher is much larger (48 cm – 93 cm / 19″ – 37″)
This Little blue heron was along the Rio Indio, around the spot that we turned around to go home. Knowing there is a Little blue heron explains why the one we have at home is the Great blue heron
So that wraps up our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday trips. Only Friday and Saturday of birding left to go!