"There!" my wife whispered as she pointed to several green objects gorging on some ripe apples. At first I had no clue as to what species we were looking at. Later that day we bought an illustrated guide to the highland birds of Costa Rica.
What we saw were Sulphur-winged Parakeets!
It was nearing noon and as we rounded the corner on our way back, we encountered a Sooty-capped Bush Tanager and a Yellow-faced Grassquit by the wayside.
|Sooty-capped Brush Tanager|
"I'll leave you here and pick you up at around 4:30, OK? Enjoy the birds!" said Marino.
Indeed there were birds all around us, you just need to have some keen hearing and eyesight to see them. The highlights here were the tiny Volcano Hummingbird
and the constantly moving Slaty Flowerpiercer.
One intriguing species we saw was the Large-footed Finch. Looking at the bird, we noticed that the feet were not really that exceptionally large. What's more is that this is not really a finch but actually a sparrow!
At around 4, Marino came with another birder, Mike Steffes. Marino asked if we had seen the Mountain Elaenia and we replied in the negative. "There it is!" he said pointing to a non-descript olive-brown bird. But it flew before we could even take its picture. "There!" Marino once again pointed at a bird in a different place. This happened several times until we finally got a shot. Reviewing our photos later that night, it turned out that we have already seen (and photographed) the Elaenia earlier. It was quite common, as a matter of fact.
"There's a White-naped Brush Finch down there," our enthusiastic and keen-eyed guide told us. We looked and saw nothing. Not even Cynthia's usual spotting ability was able to distinguish the bird from its surroundings. Marino then asked for Cynthia's camera and took several shots. Then he took my camera and made several shots as well. As we reviewed the photos he took we were now able to pinpoint the whereabouts of this seemingly invisible bird.
At 4:30 all four of us returned to the hotel. Cynthia and I rested a bit then had dinner at 6:30. It had been a remarkable first full day of birding for us in Costa Rica. The Resplendent Quetzal right off the bat. Imagine that!