Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Costa Rica Birding, Day 2 - Dream Walking

This was what dreams were made of - walking in a forest trail and getting lifer after lifer. Was it because the trail led to a place called Sueno del Bosque (Dreams of the Forest)?

After an early breakfast Cynthia and I headed to the trail behind our cottage. After passing by some compost area which interestingly smelled of coffee, we passed by a small grove of trees and immediately we noticed some avian activity. What at first I thought was a nuthatch because it was acting like one, turned out to be a Grey-breasted Wood Wren.

We met a group who had been birding the area much earlier than we did. They informed us that there were some quails near the cottages of the Sueno del Bosque Resort. We thanked them and headed towards that direction. Only to be distracted by what we eventually discovered as the most common species in this patch of the woods - the Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush.

Near the cottages we heard a loud, as in extremely loud, call. Then came a covey of Spotted Wood Quails running behind the bushes. These birds were so quick on their feet that we had difficulties taking  their pictures.

As I chased after them, Cynthia turned her attention to a colorful bird fighting against its image on a car window. Unfortunately the light wasn't so great that she only got a documentary shot of the Spangle-cheeked Tanager.

On the other hand, after the quails had gone deep into the woods, I turned around to follow my wife only to be stopped by another colorful bird that flew in front of me and perched  just a few meters away. It was a Collared Whitestart. 

collared redstart

While I was distracted by this bird, Cynthia got another beauty - the Flame-throated Warbler.

The flame-throated warbler was already gone when I joined her. As we walked towards the restaurant area we saw several brown birds alight on a tree. We could tell from the general shape and behavior that it was some kind of a dove. Checking our field guide we learned that it was a Ruddy Pigeon.

Other than that, the area did not seem promising bird wise, so we returned to the trail going back to our cottage. Along the way, aside from the common Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrushes, we saw some Scintillant Hummingbirds.

Foraging on a tree trunk was a very active Ochraceous Wren.

Just before reaching our cottage, we heard some scratching on the ground next to a small waterway. Below were a pair of Chestnut-capped Brush Finches searching for insects in the leaf litter.

We stopped by our cottage because Cynthia needed to use the bathroom. I sat near the glass wall of our room facing the forest. I saw what appeared to be a big bird perched on a short stump. Looked like a quetzal - greenish but without the long tail. I looked through my long lens and almost fainted when I realized that it was an Emerald Toucanet! I took several shots (behind a glass wall, take note) at a dark bird some distance away. Footballers would call it a "hail mary" shot. When I looked at the result that night, I was glad that the photo turned out to be not so bad at all.

That afternoon was spent just around the premises of the restaurant and nothing new was added to our list. We were still thankful, of course, for what we saw that morning. It was like walking in a dream.

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