March 9, 2018 - Before our planned trip to Carara Park, Cynthia and I explored the La Barca road, just outside Cerro Lodge. Diana, the friendly staff at the lodge, told us that there are a lot of birds in that area.
It was early morning and indeed birds were calling. First let me tell a lesson we have learned: Before when a bird looked familiar, we sort of ignored it. Somehow there was an occasion wherein I got a photo of one such bird that I thought we've seen in our earlier trips, and it turned out to be a different species! So now, although this trogon looked like the Gartered Trogon we've seen in Panama, we still took pictures. Good thing we did, because when I reviewed it later, it turned out to be a Black-headed Trogon. And lifer # 31.
At the appointed time, our guide, Carlos Zuniga, arrived. Soon we were at the Carara Park. One of the very first birds we saw was a female Rose-throated Becard. Unfortunately, we did not see the male which has the rose-colored throat from which the species got its name. Anyway, this was lifer #32 for us.
We were still at the parking area when Carlos pointed to lifer# 33, a tiny bird way up on the tree top. It was a Scrub Euphonia.
We encountered one more species before we entered the park, a female (!?) Steely-vented Hummingbird (lifer #34). Again, the male was nowhere in sight. This, strangely enough, would be the recurring theme of the day. Seeing the females and never the more colourful males.
The birds inside Carara were of the skulking type, most of which preferred staying close to the ground and behind the leaves. Lifer #35 was a Chestnut-backed Antbird.
Next was the female Dusky Antbird. Lifer #36. The dusky coloured male was, of course, absent.
Lifer #37 was a blue-green female Blue-crowned Manakin. And yes, the male with the blue-crown was a no-show.
Another skulker that resulted in a very blurred photo was the Black-faced Antthrush. Still it was counted as lifer #38.
From a distance we saw our 39th lifer - the Pale-billed Woodpecker which I almost ignored thinking it was just a Lineated.
While Carlos was trying to locate the source of some twittering, I saw a dove walking about 15 meters away. It turned out to be lifer #40 which I only found out while doing some research on it almost a month later here in the Philippines. It was a Grey-chested Dove.
Then Carlos said, "Tinamou!" and pointed at a bird walking close to the trail. The Great Tinamou was lifer number 41.
Lunch time and we're back at the Cerro Lodge. After lunch and resting a bit, we, together with some fellow birders, went to the Cabin areas to look for the owl that Diana (and also Carlos) said roosts at the tree nearby. All of us were getting frustrated at not finding the said owl when one of workers at the lodge passed by. We asked if he knew where our target bird was and he looked up and pointed to a small fluff of feathers perched above. Cameras began clicking as my wife and I enjoyed our 42nd lifer - the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. And the way things had been going, I assumed it to be a female.
It was a fitting end to our final full day at Cerro Lodge.
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