Saturday, April 3, 2010

Costa Rica, Day 3

Day 3: March 8, 2010

We woke up early, around 4 am, and headed along the road to a large lagoon. Along the way, we heard several Common Pauraques, a Central American Pygmy Owl, and a single Spectacled Owl. When the sun rose, we were in the forest. We listened and watched as the birds woke up and started singing. While in the woods, we heard the distinctive call of a Green Ibis. Through the trees, we were able to see a pair of them flying above the lagoon. After seeing those, we found a White-necked Puffbird in a tree above our heads.

As we continued down the path, we heard the mournful notes of a Slaty-breasted Tinamou followed by calls of both Great and Little Tinamous. When we reached the lagoon, we immediately saw several Cattle Egrets in a tree over the water. With them, was an Amazon Kingfisher, which caught a fish upon our arrival. The water itself had very few birds, but a lone Pied-billed Grebe was a treat.

Passionflower (Passiflora vitifolia)

Although the water was fairly empty, the trees around were not. Along the water's edge, I spotted a Scaled Pigeon atop a small tree. The beautful pigeon sat in the open for several minutes before flying away. Hummingbirds zipped back and forth across the trail, primarily Rufous-tailed, but there was one Blue-chested Hummingbird which briefly sat on a flower. Most of the group headed into the woods a bit to find White-collared Manakins which could be heard from the trail. I decided to stay on the trail, hoping I could find more birds, and I am happy that I did. The trees were filled with interesting birds, including Common Tody-Flycatcher, Plain Xenops, Broad-billed Motmot, and some warblers.

Scaled Pigeon

When the group emerged from the woods, we heard a distant, but recognizable squawk--that of a Great Green Macaw. We rushed to a clearing, were we saw three of the gigantic birds fly over the trees. After the macaws, we headed back along the road, stopping a few times for Shining Honeycreepers, Squirrel Cuckoo, Blue Dacnis, and Bay Wren. Not long before reaching El Zota headquarters, my mom and I saw a large black mammal run across the road. The animal was a Tayra, an arboreal otter.

male Blue Dacnis

Squirrel Cuckoo

When we returned to the buildings at El Zota, I noticed a kettle of raptors forming overhead. The kettle consisted of about 20 Broad-winged Hawks and an Osprey. My mom and I watched as the birds streamed out and headed north. A few minutes later, while watching a male White-necked Jacobin flitting around at the top of a tree, I noticed another kettle. This one was much larger than the previous, but again, consisted mainly of Broad-wings. A few of the other guys got on the kettle, and we were able to pull out nine Swainson's Hawks and a Zone-tailed Hawk among the 80 or so Broad-wings.

Osprey and Broad-winged Hawk

Cinnamon Woodpecker at its nest

After lunch, my mom and I decided to walk along a road out of El Zota, the same one I had walked the previous afternoon. In the same spot as the day before, we found two Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrants, which were new for my mom. Along a small lagoon, we scared up an Anhinga and a Green Basilisk lizard from the shore.

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant

male Uracis fastigiata

After the short walk, a few of the other birders set up mist nets along one of the trails. While setting up the nets, we noticed a male Black-throated Trogon sitting a few meters above us, so we called that species first. The bird responded immediately by flying down towards the net. Unfortunately, he did not go into the net. For a few minutes, the trogon flew around, at eye-level, providing incredible views of the brightly-colored bird. After a while, we gave up and tried other species, all of which got responses from birds, but unfortunately no birds flew into the net. During the mist-netting attempt, we heard/saw some neat birds, including Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Chestnut-backed Antbird, and Orange-billed Sparrow. We also watched several baby Spider Monkeys while waiting for tapes to call in the birds.

male Black-throated Trogon

After the failed atempt to catch birds, we walked along Sendero Swampo and did a bit more birding, but did not find anything incredibly exciting.

Sendero Swampo (translated: Swamp Trail) lives up to its name

After the hike, it was getting dark, so we set up a series of bat nets, much like the nets we used early to try and capture birds. During dinner, someone periodically checked them, to make sure no bats were left unattended. After dinner, no bats had been caught, but Dr. Whidden, a bat expert, set up a bat detector to get an idea of how many bats were flying around.

While checking the bat nets, we found
Gonatodes albigularis (Yellow-headed Gecko)

...and several Hypsiboas rufitela (Scarlet-webbed Treefrog)

We watched in amazement at the number of bat calls appearing on the screen, which showed the density of bats in the area. A little while later, while checking the bat nets, we noticed two small bats were caught. Dr. Whidden carefully removed them and brought them to a lit room for identification. This was a challenge, but we were able to determine that one was a fruit-eating bat, and the other a nectar-feeding bat.

Nectar-feeding bat (I'm not sure of the species)

Before I went to bed, I heard three Crested Owls calling from the forest.

March 8, 2010 list:

Great Tinamou
Little Tinamou
Slaty-breasted Tinamou
Pied-billed Grebe
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Green Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk
Laughing Falcon
White-throated Crake
Purple Gallinule
Northern Jacana
Pale-vented Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
Olive-throated Parakeet
Great Green Macaw
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Red-lored Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Crested Owl
Spectacled Owl
Central American Pygmy-Owl
Common Pauraque
Gray-rumped Swift
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Bronzy Hermit
Long-billed Hermit
White-necked Jacobin
Blue-chested Hummingbird
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Violaceous Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Rufous Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
White-necked Puffbird
Collared Aracari
Keel-billed Toucan
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Cinnamon Woodpecker
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Plain Xenops
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Barred Antshrike
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Bright-rumped Attila
Rufous Mourner
Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Rufous Piha
Cinnamon Becard
Masked Tityra
Black-crowned Tityra
White-collared Manakin
Lesser Greenlet
Purple Martin
Gray-breasted Martin
Band-backed Wren
Bay Wren
Stripe-breasted Wren
Plain Wren
House Wren
White-breasted Wood-Wren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
Buff-rumped Warbler
Passerini's Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Blue Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Shining Honeycreeper
Variable Seedeater
Thick-billed Seed-Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Black-headed Saltator
Black-faced Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Scarlet-rumped Cacique
Montezuma Oropendola
Olive-backed Euphonia

Jaguar track

Spider Monkey
White-faced Capuchin
Howler Monkey
Varigated Squirrel

Agouti track

Green Basilisk
Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Black-and-Green Poison Dart Frog
"Brown" Spectacled Caimam

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