Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Costa Rica: Talamanca Highlands and Beyond

For the next adventure of birding, Serge offered to take us to a place that was definitely not on my radar, but it turned out to be another awesome spot with another round of different birds!  The main stop was the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge where we spent a lot of time with the birds and had a great lunch there as well.  Guess what???  More hummingbirds and different species as well!  It is amazing that many of the spots in Costa Rica, which is a relatively small country, have different species.  It is what makes birding in Costa Rica so special.  I ended up adding 24 new species of hummingbirds to my life list on this trip and there are still more to be seen in this country!

Adding 3 new hummingbirds to my life list at this location was great, but in a strange twist of fate, I actually ended up with 4 new hummingbirds for my life list from this location.  The 3 new life birds added were the Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, and the White-throated Mountain-Gem.  We also had Lesser Violetear and Magnificent Hummingbird at this location.  Two days after returning home to Arizona, we received notice that the AOS (American Ornithological Society) had split the Magnificent into 2 species.  The Magnificent Hummingbird is now called Rivoli's Hummingbird in the northern range, which includes Arizona.  The sub-species that resides in Costa Rica and Panama are now called the Talamanca Hummingbird.  An ironic twist of fate just for seeing and photographing a species already on my life list.  It is often called an 'armchair' lifer.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Lesser Violetear

Talamanca Hummingbird

Talamanca Hummingbird

Volcano Hummingbird

White-throated Mountain-Gem

Of course there were many other birds to be found at this location and a total of 14 new life birds.  Here are a few photos of some of the rest.  (Got to love those members of the silky-flycatcher family!)

 Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher

 Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher

 Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher

 Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush

 Collared Redstart

 Golden-browed Chlorophonia

 Large-footed Finch

Mountain Thrush

Mountain Thrush - Juvenile

 Prong-billed Barbet

 Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

 Sooty-capped Chlorospingus

 Spangle-cheeked Tanager

 Slaty Flowerpiercer

Sooty Thrush

Once we departed the lodge, Serge then took us up higher in elevation and over the Continental Divide to a place with very different habitat.  We were searching for 2 endemic species that could be found here; the Volcano Junco and the Timberline Wren.  We succeeded in finding both species!  Unfortunately, I was not able to get a photo of the Timberline Wren, but the Volcano Junco was a bit more cooperative.  Very similar in appearance to our Yellow-eyed Junco in the Sky Islands of Arizona.  

Volcano Junco

  Volcano Junco

Although this was not on our radar, these locations turned out to be an awesome day and I believe that by the end of this day, my life bird count had reached the 792 mark.  I had started out on the Costa Rica trip with 689 life birds and I had already succeeded in adding over 100 new life birds to my list.  Would it be possible to crack the 800 mark before my departure back to Arizona?  I only had one more full day of birding.  What would it bring and what can I do to make the 800 mark happen?  Stayed tuned to the next blog post for the details.


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