Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pura Vida III: Tenorio #333-338

We were so excited for the morning at Casitas Tenorio that we got up at the crack of dawn. The first sound that I could hear from bed was so distinct, so I got up and found the source. An Oropendula doing his thing right out the window (not my video, but this is exactly what it was doing). "Oro" means "gold" and "pendola" for "pendulum"--you can see why.

We knew the owners of our B&B put fruit from the property out for the birds in the morning, so we got up way before breakfast to keep an eye on the feeding station. They had a perfect setup - breakfast was served in a covered building so you would be out of the elements but able to see everything out the sides. This effectively gave us some shelter and a sort of hide. These are the birds that visited over the course of the morning--the birds seemed to be on a schedule, some made just a brief appearance while others stayed longer. Some came only in the early morning and others came only late. 
#333: Montezuma Oropendola; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
Oropendola with "wattles" (fleshy bits at throat) visible
#334: Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
We saw only one type of hummingbird at the B&B, but it was easily seen. Donald explained that they are very territorial. Small but fiesty -- hm, seems I can identify with this!

#335: Red-legged Honeycreeper; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
Possibly one of my favourite shots of the day.
Same bird as above, but here are males in full plumage!

#336: Clay-coloured Thrush; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
Early in the  morning...notice how much better the lighting is just a while later!

 Yellow-throated Euphonia; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
Same as the bird seen the day before, but the setup here allowed for way better shots!
#337: Blue-grey Tanager; Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
There is something about this bird I find so absolutely mesmerizing.
#338: Green Honeycreeper (male); Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
#338: Green Honeycreeper (female); Tenorio/Bijagua, Costa Rica; December 2015
Pippa and Donald run an awesome little operation, and to be honest, it was one of the highlights for us. We literally didn't need to step off the property for awesome wildlife and bird viewing and photographing opportunities. At no other point during our trip did we see birds so easily and regularly, so there was huge value in this. Our room actually had a giant mural painted on it with local birds, plus they were so knowledgeable and kind--we felt right at home. They had also made laminated info sheets and left them in the area, so instead of skimming through 400 pages of our book, we could refer to 4 handy pages.

I really wanted to put all the birds from Casitas Tenorio in one post but I've run out of allowable tags again (that's the names of the birds on the side where you click from and how I keep track of what I've seen--that's right, even on vacation, I refer to my own blog!).  Later that morning will be following shortly, so check back very soon!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pura Vida II: On the Road (to Tenorio) #328-332

It's still Christmas Day and we've already done a short hike at Rincon de la Vieja. We then headed to toward our next destination, Tenorio Volcano National Park, and it really struck me how relatively few tourists there were around these parts. On the road, it sometimes felt like we were the only ones around, with the exception of the off pick-up truck loaded with fruit.

I spotted some big white birds through some trees in a large opening beside the road and I made Matt stop--he kept insisting they were egrets (they were a long way off, and there were some egrets close by) and I kept insisting they weren't. The images aren't amazing since they were so far out, but they were huge (about 1 metre tall), and looks like the one in the  middle found something good to eat! It's a good thing we stopped--we never saw these again! 
#328: Wood Stork; On the 6 just north of Interamericano 1, Costa Rica; December 2015
Wood stork in flight. Somehow I figured out with the new camera how to focus on birds on flight! Or rather, I figured out the setting to do it, which I "knew" of but I guess I didn't use, or it hadn't worked for me before. Maybe it's the extra focus points--don't know, but it's awesome!

On the way to Tenorio - beautiful rolling countryside

#329: Crested Caracara; On the 6 north of Interamericano 1, Costa Rica; December 2015.
Matt spotted this beauty (in fact, there were a few of them, and we'd see many of them later on in the trip). Such a striking bird, it's almost difficult to express how awesome I think they are!
I included this one because you can see its EYELASHES! Seriously, click on it and see for yourself.
We checked in quickly at our B&B in Bijagua and mentioned we were headed to the Park. Donald (one of the owners) said, "well you can't get in past 4, and it's 3:15 now, and the road is....only 10km but [pause] quite bumpy..." 10 km, no problem right? It turns out it really can take you 45-60 minutes to drive 10km in Costa Rica, and, wow. The roads. I was warned; I scoffed. I get it. I get it now.

But we did make it. The park is truly lovely and has some super interesting stuff. This is where we spotted our first white-faced monkeys! Matt spotted a guan-type of bird in the forest but it took off before I could get the camera out. I had tucked it away because it was SO WET. Yeah, turns out it actually rains a lot in the rain forest. I need to come up with a better cover for my camera for situations like these!
The forest was so peaceful!

Colorful stilt roots on a euterpe palm
Our first monkeys (white-faced)! And they were so sweet looking! Not scared of us, but not particularly interested either.
It was so wet, in fact, that we rented rubber boots to walk the trail. So aside from the monkeys and the guan, we didn't see much until in terms of wildlife and birds (since they sort of lay low in the rain). But as we were about to leave I noticed some action in the tree birds right at the trail head,  including some wonderfully colourful birds.
#330: Yellow-throated Euphonia; Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica; December 2015.
At first I almost cropped into the mail until I noticed the female hiding out below him. Kind of neat to see them side by side!
Black vulture on the roadside
On the drive home, Matt spotted a few toucans, which just seemed so unreal. There was so much fog, turning the branches into this eerie stark backdrop. They sat for the longest time. I guess I'm influenced by Fruit Loops commercials, but Toucans are different than I was expecting--they are very shy and so striking and careful in their movement - they stay still for very long periods, or move just the slightest (turn their heads).
#331: Keel-billed Toucan; near Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica; December 2015.

#332: Black-mandibled Toucan; near Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica; December 2015.

Not really sure which bird Toucan Sam is modeled after!

I'm pretty excited for the next post about our morning in Tenorio, so check back soon :)