Friday, November 28, 2008


Although tedious, the border crossing at Peñas Blancas wasn’t a complete waste of time. While we were waiting, I photographed this White-throated Magpie-Jay. I also helped a Nicaraguan truck driver change the language on his cell phone from Simplified Chinese back to English (it didn’t have Spanish).

In San Jose, we met with Pablo and Marcelo, two Costa Rican birders who are willing to help us on our quest for Golden-cheeked Warblers. Pablo is now with us at our first stop, Monteverde National Park, about 3 hours from San Jose, in the northwestern part of the country. Marcelo will join us in a few days.

We haven’t found any goldencheeks here yet, but Alberto and I picked up several lifers: Prong-billed Barbet, Collared Redstart, Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Spotted Barbtail, Brown-hooded Parrot, Black Guan, Orange-bellied Trogon, Coppery-headed Emerald, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, to name just a few.

Here’s a Coppery-headed Emerald, one of the hummingbirds that is very easy to see here at the Hummingbird Café, a strategically located gift shop at the edge of the cloud forest, with many hummingbird feeders on the porch. Tourism is Costa Rica’s number one industry, and it shows: the town of Monteverde is little more than a collection of gift stores, restaurants and wildlife museums. Tourism is big business here, and everywhere we go, we are surrounded by Germans.

There are also more familiar birds here, like this male Summer Tanager.

This Barred Forest-falcon we found in a shade-grown coffee plantation, just below the cloud forest. We also saw a Broad-winged Hawk there, and wondered if one of these raptors had perhaps eaten a goldencheek recently.

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