Friday, February 02, 2007

Costa Rica: Day 3

After a great day on the grounds of the Arenal Observatory Lodge, we woke up bright and early for some AM birding. Unfortunately, the guy whose job it is to stock the fruit feeders wasn't coming to work until 7:30, so we had very inactive feeders. We birded the grounds a bit and explored a new trail that was known to host a Thicket Antpitta. Antpittas are funny little birds with stubby tails, long legs, and an upright posture. They look like some kind of wind-up toy. Lucky for us, the Antpitta was singing away. With some whistled impersonations, we were able to get him to come check us out. These little guys are the definition of the word "skulk". Luckily, everyone got a great look.

After a scrumptious buffet breakfast with great fresh fruit, we headed to the rainforest canopy bridges about 30 minutes from the lodge. The area we went to has a series of steel suspension bridges with the highest being 100 meters off the forest floor.

The weather was a bit rainy and the birding started out a bit quietly. Lucky for us, a Morpho butterfly flew by and caused us to pause and admire it. I happened to look to my right and spotted a perched White-fronted Nunbird, a very difficult species to find. It was joined by another Nunbird that was beating the heck out of a giant, creepy, centipede-looking thing. The theory is that they beat their prey against a branch in order for the prey to excrete any toxins before the bird ingests them. Yummy!

We continued through the trails and across many of the bridges until we reached the top. There was a crippling view of the rainforest with a waterfall down below. Birds were few and far between with only some Tennessee Warblers and some random flycatchers. A local guide tipped us off to a perched Broad-billed Motmot, my second sighting of a member of the Motmot family. Unfortunately, it was too far for a picture.

We headed back towards the entrance. On the way back, we saw a very cooperative Buff-rumped Warbler that practically landed on my shoe and a Dusky Antbird. I also saw these workers below who were building a new trail. These guys were carrying some extremely heavy blocks and I give them huge amounts of credit.

We spent the afternoon birding the grounds of the lodge. We didn't see anything new that I can recall, but I did get this sweet picture of a Summer Tanager.

We closed out the evening with another nice dinner and the sounds of calling Pauraques. Tomorrow, it's off to the Monteverde Cloud Forest!


P. Ollig said...

Dude, I've so wanted to do that! Email me sometime and give me the scoop on how you went about planning it!

Lea said...

Hi Patrick, great photos! NATURE!! ;)

I see your labels... battle wounds from the Blogger D-Day.. hehehe