New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Monday, February 9, 2015

Part 5- "Highlights from 2014 and starting 2015"

   Costa Rica- Part 3, "Savegre Mountain Hotel" - (Chapter 2)- Continues.......After breakfast, Merino led Jen and I along many of the trails in the area near the Hotel. We have been to Savegre four times before and actually had never explored many of these trails. The first trail we took was the Jiiguero Trail which started right by the door to our cabin. Merino is very much in tune with the environment; he is always hearing and pointing out birds that Jen and I never heard or seen. He also knows all the bird songs in his area; that is amazing!

     As I mentioned earlier in this report, I wanted to study Acorn Woodpeckers. As it turned out, that would be easy....they were everywhere! Just about every place we looked, we would see Acorn Woodpeckers-

     These Woodpeckers were high in the upper branches of a tall Oak Tree right over our cabin!-

       This adult female was foraging in an old Oak hanging over the river-

     I spotted this male Acorn Woodpecker at the base of  one of the tall Oak Trees along the side wall of our cabin. It started out near the ground and slowly climbed the tree to the top!-

     Foraging in an Nectandra Tree-

        This female was curious. It walked around the tree trunk trying to figure me out!-

      We even found Acorn Woodpeckers in the Apple Orchard on the steep slopes across the road from the Hotel. (Male left, female right)-

      Stunning male Acorn Woodpecker-

         Female Acorn Woodpecker-



        I found it interesting with all the Acorn Woodpeckers in the valley by the Hotel, I have never seen an Acorn Woodpecker's storage tree....finding one became a little quest of mine. While we were walking along the river, I noticed a family of Acorn Woodpeckers in the top of an old Oak Tree. They were very active flying from one branch to another. At first I thought this was a feeding tree judging by their behavior. It wasn't until I watched a single female Woodpecker hammer an acorn into one of these holes. It looked like they had just started using this tree as their storage tree. Not the usual large tree with the well stocked pantry that I was hoping to see, but it was fun watching the Woodpeckers putting acorns in some of the holes while moving others around from hole to hole!-

     It seemed that wherever we were, Acorn Woodpeckers were nearby. We would see them on the telephone poles, on the roofs of the buildings and cabins.......

      ......even making steady visits to the banana and rice feeders!-

      Another bird species that rivaled the Acorn Woodpeckers for the most visible and widely dispersed was the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper. The Woodcreeper is a really interesting bird.....they were just about everywhere we were and would see them at just about every level in the trees. Fascinating bird to watch. There are eighteen species of Woodcreeper in Costa Rica, this species is is the only Woodcreeper species at Savegre!-

     Four species of Woodpecker can be found in the Savegre valley. Besides the Acorn Woodpeckers, we only found one Hairy Woodpecker this trip.-

     Merino, Jen and I had only walked a short distance down the Jiiguero Trail (we were only one hundred feet from our cabin) and movement caught my eye on our left. I looked over and pointed to a small clearing in the underbrush. I saw a few leaves from the leaf litter being tossed about, but still couldn't make out what all the commotion was from. Merino knew immediately......Spotted Wood-Quail, a small covey of them! It wasn't until the birds moved a little that Jen and I could finally make them out. This was another bird we had missed on our other visits...we heard their calls, but never saw them. Now here we stand with a group of them literally at our feet. The covey moved around a bit and then they came directly towards us.-

     I didn't realize how large these birds were. These Wood-Quail are about the size of a Chukar Partridge. Jen and I soon realized that these birds are really beautiful, especially the males when the open up their golden crowns-

     In total there were three coveys of Wood-Quail. They stayed in this small area below our cabin along the trail, and we could see them anytime of day that we wanted....they were always foraging here.-

      The hotel may be well known for the availability and the abundance of  the Resplendant Quetzals in the valley, but the variety and numbers of  Hummingbirds that visit their gardens and feeders are just as well known! The Hotel has several Hummingbird feeders set up near the main office and the dining room.....the Hummingbird spectacle is magnificent! The abundant flowers and blossoming plants in their beautiful gardens also attracts a large number of Hummingbirds many of which never visit the feeders. In total Jen and I saw ten species of Hummingbirds, including a few new species. This is a Green Violetear, one of the most common and abundant species in the area and to visit the feeders.-

     The second-most abundant and common, and the largest species, the Magnificent Hummingbird-

     Another common species the Gray-tailed Mountain-gem (now called the White-throated Mountain-gem)-

     The tiny female Scintillant Hummingbird-

      Immature male Scintillant Hummingbird-

      Stunning male Scintillant Hummingbird-

     Green-crowned Brilliant-

      White-throated Mountain-gem (front) and male Volcano Hummingbird (rear)-

     Immature male Volcano Hummingbird. Jen and I saw three of these during our stay. Merino said it was a good find since it was rare to see the males of this species at the Hotel this time of year.-

     Beautiful male Volcano Hummingbird-

     White-tailed Emerald-

      The ten Hummingbird species Jen and I saw were: Green Violetear, Magnificent, White-throated Mountain-gem, Volcano, Scintillant, Green-crowned Brilliant, Rufous-tailed, White-tailed Emerald, and Sharp-tailed Hummingbird. 

      Flame-colored Tanagers are a species that I enjoy watching. They are also common and highly visible in the area. Amazingly beautiful! Here is a male-

      Male and female-

      Immature male visiting the rice feeder. This species seemed to like rice as much as Acorn Woodpeckers.-

      Here are more of the common species you would see near the Hotel, their gardens, and in the cloudforest trails.       Collared Redstart-

       Silver-throated Tanager-

     The tiny Grey-breasted Wood-wren....

     The beautiful Spangle-cheeked Tanager-

      Jen and I loved this species....we saw it everywhere, and its song was so beautiful- 
                       Ruddy-capped Nightangale-thrush......

           Yellow-winged Vireo......

         Yellow-bellied Siskin-

            Yellow-thighed Finch........

        Rufous-naped Sparrow.......

     Melodious Blackbird. Merino mentioned that this is a new bird to the area-

      Certainly one of the most beautiful birds in the valley......Elegant Euphonia......


      Immature male-

      Yellow-faced Grassquit......

     Black-cheeked Warbler......

       Large-footed Finch......

      Nice to see a visitor from the US......Blackburnian Warbler.........

      .......and a Wilson's Warbler.......

      This is another really beautiful Highland bird species. Every time we have been to Savegre, I see one of two. They are very high-strung and active, and I can never get them to sit still for more than two seconds! I have never been able to take a good picture of one....and that continues!
Magnificent bird.....Flame-throated Warbler......

      Yellowish Flycatcher......

       Tufted Flycatcher. This little flycatcher staked out his territory by a Quetzal nest hole-

    Black-capped Flycatcher-

      White-collared Swift. One morning, I looked up to see a few Swifts flying low over the trees. Way up on top of the mountain peaks in the clouds, I spotted a huge cluster of Broad-winged Hawks and a large Swifts kettling together heading south. They soon disappeared into the clouds. That was an amazing sight!

      Slaty Flowerpiercer male........


     Because of the local Trout Farms along the River, Black and Turkey Vultures have a sizable population.....

      Sooty-capped Bush-tanager.......

            "Costa Rica" part 4 "Savegre Mountain Hotel" (Chapter 3) continues.........
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