Saturday, 1 March 2014

Breather from the Costa Rican Heat

Arrived in our final Costa Rican destination of Savegra in the mountains.  It is refreshingly cool after four nights on the Pacific Coast at Punta Leona. It was great birding location being excellent in the resort and near to famous Carara Nat Park.  Saw some much wanted jungle birds including losing my antpitta virginity with a superb prolonged views of a Streak-chested Antpitta.  It was a bad week of heat and humidity even for the locals. For someone with years of working on the building up polar bear-like insulating attributes it was brutal. Even standing still in the shade every pore in my body was dripping sweat continuously.  Twice I spent too long in the heat with energy sapping results that left me totally wiped for 12 hours afterwards. The birds were good though. More on that later.

Savegra was a favorite site of mine during my 2008 visit to Costa Rica.   It is good to be back. A little walk around in late afternoon quickly reminded me of why I liked it before.  A swarm of hummingbirds at the feeders. A banana feeder that wasn't here six years ago was attracting Flame-coloured Tanagers, Silver-throated Tanagers and Yellow-thighed Finches (and Tennessee Warblers). Easy photo targets for later.  The hummingbird mix was different than late April 2008. There fewer of my favourite White-throated Mountain Gem but there several Striped-tailed Hummingbirds which was a lifer. A short walk down the road turned up a pair of Torrent Tyrannulets, a pair of flycatching Collared Redstarts. A little mixed group birds along the creek included two Black-checked Warblers, Tufted Flycatchers, more Yellow-thighed Finches and my first glimpse of what should be many of the Flame-throated Warbler.   At other locations along the creek a good look at a Dark Pewee, singing Black-faced Solitaires, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrushes and my first satisfying look at a Rufous-browed Peppershrike.  From the window of our big windowed unit there is a pair Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers spending time in a bare tree, must be a nest nearby and there is an excellent view of the swifts and swallows over head and group of five Swallow-tailed Kites that seemed to be also flycatching over the woods.  ooh what a dream location.

Tomorrow the dream gets better as I walk the hairpin dirt track up the hill (mountain) to an oak dominated forest where the bird community is a world away from down here in the valley. And I hope to find a little use trail from 2006 where I had prolonged treat to two male Resplendent Quetzals interacting over the favour of female. I stood in the middle of the show for as long as I wanted. Just me, them and no one else anywhere.

The big question is will I be OK with just a long sleeve shirt or will it be so cold I'll need a fleece. You know what I mean!!!?

Collared Redstart is a great bird to have as common, However they are usually in heavily shaded areas making photography a challenge.


Yellow-winged Vireo is a regular member of feeding bird flocks in the vegetation along the creek.

This Yellow-thighed Finch, yes a 'finch' had just taken a bath. It is a common site around the hotel area.


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