Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Arenal afternoon

At lunchtime some of us headed back out, spreading out through the landscaped courtyard in what alternated between light drizzle and borderline showers.  Rhoda and I were trying to pull out individual euphonias and Bay-headed Tanagers when Mike ran up saying he'd found a flock of tanagers in a fruiting tree we hadn't encountered.  There were a handful of Bay-headed Tanagers.  As we looked for a patterned green one we found an unpatterned green one, a Rufous-winged Tanager.  After a few minutes an Emerald (the green patterned one) appeared, but the flock moved on fairly quickly.  A couple of Chestnut-mandibled Toucans materialized in the tree, somehow we didn't even see them fly in.

A pair of Crested Guans had no problem making Attila in the courtyard.

I made one last circle back halfway through the garden to get back to an Ohia-like tree that I wanted to photograph but had no time double-timing it to the tanager tree.  A few Oropendolas had moved in which was a nice bit of serendipity
They would plunge their heads pretty deep into the flowers, I'm assuming going for nectar but I suppose they could have been looking for bugs or even some part of the flower itself.

In the afternoon we bussed out to a road through different habitat with the initial targets being Dull-mantled Antbird and Keel-billed Motmot.  Steven wasted no time on getting on the antbird, a denizen of dark moist ravines, and pulled it in surprisingly close and touched it with his torchlight to make it actually visible.
It's the closest I've ever come to seeing a Black Rail.  The motmot quickly followed.  You would think that since Keel-billed Motmot and Broad-billed Motmot are named for different structural characters that there'd be a big difference in them.  Steven's take is that Keel-billed is just a color morph of Broad-billed.  The bird was really high and in the light rain the pics were kind of weak.

We had some other nice birds along here, highlighted by Russet Antshrike, several heard-only Thicket Antpittas, and Plain Xenops, but they were frequently very high with a ton of contrast between the bright background and the shadows of the canopy even once the rain stopped.  I didn't really get a look at Yellow-billed Cacique, Buff-something Foliage-gleaner, or a couple others that were mainly silhouettes or occasional movements in the leaves.  A Gray-headed Kite perched up nicely though.  Apparently the last time that Steven had seen one on this road was also leading a Sarett-organized trip.

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