Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Los Robles trail

We started our full day in the highlands by heading up into the climax oak forest along the Los Robles trail though the first good bird of the day was a female Long-tailed Silky from the back deck of the lodge
 They were easier to find this year than last.

 We took a small 4x4 truck-like vehicle up the steep ridge to get to the trail.  We started finding birds basically as soon as we got out, first a collared trogon (better pics later though) and a couple Golden-bellied Flycatchers up in the canopy.  At one point I was lying on my back shooting so I wouldn't be trying to crane the camera straight up.

A lot of the tropical birds can be found in mixed feeding flocks, find a flock, find the birds.  The dominant species in the high-oak forest in the mixed flocks were Ruddy Treerunners and the surprisingly difficult to photograph Black-cheeked Warbler

A Streak-breasted Treehunter worked about the edges of one little group, a bird we heard last year but that I'd never seen.  Of course it stayed tucked in pretty well and when it came out it was directly backlit in a strong sunbeam
It was the size of a small jay but fed like a chickadee (and was nearly as vocal as either).

Other birds were more soliatary (like an aptly named Black-faced Solitaire).  The Solitaire's song is well worth pulling up in xeno-cantu, it sings a series of harmonics somewhat on the pitch of the climactic note of a Hermit Thrush song
Other flycatchers included Dark Pewee, Black-capped Flycatcher, and this Yellowish Flycatcher, a bright empid with a Cordy Fly eye teardrop.
We heard a chlorophonia up high but couldn't locate it.  We worked pretty hard for Flame-throated Warbler, settling for more warbler-neck views looking more or less straight up.

Butterflies were coming out as we were on our way down, Gulf Fritillaries were pretty common

 I'm not quite sure what this one is though.

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