Costa Rica Birds and Beasts Continued

blvultsmar1019

Black Vultures – Okay, we’re not pretty…useful, not pretty.

crstdjaymar1019

White-throated Magpie Jay

crocsmar919

American Crocodiles – Tempisque River

Orngfrontparakeetmar219 Orange-fronted Parakeet

howlrmar1319

Howler

Banaqutmar319

Bananaquit

rufsnapedwrnsmar219

Rufous-naped Wrens

YCnighthrnmar319

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

oropendulanests

Oropendola Colony

Tamarindoorchsmar319

Orchid

clyclrdthrushmar1319

Clay-colored Thrush

Stick InsectMar519

Stick Insect

VarsqurllMar14

Variegated Squirrel

HMonkMar619

I’m Done…

 

Monteverde

monteverde1

Monteverde Waterfall

We needed our down jackets up here. After a few nights of winds strong enough to move furniture, plus intermittent rain, we finally entered Monteverde’s Cloud Forest. Noisier than we expected. Three-wattled Bellbirds are the main culprits. Although they make, we think, some of the loudest bird calls anywhere, they are devilishly difficult to track down — even when they open their big mouths and bellow. But Bellbirds aren’t the only prizes. The Resplendent Quetzal tops the list of Cloud Forest must-sees. We get lucky. Gorgeous. So many more birds in this delightful country. I recorded over eighty lifers in Costa Rica and missed a few hundred more.

Three-wattled Bellbird

crstdguanmar619

Crested Guan

ResplquetzlMar619

Resplendent Quetzal

violetearmar619

Violetear

bcrndmtmtMar619

Turquoise-browed Motmot

Hoffmanswdmar619

Hoffman’s Woodpecker

Palmtanmar619

Palm Tanager

WCGrndsparrmar619

White-eared Ground Sparrow

 

Owls

Our mild January weather is kaput. February began with a seriously rainy day but now it’s gone cold and there’s snow in the forecast. A good time to look back on my favourite bird pictures. I’ll start with everybody’s favourite — owls.

Bardowldec162017

Barred Owl – Uplands Park, Victoria

BOsfeb718

Burrowing Owls – Imperial Valley, California

ScrhNo1517

Eastern Screech Owl – Santa Ana, Texas

GHOwlAug2218

Great Horned Owl – Swan Lake, BC

GHowlAp102015

Great Horned Owl – Victoria, BC

shrtearedowlfeb12016

Short-eared Owl, Boundary Bay, BC

Screechowl20150117

Western Screech Owl – Arizona

barredowlja62017

Barred Owl – Observatory Hill, Victoria

P1130447

Great Horned Owl – Interurban Flats, Saanich

SnowyowlMay1518

Snowy Owl – Bruce County, Ontario

estrnscreechno42016

Eastern Screech Owl – Rio Grande Valley, Texas

LongearedowlDec2016

Long-eared Owl – Boundary Bay, BC

More Texas Birds and Beasts

More images from Texas Wildlife Refuges…

wibisde318b

White Ibis

gallinulede318

Common Gallinule

litbluhrnde518

Little Blue Heron

couchsde518

Couch’s Kingbird

alligatorde318

allide318

No Swimming!

greenheronde318

Green Heron

long-tailedskipperde618

Long-tailed Skipper

grnkingde518

Green Kingfisher

javeldec2z18

Javelina

vermflyde518

Vermilion Flycatcher

willetde4z18

Willet

grnjay2de118

Green Jay

yelcrnnhrnde618

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

 

 

 

Texas Birds

Nice to get back to the Rio Grande Valley for a few days to visit the wonderful wildlife refuges where so many beautiful birds and butterflies find sanctuary …

kiskno1517

Great Kiskadee

zsponbillsde518

Roseate Spoonbills

gbhrnde318

Great Blue Heron

bbwhstlidkde518

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

lbcurlno1517

Long-billed Curlew

tch2de518

Tricolored Heron

verdinfeb1818

Verdin

claprailde518

Clapper Rail

queenbutter

Queen Butterfly

Golden Crown

Yesterday we had storms here and the rain bucketed down. Today, morning sunlight penetrates even the densest thickets. After a seriously wet day,  Golden-crowned Sparrows feed as if making up for lost time. We tend to overlook common birds though many are strikingly beautiful.

GCSprw

Augarten, Vienna

Augartenoc1818

Augarten Park, Vienna

I’m up early hoping to pick up a few Vienna birds before Augarten Park wakes up.  The preschool isn’t yet open and early morning joggers are few. Likewise, the porcelain manufactory in Augarten Palace (established in the 18th century) is still closed. So is its pleasant cafe, which is too bad. You can buy a teacup in the shop for 500 euro (sans tea) here if that’s your thing.

AugartenFlakTwrOc218

Flak Tower

Flaktwroc1818

The formal lanes of trees can confuse a newcomer so I use the enormous World War Two flak towers looming over the western side of the gardens as reference points. The entrance to the street or ‘gasse’ we’re staying on is in the opposite direction. Hard to believe now that this area was subject to heavy fighting in 1945 when die-hard Nazis fought the Russians for these massive reinforced concrete anti-aircraft fortresses. You can still see bullet holes and shell craters on the upper levels. Nowadays, the towers provide vantage points for the occasional Peregrine Falcon but little else I think. No Peregrines today, which means birds in the formal gardens might be active. Nothing quietens bird life so much as a cruising falcon with the afterburners on. The park’s  many Hooded Crows, cocky and self-assured, don’t seem bothered by much. I fancy they’d treat the rumour of a raptor with studied disdain.

HddCrw)c218

Hooded Crow

BlackbirdOc1818.jpg

European Blackbird

In the cool of early morning I saw few birds and then only briefly but as the sun climbs higher more appear. Even so, an unseasonably warm October has helped trees keep their leaves and their avian residents are hard to spot — noisy but invisible. They have to get hungry and at last they do. A pair of busy Nuthatches investigate a crack in the trunk of a mighty oak. Nearby a squad of European Blackbirds work a patch of shrubbery. A European Robin appears. I still call them English Robins, because my English parents did. Cute little guys — the robins, I mean, not my parents. No relation to our Robins, these birds. Ours are thrushes and kinfolk to European Blackbirds, also thrushes. The Europeans are a kind of flycatcher.

Robin2oc1918

European Robin

It gets busier as the morning chill lifts. Great Tit fly across the gravelled lanes as they move between forest patches. And there are Blue Tit here too. Related to out Chickadees, they’re busy, hanging from branches and picking up insects lurking on the undersides of leaves. I see several Green Woodpeckers but these large birds vanish into the treetops before I can get a picture. A Great Spotted Woodpecker is more cooperative. This bird makes a guest appearance in the movie ‘The Big Year’ – a non-migratory European bird in western North America. Well, stranger things have happened. And then its time to go, a Viennese coffee and yet another Sacher Torte await. Yes, you can eat Sacher Torte for breakfast.

nuthatch20c1818

Nuthatch

Grtspotwoodoc1818

Great Spotted Woodpecker

blutitoc1918

Blue Tit