Jeepers! Honey Creepers

Leaving the present, and terrible, international situation for a bit. Thinking of more pleasant things….

Red-Legged Honey Creeper
Howler Monkey

For us, going to the tropics has been out of the question for the past two years-like a lot of people, I guess. Darn pandemic! We’ve certainly missed those evening breezes coming off the Caribbean, and the smells of Latin-American food being cooked down the beach somewhere. One night, in desperation, we even watched that Jeff Bridges movie from the 80’s, the one shot at Isla Mujeres and Tulum. We ordered in Mexican food, drank a few bottles of Sol, and had fun picking holes in the plot. Still, it’s not quite the same.

At least, I can rummage through my pictures of tropical birds. These are from Costa Rica, from the Cloud Forest at Monte Verde. The more observant reader might notice that not all images are of birds. Well, any port in a mountaintop storm.

Turquoise-browed Motmot

On that trip, V and I spent a few nights at a lodge near the Cloud Forest Reserve. Our driver, on his first run ever, checked google maps, and picked what was likely the worst road in the region to get us there. When we arrived an hour or so after the regular van, we were as well-shaken as a protein drink. Later on, we took a (guided) jungle walk at night, which came complete with tarantulas, little rivers of Leaf-cutter Ants, a ghostly Olingo high in the trees, and sleeping Trogons.

The next night was so windy that we thought the roof of our bungalow was going to blow off. At dinnertime, we huddled in our puffer jackets eating pasta and drinking Red Tapir Ale, thinking fondly of the beach we’d left behind at Playa Hermosa. Our birding tour of the Cloud Forest almost didn’t happen-the guide being afraid that jungle trees might fall on us. In spite of rain and wind, however,we ventured out and ‘got’ our ‘target birds – the Resplendent Quetzal and one of the loudest birds in the world, the Three-Wattled Bellbird (hard to see, but easy to hear).

Violet-eared Emerald
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker
Yellowish Flycatcher
Resplendent Quetzal
Blue-gray Tanager
Three-wattled Bellbird
Red Tapir Ale
Cloud Forest Day

Cloud Forest Night

Monteverde

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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

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Crested Guan

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Resplendent Quetzal

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Violetear

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Turquoise-browed Motmot

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Hoffman’s Woodpecker

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Palm Tanager

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White-eared Ground Sparrow