Sunday, June 23, 2013

Costa Rica - Day 4 (Part 1) - March 19, 2013

Our first morning in high elevation rainforest was beyond exciting! So many new species to see, and we could do it without feeling like we were melting. In fact, until about 11am it was cold enough for a heavy sweatshirt. Early morning birding was limited unless you were willing to walk to the top of the river canyon since the sun hadn't reached our lodge yet to fully awaken and warm the birds. However, I wandered down to the river and was just enjoying the rushing water when a Torrent Tyrannulet popped up on the rock right next to me!

Torrent Tyrannulet

There was no buffet-style breakfast that morning, so we had to choose pre-decided combos off the menu. This was difficult due to food allergies and a less than optimal grasp of the language. However, we were all able to get something to eat and walked away from the table full and ready to start the day! My plate consisted of a pile of rice and beans, scrambled eggs, and the most delicious sausage I have ever had. It wasn't greasy or salty, and you could actually taste the pork in it. However, it was also far from bland or dry. Also served was a large plate of fresh fruit, and a delicious mystery blend of fruit juices was available to anyone who didn't want coffee or tea.

First breakfast at Trogon Lodge
As soon as we were done eating we slipped out onto the deck of the restaurant where the hummingbird feeders were just starting to be nicely illuminated by the morning sun. By this time the hummingbirds were nicely warmed up and ready to entertain! There were so many species that I don't even know if I got to write every one of them down, but just taking photos of the more cooperative ones was good enough for me. The hummers were also very friendly and it was nearly possible to get them to land on your hand if you held it close to the feeder. 

Volcano Hummingbird

Purple-throated Mountain Gem (female)

Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager

Purple-throated Mountain Gem (female)

Hummingbird sticking her tongue out

Get off my feeder!

Mmmmmm nectar!

Volcano Hummingbird

After about 30-45min with the hummers we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the feeder deck and started to explore the grounds of the lodge and the trails. We were racking up species one after another and the trails were breathtaking...not only in beauty, but also literally. The high elevation and steepness of the main trail made the simple act of breathing a little bit of a challenge and we had to stop and rest often. Luckily there were enough birds to search for that these resting stops were not an annoyance. Along the trail there were waterfalls and breaks in the vegetation so you could go down the bank into the river to look for American Dippers and other water-loving birds. Near the beginning of the trail we stopped on the large bridge that spanned the river and looked up into the sky through the break in the canopy. We were pleased to spot a few Broad-winged Hawks, and a few hundred more raptors appeared once we started scanning the sky through our binoculars. Amazing! There were also platforms (meant for the zip-line activity) that were wonderful to stand or sit on to look for birds in the canopy. We were standing on one of these platforms when we spotted our first Resplendent Quetzal flying from tree to tree. The bird was impossible to refind in the thick greenery once it landed, but that flash of bright green was spectacular!

Ruddy Treerunner (center of photo if you can't find it)

Large Waterfall

Smaller waterfall upstream from waterfall on left
Do you see the Tufted Flycatcher on the nest? Can't believe we found it!

Sooty Robin

Stay tuned for Day 4 Part 2 where we go on two little adventures and finish out our day tired, but extremely happy.

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