Quetzals!

Trip Start Nov 10, 2007
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Trip End Nov 15, 2009


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One of the fun trips in Costa Rica is the Jeep-Boat-Jeep from La Fortuna to Monteverde, although it is actually a van-boat-van trip. We were picked up at the hotel by the van and dropped at the dam at Lake Arenal where we boarded a boat that took us across the lake to another van. From there it is a 1 hour drive along windy dirt roads through impossibly steep terrain to the village of Santa Elena where we were dropped at our next hotel - Arco Iris. I had done this same trip three years ago and one of the other passengers was dropped at Arco Iris. It looked like a beautiful place and definitely out of my budget then so I decided this time I'd splurge. And it was very nice. Especially when the capuchin monkeys showed up in the tree by the patio in front of our rooms. And the following day at breakfast they were right outside the window luting after our food. Very cute!

Our first afternoon in Santa Elena, we went to the bug museum where we saw some amazing displays of bugs.  These tropical bugs can be HUGE!!!  They also had some live bugs in terrariums upstairs.  Some of the camo adaptations are amazing!  Can you see the stick bug?  It's on the left.
 
 





As I said, my budget was a little tight last time I was here so although I went to the Monteverde Preserve last time, I didn't spring for a tour and although I had a nice hike, I didn't see any birds. So this time I arranged for a private birding tour with a wonderful guide named Adrian. He met us at the hotel at 6:30 and we headed to Monteverde. When we arrived at the entrance there were already a few birders and guides there and they were looking at something in the trees...a female quetzal!!!! This was the bird people came to Monteverde to see and I was thrilled. We all had a good look through the scope and took a few pictures. Adrian then suggested we move to another spot where he thought the male might show up...and yes! There he was with his beautiful tail and improbably bright green feathers! What a beautiful sight!
Adrian said we would be going for quality instead of quantity today which sounded like a fine idea to me. We hiked a couple of trails and saw some very rare birds including the pale vented robin which Adrian had only seen twice before. It was a great day and we saw over 30 birds as well as learning a few calls. Great fun!
The slow walking pace of bird watching had left us all ready to move a bit so we decided to walk to town - about 5 km. Along the way we had lunch at a fantastic Italian restaurant.
Quetzal
Mountain Robin
Black Guan
Grey Throated Leaf Tosser
Red Billed Pigeon
Slate Throated Redstart
Spotted Barbtail
Scarlet Thighed Dacnis
Brown Hooded Parrot
Purple Throated Mountain Gem
Green Fronted Lancebill
Black Faced Solitaire
Wilson's Warbler
Orange Bellied Trogon
Chestnut Capped Brush Finch
Spangle Cheeked Tanager
Pale Vented Robin
Red Faced Spinetail
Ruddy Tree Runner
Black Throated Green Warbler
Grey Breasted Wood Wren (R2D2 bird)
Prong Billed Barbet
Yellowish Flycatcher
Green Crowned Brilliant
Three Striped Warbler
Coppery Headed Emerald (On Nest)
House Wren
Golden Bellied Flycatcher
Violet Saberwing
Magenta Throated Woodstart
Green Violet Ear
Stripe Tailed Hummingbird
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