Monday, June 14, 2010

Birder of the Year: Costa Rica, Saturday

Background info: WildBird offers its readers a really neat opportunity in every issue. The magazine poses to two questions in each issue, readers can respond to one or both, selected replies appear in a future issue, and one of those respondents receives prizes from Swarovski Optik and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- and the chance to win a Swarovski binocular and a trip to a birding hotspot as Birder of the Year. We've been fortunate enough to offer a trip to Costa Rica for three years, and the 2009 Birder of the Year recently returned from her trip.

As 2009 Birder of the Year, Dianne Patterson of Columbus, Miss., received a Swarovski 8x32 EL binocular and an expenses-paid five-day trip for two to Costa Rica with Swarovski and WildBird hosts. She also received a Swarovski squall jacket as well as “Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America” from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Dianne, her husband Jim, Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optik and I flew to Costa Rica in late May to bird with Clay's Costa Rican colleague, Alex Villegas. Aided by our driver, Rafael, we covered a fair bit of ground starting May 27.


Click on an image to see a larger version.


Lest you think that we focused solely on hummingbirds while at Rancho Naturalista, please allow me to disabuse you of that notion. We did, in fact, notice and delight in other species on Friday, among them: Gray-headed Chachalaca, Passerini's Tanager...

Clay Taylor/Swarovski Optik Digiscoping.
Created with a Swarovski Optik STM 80 HD scope
with 20-60x eyepiece and Pentax K-x D-SLR with 50mm lens


Streak-headed Woodcreeper...

Clay Taylor/Swarovski Optik Digiscoping.
Created with a Swarovski Optik STM 80 HD scope
with 20-60x eyepiece and Pentax K-x D-SLR with 50mm lens


Common Tody-Flycatcher...

Clay Taylor/Swarovski Optik Digiscoping.
Created with a Swarovski Optik STM 80 HD scope
with 20-60x eyepiece and Pentax K-x D-SLR with 50mm lens


Blue-gray Tanager, Social Flycatcher and Orange-billed Sparrow. That sparrow's bill appears so bright that it seems as if it contains a lightbulb. Bay-headed Tanager -- with its reddish-brown head and turquoise breast -- also blew me away.

The variety of hummingbirds, however, didn't end with the species mentioned in an earlier post. The roster also includes Green-crowned Brilliant, Violet Sabrewing, Brown Violet-ear, Violet-crowned Woodnymph and Green Hermit. All those species... appeared in a few hours... while we sat on the patio or rocked on the veranda. How cool is that?

After an incredible afternoon and very nice evening, some of us woke early Saturday to explore the grounds further. With the moon and the slowly wakening birdlife for company ...


Alex led Dianne, Jim, Clay and me along a path that gave just a hint of the rancho's habitat...


and brought us to what I considered a moth tent. The dark tarp housed a white sheet, a bright light to draw insects, two benches for viewers, and a buffet for birds.


Standing a few feet from the sheet, we could see birds as they foraged on the ground and in the plants around the tent. We enjoyed great looks at Red-throated Ant-Tanagers, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Plain Antvireo (What a fun song it has! The tail end of it reminds me of a bouncing pingpong ball.) and Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner.

The moths also claimed some of our attention. Who can tell me the names of these species? (I gave away the Costa Rica butterfly and moth field guide.)

1.

2.

3.

4.
UPDATE: Protambulyx strigilis, also known as Streaked Sphinx;
with thanks to Rich Hoyer


5.

6.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Megaan said...

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June 15, 2010 12:20 AM  
Blogger Birdernaturalist said...

I came home from Rancho Naturalista once with hundreds of moth photos too. Most still unidentified. But I also photographed your moth #4 and Bruce Walsh at the University of Arizona identified for me as Protambulyx strigilis. That's the only one I can help you with.
Best,
Rich

June 15, 2010 10:38 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thank you, Rich!

June 16, 2010 9:49 AM  

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