Monday, June 07, 2010

Birder of the Year: Costa Rica, Thursday 3

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.


Despite our focus on hummingbirds, we delighted in other species during our first day of birding. We saw a few Clay-colored Robins ...

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


and some endemic Large-footed Finches, occuring only in Costa Rica and western Panama and foraging with the hop-scratch method used by some North American sparrows...

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


as well as the first of many Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, which are one of two silky-flycatcher species in Costa Rica. Endemic to C.R. and western Panama, the two species belong to a family of four (Ptilogonatidae) and eat more fruit than insects...

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


while Slaty Flowerpiercers eat flower nectar after using their hooked upper bills to pierce flower bases. These 4-inch-long endemic birds are among the smallest amid the seedeaters, finches and sparrows in Costa Rica.

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


After the stop at La Georgina, we continued south toward Savegre Mountain Lodge. With the volcano hat trick and the hummingbirds in the morning, we couldn't wait to eat lunch at Savegre and explore the cloud forest.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jan Axel & Gloriela said...

I really liked the digiscoped pics. What a prize... can I participate? :)

June 10, 2010 7:17 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Anyone who reads the magazine can participate!

Check out the first paragraph in italic text at the top of the post; it gives a synopsis of the Birder of the Year program.

BOTY details also appear in the right-hand side of the blog.

June 10, 2010 9:21 AM  

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