Friday, February 1, 2008

Costa Rica - Day 3 at a Glance-Part 1

On our 3rd day, we booked the "morning bird walk" tour that was free at the resort. Our guide was Costa Rican and knew broken english, but also german. There were 8 of us, and 6 were German. We set off around 6:15 a.m. down a trail we had yet to explore. Our first encounter, just a few yards on our journey, was a small bird on a limb which was backlit and dark, so I couldn't tell what it was. The guide said its common name in german, & then in english, he pronounced "oolay" . I didn't understand. I focused my camera, took a shot, but noticed my flash didn't go off. I turned it on, but the bird flew off. After reviewing my camera screen, I gasp at my horror. It was possibly, a small owl, I could see the eyes in the viewer. I asked the guide again what it was, and he showed me a picture in his bird book, a Pygmy Owl. I missed an owl! In fact, it was the smallest of owls there is. A Pygmy Owl is 6 in. in height at maturity, including the tail. My first bird on this tour, it was a freakin owl (my favorite species!) and... I missed it. Above is the shot without the flash. He is looking right into the lens, and my error missed a great, one in a million shot. I hope I get a second chance. I ask the guide what the pygmy's call was, and he showed me. He told me to listen at dusk for the sound, and call back. I filed this info away for nightime. We walked on.

We came across an Orange-Billed Sparrow, and was able to get off a shot with flash that worked well. We moved on and found a Blue-Grey Tanager, and by this time the lighting was nice. We come to a lookout spot, and take in the view from above. The Pacific Ocean is so much cleaner than I expected and the view was awesome! The guide spots a Laughing Falcon in the distance, so I take a shot. The other people on the tour were taking their looks too, so I never did get off a decent shot.

As we stand there and absorb the scenery, we hear noises moving loudly in the trees ahead. All of a sudden we are greeted by White-Faced Monkees. A bunch of them were crossing the path ahead and using giant vines to swing and walk across. My camera needs adjustment, I set it right, and fire away. They were quite entertaining. They seemed to perform for us, as they played with their mates. They stop and lounge in the trees above and are having a great time with eachother. They even want us to participate, so one particular monkey gets to a vine, stops, gives us all a big chessy grin, and proceeds to shake his vine up and down, just like you would imagine a monkee to do. Then, he grabs his mate, has his way with her, sets back down, and has his way with himself. Quite entertaining, I must say. The guide told us, that with all his tours, he has only seen this maybe 3 other times, so it was "something", to say the least. The monkees moved on, as did we, and found plenty more birds to view.

We discovered the Orange Chinned Parakeet building his/her nest in a termite nest, along with a few Fiery-Billed Aracari's (Toucans) which had the most colorful bellies compared to their much larger cousins, the Keel-Billed Toucan. The tour ended, we tipped our guide well, and set off on our own. The day started off fantastic, but now its time to go have breakfast and see if the monkees are there.
The monkees are a no-show. We wait for a bit, but...(to be continued-something else DOES show up)

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