Sunday, April 28, 2013


We planned to visit the coffee and chocolate research centre in the main town (abbreviated to CATIE) after breakfast.  It was a touch more overcast than normal though:

The cloud gave way to rain but having nothing better to do we headed down anyway.  We also had a bit of a flap about petrol.  It turns out being Catholic the country shuts on Good Friday, so no petrol stations open anywhere around us.  Luckily we had enough for the round trip and a return to the town the following morning.

So given the rain and the cloud, we delayed our departure and took some pictures in the garden of Rancho, seeing Banaquit:

Black-striped Sparrow:

A Blue-crowned Motmot dropped in for breakfast:

And a damp looking Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer stayed under the cover of the overhanging roof:

Once the rain let off at Rancho we headed down to town.  It rained the whole time we were at the CATIE, which limited movement and photography but we still did see some birds, including Northern Jacana:

A Cattle Egret in breeding plumage:

Golden-hooded Tanager on what looked to be a similar fruit to an apple:

A very wet Great-crested Flycatcher:

Great Blue Heron:

We were making the best of it but it really wasn't much fun so we decided to head back for lunch.  On the way back the rain cleared again.  A Broad-winged Hawk was drying itself off by the side of the steep path back to the lodge:

Back at the lodge we had lunch then went for a walk down the hill.  On our little jaunt we saw a Summer Tanager flitting above:

And then another Long-tailed Tyrant, this one just above its nest I believe:

Back in the garden another of the most heard birds at Rancho, the Melodious Blackbird:

Was joined by Brown Jay:

Chestnut-headed Oropendola:

and Blue-Gray Tanager:

other birds included Clay-coloured Robin:

White-necked Jacobin:

A male White-lined Tanager:

a Banana stealing squirrel, whose antics were particularly amusing to watch:

Black-cheeked Woodpecker:

The balcony meanwhile had been over-taken by the photography group.  It was sort of uncomfortable as the balcony included a double french-window/door entry to our room.

This was made-up for though when I was invited to join for twenty minutes to fill a spot which someone had vacated to check out the pools....


Saturday, April 27, 2013

First full day at Rancho

Harry, one of the two resident guides, met us on the balcony at 6am and then we headed on to the trail that heads out from the property.  We walked a short way before breakfast and saw a few birds, then headed out again after breakfast.

On these walks among many others we saw Black-headed Trogon:

Plain-brown Woodcreeper:

Chestnut-headed Oropendola:

Mottled Owl:

White-crowned Manakin:

We headed out of the forest and up into some pasture where some fruiting trees were drawing in a lot of birds.  Here we added Black-crested Coquette:

More Golden-hooded Tanagers:

A female Green Honeycreeper:

and then a male:

Green Thorntail:

and a Yellow-green Vireo:

On the walk back to Rancho (we couldn't risk missing lunch!) we added Olive Tanager:

Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant:

Tawny-capped Euphonia:

And the principle target bird for most birding groups visiting Rancho, the Tawny-chested Flycatcher, here building and then sitting on a nest:

And here in the open:

Unbelievably one of these birding groups were being shown their 'target bird' and the guide shone his spotting laser right on the bird in the nest.  First, it can all too easily blind the bird, second, it puts them off from the location.  I couldn't believe how selfish he was nor indeed unprofessional.  He shouldn't be allowed to guide people or groups if in doing so he can harm rare birds in this way.

Anyway the walks were very productive.  We spent the afternoon relaxing as the property started to fill up with other guests.

Back at the feeders the, a Green Hermit:

Green-breasted Mango, female

Montezuma Oropendola:

A female White-lined Tanager:

White-necked Jacobin:

And a Grey-headed Chachalaca: