Thursday, May 02, 2013

The last day

A couple of morning snaps before we headed away, a White-throated Jacobin:

Green-breasted Mango:

A last view:

We really enjoyed our stay in Rancho.  We wish we'd had a more private room, say one of the cabins, but it is a great base for birding in Costa Rica.

We'd decided to visit Irazu volcano, less visited than a number of the others as it's not active, but it's also close to the highest point in Costa Rica.

The volcanoes have their own distinctive species, such as this Volcano Junco we saw as we were paying for our entry.  Cue scrambling for cameras and a small chase to capture an image of the bird:

At base camp you can see that the White-nosed Coati's have 'adapted' to the human presence:

The caldera is truly dramaic and too deep to capture with any of our lenses:

That's me heading down the path looking for birds while Helen was taking the caldera pictures.  I'm not great with heights...

We really were high-up.  Over 2 miles in fact, and above all of the cloud layers.  We walked from the car park to the highest point.  It was breath-taking, quite literally:

We saw a good number of birds on the walk, including a Black-capped Flycatcher:

Common Bush-Tanager:

Mountain Eleania:

Rufuous-collared Sparrow:

Slaty Flowerpiercer - check out the bill:

Sooty Robin, looking a lot like our Blackbird but an altitude only bird in Costa Rica:

Volcano Hummingbird (they even have different sub-species across distinct volcanoes):

It wasn't just birds, just mostly birds:

We enjoyed our volcano visit and with a heavy heart headed for the airport.  I was taken aback by the fact you have to pay a departure tax and the currency conversion is another 8% surcharge.  Shocking and probably not the best impression to leave parting tourists with (why not include it in the flight ticket like virtually every other country does, or on accessing the country?).  But we will definitely be back, we're only half done in what is a wildlife and tourist friendly country that is beautiful and rich in nature and coffee :)


C.A.T.I.E. again

Having had a wash out on our first trip to CATIE and, in particular, wanting a picture of a Boat-billed Heron we decided to visit CATIE again.

Overhead a Short-tailed Hawk:

Sat on electricity wires, a very vocal Roadside Hawk:

another on a telegraph pole:

Back at the fruiting tree we found a Baltimore Oriole:

A Thick-billed Seedeater moved under a screen to forage amongst the plant pots:

In the grasses, a Yellow-faced Grassquit:

Perched atop a tree aViolaceous Trogon, female:

Tropical Kingbird:

Another tree hosted a Yellow-green Vireo:

At the pond we did indeed get close to Boat-billed Heron:

Another Cattle Egret:

Northern Jacana:

Ruddy Ground-Dove on the ground close to the pond:

And the national bird, Clay-coloured Robin singing:

Male Grackles have splendid plumage and this male Great-tailed Grackle was no exception:

Back at Rancho after lunch more relaxed birding, watching Gray-headed Chachalaca:

The banana stealing squirrel was back too:

As it was our last afternoon we visited the Common Potoo again, here with its eyes closed - it was much harder to locate:

And a rather tattered owl butterfly of some-sort put in an appearance 

We enjoyed our last dinner, being the only guests that last night we had our pick, and then got an early night ahead of our planned Volcano trip in the morning, on the way back to the airport.