Bird Sightings - Costa Rica
by, 03-24-2007 at 02:33 PM (22816 Views)
We know all too little about birds!
However, while traveling in Costa Rica, we spent several days in Monteverde and took early morning treks into the 10,500 hectare Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.
We always managed to be among the first trekkers in order to really appreciate the first stirrings of the mammals, and birds (as the mornings progress, the vans and busses arrive and the groups begin their noisy walks, disturbing and scattering most of the wildlife.
On our last day for trekking, we were a bit late in arriving and as luck would have it, we watched, as a bus load of birders arrived and entered the park before us.
Since they seemed to be experienced birders, we assumed they would maintain some lower noise levels as they excitedly discussed the possibilities of observing one or more of the very rare Resplendent Quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno) known to frequent the preserve.
As many of the birders were a bid older than ourselves and walked at a leisurely pace, we decided to split away from the group at the first cross path and trek the circumference of the preserve in the opposite direction of the group travel.
We were excited to see and hear a number of howler and capuchin monkeys making their way through the canopy looking for breakfast.
Of course, there was the normal variety of toads scurrying about and a few of the extraordinary (and colorful) tree frogs.
As we reached one of the many resting spots, we removed our day packs and relaxed with an energy bar and some fresh water.
While resting, we both scanned the underside of the canopy with our binoculars for any signs of life.
My wife spotted something and without saying a word, directed my binoculars to the location of the movement along the tree branch above us.
For the next couple of minutes or so, we observed one of the most colorful birds we had every seen.
We could clearly make out its crested head and the long tail feathers hanging below the branch.
The bird was totally preoccupied and seemed oblivious to our presence.
We remained silent and observed until he took flight. We both commented on the beauty of the bird, but still had no idea what we had seen.
By early afternoon, we returned to the entrance of the reserve and decided to have some coffee before heading back to our lodge.
In the small cafe, we saw the group of birders sitting at one of the long tables discussing their sightings.
Of course, they inquired as to what we might have seen. We discussed the monkeys, the toads and the frogs.and the very unusual and colorful bird we spotted
One of birders quickly produced a field guide book and asked if we could identify what we had seen? We pointed to the photo captioned Resplendent Quetzal.
Oh My God..said the birders almost in unison! We have been here for the entire week and have yet to see a Quetzal!
Sorry you missed seeing him!
We extended our condolences, puffed out of chests and walked proudly out into the afternoon mist, knowing we had seen a RESPLENDENT QUETZAL!
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