Our last brief morning at Savegre but still time for a scoot
around before and after breakfast. I started in the dark below the chalets
where I could hear Ruddy Capped Nightingale-thrushes and Chestnut-crowned
Brushfinch sang although the latter’s squeaky notes do not really add up to
much in the vocal department! The rattling wings of a Black Guan allowed me to
follow it into the tree right alongside and I watched it in the half-light walk
slowly up a main branch before setting off once more with machine gun quills. I
followed some Spotted Wood-Quail up the other side of the road but once again,
although they were calling noisily (confusingly a bit like ‘whip or will’ to
me), I failed to find them.
A tiny Passion Flower - Passiflora sexflora
Fuchsia paniculata and Bumblebee
Collared Whitestart and Torrent Tyrannulet were
beside the river and I found Philadelphia Vireo and a family of recently
fledged Yellowish Flycatchers in the gardens.
The ‘usual’ Hummers were zipping around and Grey-breasted Wood-wrens
were foraging right alongside the road while a couple of small flocks of
Sulphur-winged Parakeets rocketed overhead.
Even though I can't see the throat I think it is a White-throated Mountain Gem
A quick look at a few moths and it was time to get on the
road for the drive back over the top towards San Jose and our stops this side
of the capital.
The expected roadside birds were encountered on our way to
Paraiso and we got stuck behind a little old biddy in an old car with the boot
open who was trying to use as many lanes as possible. After navigating the
centre of town we found the recreation square and within a few minutes
we had two Tropical Screech Owls in view and spent a few minutes watching them
and showing them to the appreciative locals.We saw them here last time but failed to find theAmerican Barn Owls but
this time luck was with us as there was a pair of these chunky Tyto – one light and
one dark – roosting up under the eaves of the main church where a service was
underway.We did not linger and after a
look at some urban Finsch’s Parakeets and House Sparrows (Steve still managed
to avoid seeing them) we moved on again towards our last proper base of the
American Barn Owls
Tropical Screech Owls
Tropical Screech Owls
Tropical Screech Owls
Another stop just off the route failed to find us the hoped
for Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow but we did see a Canebrake Wren, close views of a
Chestnut-crowned Warbler and a couple of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas.A Wood Stork circled a distant lake and when
we drove over the dam there was a little flotilla of Least Grebes and a Great
Our lodge – Quelitales -was at the very end of the road at
the top of the valley and we were warmly greeted by Jose in Chef Whites who
seems to hold every role in his hotel. We were shown to our individual chalets
and ours had a pond complete with several Odonata species, a Green Basilisk and
the head of a Terrapin.Kiskadees came
down to drink and I could see Passerini’s and Crimson Collared Tanagers,
Yellow-faced Grassquits , Violet Sabrewings joustedand a Brown Jay flopped through before heading up for
a sumptuous lunch.
A 'small room' with a view...
Crimson Collared Tanager
Going to go for Bronze Rubyspot
Buff-throated Saltator, Masked Tityra, House Wren and
Yellow-bellied Elaenia were seen while feasting before we ambled up the hill to
the base of the waterfall.It had been
beautifully set up with a screened, covered viewing area that looks down at the
waterfall pool and up to a cleared area of steps that Jose has been attracting
a selection of somewhat difficult species.
There were some great butterflies around and a Blue Morpho came in to sup on a squidgy banana.
Rusty Tipped Page (Siproeta epaphus)
Waiter Daggerwing (Marpesia zerynthia)
Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius)
There were quite a few Hummers zipping around the banks of
Ginger and Verbena with Stripe-throated and Green Hermits, Green Violetears,
Sabrewings, Green Thorntail (only our second), Rufous-tailed HB, Stripe-tailed
HB and a couple of brief visits by a male Black-bellied HB.The waterfall pool is a good spot for the
localised Green-fronted Lancebill (it even has its own special perches) and Dad
decided to stay behind and look for it in his own diligent fashion.
Dad stealthily waiting for Lancebills...
The food was not put out till 3pm so we opted for a circular
walk up into the hillside. As usual with all forest trails it was quite a task
to keep the group together and get everyone onto all the species that moved
through and we tried our best to keep up with the fast moving flocks.
Yellow-throated and Philadelphia Vireos were seen with
Tennessee and Yellow Warblers and a full male Blackburnian made quite a sight
decked out in orange, black and white. A Slate throated Whitestart added more
colour and there were Common Chlorospingus,Silver-throated, Emerald, Speckled and Blue
Grey Tanagers in the canopy along with the first Spotted Woodcreeper of the
trip and another completely new species with the noisy and peculiarly
bi-coloured Olivaceous Woodcreeper.
Flocks of Barred Parakeets whizzed overhead and were
occasionally glimpsed in the canopy gaps and we could hear Yellow-throated
Toucans singing in the distance while popping flocks of Chestnut-headed
Oropendolas moved down the valley.A
male White-vented Euphonia was in song and Tawny-capped Euphonias were with the
Tanagers and White-breasted Wood-wrens were foraging in the damp areas.
Barred Parakeets - top right!
There were a few spots in the air as we carefully walked
back down. Steve wanted more from this place but we were happy but I can only
imagine what else might have been found with more time.There were still a couple more treats in
store though with a female White-bellied Mountain Gem adding herself to the
growing Hummingbird list and as we reached the bottom Dad proudly announced
that the Green-fronted Lancebillwas on his perch but only those at the front got to see him
before he zoomed off.Thankfully we did
not have to wait long and this seemingly all dark Hummer came back in to his
perch.The bill is very long and thin
and in fact ever so slightly turns up along its length.The lack of any colour other than dark green
was, as usual, misleading as when the crown caught the limited light it blazed
turquoise blue (not even vaguely green!).It would occasionally
dart off and snatch a flying morsel over the water more in the manner of a
Flycatcher than HB and at one stage was joined by a female.
White-bellied Mountain Gem - Ken Copleston
We now settled in to wait for the main event but
disappointingly the only Ground Sparrow or Brush Finch to come in was the now
familiar Chestnut-capped but things perked up when two Black-breasted
Wood-Quail appeared silently at the feeding steps.They did not stay too long and soon melded
back into the undergrowth.
Jose now told us that he was going to call in Lulu and off he
went up the path to put down some worms to entice her out.This Scaled Antpitta now knows Jose and comes in late in the day to the sound of him playing her call, loudly calling ‘Lulu’
and banging the food tub!
Amazingly, about ten minutes after he did this and returned
to us, she appeared and hopped around, wolfing down worms for a few minutes
before bounding back off the path.I am
not sure where the name comes from as it looked wholly ginger-brown with a grey
crown and no real marking of any note.
Scaled Antpitta - Ken Copleston
And a short video of Lulu that the Quelitales owner Jose Alvarez sent me subsequent to our visit.
It was time for dinner which after the mega burger at
lunchtime was an omelette but we all had Jose’s famous Bailey’s crepes…
Some mothing followed back up at the waterfall and a few
species were already in along with some Beetles, Lacewings and a Praying Mantis.
Up in the woods a Mottled Owl called and despite being the most widespread
species in Costa Rica, I have yet to see one and a Crested Owl was moving
around a way up but would not come in.
This Anthurium species was slightly umm, well, 'surprising' looming up out of the dark in the torch light...
We fell into our beds…
New Birds: * = life tick ** = new to Costa
Rica but previously seen elsewhere
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