Monday, March 30, 2009

El Cielo Trip - Day 3 - March 25, 2009

March 25, 2009

Again, I woke early and listened to the Tawny-collared Nightjar singing. Then, the rain started right as we were getting read for breakfast. After breakfast, we packed up the pickup truck with our gear for the next two days. Lalo, our driver, had the truck covered with a tarp, but that didn’t last long as we stopped and removed the tarp quickly as the rain stopped. The overcast and fog stuck with us so birding was slow. We did have great looks at Crested Guan, Flame-colored Tanager, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Brown-backed Solitaire, Golden-crowned Warbler, Black-headed Saltator, Blue Bunting, and Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

We made it to Alta Cima in rapid order as the fog kept the birds difficult to see. We took a break to check the shops and stretch, birding all the while. Esteban Perrones, another local birding guide, joined us in Alta Cima. In the photo at right is Esteban (left), Lalo (center), and Ricardo (right).

We went on up the mountain about 2 km when Esteban told us that we were in a Bumblebee Hummingbird territory. We stopped the truck in the shade and watched the male displaying with his gorget feathers splayed wide. He bounced up and down in front of a female and did his airplane display for us, singing all the while. What a show!

We stopped a few more places on the way up to the Cabinas Canindo just a few kilometers short of San Jose. The Cabinas were rustic but serviceable with clean sheets, running water (hot on request) and solar electricity. A pair of Rufous-capped Brush-Finch were on the porch when we arrived, and Brown-capped Vireo sang over the cabin. We had lunch and went birding, walking down the road to an area where we had seen a number of Mountain Trogons on the ride up. We had quick views of White-eared Hummingbird, great views of Mountain Trogon, Olivaceous and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, and Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush. At one point, we were surrounded by Singing Quail but could not see them. Esteban herded two Singing Quail so they crossed the trail in front of us. We headed back to the cabins for dinner. After dinner, when it was full dark, we were able to call in a Mottled Owl which flew directly over our heads and perched in the open! Great end to a great day.